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What do mechanical reasoning tests consist of and when are they applied?
Mechanical reasoning tests assess your understanding and predictions of stationary and moving objects. Knowing how objects interact with each other and basic principles, such as gravity, mass are important in our daily lives, but even more so in particular jobs, most notably, engineering, but also the emergency services or the military.
Mechanical reasoning tests will often ask questions on moving systems, which typically involve; pulleys, levers, springs, tools, gears, cogs, machinery, but also static mechanics, such as balance, equilibrium, mass. Some tests may even ask questions based on currents and the flow of electricity, a lot of this knowledge will have to be learnt and isn't as intuitive as the mechanical questions which we are familiar with.
You are presented with an image that depicts a simple object or situation, often with labels or arrows to indicate motion or direction. You are then asked a question which requires the information in the image to answer, such as which object is the most stable, or which object will travel faster. The questions in mechanical reasoning tests will sometimes be adapted to the sector that's hiring, for example, for a fire-fighting role questions might be put into the context in which a firefighter might find themselves in.
The most common mechanical reasoning tests:
Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension: Measures understanding of physical forces on mechanics. It is commonly employed when recruiting for mechanical engineering roles.
Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude: Often used when selecting candidates who will go on to repair and work with machinery or tools.
Barron's Test of Mechanical Aptitude: Typically used in selection procedures for the military, this test assesses candidates based on subjects related to the abilities a person would need to succeed in this occupation.
Stenquist Test of Mechanical Aptitude: Slightly different to the other mechanical reasoning tests, as specialized knowledge isn't necessary, instead, you are asked to choose one from four images which best matches what you were just shown.
Tackling mechanical reasoning tests
Like all aptitude tests, mechanical reasoning tests are seen to offer valuable predictions of job productivity. It goes without saying that practise will help you to answer mechanical reasoning questions faster and with more accuracy.
The tests are timed, so being able to quickly answer the question is beneficial, although these types of tests generally have a 1-5% full completion rate, so getting to the end of the assessment is not as important as the amount of correct answers you provide.
Mechanical reasoning tests are only used for roles in which this knowledge and these skills are useful. Other tests will be used for applying to jobs in completely different sectors.