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Mechanical aptitude tests require a person to recognize which mechanical principle is suggested by a test item. The underlying concepts measured by these items include sounds and heat conduction, velocity, gravity, and force. One of the more popular tests of mechanical reasoning is the Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension. The test is a series of pictures that illustrate various mechanical concepts and principles. Other tests of mechanical comprehension have also been developed. Tests of mechanical ability are highly predictive of performance in manufacturing/production jobs. However, women traditionally perform worse than men on tests of mechanical ability. Recent attempts to include test questions pertaining to kitchen implements and other topics about which women are more familiar have reduced, but not eliminated, the male/female score differential. [1]

Background Information[edit]

military background information

Uses of Mechanical Aptitude Test[edit]

Types of Tests[edit]

Bennett Test of Mechanical Comprehension[edit]

Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude[edit]

The Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude measures a subject's mechanical aptitude, or ability to learn to use and maintain equipment and machinery. It is a 30-minute, 60-item test that can predict performance for occupations involving the operation, maintenance, and servicing of tools, equipment, and machinery. Such occupations either require or are facilitated by mechanical aptitude. The Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude was specifically developed to improve upon shortcomings of earlier mechanical aptitude tests. Reading level for the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude items is estimated to be at the sixth-grade level, and it is also available in a Spanish-language version. The Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude's content is designed to minimize gender and racial/ethical bias, and it has been shown to have lower adverse impact than older mechanical aptitude.

Each individual is given a raw score and a percentile ranking. The raw score indicates how many questions (out of 60) the individual answered correctly, while the percentile ranking is a relative performance metric that indicated how the individual scored in relation to others who have taken the test.

Norms for the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude were established by administering the test to a sample of 1,817 adults aged 18 and older working in industrial occupations. Using this sample, it was determined that the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude has very high reliability (statistics) (.97). [2]

Barron's Test of Mechanical Aptitude[edit]

The Barron’s Test, which is also called the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is the most widely used multiple aptitude test in the world. The test consists of ten subject specific tests that measure your ability to perform separate job related areas and provides in indication of your level of academic ability. The ASVAB was used very often in the 1920’s and 1930’s, especially by the military. The military would ask that all recruits take this exam to help them be placed in the correct job while enrolled in the military. In the beginning, World War I, the U.S. Army developed the Army Alpha and Beta Tests, which grouped the draftees and recruits for military service. The Army Alpha test measured recruits’ knowledge, verbal and numerical ability, and ability to follow directions using 212 multiple-choice questions. However, during World War II, the U.S. Army had replaced the tests with a newer and improved one called the Army General Classification Test. The test had many different versions until they improved it enough to be used regularly. The current tests consist of three different versions, two of which are on paper and pencil and the other is taken on the computer. The scores from each different version are linked together, so each score has the same meaning no matter which exam you take. Some people find that they score higher on the computer version of the test than the other two versions, an explanation of this is due to the fact that the computer based exam is tailored to their demonstrated ability level. These tests are beneficial because they help measure your potential; it gives you a good indicator of where your talents are. By viewing your scores, you can make intelligent career decisions. The higher score you have, the more job opportunities that are available to you.[3]

Gender Differences[edit]

There is no evidence that states there is a general intelligence difference between men and women. However, there is a difference in the cognitive abilities between the two sexes. Males tend to do better on the quantitative tasks and the visual-spatial skills then females, and females tend to score much higher than men on the verbal sections of the test. Males have always performed very highly on the mechanical aptitude tests, much higher than women. In recent years, another mechanical aptitude test was created. The main purpose of this test was to create a fair chance for women to perform higher than, or at the same level as men. Males still perform at a much higher level than women, but the scores between men and women have been drawn closer together. There is little research that has been devoted as to why men are able to complete the tests and perform much higher than women. [4]


  1. ^
    Muchinsky, Paul (2012). Psychology Applied to Work. Summerfield, NC: Hypergraphic Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-578-07692-8. 
  2. ^ "WTMA: Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude" (PDF). Criteria On-Demand Assessment. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Duran, Terry L. (2009). Major, U.S. Army. New York: Barron's Educational Series. pp. 3–9. ISBN 13: 978-0-7641-9546-4 Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). 
  4. ^ Christensson Ringby, Karolina (1-1-2001). "Sex Differences in Mechanical Aptitude: An Investigation of Sex Differences in Mechanical Aptitude and Its Relation to Nonverbal Abilities". the Osprey Journal of Ideas and Inquiry. All Volumes: 53–57. Retrieved 12 April 2012.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)


Category:Industrial and organizational psychology