How to Prepare for Plant Operator Selection System Test?

As part of your application to be a power plant operator, your prospective employer will administer a POSS Test. It’s important to understand that this test is a condition that you have to undergo as a minimum but not a guarantee that you will get the job.

Take the Plant Operator Selection System Practice Test to improve your score.

In this guide, we’ll explain more about the POSS test, what it comprises and how to do well in it.

What Is a POSS Test?

The POSS test, Plant Operator Selection System, is an exam designed to assess the aptitude and skills of the applicant in power plant operations positions for available job positions in plants that utilize fossil, hydroelectric, or nuclear power for employment in power plant facilities.

Many companies use this exam as part of their hiring process and administer it to ensure their employees have the proper requisite knowledge for the position.

Employers will have varying requirements for their tests, as well as specific standards, regulations, and conditions for the exam and acceptable passing scores for the related positions.

POSS Practice Test

What Is Included in the Assessments?

Woman preparing for exam

POSS was created by the Edison Energy Institute and is made of five sections:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Mechanical concepts
  • Mathematical usage
  • Tables and Graphs
  • Figural reasoning

Each section has an allotted time frame to complete the questions, as well as a specific amount of questions.
Each company and position will have different requirements for scores, and position-specific sections of the exam are required.

This information should be given when handed any study material or discussed with a member of management.

Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension section includes 36 questions focused on five passages of text. You’ll be given 30 minutes to complete it. This section is comprised of short passages focused on technical concepts, such as one would find in utility training manuals. Applicants must display their comprehension of those passages.

Mechanical Concepts

For this section, you’ll have to answer 44 questions in 20 minutes. Expect questions focused on the use of mechanical devices such as pulleys, gears, levers, fulcrums, and ramps. Applicants must display their understanding of such concepts.

Mathematical Usages

For the mathematics section, you will get 18 questions short-form questions to be answered in 7 minutes. It comprises questions focused on mathematical formulas and mathematical problem-solving skills.

For example, you must know how to convert ounces to grams or feet to meters. The good thing is that the POSS test does include some tables of basic measurements to help you out.

If you are applying for a plant operator position, you will take the short-form version of this test section. If you are applying for a supervisory role, you will take the long-form version of this test section which evaluates your problem-solving abilities.

This longer test comes with 46 questions that you have to answer in 17 minutes. With this longer test version, you’ll be faced with three question types: algebra, word problems, and formula conversions.

If you have to take this longer version, know that you’ll be answering a total of 230 questions in the POSS test instead of 202 questions with the shorter test.

Tables and Graphs

This section comes in two Parts with 60 questions on part 1, and 24 questions on part 2. You will have to answer the questions in 5 minutes for the first part and 4 minutes for the second part.

Featuring questions about graphs and tables displaying numerical relationships and a variety of comparisons, applicants must display the ability to interpret data from graphs and tables.

Some examples of questions include ones that revolve around numerical relationships. For example, you need to know how to convert the temperature of water to convector length.

As for graphs, they may feature data such as the number of square feet covered by different paint types. You must be able to analyze and comprehend the data that’s collated in tables and select the correct answers.

Figural Reasoning

Also known as the Spatial Ability test, this Figural Reasoning component is comprised of 20 questions related to assembly. Applicants have 10 minutes to answer the questions. You will be shown drawings of disassembled devices. In these drawings, every disassembled part will be labeled with a letter.

After these drawings, you’ll have five drawings that appear from various perspectives. There will be lines that point to hidden parts of the assembly. This is where you have to be able to visualize and imagine the assembled device, then choose the best drawing that represents it.

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How Is the POSS Test Scored?

Test Score

The POSS test has a more unique way of scoring compared to most other tests. The scores of candidates are compiled and converted into an aptitude index. This index ranges from zero to 15 and evaluates the abilities associated with plant operating.

The POSS test doesn’t have a minimum passing mark, and in the same way, companies don’t usually tell you what score they’re looking for.

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Sample Questions

Here is a sample question for the reading comprehension section.

Q: According to the Passage, How Common Is ‘Static Electricity’?

Choose from ‘Very Common,’ ‘Quite Rare,’ ‘Only in Winter,’ and ‘The Passage Does Not Provide Adequate Information.’

Be sure to spend time reading each passage thoroughly. You must be able to pick out the main points so you can move on to answering the questions. To excel in these comprehension questions, you need to practice and understand what the question is asking for.

In Job Test Prep’s PrepPack, this is where you’ll get a variety of reading comprehension questions and drills so you can familiarize yourself and answer them with speed and accuracy.

Here is a sample question for the mechanical concepts section. Each question will present a mechanical scenario where you have to choose which force it’s asking for.

Q: From the Diagrams, in Which Positions Would the Tractor Be More Unstable When It Is Undertaking a Turn?

Here is a sample question for the mathematics concepts section.

Q: If 2 Fathom = 12 Feet and 1 Mile = 5,280 Feet, How Many Fathoms Does 0.5 Miles Equate To?

Keep in mind that you can use calculators in the POSS test. Still, it doesn’t mean the test will be any easier since you only have less than 30 seconds for each question. Again, this is why practice matters. You need to be so familiar that you can answer the questions quickly and with precision.

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How to Prepare for the POSS Test?


It’s important to understand that with the POSS test, you won’t be notified about the passing score required. Hence, this is a little different from other tests because candidates don’t have a minimum score that they have to work towards. Instead, your focus has to be on achieving the highest score possible.

Preparation for the POSS exam should begin with getting plenty of rest, eating well, and getting study time in. Practicing with study guides on Job Test Prep will help you identify and focus on areas that need more of your attention and help you plan out your time management for the test.

Familiarizing yourself with the test format and sample questions will give you the best chance at success since it will lower your anxiety and boost your confidence.

With the study guide, you’ll learn how to analyze the questions to narrow down the most likely options. You’ll also practice how to make calculated guesses. Their study guide covers real POSS questions, content as well as tips to help you excel.

Time management is every test taker’s enemy and biggest hurdle to conquer. Due to the time constraints of each section, making the most of the available time is vital, and this is where practice is your biggest ally.

Practicing areas that are more difficult for you and reviewing all sections will keep information fresh in your memory and more easily accessible come testing time.

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Since the POSS test doesn’t have a minimum passing mark, you should give your best shot and try to achieve the highest score possible. Always be prepared and familiarize yourself with helpful resources on Job Test Prep so you will be ready and know what exactly to expect.

With ample preparation, you’ll be able to get the score you deserve, impress your potential employer and get the job you want!

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