Student using equipment in engineering lab

What to expect

Lots of companies will test you to make sure you're the right fit for them - make sure you're prepared

In the engineering sector, many companies use 'tests' as part of their recruitment process to assess the general abilities, intelligence and personal attributes and characteristics of candidates applying for jobs. These assessments are usually online or electronic tests and are often sent to candidates by email or undertaken at assessment centre stage.

While most tests are multiple choice type answers and don't always require previous knowledge to complete, they do require certain methods of logical thinking and are often time-limited. So it's important to prepare for tests beforehand.

There are 3 main types of psychometric tests for engineering roles:

  • Engineer aptitude tests
  • Engineer technical tests
  • Engineer situational judgement and personality tests

Engineer aptitude tests

Aptitude tests are designed to assess general abilities and intelligence. These are the most common aptitude tests used for graduate engineering roles.

Numerical reasoning tests

These are mathematical tests that assess your numerical abilities. Questions often involve tables and graphs and ask you to calculate ratios and percentages based on the information presented to you.

To sample free numerical reasoning tests, please access the links below:

Inductive, abstract, diagrammatic reasoning tests

Inductive, abstract and diagrammatic tests are different variations of reasoning tests that present you with shapes and images displayed in groups and sequences. You'll need to work out particular patterns and rules to understand how to answer these types of questions correctly.

Answers often involve working out where an image belongs in an assorted group of images or choosing an image that completes a chronological sequence.

Use the link below to sample a free logical, inductive reasoning test (PDF):

Verbal reasoning tests

These tests present you with paragraphs and texts designed to examine your comprehension abilities as well as verbal and logical skills. You'll need to read certain excerpts very carefully and work out what information can and cannot be understood from the given text.

Questions often ask whether a certain sentence can be considered "True", "False" or "Cannot Say".

Use the link below to sample a free verbal reasoning test (PDF):

Spatial ability tests

Spatial ability tests often seem similar to inductive, abstract, diagrammatic tests in that they involve images and shapes. The difference is that spatial ability tests assess your spatial understanding and how well you perceive images in 3 dimensions.

You'll be required to visualise a number of 2D and 3D images in your head and work out how they appear when rotated in different ways.

To sample a free spatial ability test, use the link below (PDF ):

Fault diagnosis tests

Fault diagnosis tests are especially likely if you're applying for a position as an electrical engineer or technician. They often present you with diagrams made up of switches and circuits and test your logical reasoning skills when looking for faults or errors in the electrical boards or systems presented.

Use the link below to sample a free fault diagnosis test:

Engineer Technical Tests

In addition to aptitude tests, many employers of engineers also use examinations that specifically test technical and engineering knowledge. These tests are also referred to as 'mechanical ability' tests and often deal with subjects such as:

  • Electricity – electrical currents, circuits and voltages
  • Physical forces – motion, gravity, pressure, acceleration, friction
  • Calculations – such as area or mass
  • Pulleys and levers
  • Magnetism
  • Dynamics of liquids as well as water and air pressure
  • Terminologies, conventions and tools

To sample mechanical ability questions, please access the following link (PDF):

Engineer situational judgement and personality tests

These tests differ from the aptitude and technical tests as they're not designed to assess general abilities or knowledge based skills. Rather, employers use these tests to find out more about personal attributes and characteristics.

Situational judgement tests

Situational judgement tests (or SJTs) will present you with a number of work-based scenarios involving a conflict or dilemma. You'll then be required to solve the problem by selecting the best possible solution or action to take based on a series of options.

To sample free situational judgement questions, use the links below (PDF):

Personality Tests

Personality tests (or questionnaires) are designed to assess particular characteristics of a job applicant and ascertain whether they have the relevant personality traits to perform in the job. To help prepare for these tests, it's advisable to research the organisation you're applying for and gain an understanding of their core values and also what qualities they consider important in an employee.

Further Help

Visit The Careers and Employability Service if you need further assistance with psychometric testing. You can access books, in-tray exercises and further sample tests to strengthen your psychometric testing ability as well as speak to a member of our team for advice and support.

Further example tests are also available at:

  • SHL Direct - SHL provide sample questions and practice tests on verbal and numerical reasoning, inductive reasoning and mechanical ability.
  • Assessment Day - Assessment Day help job seekers become familiar with the style and layout of different psychometric tests and provide a variety of practice tests
  • Prospects - Provides a an overview of psychometric tests, including links out to external resources to support your practice and preparation