Home Tips & Tricks A 2020 Guide To Mechanical Reasoning Tests

A 2020 Guide To Mechanical Reasoning Tests


Whilst we will always look back on 2020 as the year all our plans were put on hold as we holed up inside, practised social distancing and frantically washed our hands, you may also be able to remember it as the year you aced your graduate interview. By practising mechanical reasoning tests, you can increase your confidence and accuracy and make sure you are interview ready. 

What Is A Mechanical Reasoning Test? 

A mechanical reasoning test is commonly used for engineering or technical positions including those in the armed forces or emergency services. The tests measure your ability to understand and apply mechanical concepts and principles. Prior mechanical knowledge is necessary to solve the problems given.

What Is The Format Of A Mechanical Reasoning Test? 

The format is normally a series of timed multiple choice questions, where you are given 40 seconds to one minute to answer each question. The test may cover a variety of topics and formats, these could be specific to the particular sector or job role you have applied for. Usually you are shown an image or diagram for the mechanical questions being asked. The questions often cover concepts such as force and motions, energy and levers as well as transformation and pressure. There is only one correct answer per question. 

There are four well known tests that companies normally choose from; the Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension, usually used in engineering and mechanical occupations. The Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude, normally used for occupations which require the ability to operate tools and machinery. Barron’s Test of Mechanical Aptitude, often used for the military. And the SHL Mechanical Comprehension Test, which is commonly used across a wide range of occupations. You could ask your employer if they use a specific test in order to practice these further. 

Why Do Employers Use Mechanical Reasoning Tests? 

The tests are most often used for engineering or technology related interviews as they evaluate your ability to use mechanical concepts to solve problems. Employers are looking to see your knowledge of a variety of topics such as electrical circuits, pulleys, levers, springs, tools and maps.

How Can I Prepare?

The mechanical reasoning tests are highly specialised assessments so you do need prior mechanical knowledge to prepare for these and understanding methods and principles is key. Practising the tests will help you familiarise yourself with the format and style of the questions. Especially as some may be phrased in an off putting way, images may appear unique and the test may cover lots of different subjects. Make sure you practice the tests in exam-like conditions – taking note that some employers only give you 40 seconds to answer questions, unlike most aptitude tests which are normally one minute per question. Read all the instructions before beginning the test and make sure you are applying relevant mechanical techniques or principles to each question.