The Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test: A Complete Guide

The Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test: A Complete Guide

Updated 17 June 2020

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Founded in 1973, the Ramsay Corporation is a well-established HR consultancy firm that specialises in the pre-employment selection process.

As part of this specialisation, it designs and develops diagnostic and performance aptitude tests for operational, technical and maintenance-related job roles and is considered a leader in its field.

Its Mechanical Aptitude Test (MAT) was first released in 2004.

Specifically designed for use in the maintenance, mechanical and industrial sectors, it assesses a candidate’s problem-solving skills based on their understanding of mechanical principles and concepts.

The latest version of the test is the Ramsay MAT-4.

Which Employers Might Use the MAT-4 Test?

The Ramsay Mechanical Aptitude Test is used by a wide range of employers across the maintenance, mechanical and industrial sectors.

As an entry-level assessment, the Ramsay test is commonly used in the pre-screening stages for apprenticeships and training programmes for job roles including:

  • Mechanics
  • Engineers
  • Millwrights
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Maintenance Technicians
  • Machine Operators
  • Tool Setters

The above list is far from exhaustive and many other job functions use the Ramsay MAT-4 as an assessment for entry, including public sector roles with the police or military.

You may also be required to sit the Ramsay test if you’re applying for a relevant role with a global corporation, including household names like Amazon and Coca Cola.

What Is Being Assessed?

Rather than being a measure of current skills and knowledge, the Ramsay test assesses an individual’s potential to learn and apply mechanical concepts in a professional environment.

However, the Ramsay MAT-4 does require common sense and a good grasp of basic scientific principles, namely in the area of physics.

Four main areas are covered throughout the test:

  • Household objects
  • Hand and power tools
  • Production and maintenance
  • Science and physics

Questions in the Ramsay test are built around practical problem solving and most are designed to measure your mechanical reasoning, also known as mechanical comprehension.

The exact subjects contained in your test will depend on the nature of the role applied for, the current landscape of the sector it’s in, and may include any or all of the following:

  • Velocity – Questions may relate to gravity, rules of acceleration or Newton’s laws.

  • Force and movement – There are multiple subtopics within this subject including equilibrium and torque.

  • Electricity – You may be asked questions based around circuits, currents or voltages.

  • Fluid mechanics – Questions here largely revolve around pressure, contraction and expansion.

  • Thermodynamics – Cooling and heating principles are covered here, along with questions relating to evaporation and condensation.

  • Optics – One of the more in-depth areas of physics including light and reflection.

  • Acoustics – Questions around acoustics will deal with the basic principles of sound.

Remember, reasoning is key.

Essentially, what is being assessed is your ability to identify which concept or principle is required to solve common practical problems.

What to Expect When Taking the Ramsay MAT-4

Compared to other popular assessments such as the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude, the Ramsay test is relatively short. It consists of 36 questions and must be completed within a 20-minute time frame.

The majority of questions will take the form of an image, diagram or illustration, with basic instructions asking you to make an inference from the information given.

All questions are multiple-choice and you should keep in mind that there is only ever one correct answer.

Although it’s not technically a knowledge-based test, the Ramsay MAT-4 is not easy. The majority of questions are based on practical scenarios but the short time limit for the test as a whole leaves little room for deliberation. To answer all 36 questions, you’ll only have around 55 seconds for each.

Many of the images included in the Ramsay test are sparse on detail and question instructions can be deliberately vague. This is intentional and designed to add an extra layer of complexity.

Another point well worth noting on the Ramsay test is that it is designed to offer a level playing field to all candidates and attempts to avoid any gender, social or cultural biases. You can expect all questions to be representative of this approach.

How to Do Well on Your MAT-4 Test

Unlike verbal and numerical reasoning tests, which assess accuracy, speed, knowledge and technique, mechanical aptitude tests are all about intuition. You’ll be measured on how well you apply common sense and mechanical concepts to any given scenario.

This means preparation for the Ramsay test requires a somewhat different approach.

Instead of brushing up on specific knowledge, you’ll need to equip yourself with the skills required to make calculated inferences based on the information provided.

Follow the tips below to give yourself the best chance of a strong performance:

1. Know Your Industry and Job Function

It’s highly unlikely that your Ramsay test will include questions irrelevant to your future job role. After all, it’s designed to test your potential so all questions should revolve around concepts and principles that would be used in your line of work.

Making sure you fully understand your industry, and the exact function of your role within it, will help you focus your attention in the next tip below.

2. Revise the Basic Principles of Physics

Whilst it’s impossible to know exactly what questions you’ll be presented with on your Ramsay test, having a good theoretical understanding of physics will stand you in good stead.

All mechanical reasoning questions are based on fundamental physical principles so taking the time to revise these thoroughly should allow you to answer all questions with confidence.

As stated in tip one, make sure you focus your attention on principles directly related to your line of work.

3. Take Practice Tests

The format of the Ramsay MAT-4 differs slightly from other mechanical aptitude tests.

As previously mentioned, images can be basic and instructions intentionally vague. This makes it vital that you practice specifically for the Ramsay test and not for generic mechanical aptitude assessments.

There’s an endless number of question variations and it’s highly improbable that you’ll see the same question twice, either during practice or in your official Ramsay MAT-4. However, familiarisation with the format will help you overcome the additional challenges presented.

4. Understand What Is Being Asked of You

It may sound like an obvious tip, but as we’ve already discussed, questions in the Ramsay test can be purposefully brief on detail. If you’re not totally clear on what problem you’re being asked to solve, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll land on the right mechanical concept needed to solve it.

To be successful on the Ramsay test, you need to learn to correctly interpret what is being asked of you. Of course, the best way to do this is to follow tip three and take multiple practice tests that follow the Ramsay formula.

5. Don’t Dwell on Difficult Questions

During your Ramsay test, it’s important to keep timing in mind. Remember, you only have 20 minutes to answer 36 questions and dwelling is likely to be detrimental to your score.

If you find yourself stuck, move on. You may well find you have time left to return to any missed questions, at which point you can reassess, or at the very least take an educated guess.

Final Thoughts

At first, the Ramsay MAT-4 can seem a little intimidating.

Compared to other aptitude tests and entrance exams, it is difficult to prepare for and its format is designed to throw you off course.

Remember, though, the concepts you’ll be asked to apply are not complex scientific theories; they are fundamental principles of physics commonly used in everyday life.

So long as you ensure you have a sound understanding of key concepts relevant to your field of work, most questions should be straightforward to answer.