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CAST Tests – Everything You Need to Know in 2022

Updated May 24, 2022

Written by the WikiJob Team

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What Are CAST Tests?

The Construction And Skilled Trades (CAST) test was created by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) as a means of assessing the participant's aptitude for roles in facility maintenance/repair, electrical repair, vehicle maintenance and a number of other skilled trades. As such, it often makes up a part of the employment application process for these types of roles.

The EEI CAST test is actually a battery of tests used to assess an applicant's existing aptitude and their potential to learn information key to success in a specific role. There are four paper-and-pencil tests in CAST, and it takes around two hours to complete.

The four tests that make up the full CAST test are as follows:

  1. Graphic Arithmetic – This test is entirely based around two drawings. The candidate is expected to use the information presented in the drawings to solve arithmetic problems. The test has 16 questions and lasts for 30 minutes.

  2. Mechanical Concepts – This section is made up of 44 multiple-choice questions. Each question requires the participant to select from three possible answers that relate to a picture that describes a mechanical situation. The candidate has 20 minutes to complete this section.

  3. Reading for Comprehension – Candidates are presented with four written passages and given 30 minutes to answer 32 questions that test their ability to comprehend information within.

  4. Mathematical Usage – This test involves answering 18 multiple-choice questions in a time limit of 7 minutes. These questions assess the candidate's ability to process and solve basic mathematical problems. As the time limit is quite short, candidates are advised to budget their time effectively and not linger on any one question.

CAST Test Scoring

The CAST test is scored either by machine or by hand – different test providers will handle it differently. The scores from all four sections of the CAST test are collated into a single overall score, called the Index Score, which ranges from 1 to 10 (1 is the lowest, 10 is the highest).

A candidate's overall Index Score in the CAST test reflects the predicted probability of them being successful in the given role.

There is no singular 'passing score' for the CAST exam since it is an employment exam to assess aptitude for a variety of job roles.

Therefore, employers are encouraged to define their own score standards for any given position. In a competitive recruiting environment, a successful performance on the CAST test doesn't guarantee you will be hired.

Free CAST Exam Practice Questions

1. Graphic Arithmetic

(Source: JobTestPrep)

This question is designed to assess a candidate's ability to interpret a floor plan graphic with dimensions for all the walls and rooms.

The question directs the candidate to examine the information that is provided in order to calculate a value that isn't directly given, and the accompanying explanation will help you to understand how the answer is calculated.

2. Mechanical Concepts

(Source: JobTestPrep)

This question is designed to test the candidate's understanding of weight distributions when a fulcrum is involved. It is representative of the standard format for the Mechanical Concepts part of the exam.

3. Mathematical Usage

Example Question


Question: 4 furlongs = ? rods

a) 160
b) 10
c) 40
d) 0.1

This question requires the candidate to analyze the units of measurement to compile information and interpret an answer by using basic arithmetic. It is a multiple-choice question, and the possible answers are all very different, so the candidate may only need to be able to calculate a rough estimate of the answer to select the option closest to their calculation.

4. Mechanical Concepts

Example Question

Looking at the cog and belt system above, which cog will turn the greatest number of times in 20 minutes?

Remember, you can answer A, B or C (if you think the number will be the same).

You may also see this question posed with more cogs within the diagram, as shown below.

Example Question

In this scenario, you may be asked which cog will rotate the least number of times within 20 minutes.

5. Mechanical Concepts

This next example is a different type of CAST mechanical comprehension question and is based on leverage.

Example Question

Looking at the diagram above, which rope would use the most effort to pull down the pole?

6. Graphic Arithmetic

Within the CAST test, some of the most complicated questions can center on what’s called Graphic Arithmetic.

Essentially, these questions are designed to assess your ability to solve arithmetic problems from diagrams or drawings.

Usually, you will face at least one graphic arithmetic question related to a building floorplan, as in the example below from the JobTestPrep site.

Example Question

Using the diagram above, the total building length from top to bottom is _______ times larger than the length of the nurse’s room.

You have four answers to choose from:

a) 3
b) 3 ½
c) 3 ⅓
d) 3.6

7. Mathematical Usage

The mathematical usage part of the CAST test can be quite intense, but you can perfect your score with lots of practice.

So, let’s look at a sample question:

Example Question

If 1 fathom equals 6 ft and 1 mile equals 5,280 ft, how many fathoms are there in 0.5 miles?

a) 1,200
b) 600
c) 440
d) 640
e) None of the above

Again, you cannot use a calculator during this part of the CAST test, and you’ll have just 30 seconds to answer each question.

8. Reading Comprehension

Last but by no means least, you will be asked to complete 32 reading comprehension-based CAST questions.

You will need to read each text passage correctly and then defer the correct corresponding statement using this information.

Here’s an example below on Static Electricity:

Passage of text: Static Electricity

Most people will experience sparks coming out from their hands after touching a metal object at some point in their lives. They may not see the sparks, but they will feel them. It’s a bit like the game children play at birthday parties where they rub a balloon to see if their hair stands on end. These are examples of ‘static electricity,’ but the concept can be misunderstood.

