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mechanical reasoning tests

Mechanical Reasoning Tests

  • 10 tests
  • 80 questions
mechanical reasoning tests

Mechanical reasoning tests assess your ability to understand and apply mechanical concepts. They are commonly administered during the application process for technical jobs, including engineering positions and roles in the emergency services and armed forces.

What is a mechanical aptitude test?

A mechanical aptitude test, or mechanical reasoning test, is frequently used for technical positions and measures your capacity to apply mechanical principles to solve problems. Areas tested might include gears, circuits or kinetic energy. Typically, candidates will be presented with a series of images showing mechanical problems or scenarios, and must answer questions based on these.

The level of difficulty will vary depending on the position applied for. The tests measure your mechanical knowledge rather than underlying aptitude, so if you reach this stage of the process it is expected that you will have a thorough understanding of the key topics and basic principles.

Questions are designed to test a candidate’s ability to apply mechanical reasoning in a practical environment and will generally be industry-specific. So if you were applying for a job with the army, the questions would be based around military scenarios.

Why do employers use mechanical reasoning tests?

Employers use mechanical tests to check that applicants have the necessary mechanical knowledge and capabilities to carry out tasks that will be required of them.

The ability to apply a range of mechanical concepts is crucial in a number of industries and jobs, including those that involve maintaining, repairing and operating mechanical equipment.

Mechanical comprehension tests measure how candidates apply their knowledge in a practical setting, with questions usually based around problems or scenarios they may encounter in the specific industry to which they are applying.

So an applicant’s score on a mechanical reasoning test is a good indicator to employers of how well they are likely to perform in the role.

The different types of mechanical reasoning tests

Employers can choose from a number of different test providers, so check which test you will be taking. Below we have outlined some of the most popular mechanical reasoning tests.

SHL Verify Mechanical Comprehension Test. This is the most widely used test for mechanical or technical positions, with questions on basic mechanical concepts such as gears, levers and pulleys. It could be used for jobs involving repairing and maintaining machinery, or designing mechanical components.

Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension (BMCT). This test is commonly used for engineering and mechanical roles. Along with mechanical comprehension, it assesses spatial visualisation, knowledge of basic physical and mechanical laws, and understanding of how machinery works.

Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude. This is used for roles where you will be required to operate and service tools and machinery, eg train drivers and aircraft engineers. Topics covered may include levers and pulleys, electronics and gears.

Barron’s Test of Mechanical Aptitude. This is mostly used as part of the selection process for the military. Questions may include gravity and velocity, hydraulics and shape/volume.

Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test (MAT). This is predominantly used for roles involving technical production and maintenance, such as tool setters, machine operators and mechanics.

Format of mechanical reasoning tests

Mechanical reasoning tests are timed assessments and you will generally have around 20 to 30 minutes to answer 20 to 30 questions (so one minute per question).

Questions are usually based around mechanical and physical principles and electrical concepts, but you may also be assessed on your spatial reasoning skills and basic mathematics. These tests may be administered separately from the mechanical reasoning but will be included in the same testing session.

For the mechanical reasoning tests, you will be given an image depicting a mechanical or electrical scenario with a question related to this. As mentioned previously, these questions may be specific to the sector, meaning they will refer to a situation you are likely to encounter in the role you have applied for.

For military and emergency services roles, the mechanical reasoning test is more likely to focus on measuring your understanding and ability to apply key principles. However, for a technical or craft job you may be expected to make calculations.

Some questions may also require you to select the best tool for a specific job.

There are a range of topics that could be included in mechanical reasoning tests. Below we have listed the most popular subjects.

Electricity

  • Circuits – series, parallel
  • Magnetism
  • Circuit diagrams
  • Voltage, current, resistance, capacitors and charge

Mechanics

  • Forces and motions – torque, acceleration, pressure, gravity, velocity, momentum, etc
  • Energy – potential, magnetic, kinetic, thermal; work and power
  • Springs, gears, pulleys, levers, etc

Other

  • Calculation of areas
  • Conventions and units
  • Tools, terminology
  • Basic mathematics such as fractions, ratios, percentages and averages

Prepare yourself for leading employers

Free practice mechanical questions

It is really important to practise mechanical reasoning questions as much as possible before your assessment. Put simply, the more familiar you are with the format of the questions and the topics covered, the better you are likely to perform on the day.

Below we have provided a selection of three sample mechanical reasoning questions. Here you can find more free cognitive ability tests, including mechanical reasoning and spatial awareness.

Mechanical practice question 1

mechanical cogs question

How many revolutions per second is C turning?

