How to Pass the Electrical IBEW Apprenticeship Aptitude Test? – A Complete Study Guide with Practice Questions

Last Updated on September 26, 2022

An electrical apprenticeship is the first step to your chosen career of becoming an electrician. However, there are many others with the same ambition which means that competition for apprenticeships can be intense.

Selecting applicants with the skills most suited to doing the apprenticeship employers use tests that will show them how suited applicants are for the training.

Understanding how the IBEW test works is essential

For school and college examinations getting information on a test you are preparing for is generally easy. Teachers and examination boards provide the information. Teachers guide you in the preparation process.

However, having left school behind, the support system is lost. Then you are left with a few choices to prepare.

  1. Muddle through on your own and spend countless hours searching for the information.
  2. Take a FREE IBEW Aptitude Test at Job Test Prep to get an idea of the questions and layout
  3. Get the full test prep pack from Job Test Prep that will guide you through every step you need to take to prepare and provide you with exercises to practice on

We recommend practice tests and preparatory materials as something that can provide you with all the information and practice you need.

Take Practice Test

Should I prepare with a test pack?

The prep pack from Job Test Prep shows you precisely what you will be tested on with full-length test simulations.

As this is an aptitude test you will be tested on the skills you have that are relevant to the training. Those tests will tell the person giving the electrical apprenticeship if you have the abilities necessary for the training.

Will this pass the test for me?

This is your guide on how to pass the test. It will give you guidance on how to do the test and a lot of opportunities to practice doing sample tests. The test pack combined with your own work will mean there will be no unpleasant surprises on test day.

Going into the test you will know the exact style of questions to expect. You will know how to use your time during the test. And, more importantly, you will have well-honed skills in answering the questions.

Start with the free test and then decide if you want to get the full prep pack!

What does the IBEW Aptitude test consist of?

  • 69 questions across
  • Multiple-choice questions

There are two parts to the test, each assessing your abilities in areas that will be covered in the apprenticeship.

Part 1 – Numerical Skills

Part 1 is a test of your numerical skills.

Here you will be expected to show your competence in using arithmetic, decimals, algebra, functions.

It is very tempting to say, “I did all of that in school.” But consider how much of what any of us did in school is still fresh in our minds.

You may well have lost some of your numerical skills through lack of practice. Working through exercises and test papers mirrored on the real test will help you bring those skills to life again. Use your test prep pack to do the following:

  • Remember you have two tasks in hand, re-learning the material you did in your schooldays and applying the knowledge to test paper questions.
  • Set yourself a target of how many test papers you need to do per week
  • Keep track of how well you are scoring on the test papers. With diligent work, your score should keep rising
  • As your preparation gathers pace, attempt doing the test papers within the time allowed in the test. This will ensure you are able to work within the time limit on the day of the test.

Part 2 – Literacy test

Part 2 tests your literacy skills.

This usually consists of reading comprehension. You will be asked to read a written passage and to answer a series of questions that test how well you understood the passage.

  • The questions will test:
  • Your ability to gather information from the passage.
  • Your ability to summarize a paragraph from the passage.
  • Your ability to explain words/phrases as they are used in the passage.
  • Your ability to draw your own conclusion from the passage or the author’s conclusion

Doing practice exercises is essential to your preparation for reading comprehension.

1. Learn to read passages drawing the essential information from the piece. Train yourself to highlight the main point in a paragraph. If you do not understand a word or phrase look at it in the context of the sentence. That should make it clearer.

2. Be careful not to confuse your opinion with the writer of the test. If asked, “What is the writer’s opinion of…” ensure you are giving what the writer thinks as opposed to what you think.

3. Practice doing the sample papers within the time allowed for the test. This will be difficult at first but with regular attempts, you will come closer to your target.

4. To do well in a reading comprehension test it is important to get a good deal of experience in reading passages. There is ample material in your test prep pack to give you this.

Take Practice Test

Preparing for the test

As with any test, a disciplined approach to preparation is essential. And as it is essential for the electrician to understand how a piece of equipment works, it is helpful if the student understands how the brain absorbs information.

Try the following tips for effective preparation for the test.

