What is the CAST®?
Overview of the CAST® Exam
The Construction and Skilled Trades Exam (CAST) is a specially designed aptitude test intended for both prospective and experienced individuals in the construction and skilled trade industries. The exam was originally developed so that utility and construction companies could have a standardized way to accurately predict the likelihood of an applicant thriving in their profession.
Due to the competitive nature of many of these fields, high scores on the CAST give applicants a significant “edge” when it comes to job placement or promotion. If you are amongst the top scorers on the exam, you will be more likely to get a better job and a higher salary. Included below is a table of careers that may require you taking the CAST and sample salaries.
|Career||National Average Salary||Annual High Salary|
|Transmission and Distribution||$67,656||$132,000|
|Facilities and Repair||$39,816||$58,000|
|Machining and Vehicle Repair||$40,445||$63,000|
|Director of Construction Jobs||$117,371||$209,500|
What is on the CAST Exam?
The CAST test battery is comprised of four distinct sub-tests that cover an array of job-related concepts and skills. Due to the comprehensive nature of the exam, the test taker is permitted a little over two hours to complete the CAST. Below is a chart of the four sub-tests that will be covered on the exam, as well as the number of questions and time allotted for each battery.
|Sub-Tests||# of Questions/Minutes|
|Graphic Arithmetic||16 Questions/ 30 Minutes|
|Mechanical Concepts||44 Questions/ 20 Minutes|
|Reading for Comprehension||32 Questions/ 30 Minutes|
|Mathematical Usage||18 Questions/ 7 Minutes|
Graphic Arithmetic: This sub-test measures a candidate’s ability to calculate measurements and retrieve information based on arithmetic drawings, such as floor plans or diagrams. The individual is provided with a drawing as well as follow up questions that pertain to the picture.
Mechanical Concepts: This sub-test assesses a candidate’s comprehension of mechanical principles. Each question relates to an illustration of a mechanical based scenario.
Reading for Comprehension: This test measures a candidate’s comprehension of written materials. The individual is given four passages along with several follow-up questions.
Mathematical Usage: This test assesses a candidate’s ability to solve basic mathematical problems, using information provided for them at the beginning of the test.
What Happens on Test Day?
Knowing the format of the CAST exam and how it is administered can give you another edge on test day, since you will be more comfortable in the environment. As discussed earlier, the CAST consists of four parts, and you will have two hours to complete these sections.
The CAST is given by individual companies through their job application or promotion process. All applicants who complete the test must bring photo identification to their examination. Additionally, no calculators or dictionaries are allowed on the day of the test. Any materials will be provided by those administering the test. Due to the unique conditions of each company, the date and time of the test is dependent on the applicant’s company. It is advised that job applicants get into contact with their employers to ask about test dates, locations, fees, and retesting policies.
Method of Scoring
Results from each of the four test batteries are combined in order to produce a single index score ranging from 1 to 10. This particular test is unique in that there is no “passing score”, due to the fact that each company sets their own score standard. Ultimately, performing well on the CAST reflects a strong skill set, ability to learn quickly and a solid work ethic. It showcases a comprehension of mathematical concepts, analytical skills and attention to complex technical work. Although earning a strong score does not guarantee employment, it does open the door to more opportunities.
Methods of Preparing for the CAST
Adequate test preparation is crucial when it comes to feeling prepared for the day of the exam. Our site, TestPrepExpress, will include the core content areas that will help you to prepare for the CAST! Currently, we are preparing the related content, as it will be up and running shortly. Included will be sample practice questions from each of the four test batteries. In the meantime, there is another source that includes practice questions. The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is an association of investor-owned utilities that design the pre-employment tests. The EEI has designed test brochures, practice tests and skill builders to help applicants prepare for the tests. These resources are available online for you to directly access. It is also likely that one’s company of employment offers study materials with which to prepare the individual.
While studying is critical, it is even more important to keep oneself physically healthy in the weeks leading up to the test. This can be done through proper nutrition and getting a sufficient amount of sleep. Such habits will more than likely boost the consolidation of knowledge, as well as cognitive stamina when it comes to studying and performing on the CAST exam.