About mechanical comprehension tests
Mechanical comprehension or aptitude tests have been in use for many years as a method for assessing a candidates potential to perform a specific job. Predominantly, they are used in careers which require an ability to work with, or understand, mechanical concepts. Examples of types of careers which require this level of aptitude include:
- Careers which require an ability to work with and operate complex machinery, such as Train driver;
- Driving careers where an ability to understand mechanical concepts is a must, such as Freight Driver;
- Some Armed forces jobs such as the Royal Engineers, Royal Navy or Royal Air Force;
- Engineering careers;
- Emergency services, especially the job of a firefighter;
- Vehicle or transportation mechanic;
- Aircraft engineers.
Of course, the above list is not exhaustive and there are many other jobs which require an ability to interpret mechanical concepts.
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL LEARN FROM RICHARD:
UNDERSTANDING MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE
You may find that some mechanical comprehension tests ask you to calcuate the mechanical advantage of a simple pulley system.
Here’s an explanation of how mechanical advantage works when using a simple pulley system:
- If you study the three pulley systems above, you will note that each system has both supporting ropes and non-supporting ropes.
- Supporting ropes are ones which, as the name suggests, support the load.
- Only the first two pulley systems have non-supporting ropes which we have indicated.
- The non-supporting ropes in the first two pulley systems above simply change the direction of the force.
- To calculate the mechanical advantage in a movable pulley system, we simply have to count the number of supporting ropes. Counting the supporting ropes in the pulley systems above, the mechanical advantage of each of system is, from left to right 2, 3, and 5.
In addition to being able to work out the mechanical advantage of pulley systems you will also be required to understand simple cog mechanisms.
WHAT’S THE PASS MARK?
We get asked on many occasions what is the pass mark for the test I am sitting? Whilst many test administrators will set a pass mark of 70% the simple answer is we do not know. This is because it is not uncommon for an employer or test administrator to set the pass mark based on an average score for group of people taking the test.
This enables the employer or test administrator to pick the upper quartile of test takers, ensuring they get the cream of the crop. The other matter to consider is that your scores in the mechanical comprehension test will normally go towards you overall score in an assessment; so, if you don’t do too well in one particular test this does not necessarily mean you will fail the entire assessment!
Sample Mechanical Comprehension Test Questions
In the following cog and belt system, which cog will rotate the most number of times in an hour?
A. Cog A
B. Cog B
C. All the same
How much weight will need to be placed at point X in order to balance out the beam?
The total current flowing through the circuit below is…
ANSWERS TO MECHANCIAL COMPREHENSION TEST QUESTIONS
The answer is B.
Cog B is smaller and therefore will rotate more times in the given timeframe.
The answer is A.
10 Kg must be placed at point X in order to balance the beam.
The answer is B.
In order to work out the total current, you should use the following equations:
So, 18 ÷ 2 = 9.
72V ÷ 9 = 8A.
Tips for Passing Mechanical Comprehension Tests
Top 4 tips for passing mechanical questions:
The majority of employers will assess youron speed and accuracy. Therefore, you are advised against random ‘guessing’. In order to stop this practice more and more test administrators are deducting marks for incorrect answers.
Therefore, during your preparation for your assessment I recommend you simply practice lots of test questions but more importantly understand how the answer is reached.
Whilst on the subject of multiple-choice questions, you will most probably find that there are more mechanical comprehension test questions than you can answer during the allocated time given for the test. If this is the case, do not worry.
Many tests are designed so that you do not finish them. Once again, simply work as fast as you can but also aim for accuracy.
If you come up against a difficult question during your mechanical comprehension test, move on, but remember to leave a gap on the answer sheet. If you fail to leave a gap then each of the preceding answers will be incorrect.
In the build-up to the test, if you feel like you are struggling with basic mechanical concepts then I recommend you study a car manual such as Haynes. This will give you an idea of how mechanical concepts work. You can obtain Haynes manuals at www.haynes.co.uk.
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