  • You have the necessary study materials in your test prep pack. Your first task on opening the pack is to decide how long it will take you to study the materials and complete the exercises.
  • In planning your next step be realistic. Draw up a study timetable. Pinpoint the times you will be able to study and try to follow that timetable.
  • You may have found during your school days that there are times when you study and retain material more easily than at others. If possible, study at the times when you feel you are at your most alert.
  • For effective study, it is recommended that you spend no longer than 50 minutes in any study session. After the 50 minutes are up take a break of approximately 10 minutes before returning to study again.
  • Try to vary the material you are working on for each 50-minute session. For example, work on the numeracy test for the first period and the comprehension test for the second period. Working like this prevents your brain from becoming stale.
  • Allow 10-15 minutes at the end of a spell of studying to recap quickly on the material you have covered during the session. Doing this will help you retain material more easily.
  • Remember, we learn more easily by doing things than merely swallowing information. That is why it is essential in every study session to do the exercises that come with your pack.
  • Check on how you are performing on each exercise. You should see your score increasing with each test you do.

Pre-test nerves

It is natural to feel nervous in the run-up to an examination. In fact, it is acknowledged that some nervousness is good and enables you to get the best out of yourself. However, being unduly nervous can interfere with your learning abilities.

Ensure you build some stress-breaking activities into your test preparation routine. Having a dedicated place of study allows you to leave your study behind when you need a break.

Opinions on dealing with exam stress vary but you may find some of the following helpful.

  • Build regular breaks into your study routine
  • Leave your place of study for those breaks
  • Fresh air and light exercise can have positive effects on your stress levels
  • During your breaks avoid any activities that involve reading or checking your phone. Your eyes are working hard. They need a break as well!
  • Some people find yoga or meditation good for relieving stress
  • Try to finish studying at least an hour before bedtime.

Take Practice Test

Test Day

When test day arrives, you have every reason to feel confident. You have done the work set out in your test prep pack. But getting through this test is important for your future career and you will naturally feel a little nervous. To enable you to get the best out of yourself in the test ensure you do the following:

  • Ensure the test is the only thing you must do on the day
  • A few days in advance of the test stock up on the supplies you will need. Writing materials, calculator etc. should all be sitting waiting, ready for use.
  • If possible, try to avoid studying too hard on the day before the test. If you must, flick briefly through some notes.
  • Tests are both physically and mentally demanding. To ensure you perform at your peak in the test you need to be well-rested beforehand.

Test Day: Pointers on how to ace the test

This may constitute very selfish advice but remember the test day is about you and your performance.

Avoid anything that may increase your stress levels.

  • It is very normal to see students congregating together prior to an exam or test. Some students find listening to others describing the preparation they have done, or the techniques they will use in the test stressful. If you are one of those people prone to becoming stressed, it is best to avoid pre-test gatherings.

Concentrate instead on any stress-busting techniques you may find helpful.

  • Deep breaths, some stretching exercises, chewing your favorite snack, whatever you find relaxing.
  • Allow yourself to be a little nervous. This is perfectly natural, and we all perform a little better if we are a little, but not too nervous.
  • And remember you have given your preparation your best shot.

Take Practice Test

In the test center

  • When you receive the test paper flick through it quickly. Double-check there aren’t any surprises in there.
  • In a math test, it is a good idea to start with the question you are best at. This will boost your confidence. Attempt to alternate your questions from easy to difficult ensuring you leave your second favorite for the end of the test when you are tired.
  • In a reading comprehension test read the passage twice, once to get an overview, the second time to underline or highlight points that strike you as being important.
  • Still on the reading comprehension, read the questions carefully highlighting the keywords in the question.

These will include words such as:

  • Summarize
  • Paraphrase
  • Explain
  • Give your opinion of
  • Give the writer’s opinion of

In the numeracy test, your test prep pack will have told you what you should focus on. Double-check if you are required to:

  • Use diagrams
  • Show the workings you did to arrive at an answer
  • Remember equations, formulae. If so, it is helpful to jot those down on the test page while they are fresh in your head.

Remember: Time is of the essence

You have already calculated how much time you have for each question. Make sure you stick to the plan. Spending too much time on one question can mean neglecting to do another due to time constraints.

Remember, (for the second time) it is your exam

It can be tempting to look around the test center to see how everybody else is doing. But remember you are being graded on your performance. Looking round will distract you from your work.

Students behave in many different ways in exam centers. Some groan at questions, some seem to be scribbling furiously, making you wonder if you are doing this wrong. Some even get up and leave early. You concentrate on capitalizing on all the work you have put in.

Take Practice Test

And it’s over!

You will be surprised at how quickly time passes when doing an IBEW Aptitude test. Your work quickly becomes the property of the examiners. And you are free to wait for the next stage of your career.

Well done.

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.


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