What is an Industrial Skills Test (IST) ?

Employers use the IST to test the abilities of applicants for jobs in the industrial sphere. These jobs can be in the areas of manufacturing, shipping, and distribution. Employers also use it to test current employees and assess if they are suited to the work they are engaged in.

If you have applied for an industrial job you can expect to come across the test in the recruitment process. As with all pre-employment tests employers use the IST to evaluate applicants, before deciding who will progress to the interview stage.

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What companies use the IST?

A wide range of companies use the test but chief among them are:

Job applicants for the following positions may be asked to take the test:

  • Construction workers
  • Warehouse staff
  • Maintenance staff

Is the IST hard?

All pre-employment tests are hard because the prospective employer is seeking the best people to fill a position. He is looking for people who display the skills level required to carry out the work.

Because of the high level of applicants for jobs in the industrial sphere, you will be in competition with many more applicants when you do this test, something that again stresses the need to prepare for the IST.

From the test the employer can determine if you have:

  • The ability to follow instructions
  • The aptitude to follow work processes

The questions in the test have been developed by psychologists to test your abilities in these areas.

With good preparation and work, you can rise above the competition and ace the test.

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How can I prepare for the IST?

To prepare for any test you need accurate information on what the test actually entails. For this, we advise relying on the services of a reliable test preparation company like Job Test Prep. You can get all the information you need from Job Test Prep and also the resources that will help you to prepare.

It is recommended you get a test prep pack containing sample test papers mirrored on the real test.

Using the sample papers will help you to:

  • Become familiar with the format of the tests
  • Access detailed explanations of the questions asked
  • Give you the confidence of knowing that there will be no unpleasant surprises in the real test

What does the Industrial Skills Test consist of?

There are three sections in the test each made up of multiple-choice questions. All three are timed tests.

You will be tested in each of the following sections:

– Reading comprehension

This section is 30 minutes long. You are given a piece of text to read and 25 multiple choice questions to answer. Your scores on this test will tell the employer how good your comprehension skills are and if you can pay attention to detail.

Try your skills with the following sample question.

“Although Britain would not use African troops in Europe, as this would “undermine the dignity of the white man”, to Britain’s horror and disapproval, France used some 160,000 Africans from its west African colonies in Europe, with another 65,000 used elsewhere. Britain used some 50,000 African troops and about one million ‘carriers’ in the African campaigns and some 1,000 were used in Mesopotamia. The death rates were high: in the east African campaigns, over 11,000 African soldiers and around 100,000 carriers died; some 22,000 were wounded and/or missing-in-action.”

As opposed to Britain, where did France use African soldiers?

A. In Europe
B. In Mesopotamia
C. In the African campaigns
D. In India

In a world where people read less than they did in previous years, regular practice will hone your skills in this area and you will reach the stage where you are able to find the correct answers quickly.

– Numerical reasoning

Expect your numerical skills to be tested here. This is once again a 30-minute test with 25 questions to be answered. You will be tested on basic Math skills, have to do word problems and show your skills in analyzing charts and graphs.

Test your numerical skills on this free numerical reasoning test.

– Mechanical aptitude

Expect a test on your knowledge of machinery and mechanical concepts that apply in the workplace here.

In this 20 minute section, you will have to answer approximately 36 questions. As part of the assessment, you may be given a diagram to work from.

Checking over your test scores the employer will know if you have an understanding of various mechanical skills and if you have the mechanical aptitude required to work in an industrial field.

Try your hand at a free sample mechanical test here.

Tips to prepare for the IST test

Knowing what is being tested in each of the sections and with your sample papers to hand, it is time to put a preparation routine in place.

Try the following tips to make your preparation more effective:

  • Work in a designated, distraction-free place for all preparation sessions
  • Work to a timetable, especially if you are already working a job or haven’t taken a test in some time
  • Aim to leave the day prior to the test free for last-minute reviews and to rest before taking the test
  • Work in short (50 minutes) blocks of time followed by 10-minute breaks
  • Get adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. This will help your brain to work better.

Using your sample papers in each preparation session will:

  • Give a structure to your preparation
  • Allow you to measure your progress and see which areas might need more attention than others
  • Train you to work within the time limits allowed in each section

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Doing the test

Approach the test well rested and clear-headed. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the shortness of the test. This is one of its more challenging aspects. You will be working under pressure to complete everything on time.

Remind yourself that you have done the work and deserve to ace this.

If you have been called to do an IST you will find the resources you need to ace it here.

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.