Basic Skills Test – Practice and Pass Easily

A Basic skills tests is a simple test designed to assess if you are able to perform the tasks required by the job you are applying for. The exam will ask you a series of verbal reasoning and mathematical questions that cover a variety of topics, that will not always apply to your specific position, but will give your employer a general idea of your effectiveness in your position.

There is no reason to worry too much about the tests, since it is not designed to be complicated or to trick you. The exam will be multiple choice for the most part, and you will have around four answers to choose from.

This article will show you what you need to be prepared for the assessments. JobTestPrep is an excellent resource if you need a practice test as well.

What Are Basic Skills Tests?

Basic skills tests are a set of exams used to assess applicants for entry-level jobs or apprenticeships. The assessment revolves around answering basic math equations and verbal reasoning questions. Depending on the type of assessment, the testing criteria might evaluate other skills such as your aptitude with machinery and computer literacy.

There are two commonly used basic skills tests that are used in the market. The Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) and the Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (WBST). The pass requirements differ slightly so we will take you through the differences.

Wonderlic Basic Skills Test

The Wonderlic Basic Skills Test is a simple aptitude assessment designed to evaluate your verbal and mathematical skills. These exams are simple in the sense that they are not designed to trick you.

This basic skills assessment is split into two sections: one language and one numerical reasoning exam. The former has 50 questions and the latter 45 questions. The answers should come easily as each section has 20 minutes time to be answered.

The questions should be on a high school level and are straight to the point to give you enough time to answer each. These tests are broadly based on the kinds of questions one would encounter for a University entrance exam, such as an SAT examination. In fact, the WBST is used for both job applications and academic institutions.

The WBST is written online only, and will give you and your future employer your score immediately.

You will have 40 minutes to complete the exam where you are recommended to split your time as follows: 20 minutes for the 50 language questions and 20 minutes to solve the 45 mathematic problems. This means each question needs to be answered in around 20 seconds.

Criteria Basic Skills Test

The Criteria Basic Skills Test is similar to the WBST in that it measures whether you have the basic math and verbal skills that are required to succeed in certain entry-level jobs.

The CBST lasts 20-minutes and requires you to answer 40 total questions that revolve around basic grammar, spelling, math, and language skills. The questions are multiple choice and are not meant to confuse or trick you in any way. However, the difficulty of the questions will increase the further along you get in the test.

The tests are not designed for a specific field of work, but it is most valuable for an employer to assess your job readiness. Some fields that might require you to write this assessment are: clerical, administrative, and customer service positions.

The main use of the CBST is to determine just how much training you will need if the company decides to hire you. Naturally, the higher your scores the more attractive your application will look.

Once you finish the exam, you and your employer will receive a final score which includes your raw score, or the number of questions you answered correctly, and your percentile ranking which compares you to other applicants.

You are not allowed to use a calculator during the mathematical section of the CBST.


Example Questions Asked in the Exams


The mathematical questions cover a wide range of material that would be too much to go into individually. Instead, here is a list of possible sections you need to freshen up on:

  • Graph analysis
  • Basic Geometry
  • Calculating & Comparing Fractions
  • Conversions between metric units and currencies
  • Rates, Percentages, and Proportions
  • Solving and Simplifying Equations

The necessary verbal skills for the verbal reasoning parts of the tests are as follows:

  • Identifying and Correcting Grammar Mistakes
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Construction
  • Vocabulary

Wonderlic Basic Skills Test

An example question you might encounter will give you a set of statements that will be rearranged in a manner that must make logical sense and not lose any of the information that given first

For example:

– Larry quit his job after the accident.
– He enrolled in college and received a full scholarship.
– He eventually became a faculty member.

The possible answers are:

A. Larry left his job after the accident. He went on to study in college with a full scholarship and eventually became a member of the faculty.

B. After he had an accident, Larry enrolled in college, received a full scholarship, and eventually became a faculty member.

C. After his accident, Larry left his job, received a scholarship, went on to study in college, and eventually became a faculty member.

D. After the accident, Larry left his job at college, received a scholarship, and became a faculty member.

The correct answer is A.

Criteria Basic Skills Test

The verbal reasoning section of this assessment will rely on your ability to notice grammatical errors. This example question gives you a sentence that you need to complete using the options provided.

When Martha got a promotion, she also ___________ a raise.

  1. receive
  2. received
  3. receiving
  4. recover

Answer: 2

The Best Preparation Tips

The best preparation for these kinds of exams is to run through a few practice tests. Remember that you cannot use a calculator during either of the exams. It would be in your best interests to practice as close to the actual conditions as possible.

Time yourself when you practice. This should help you get used to answering quickly. Focus on improving your mistakes after you finish a practice run so that you can identify your weak spots. remember to review any topics that might have given you trouble.

Practice your grammar throughout the day. Especially if there are areas where you know you could improve. Look for any chance you get to apply your knowledge. A good way to practice calculation is to put the calculator away. Try to work something out in your head, and only reach for scrap paper in emergencies!

Memorise basic mathematical rules and concepts, such as order of operation, fractions, percentages, square roots, etc.

Final Thoughts

If you need any more help with these exams, especially if you need to go through practice tests, then check out JobTestPrep’s website. There is a host of different practice tests to run through to help you get prepared.

The only other thing you need to worry about is not worrying so much! Take a break an hour before your exam starts so that you