The ACT Workkeys Test

Last updated 04/2020

The ACT WorkKeys assessment is a challenging cognitive assessment tool administered at different levels depending on your job level and industry type.

Learn more about how to tackle this challenging test and prepare thoroughly with PrepTerminal’s ACT WorkKeys Prep Course.


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I’m Matt, Prepterminal’s ACT Workkeys Test Prep Expert.
Any questions about the course? Let me know at matt@prepterminal.com


intro-img Introduction

Considered as a key element in ACT workforce solutions, the ACT Workkeys assessment test measures the essential skills needed for success in the workplace.

The test is designed to not only recognize and solve day to day workplace problems but to also gauge various soft and hard skills that are useful to any job, regardless of level or industry type.

Those who successfully complete the exam will be given the National Career Readiness Certificate or NCRC, a credential that validates the abilities considered to be the most vital in any occupation. Leading companies and universities nowadays require their applicants to have NCRC as it helps the company select the most qualified manpower for their workforce.


Question-Mark What Does the ACT Assessment Include?

In general, the ACT Workkeys test aims to verify a number of skills or proficiencies of the test-taker, namely in:

  • Problem solving and critical thinking
  • Reading and understanding work-related text and documents
  • Applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems
  • Locating, analyzing, and applying information that are presented graphically

Furthermore, the ACT Workkeys Assessment Exam is also used as a national admissions test regularly used by schools to help them determine an applicant’s eligibility.

There are eight kinds of these assessment tests, each varying in the type of skills they measure.

As these tests are quite challenging, they require a good amount of preparation. Many examinees make the mistake of not familiarizing themselves with the exam’s mechanics with the common misstep being the miscalculation of the difficulty of the subject.

The way to earn a Workkeys certificate is by completing three assessment exams.

These are: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy and Workplace Documents. The objective of each assessment exam is to measure and certify the essential work skills needed in order to be an effective employee.


Numerical-Reasoning ACT Workkeys Test Applied Math Assessment

In this ACT Workkeys Test, the examinee’s mathematical skills are assessed in order to prove that they have the ability to tackle and overcome problems that are numerical or calculation-based in nature.

Such things are common to occur in the workplace on a day-to-day basis no matter what profession or industry, thus the creation of this particular Workkeys assessment. Fortunately, however,

On its own, the test contains 34 items to be answered in 55 minutes, both in the online and pen-and-paper version. Furthermore, the ACT Workkeys Test Applied Math Assessment has five ‘versions’, or rather, Levels, specifically, Level 3 to 7.

The Level 3 version of the test is considered as the least complex while Level 7 is considered as the most complex one. This is because the higher the Level you choose to take, the more skills are assessed and incorporated from the previous levels.

This means if you chose to take the Level 7 test, you will encounter questions that can only be solved if you have the skills from Level 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Let’s take a look at them:

  • Level 3
  • Level 4
  • Level 5
  • Level 6
  • Level 7

Characteristics:

Contains items in the form of word problems and the information is present and in choronological order, allowing the examinee to easily solve them.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to solve problems containing only one mathematical operation (Addition, subtraction, division, multiplication) which may be in the form of a sales or money-related problem.
  • The ability to add or subtract positive or negative numbers, and multiply or divide with only positive numbers.
  • The ability to convert fractions into decimals and vice versa or to convert decimals to percentages and vice versa.
  • The ability to convert units of time from one another.
  • The ability to convert and calculate between two monetary units.

Characteristics:

Nearly similar like the previous level but here, the information may be presented out of order and that most questions may have unncessary information, forcing the examinee to figure out which are vital to the question. Tables, charts, and diagrams are added into the question bank as well.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to order the presented information correctly before calculating.
  • The ability to solve problems that the use one or two mathematical operations with either positive or negative numbers or a mixture of the two.
  • The ability to calculate the average of a set of numbers
  • The ability to calculate rates, ratios, and proportions.
  • The ability to add fractions, decimals, and percentages.
  • The ability to add or subtract common denominator fractions.
  • Multiply mixed numbers with whole numbers or with a decimal number.

Characteristics:

Contains problems with characteristics from the previous Levels but with the addition of having to use several steps more and the use of logic before performing a calculation.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to figure out what calculation, information, or conversions they have to use in order to come up with the correct answer.
  • The ability to solve fractions with different denominators.
  • The ability to solve problems that necessitate converting between two units or two systems of measurement.
  • The ability to figure out which of the choices presents the best possible outcome or value for the situation presented in the question such as ‘which will bring in more money’ or ‘which investment is considered as the best’.
  • The ability to calculate the area, such as the perimeter or circumference of a basic shape.
  • The ability to calculate what is the tax, discount, or mark up.
  • The ability to understand the contents of a spreadsheet or calculation and know where a mistake occurred.

