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If you've applied for a job within the energy sector, particularly at a more senior level, EEI testing may form part of the selection process.
EEI tests, also known as Edison Electric Institute tests, or the Edison test, are a series of tests intended to measure competency in skills and abilities relevant to the energy industry. The EEI tests attempt to assess whether an individual has the specific skill mix required to do a particular role effectively.
The tests are intended to measure basic capabilities and generic industry knowledge, as well as the specialist strengths needed to excel in certain roles.
The EEI test process consists of nine different tests, each of which measures specific capabilities. Candidates are not expected to sit all nine tests. Rather, they are asked to sit the test which is the closest match for the position they are applying for.
The nine possible tests which may be administered are:
- Power Plant Maintenance Positions Selection System (MASS)
- Plant Operator Selection System (POSS)
- Construction and Skills Trades (CAST)
- Systems Operator/Power Dispatching Systems Selection System (SO/PD)
- Technical Occupations Selection System (TECH)
- Meter Reading Aptitude Battery (MRAB)
- Support and Administrative Selection System (SASS)
- Customer Service Representative Test Battery (CSR)
- Career Assessment and Diagnostic Instrument (CADI)
EEI tests are used almost exclusively within the energy industry. More specifically, they were designed by the Edison Institute, an association of investor-owned utilities to measure competencies relating to key roles within the industry.
You can expect to take an EEI test if you intend to work for an energy company, particularly if it is investor-owned.
EEI testing is not usually used for unskilled jobs, since it is costly to administer.
Managers and senior technical experts will almost certainly be required to sit the EEI test relevant to their particular field.
Similarly, executives, team leaders and customer service representatives can all expect to take an appropriate EEI test as part of their selection process.
Companies that employ EEI testing include:
- FirstEnergy Corp
- Indianapolis Energy & Light Company
- Duke Energy
- Xcel Energy
- Dominion Energy
- Southern Company
The nine test types are these:
1. Power Plant Maintenance Positions Selection System (MASS). This test will probably be part of your selection process if you work in energy plant maintenance, be that a nuclear power plant, electric power station or hydroelectric operation.
Four papers are administered over about two hours. These are: mechanical concepts (20 minutes for 44 questions); assembling objects (15 minutes for 20 questions); mathematical usage (7 minutes for 18 questions); and reading comprehension (30 minutes for 36 questions).
2. Plant Operator Selection System (POSS). Intended for power plant operators, this test is used n the nuclear, hydroelectric and fossil fuel sectors.
Candidates have two hours to answer four papers. These are: mechanical concepts (20 minutes for 44 questions); reading comprehension (30 minutes for 36 questions); mathematical usage (7 minutes for 18 questions or 17 mins for 46 questions); and figural reasoning (10 minutes for 20 questions).
3. Construction and Skills Trades (CAST). Slightly more generic than the other tests, CAST is intended to assess the competency of individuals working in a skilled occupation on any aspect of energy production, distribution, monitoring or usage.
Four tests are administered over two hours. These are: mechanical concepts (20 minutes for 44 questions); reading comprehension (30 mins for 36 questions); mathematical usage (17 minutes for 18 questions); and graphic arithmetic (30 mins for 16 questions).
4. Systems Operator/Power Dispatching Systems Selection System (SO/PD). If you intend to work as a substation operator, system operator or operator trainee, you will probably need to sit the SO/PD EEI tests.
This assessment consists of: a multi-tasking simulation; analytic thinking skills (45 minutes for 23 questions); reading comprehension (26 minutes for 22 questions); and mathematical usage (17 minutes for 16 questions).
5. Technical Occupations Selection System (TECH). Intended for highly skilled graduates who want a career within the energy sector, this test measures the competencies necessary for chemists, scientists, communication engineers, estimators and similar occupations.
TECH testing lasts about an hour and covers: graphic problem solving (19 minutes for 21 questions); interpreting diagrams (9 minutes for 9 questions); mechanical concepts (20 minutes for 44 questions); and reasoning from rules (9 minutes for 9 questions).
6. Meter Reading Aptitude Battery (MRAB). As the name suggests, candidates taking this test will most likely be seeking employment in roles which involve data collection and meter reading.
This is a relatively short test which normally takes around 20 minutes. Candidates have two papers to complete: using tables (6 minutes for 85 questions); and coding (5 minutes for 18 samples).
7. Support and Administrative Selection System (SASS). Every company needs administration. This test assesses administrative skills for energy-related posts.
There are three possible tests which candidates can take: BCAB (basic competency assessment battery); BKSB (basic keyboard skills battery); and ACAB (advanced competency assessment batteries).
- BCAB: spelling/grammar (8 minutes to spot 50 errors); classifying test (12 minutes to work on four lists); basic math (18 minutes for 20 questions); and filing (6 minutes for 6 questions).
- BKSB: production typing (7 minutes to create a text); and a data entry test (23 minutes for three forms).
- ACAB: 30 minutes simulation; data entry (28 minutes); word processing (50 minutes for 2 tests); spreadsheet (24 minutes for 3 questions).
8. Customer Service Representative Test Battery (CSR). Ideal for customer-facing roles, this test assesses a mixture of hard and soft skills to get information on how well an individual may be able to deal with customers and/or the general public.
This is a more practical test that is divided into two parts: an interactive test and a job skills test.
9. Career Assessment and Diagnostic Instrument (CADI). This test takes a 360-degree tour of an individual's capabilities, aspirations, management style and similar subjective variables. Normally only taken by senior personnel, it aims to provide an accurate profile that can be used to inform training, as well as assess "fit" for a particular organization or role.
This test takes around an hour to administer and consists of: interpreting diagrams (9 minutes for 9 diagrams); graphic problem solving (19 minutes for 21 questions); mechanical concepts (20 minutes for 44 questions); and reasoning from rules (9 mins for 9 questions).
Prepare early – Be proactive and begin your test preparation early. Given that EEI testing is prevalent in the energy sector, it makes sense to begin practicing before you apply for jobs that use it.
Do your research – Be clear which test(s) you will be required to sit for the particular role you are applying for. This will ensure you are targeting your practice appropriately.
Practice – Obtain access to practice papers to hone your test technique as thoroughly as possible. In many cases, candidates find that practicing the papers and familiarizing themselves with the test technique significantly improves their scores. Take a look at JobTestPrep too.
Analyze your practice test results – Use industry-specific learning resources to address any skills or knowledge gaps you encounter during your practice. Take a look at the Edison Electric Institute website to find out more.
Consider coaching – If you find that you lack competency in a particular skill, eg spatial awareness, consider obtaining suitable coaching to ensure you get the help needed to move forward.
Practice timing – Make sure you answer all the questions asked within the time limit. The questions are in a multiple-choice format so, even if you don't know the answer, ticking a response gives you a chance at mark.
Be prepared and don’t worry – Remember that testing is only part of the selection process. On the day, try to arrive on time, remain hydrated and just do your best.