Tips to Become a Train Driver?
Last Updated on September 29, 2022
Being a train driver may be your ambition but getting a job driving those trains demands you go through a challenging recruitment process.
For every train driver vacancy, there are 300 applications. This means you have a wide field of competitors to rise above to get your coveted job.
But on a more positive note, someone has to get the job.
And it could just be you if you put in practice for the recruitment process.
Read ahead to find out more about how to become a train driver, the pre-employment assessments, and the online resources you need to make your ambition a reality.
Process to Become a Train Driver
If you’ve always considered the idea of commandeering a train, here are the steps you will need to take:
- Earn a high school diploma or equivalent
- Gain a job in the railroad industry
- Take train driver training
- Apply for a job as a train driver and pass the assessment tests
- Get certified
What Skills Do I Need?
Before you can land a job as a train driver, your prospective employer will check if you have:
- A strong awareness of safety in the workplace
- The ability to concentrate for long periods of time
- The ability to react quickly in an emergency situation
What Are the Train Driver Assessments?
The assessments check if you have the skills necessary to be a train driver. To determine if you have those capabilities and the ability to fit seamlessly into the company structure you will be asked to do a range of psychometric tests. The tests come in two rounds.
In the first stage, you will have to do the following:
- A train driver mechanical comprehension test
- A fault-finding test where you will be asked to identify faults in the rail network and suggest ways of resolving
A range of psychometric tests
1. Numerical Reasoning Test
The numerical reasoning test assesses your ability to understand the information presented to you in numerical format. You will be asked to work on a table of numbers or a chart. The following free numerical reasoning test will give you an idea of what to expect.
2. Logical Reasoning
The logical reasoning test assesses your problem-solving ability. The test is non-verbal. You are presented with a series of shapes and patterns and have to do a multiple-choice question deciding which shape follows the pattern logically.
You can expect something along the lines of the following question.
Study the sequence of images in the top row. Then decide which image in the bottom row is the best fit for the square labeled with a question mark.
Try to figure out why this particular answer is the correct one.
If you are new to this type of testing, working on sample papers will help you hone your skills and arrive at answers quickly.
3. Verbal Comprehension
The verbal comprehension test assesses your ability to understand written information.
You will be given written passages followed by statements. You will have to decide in the light of the information in the passage whether a statement is 1 True, 2 False, or 3 Cannot Say due to insufficient information in the passage.
You may also be asked to complete sentences. Test your verbal comprehension with this free sample verbal reasoning test.
4. A personality Test
Will this be your first time doing a personality test?
If so, try your hand at this free sample personality test. You may wonder what the personality test is all about, but it is simply assessing what your workplace behavior is likely to be.
Most companies have a mental image of their ideal employee. Find out if the company you applied to might have such a preference or try to get your own mental image of the ideal train driver personality.
In your answers, try to replicate this personality as closely as you can. When doing the test, the company is interested in your workplace, not downtime personality, and personality is judged by behavior.
5. A Situational Judgment Test SJT
The SJT examines how you are likely to behave in certain workplace scenarios. You will be presented with a scenario and asked to select the answer that would best describe your likely response to the situation.
The following free Situational Judgment Test should be a good place to start your practice. As with the personality test, try to imagine how the company might want you to behave if you worked for them.
Testing Round Two
Having passed through this round of assessments, you will be invited to attend a train assessment center for the second round of testing.
Here you can expect to do:
- Further psychometric testing.
- Rules and Procedures tests.
- A Safe Concentration and Attention test. This may be a SCAT test or a Group Bourdon test.
- A Reaction and Coordination test. Having the ability to react quickly to situations is obviously essential for a train driver. A computer-based test will judge how quickly you can push buttons when an object appears on the screen.
- An Interview. The interview can last for up to an hour and will focus on your skills and competencies. This will be your opportunity to impress the employer in a face-to-face situation. Brush up on your information about the company and the role in advance.
How Can I Prepare for the Train Driver Test?
It is advisable to use the services of a job test preparation company when preparing for pre-employment testing.
For this, we recommend using Job Test Prep, a company with thirty years of experience in preparing applicants for the challenges of those assessments. They have organized a range of materials for aspiring train drivers.
They will give you a test prep pack covering all the train driver assessments, tests, and interviews. Your pack contains:
- Accurate information on the testing system.
- Helpful study guides
- Sample test papers modeled on the real tests for you to practice on
- A scoring system where you can check your results after completing a test
- An interview preparation guide
To get an idea of the type of test they give you, check out the following free sample mechanical reasoning test.
Doing Your Preparation
For an organized approach to your preparation, try taking the following steps:
- Begin your preparation as early as you can. These tests are demanding, and you don’t need the stress of a last-minute scramble to finish everything.
- Work to a timetable. Try to work in 50-minute blocks of time followed by a 10-minute break.
- Try to keep the day before the tests free for last-minute reviews and to get some rest.
Use your sample papers in every preparation session. This will ensure:
- You are working on papers similar to the real tests at all times
- You are able to monitor your progress and identify areas that you are finding difficult. You may need to devote
- more time to those areas.
- You are becoming familiar with the style of questioning
- You are learning to work within the time limitations of the tests
- Are the train driver assessments hard?
In short answer, Yes.
Not alone are you in competition with all the other applicants, but you are being tested by a company who are acutely aware of its responsibilities to the traveling public. They realize that the only way to ensure they meet those responsibilities is to hire the best people for the job.
And they also want to hire people who are a good fit for the company structure. That places the onus on you to prove that you are ideally suited to the role.
Another issue to be aware of is you are only allowed to do the tests twice. If you do not perform well on those two occasions, you will not be allowed to do them again.
Given all of those factors, good preparation is essential if you want to ace the tests.
When the time to do the assessments arrives, you will be able to approach the tests with the confidence that comes with knowing you have done the work.
You will know that there won’t be anything unexpected in the assessments and will be able to give them your best shot! If you are applying for a train driver job, click here for the resources you need to ace the assessments.
Written by Elizabeth O Mahony
With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.