Mechanical Reasoning Tests

Mechanical reasoning tests are frequently used for technical positions and measure a candidate’s capacity to apply mechanical principles to solve problems.

  • What are mechanical reasoning aptitude tests?

    Mechanical reasoning tests look at an individual's ability to understand and apply key mechanical, electrical and engineering principles such as electrical circuits, force, energy, gears and levers. The test is timed which increases the pressure.

    Candidates will be asked to look at images, diagrams or written problems, and use their mechanical knowledge to select the correct multiple-choice answer. It's helpful if they prepare beforehand by taking past tests, this will improve their chances of success and ensure they know what to expect on the day.

    For roles where a particular level of mechanical knowledge and skill is required, such as in engineering or mechanics, the test can provide employers and recruiters with an additional level of insight that will help them select the best candidate for the job.

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  • What do mechanical reasoning tests measure?

    Mechanical reasoning tests assess a candidate's knowledge of core mechanical principles including friction, gravity, acceleration, energy, pressure, power, circuits, pulleys and levers.

    The questions normally take the form of images or diagrams with an accompanying question and multiple-choice answers. Throughout the test, candidates will need to show their knowledge by answering as many questions as they can correctly, but also keep calm under time pressure.

    For roles where a certain amount of knowledge and expertise in the field is essential, a mechanical reasoning test can give recruiters and hiring managers the peace of mind that they're taking on someone who will be able to cope with the demands of the role and carry it out safely.

Sample Mechanical Reasoning Tests question

Which of the following is the densest?

  • Water

  • Ice

  • Wood

  • Oil

What employers use mechanical reasoning tests and why?

Employers use mechanical reasoning tests when recruiting for the army, for engineers, for mechanics or any other job that requires an in-depth knowledge of mechanical and even electrical principles.

It's essential that these roles are filled by someone with the required level of knowledge and expertise for many reasons including, most importantly, safety. As a result, employers and recruiters may wish to use the test early on in the hiring process as a means of screening people, and so they can spend time interviewing those who have met a certain standard.

mechanical reasoning aptitude test

What are the benefits of using a mechanical reasoning test in your hiring process?

Aptitude tests are a great addition to the hiring process as they can help you hire better, smarter, quicker and even cheaper. If you use the test as a screening device early on in the process, it allows you to only meet with people who have proven their merit on the test.

As more and more employers rightfully aim to make their hiring process fairer and more diverse, tests such as these can help remove bias from the process by ensuring data and results are considered alongside what someone has written on their resume, or how they came across in an interview.

The test allows you to check that every candidate has the level of skill and knowledge you'd expect and require for them to be considered for the role you're hiring for. This can save on cost and time in the long run.


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    For each of your candidates, you’ll be given a comprehensive report. Included will be all the metrics you need to build a detailed picture of each candidate and ensure you’re making the right hiring decisions.

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Greg Chambers, HR Business Partner, Littlefish Ltd
Greg Chambers, HR Business Partner, Littlefish Ltd
Mechanical Reasoning Tests expert

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Developed by our team of I/O psychologists and psychometricians, our assessments provide reliable, valid and impartial results. They strictly follow industry best practices and stay on the leading edge of innovations to have job seekers' unique profiles, abilities and knowledge accurately evaluated while minimising bias. They draw on years of research and cutting-edge predictive analytics to create assessments that provide valuable insights into performance, retention, culture fit and more.

Mechanical Reasoning Tests FAQs

Is the mechanical reasoning test hard?

The test is designed to be challenging to show you how well-equipped candidates are to deal with real-life mechanical situations. However, candidates who have practised past tests and read up on the principles should be able to complete the test with good marks.

How can the results help my hiring process?

The test will show you how strong each candidate is in their overall understanding of mechanical principles. It will also shine a light on their strengths and weaknesses, and how well they cope under pressure.

Are these tests available in my plan?

We have a range of plans available. The difference between the plans is the number of test attempts permitted, not the type of tests. All our plans include our full test suite comprising all tests and all levels.

Can I see what the test is like?

Yes, of course. You can see a free example of the mechanical reasoning test here.

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Laurence Fishman, Partner, NLPCA

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