Construction and Skilled Trade Selection System- CAST Test
The CAST exam is given to candidates looking to work in construction and skilled trade fields. The test, like other aptitude tests commonly given to potential employees, checks the chances of a potential applicant succeeding in the field. 34 electric utility companies worked together to create the test through research and analysis of their workers. The research led to the current exam which tests a candidate’s potential success in the following fields:
- Transmission and Distribution
- Facilities and Repair
- Other Facilities
- Electrical Repai
- Machining and Vehicle Repair
- Meter Service and Repair
It’s important to know what to expect when asked to take the CAST test while interviewing for a new company. Read on for more details and information about the exam.
General Information about the CAST Exam
The CAST test is given over two hours (net exam time is one hour and 27 minutes). The exam is administered by the potential employer. There are four sub-tests within the exam:
Graphic Arithmetic (16 questions- 30 minutes)- This section checks arithmetic ability using drawings and prints. There are 16 questions based on two drawings.
Mechanical Concepts (44 questions- 20 minutes)- This section checks understanding of mechanical principles. The questions are multiple choice.
Reading Comprehension (32 questions- 30 minutes)- This section checks reading comprehension. Four texts are included each with relevant questions.
Mathematical Usage (18 questions- 7 minutes)- This section checks mathematical problem knowledge using provided information.
There are two alternative forms of the CAST exam. The exact number of test takers each year is unknown because the exam is administered by each company individually and not by Edison Electric Institute. Each employer may administer the exam slightly differently, under different conditions. EEI requires that each candidate provide photo identification. In addition, no calculators are allowed in the exam and the test administrator provides all necessary materials.
Besides these general regulations, certain companies have their own policies in place. For example, certain companies limit the test to once every 45 days, while others only allow candidates to take the exam once every 90 days. If you’re interested in specific information relating to the company you are applying to (dates, locations, costs, etc.), contact them to receive details.
Most companies will allow candidates with certain disabilities to receive accommodations on the exam.
Results for the CAST exam are calculated by combining the four different aptitude tests. The test may be graded by hand or machine. Each candidate is given a score from 1-10. According to the score, a potential employee can understand the likelihood of the candidate succeeding on the job. The scores can indicate how easily the candidate will be able to learn and do the job.
It is unclear if there is a penalty for answering incorrectly on the exam. The EEI does recommend making an educated- guess if you are unsure of the correct answer and therefore it is understood that there is no penalty for wrong answers. The grading system, in general, is not entirely clear and it is unknown if more difficult questions are given more weight in the final grade.
Preparing for the Exam
In order to succeed on the CAST exam, it is important to review the material tested on the exam and to take practice tests. The main subjects to focus on are reading, math, electricity and mechanical comprehension skills.
It is important to take the practice tests under similar conditions to the real CAST exam. This means setting aside two hours to complete the entire practice exam in order to see how well you deal with the time and the length of the exam. Even if you run out of time on a certain section, you may want to continue to answer the questions in order to check your knowledge and understanding of the exam material.
Edison Electric Institute
The CAST exam is run by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). The EEI was founded in 1933 representing 50 U.S. investor-owned electric companies. The EEI provides electricity for over 220 million Americans throughout the entire United States. The EEI also operates internationally in more than 90 countries. There are multiple tests that the EEI maintains, all related to job in the energy industry.
Federal regulations mandate that pre-employment exams must be related to the field in which one will work. EEI’s exams are designed for certain energy-related fields and are meant to be used only in relevant companies. EEI does not store or keep any grades or statistics related to the exam because each company administers on its own. If you need your results for a new company that you are applying to, you should contact the former company that you took the exam with.
The CAST exam, like any other pre-employment exam, will test your ability and likelihood to integrate well and easily into your new company. It is important to come as prepared as possible. Now that you have information regarding the exam it’s time to get to work. Good luck!