Bennett Test | How to Prepare for Your Mechanical Aptitudes Assessment
Have you applied for a job recently, only to be told you have to take a Bennett Test first? Or maybe you are taking one to know where you need more training. Sometimes, even your school may ask you to take a Bennett Test, but what is it, and why is it important?
The Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test was made for measuring mechanical aptitudes. This test is used across many careers and companies and is a common standard for mechanical prowess. It is considered one of the harder mechanical tests to take.
Keep reading to learn exactly what the Bennett Test is, what kind of topics it will test you on, how to study for it, and more.
Table of Contents
What is the Bennett Test?
The Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test (BMCT), or Bennett Test for short, is an aptitude test that assesses mechanical knowledge. It does this by showing present diagrams and solving tasks related to engineering. It was developed by Pearson and is used by both schools and employers to see how well one understands mechanics.
This test has been around for over 50 years to test people’s mechanical prowess and their ability to do well in a certain job or field. It can be used for hiring purposes, to weed out those that don’t have enough skill. However, it is also a great tool to help with training purposes so that the weak points can be identified and taught back to the test taker.
It is considered one of the most popular tests to measure mechanical aptitude but also one of the hardest to pass. It tests a person on mechanics, spatial visualization, physics application, and natural deduction skills. Overall, there are 12 to 18 categories of principles, depending on the test you are presented with.
What is the format of the Bennett Test?
There are two versions of the test, an online and a pen and paper one. The online test (known as BMCT II) is 55 questions and 25 minutes and is considered the newer version. The pen and paper test (BMCT I) is an older version with 68 questions and takes 30 minutes to complete. Both tests are considered valid and can be changed out.
Who has to Take the Bennett Test?
Many jobs require candidates to take the Bennett test when applying for a role. These are jobs like truck drivers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, equipment operators, engineers, aircraft mechanics, industrial sales representatives, and many other mechanical trades.
Not only are these tests done across a wide variety of fields, but by a large number of companies as well. This includes groups like Delta Airlines, Savant Sourcing, Union Gas, Tyson, INEOS, and even Coca-Cola. So you can see why knowing what is expected of you from this test and how to answer the questions well might be useful.
What Does the Bennett Test Measure?
The Bennett test measures mechanical aptitude. There are 12 to 18 categories that are covered in the test. These categories are:
- Belt Drive
- Center of Gravity
- Centrifugal Force
- Planes and Slopes
- Pulley Systems
- Pulleys and Levers
- Resolution and Forces
- Shape and Volume
Each category has anywhere between 2 and 16 questions for you to answer.
How Do You Prepare for the Bennett Mechanical Test?
For this test, each person gets a randomly-distributed set of questions, so there is no easy way to just study for the questions you are going to get. The best way to get a high score on the test is to make sure you understand the topics so you can answer the questions easily and thoroughly.
Make Sure You Understand the Concepts Behind the Questions
We’ve explained to you the topics that are going to be questioned on the test. Make sure you understand the principles behind these questions so that no matter what you are asked, you know how the concept works.
This gives you a better chance to get a question right than simply trying to answer example questions without knowing the idea behind them. You might get some right, but when it is time for the test, you might not know the new question you are given.
Head to Job Test Prep to see explanations and practice questions based on the real tests.
Take Practice Tests
Take practice tests and a lot of them. This will show you where you falter and what concepts you are lacking. You can’t be sure what questions and concepts you will get easier questions about, so by taking multiple practice tests, you are prepared for every level of difficulty.
We highly recommend using the services of a reputable job test preparation company for this. Our favorite is Job Test Prep, which has a comprehensive prep pack to prepare you for the Bennett Test. You’ll get full practice tests, study guides, explanations, and answers.
Understand What Question Formats There Are
The questions for the Bennett test are always the same, so you never should be surprised. Usually, there is a question you have to ask, followed by 1 to 3 pictures and then some multiple-choice options.
There might be different scenarios, imagines, and multiple-choice options available to you, so understanding how those work can help break down any test anxiety you may have. This way, you aren’t presented with a specific type of question and answer set you haven’t practiced before.
Don’t Focus on Unimportant Things
Most prep websites say that three main topics account for roughly ⅔ of the questions. These are force/torque, velocity, and fluids. If you can fully learn these principles, you are already well on your way to understanding a majority of the test.
Focus on these first, and then expand out to other topics if you have time.