Characteristics:

Most questions require multi-step calculation while some require the examinee to convert the figures or details from verbal into numerical such as having to use 50% or 0.50 if the question uses ‘half’ in it in order to create a coherent and solvable mathematical equation.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to calculate fractions with different denominators
  • The ability to do multi-step conversions between units, sometimes between to different systems of measurement.
  • The ability to find the area of basic shapes while also having to convert the units in order to come up with an accurate solution.
  • The ability to calculate the volume of 3D objects such as cubes.
  • The ability to calculate rates in relation with time, such as production rates of a car factory per day.

Characteristics:

Questions encountered in this Level may require the examinee to infer or guess certain variables or values as information may be incomplete or implicit. To make things worse, most of the questions in this Level requires multi-step calculation, among other things from the previous levels.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to solve problems where one of the variables or values is presented in fraction form.
  • The ability to convert and calculate measurements in fraction, mixed number, decimal, and percentage form. (Meaning a mixture of everything in a single question)
  • The ability to calculate the volume of spheres, cylinders, or cones.
  • The ability to understand complex graphical and statistical data.

Shapes ACT Workkeys Test Graphic Literacy Assessment

In this ACT Workkeys Test subject, the test-taker’s ability to comprehend graphical data that is commonly used in the workplaced is assessed. This means they will have to answer questions that are focusing on charts, graphs, diagrams, and even floorplans, and it will be up to them to decide which information is necessary to the question and which is junk information.

The ACT Workkeys Test Graphic Literacy Assessment contains 38 items to be answered in 55 minutes, both in the online and pen-and-paper version. It also has five ‘versions’, or rather, Levels, specifically, Level 3 to 7.

Again, the Level 3 version of the test is considered as the least complex while Level 7 is considered as the most complex one. This is because the higher the Level you choose to take, the more skills are assessed and incorporated from the previous levels.

This means if you chose to take the Level 7 test, you will encounter questions that can only be answered if you have the skills from Level 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Let’s take a look at them:

  • Level 3
  • Level 4
  • Level 5
  • Level 6
  • Level 7

Characteristics:

Only one graphic is used in each question in the form of order forms, bar graphs, tables, flow charts, maps, gauges, or floor plans.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to locate and find relevant information.
  • Know what is the next step in the process.

Characteristics:

Graphical data may now include multiple levels of data within a single graph. In this Level, the number of graphs can now be a maximum of two per question. Bar and pie charts, diagrams, maps, and dashboards are now included in the types of graphs that one can encounter in the test.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to compare two or more sources of information as well as the specific information between them from each other.
  • The ability to identify a trend, pattern, or relationship in the data provided
  • The ability to make inferences.
  • The ability to come to a conclusion or draw data from two graphics.

Characteristics:

A number of questions here uses graphics More complicated workplace graphics – may include unusual graphic types (i.e. proprietary-esque graphics or archaic ones). The number of data included in each graphic is further increased and may be condensed in the graphic, making it rather difficult to read. Each question has a chance to contain two or more graphics at a time.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to locate information in a graphic using the information found in another graphic.
  • The ability to idenity and compare two or more trends, patterns, and relationships.
  • The ability to justify an inference.

Characteristics:

The graphics presented here now contain more information, such as having three scales or axes per graphic, than the previous levels in addition to having multiple graphics per question.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to find and interpret information accurately for a particular graphic using the other graphics amidst expansive cluttered or junk information.
  • Identify a certain trend, pattern, or relationship despite the complex amount of information present in all graphics.
  • Identify which of the presented graphics is the correct or most accurate one based on the requirements or details of the question.

Characteristics:

Identify which of the presented graphics is the correct or most accurate one based on the requirements or details of the question.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • All skills assessed in the previous levels but now for multiple graphics that are more or the most complex possible with an abundance of information that may be unnessary to the point that it becomes overpowering.

ps-img ACT Workkeys Test Workplace Documents Assessment

The third ACT Workkeys Test subject that one will encounter in the ACT Workkeys assessment. The way the examinee’s skills are examined here are somehwat similar to the Graphic Literacy assessment but instead of charts and diagrams, the questions will provide passages in the form of company bulletins, announcements, policies, emails, contracts, and even website details.

In short, this test is meant to assess the examinee’s reading comprehension when it comes to workplace documents and how they apply to a particular situation.