Static electricity can happen when two objects are rubbed together and cause friction. However, friction is not always required for static electricity to occur. In fact, it’s a common untruth that friction is required. Friction can increase the chances of static electricity happening, but it is not the cause. Static electricity is caused when negative and positive charges separate.

Every object is made up of positive and negative electric charges, including humans. Most of the time, the number of positive and negative charges is equally balanced. Static electricity, also known as ‘net electric charge’, occurs when the balance is upset and unequal. For example, if you walk across a carpeted floor, your shoes absorb some negative charges while leaving behind positive footprints. Your body then acquires an unequal balance of the negative charge. So, the next time you touch an object, you may feel a shock from static electricity. The spark is painful because it is hot and leaves tiny burns on our skin for a few seconds.

To avoid static electricity shocks, you can touch something made from wood, which will absorb the charge to create balance so that you will not get shocked.

Example Question

According to the passage of text above, how frequently does ‘static electricity’ occur?

a) All the time
b) Rarely
c) Only in the Summer
d) There’s not enough information to provide an answer

Why Take the CAST Test?

If you already have a job in construction and wish to elevate your status, you can show your potential to your employer by passing the CAST test. It will help you demonstrate the knowledge, skills and innate abilities required to excel in a role with more responsibility.

If you are just entering the construction industry, completing a CAST test will provide employers with a standardized assessment of your skills and aptitudes, which will help them evaluate your suitability for a role.

You will find that many employers in skilled trades will require you to take the test as part of the recruitment phase, so see it as an opportunity to show what you're made of.

List of Companies That Require the CAST Test

There are many companies in the construction and skilled trades industries that require job applicants to take the CAST test as part of the screening phase of recruitment. The job roles involved in this process include, but are not limited to:

  • Facilities and repair
  • Transmission and distribution
  • Electrical repair
  • Meter service and repairs
  • Machining and vehicular repair

There are many corporations that utilize the CAST exam as part of their hiring process, including:

  • The PSEG Foundation
  • Edison International
  • NextEra Energy, Inc.
  • CenterPoint Energy
  • Hawaiian Electric

The CAST test is not administered directly by EEI; individual utility companies administer the test independently. As such, there is no published data from EEI to indicate how many people take the exam each year or what scores people manage to achieve.

With that said, EEI represents hundreds of organizations and companies all over the United States, which collectively employ more than 500,000 staff. This indicates that the CAST exam is likely taken by a few thousand job applicants every single year.

How to Pass the CAST Test

The best way to prepare for the test is to develop a strong understanding of both its content and structure.

We recommend looking at the CAST Exam Secrets Study Guide from Mometrix. It is a comprehensive study guide that provides everything you need to know for the CAST test, including:

  • A detailed overview of the CAST test
  • A thorough analysis of the mechanical concepts you are likely to encounter
  • A complete review of what reading comprehension and mathematical usage involves
  • A breakdown of what is covered in graphic arithmetic
  • Lots of CAST practice test questions with full explanations of all answers

Additionally, JobTestPrep offers a CAST study guide featuring 15 tests, including mechanical reasoning, verbal reasoning and math sections.

Frequently Asked Questions

EEI tests are a battery of tests developed by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). These tests are designed to measure a candidate's skills and abilities to help decide whether they would be suitable for a particular job role. There are nine different EEI tests, including the Construction and Skills Trades (CAST) test.

The Construction and Skilled Trades (CAST) test is a battery of four tests. The Graphic Arithmetic test has 16 questions, the Mechanical Concepts test has 44 questions, the Reading for Comprehension test has 32 questions and the Mathematical Usage test has 18 questions, making a total of 110 questions.

The CAST test is an exam used by employers to assess aptitude for job roles. This means that there is no specific pass rate. Instead, employers are required to set out score standards for each job role.

Achieving the required score does not necessarily mean that you will be hired as other factors will be taken into account when deciding on your application.

The CAST test takes approximately two hours to complete.

Some employers consider the CAST test to be a necessary part of the recruitment and hiring process.

If you already work in construction, passing the CAST test could help you to achieve promotion by demonstrating your potential. If you are a new entrant to the construction industry, taking the CAST test will give employers a standardized overview of your skills and aptitudes, allowing them to consider your suitability for job roles.

The CAST test is taken by prospective recruits and employees within the construction and skilled trades industries.

The CAST test must be completed using paper and pencil. Candidates should not bring a calculator to the test, as they will not be permitted to use it.

The EEI CAST exam consists of four tests. In the Graphic Arithmetic test, you must study two drawings and use the information presented to solve problems. In the Mechanical Concepts test, you will need to answer 44 multiple-choice questions. Each question has three possible answers and you will need to choose the correct option according to the mechanical situation required. In the Reading for Comprehension test, you will be presented with four text passages. You must answer 32 reading comprehension questions designed to test your ability to comprehend the information provided. In the Mathematical Usage test, you will answer 18 multiple-choice questions based on basic mathematical problems.

Final Thoughts

If you are taking the CAST test soon and are feeling anxious about whether or not you can achieve a high Index Score, the best advice is to engage with lots of CAST test prep.

The better equipped you are before walking into the examination, the better your chances of success and making it through that phase of the hiring process.

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