Know What Your Weaknesses Are
Taking practice tests can help you with this. For example, if you can’t understand gears or acceleration, it is important to try and strengthen them before the big day. This will help to reduce any stress, answer questions faster, and get a better average score.
Some test websites will help break down your difficult areas for you, making it easier to understand not only the principle but what the Bennett test is looking for from you as well.
You may think about just pushing the difficult questions to the side and hoping you only get simple questions for those topics, but when 3 or 4 questions can be what raises you from an average score to an excellent one, you can’t afford to just cross your fingers.
Focus on Physical Principles
Real-world effects, if not brought up in the question, should not be accounted for when answering said question. For example, you can often ignore things like friction, non-uniform mass distribution, and material strength.
These things may be hard to inherently ignore. This is also why it is important to practice, so you can understand when you are taking effects into account that shouldn’t be and will help you recognize that you are making these same errors during the test.
How Hard is the Bennett Test?
The Bennett Test is considered one of the hardest tests to pass in terms of mechanical aptitude. It is considered a mid-to-high level test. There is no set score to pass, but you have to be in the top 20% to be able to be considered successful. This makes it difficult, as you can’t try to answer a certain amount correctly, but you have to be better than 80% of other people taking the test.
A good estimation, however, is that most test-takers score an average of 43-48 points, which means to be successful, you must get over 80% of the questions correct to be chosen for a job.
Each question has a different level of difficulty, ranging from simple to very difficult. While not every test taker gets the same questions, they make each person get the same level of difficulty in their tests for fairness.
This means that not only how many questions you get right, but also which questions you answer correctly determines your score. They expect almost every test taker to get the mid-level questions correct, but it is how these harder questions are answered that affects the score the most.
There are also only 25 to 30 minutes to answer these questions, so being able to answer them quickly and effectively is important. You don’t have time to try and puzzle through a question.
How Long is the Bennett Test?
There are two forms of the Bennett Test. One is online and the other is on pen and paper. Both of these have different amounts of questions and lengths.
The pen and paper test has 68 questions and gives you a total of 30 minutes to take the test. The online one has 55 questions and a total of 25 minutes to answer the questions.
What is a Good Score on the Bennett Test?
There is no set passing score for the test. Each score is based on other people who have taken the test as well, and your score is compared to theirs. It also depends on what field you are taking the test for, and your employer’s needs.
However, the maker of the test, Pearson Assessments, has set up some standard guidelines. Since the online test is the most common, we are using those scores below.
- Automotive or aircraft mechanics- 45 (38 average)
- Engineer- 49 (43 average)
- Installation, maintenance, or repair- 43 (41 average)
- Technical sales- 44 (39 average)
- Skilled tradesperson- 45 (39 average)
- Mechanical trades- 45 (39 average)
How is the Bennett Test Scored?
For the most part, especially in America, the Bennett test is scored based on the raw score. This is simply the number of questions answered correctly compared to the total answers. Often, your score in comparison to others’ scores is also taken into account.
So if your score was a 35/55, you would have roughly 64 percent, which isn’t the greatest score to have. However, if the average for that exam round was 60%, you are over the average, which means you are doing well. This is called percentile ranking.
There are other ways to determine scores as well, though they are only used in certain situations and when preferred by the person administering the test.
- T-Score: This is comparing a standardized score to a test taker’s raw score.
- STANINE Score: Some scores used a different set of standardized scores based on a 9-point scale, which is this STANINE score.
- STEN Score: The Sten Score is similar to the STANINE or T-Score, but runs on a 10 point scale instead.
Tips for the Actual Exam
If you are like us, you may experience anxiety testing, no matter how hard you study beforehand. Here are some tips to keep in mind when taking the exam so that you can push through the anxiety and do your best.
- Answer every question, even if you don’t know it. You lose the point whether you leave it blank or guess. For this reason, it is better to guess, as you may get the answer right.
- For the online test, there is an option to review questions you were unsure about. If you have time left over, use it to review those difficult questions and see if the answer comes to you later.
- Even if you are going to go back and review a question, make sure you answer it. It is better to have something there if you run out of time instead of leaving them blank.
- On average, you have under 30 seconds to answer each question. Make sure you don’t get stuck on a problem too long, or you will find yourself falling behind on other problems.
- Trust your instincts. A lot of these questions have to do with everyday problems that people face, or at least something you experience in daily life. If something seems right, but you aren’t sure why it may be the right option that your subconscious is recognizing.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.