  • A) 5
  • B) 10
  • C) 20
  • D) 40

Mechanical practice question 2

mechanical magnets question

Which magnets will repel each other?

  • A) None of them
  • B) All of them
  • C) Pairs B and C
  • D) Pairs A and D

Mechanical practice question 3

mechanical pulleys question

How much force is required to lift the weight?

  • A) 60kg
  • B) 120kg
  • C) 180kg
  • D) 240kg

Solutions

Question 1: If a cog with 5 teeth can do a full 40 revolutions in a second, a cog with four times as many teeth with take 4 times as long to do a full revolution. This means, it will do 4 times fewer revolutions. So the answer is 10.

Question 2: Opposite poles on magnets attract, the matching poles repel. So the answer is A and D.

Question 3: There are two sections of rope that are supporting the weight, meaning that we can divide the force needed to lift the weight between them 120/2 = 60kg.

See also our article on how to pass mechanical reasoning testsfor more tips and advice.

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How are mechanical reasoning tests scored?

Your score will be formed from the number of questions you answer correctly in the test. This will most likely be compared to a ‘normative group’ to define how you performed in relation to others. It is worth noting that most tests only have a completion rate of about five per cent. The majority of candidates will not get through all the questions, so it is more important to provide accurate answers than to focus on completing the test. Only the questions you answer correctly will count towards your score.

Which employers use mechanical reasoning tests?

Mechanical reasoning tests are highly specialised assessments, which you will only encounter for positions that require mechanics or electronic knowledge and skills. These include engineering and technical positions, emergency services and roles within the military. Mercedes Benz, Shell and Amazon are some of the major employers that use mechanical reasoning tests in their application processes.

What is basic mechanical knowledge?

Basic mechanical knowledge involves the ability to understand how mechanical equipment and tools work, and to apply that knowledge in practical situations. Those with basic mechanical knowledge are able to recognise and work with a number of key principles, such as force and movement, hydraulics, velocity and simple electrical circuits, among others.

What are examples of mechanical skills?

Mechanical skills might include repairing mechanical equipment, performing tests and analysing the results, carrying out equipment and system calculations, troubleshooting equipment, analysing problems and identifying solutions, and designing devices and components.

Where can I practice mechanical reasoning tests?

The best way to excel in mechanical reasoning tests is through consistent practice; this website is a good place to start. Here you can find the most widely used mechanical reasoning tests along with guides, tips, and practice questions set under test conditions.

What are mechanical reasoning tests used for?

Mechanical reasoning tests are used to evaluate a person’s ability to use the concepts of mechanics or electronics to solve problems. They are predominantly used during the selection process for engineering or technology-related roles.

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Mechanical Reasoning Tests Tips

1Practice, practice, practice

Practicing example questions is the very best way to prepare for mechanical reasoning tests. By trying your hand at practice tests you will gain a much better understanding of the types of problems you are likely to face during the test. This will give you time to brush up on any gaps or weak spots in your understanding of the key topics and principles.

2Revise key mechanical principles and techniques

Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the main concepts covered in mechanical reasoning tests and are able to apply them to solve real problems. For each question, think carefully about which technique you need to apply.

3Recreate exam conditions

Try to practice in conditions similar to those in which you will be sitting your real mechanical reasoning test. Find a quiet environment with minimal distractions and make sure you stick to the time limit. This will keep you more focused and will make the real assessment less daunting.

4Try things out for yourself

As well as completing practice tests, you can improve your mechanical reasoning skills in a more practical way. Try taking mechanical equipment apart to gain a better understanding of how it works, look for opportunities to work with different tools and equipment, and refer to technical user manuals to increase your knowledge.

5Work quickly but accurately

Make sure you understand how many questions you will have to answer and how long you have to complete the test. These tests are designed to put you under pressure and you may have as little as 30 seconds to answer each question. But remember only a small minority will complete the test; it’s more important to focus on getting the answers right.

6Read the instructions carefully

Make sure that you have understood what you are being asked to do, and double-check your calculations. Each question will only have one correct answer.

7Do your research

Find out as much as possible about the assessment before the test, such as which provider the recruiter is using and the format of the test. Employers typically provide this information to candidates on their careers website; if it’s not available, ask the HR department or other relevant point of contact.

8Be competitive

Try to measure your achievements against other users to make sure you stand out from the crowd. An average score might help you pass to the next stage, but may not be enough to bag you that job.

Mechanical Reasoning Video Tutorials

Unfolded Shapes

1 min

Similar Shapes

1 min

Rotated Views

1 min

Mirror Images

2 mins

Input Type

2 mins

Sequencing

2 mins

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