This test contains 35 items to be answered in 55 minutes, both in the online and pen-and-paper version. It also has five ‘versions’, or rather, Levels, specifically, Level 3 to 7.

Level 3 version is considered as the least complex while Level 7 is considered as the most complex one. Once again, the higher the Level you choose to take, the more skills are assessed and incorporated from the previous levels.

Let’s take a look at them:

  • Level 3
  • Level 4
  • Level 5
  • Level 6
  • Level 7

Characteristics:

The passages or reading materials used in this Level is comprised of simple and short company policies, procedures, and announcements. Passages encountered here are direct and to the point, allowing the examinee to know what to do or what to focus on immediately.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to identify the purpose of the passage and identify key details in order to answer the question that follows.
  • The ability to know what steps to take based on the instructions provided by the passage when it comes to ‘situation’-type questions.

Characteristics:

Passages present in this Level are now slightly longer and more extensive to read, those with instructions now contain more steps to follow in addition to alternative ones if a certain development or complicatio occurs. In addition, more complex or technical words are introduced in some passages as well.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to ascertain the meaning of complex or difficult words using context clues in the passage.
  • The ability to know which step or alternative to take based on the procedure that was given.
  • The ability to comprehend more complex reading materials and apply its pupose to the question provided.

Characteristics:

Intensive company policy, contracts, legal, and instructional documents are now included in the question bank. Reading materials are now significantly longer and more complex, some with needless details or information. The use of technical terms and industry-specific jargon are more common. ‘If-then’ problems are more prominent as well.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to infer the meaning of a word, phrase, company and industry jargon, technical terms, or even acronyms using context clues.
  • The ability to understand and comprehend complex procedures that contain many conditions or alternatives.
  • The ability to make accurate inferences in order to apply the information or instruction appropriately.
  • The ability to understand the conditions and alternatives and know which one to follow or apply depending on the situation provided in the question.

Characteristics:

The passages contained in this Level are now more complex with the addition of more difficult vocabulary as well as the usage of more industry/company-specifica jargon and acronyms. Passages are also longer and may contain further needless details. The usage of context clues to discover the meaning of a term is more extensive.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • The ability to infer implied details or instructions based on the provided passage.
  • The ability to apply information or instructions to a situation where the effectivity is merely applied or barely described in the document.
  • The ability to apply the principles of the passage provided to a situation that is either not directly related to the one mentioned in the passage or is a completely new situation entirely.
  • The ability to identify the rationale or idea behind the entire document or a specific section.

Characteristics:

The passages contained in this Level are highly complex and contain a lot of information, complicated concepts, unusual and undefined jargon and technical terms, and have difficult vocabulary.

Skills Assessed in this Level:

  • All skills assessed in the previous levels.

read WorkKeys Talent Assessment

Aside from the Workkeys assessments mentioned above, ACT also offers NCRC Plus, a certificate that can be earned by taking the Workkeys Talent assessment. Unlike the other exams that assess cognitive abilities, talent assessment measures the examinee’s behaviors and attitudes.

Four areas that are directly related to workplace success are measured here: work discipline, teamwork, customer service orientation and managerial potential. The test results will give an idea of the examinee’s personal characteristics and whether they will be the right fit for the job or not.


Question-Mark How to Prepare for the ACT Workkeys Test

PrepTerminal’s ACT WorkKeys Preparation Course has been painstakingly composed by our expert instructional team, who have spent countless hours studying and preparing a curated module-based study guide to walk you through everything you need to know to ace your ACT exam; they have put in the legwork to gather all the correct and most up-to-date information so you won’t have to worry about it.

With their help, we were able to produce a full curriculum-based course for an optimal structured learning experience that covers everything in the ACT Workkeys test so that test-takers can prepare and succeed despite its difficult nature.

This means that our prep course has study guides, practice questions, and full practice tests that contain all of the subjects, questions, and question formats that will appear in the actual exam.

Here at Prepterminal, we know that there are no bad test-takers, only ones that are more informed and more prepared. Secure your future by studying and practicing today!

The ACT Workkeys Test

Last updated 6/2019

The ACT WorkKeys assessment is a challenging cognitive assessment tool administered at different levels depending on your job level and industry type.

Learn more about how to tackle this challenging test and prepare thoroughly with PrepTerminal’s ACT WorkKeys Prep Course.

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  • 11 Core ACT Workkeys Instructional Guides
  • Over 300+ practice questions
  • Dedicated practice tests and quizzes.
  • Fully-timed mock tests to generate a unique live-testing environment.
  • In-depth explanations following each question to help reviewers tackle each level
  • Comprehensive approach to all 3 areas of the ACT WorkKeys Assessment
 

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