Mechanical Reasoning Tests

Mechanical reasoning tests examine your ability to understand mechanical and electrical concepts in order to solve challenges.

  • What Are Mechanical Reasoning Tests?

    Mechanical reasoning tests are often used as pre-employment screening assessments for roles that need mechanical knowledge - jobs in engineering, maintenance and repair, for example.

    The mechanical reasoning assessment is usually taken online as a multiple-choice assessment that is based on everyday mechanical and electrical items. To pass a mechanical reasoning test, you need to have a sound understanding of the physical and mechanical concepts that make things work - like force, gravity and electricity.

  • What Does a Mechanical Reasoning Test Consist of?

    Although there are several different publishers that create mechanical reasoning assessments for industries like the armed forces, public services and private businesses, the format and content of the tests are broadly similar.

    You can expect a question based on an image. For most tests, this image will be of something that you might encounter every day and is likely to be related to the role you have applied for. The image will form part of the question that you have to answer. You will have a number of potential options to choose from.

    The mechanical reasoning assessment is slightly different from other reasoning assessments that might be used in pre-employment testing because you will need to have some mechanical knowledge to answer the questions. The content is based on the principles of physics and mechanics that you probably learned in school, including:

    • Force
    • Gravity
    • Gears
    • Pulleys
    • Hydraulics
    • Gravity
    • Pressure
    • Heat
    • Acoustics and Optics
    • Velocity

    Often, they will have questions based on electrical principles too, like circuits, currents, resistance and voltage.

    Each question will use an image or diagram that might need to be completed, for example, it might be a diagram of an incomplete electrical circuit that has different options to make it work.

  • What are Mechanical Reasoning Tests Used For?

    Mechanical reasoning tests are used as part of the recruitment process to test a candidate on their ability and aptitude in understanding and applying mechanical concepts to real life situations. The assessment is a simple way for a recruitment team to get quantifiable and objective data on what each candidate is capable of achieving in the role; helping them decide which applicant has the skills and knowledge to be successful.

    It can also be used as part of a development program for employees who are already in a role, to decide what they need in terms of training. This can sometimes be used to assess a staff member for advancement opportunities and promotions.

  • Common Types of Mechanical Reasoning Test

    There are several different publishers that have created popular mechanical reasoning tests, in use around the world.

    SHL Verify Mechanical Comprehension Test

    SHL is one of the most well-known publishers of pre-employment assessments, and their mechanical comprehension test is a quick online assessment.

    If you are taking the SHL test, you will have just ten minutes to answer 15 questions.

    Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension (BMCT)

    First published in 1940, the BMCT is one of the oldest mechanical reasoning assessments out there. Now there are two different versions of the assessment, the BMCT-I which is taken using a pencil and paper as well as the BMCT-II, which is an online test.

    Usually, you will take the BMCT-II, where you will face 55 questions in just 25 minutes.

    Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude

    The Wiesen Test is most often used in pre-employment screening for mechanical roles that have a focus on maintenance and repair. This test is similar in concept and content to other assessments, but it is longer than most others - with 60 questions that must be answered in 30 minutes.

    Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test

    This test was first developed in 2004 and is now in its fourth iteration. It is used by a number of engineering-specific firms and high-level technology firms that are looking for the best mechanical minds. The Ramsay MAT-4 can be taken in person using pencil and paper, or online and remotely.

    The Ramsey test consists of 36 questions to be answered in just 20 minutes, so it is one of the shorter tests available.

    Barron's Test of Mechanical Aptitude

    This test is most often used in armed service recruitment, and it used to be considered the best assessment for mechanical skills.

  • What Armed Forces use Mechanical Reasoning Tests In Their Recruitment?

    If you are applying to any of the armed forces recruitment programs for a role that might involve engineering or maintenance, then you can expect to face a mechanical reasoning assessment as part of the pre-employment testing battery.

    There are roles in the Army, the Navy and the Royal Air Force that need mechanical knowledge, and whether you are applying directly for one of those roles or looking to start your career in another way, you might have to take a test like this to see if you are capable and will be successful.

  • How To Prepare and Pass Your Mechanical Reasoning Test

    Revise physics and mechanical principles

    The content of the questions on a mechanical comprehension or mechanical reasoning test consist of basic physics principles that you will probably have learned about in school.

    With this in mind, it is a good idea to brush up on your knowledge, especially if you haven't used these skills or applied the principles in real life recently.

    Practice Tests

    Whichever publisher produces the test you are facing, you will not have long to answer the questions - sometimes as little as ten minutes. This means that one of the most important things that you can do is practice tests.

    You will find practice tests online from all the major publishers, and you should complete these under exam conditions - use a timer, turn off notifications and remove distractions while you complete them.

    Use the practice tests to find where you might need to focus your revision and practice - usually where you might have got an answer wrong, or taken a bit too long to find the right option.

    Take your time in the test

    While the tests often have a tight time limit - usually about 30-40 seconds per question - the temptation to rush through could actually be hampering your chances of success.

    Take your time to read the questions thoroughly and make use of any examples or practice questions that are provided so you know how you are expected to answer.

    Answer all the questions

    Most mechanical reasoning assessments are not negatively marked, which means that you can take a guess at a question if you are unsure. As they are multiple choice answers, you can use elimination to help or come back at the end if you have time.

    Give yourself the best chance to answer all the questions so you can get a better score.

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Mechanical Reasoning Tests FAQs

What is a good score on a mechanical reasoning test?

Mechanical reasoning tests are usually developed specifically for an employer looking for candidates in a particular role.

This means that a good score depends completely on what the recruiter is looking for, but it is worth remembering that when you take the test you are competing against other applicants, so the best thing to do is go for the highest score possible.

Can you learn mechanical reasoning?

As mechanical skills are something that can be taught, you can learn mechanical reasoning - but those who tend to perform best in these assessments tend to be those who have an aptitude for physics, maths and mechanics.

You can improve your skills and knowledge through revision of principles that you probably learned in science lessons in school.

What do I need to know for a mechanical reasoning test?

To do well in a mechanical reasoning assessment, you need to have a good understanding and knowledge of the application of principles like gravity, acceleration, force and hydraulics, as well as how electricity works. You will likely be asked questions about gears, pulleys and levers, too.

More advanced mechanical reasoning assessments might go into the principles of optics and acoustics as well as fluid, pressure and inertia.

What are considered mechanical skills?

Aside from the knowledge and application of mechanical and physical principles, there are a few other skills that are considered essential for those in a mechanical role. This includes things like teamwork and communication, creativity in problem solving, and computer skills so you can use design software like CAD.

Which employers use mechanical reasoning tests?

The mechanical reasoning test is often set by employers in the armed forces as the challenges you’ll be faced with on the test are reflective of the kinds of challenges you’ll face every day in the army.


What our customers say about our Mechanical Reasoning Tests

  • New Zealand

    June 01, 2022

    It is challenging

    Good thing is that it really tested my speed and mechanical logic. The bad thing is that I don’t really know any of these.

  • New Zealand

    September 27, 2022

    Basic Physics

    It was a good starter test. makes sure everyone who takes it needs to have a real understanding of basic physics