IBEW Aptitude Test: the Full Prep Guide [Including Sample Questions]

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The IBEW Aptitude Test is a multiple-choice test given to anyone who wishes to join an electrical apprenticeship program. The exam goes by many names, such as the NJATC Aptitude Test, ETA / ETI Aptitude Test, and more, but all refer to the same version of the Electrical Aptitude Test.

The exam is a challenging but achievable hurdle to your dream of electrician certification. This guide will cover everything you need to know about the test, from content and structure to sample questions and preparation methods.

With this information in hand, you can approach the test and achieve your goal confidently.

Let’s dive right in.

What Is On the IBEW Aptitude Test?

The IBEW electrical aptitude test includes 69 multiple-choice questions that take around 97 minutes to complete.

The questions are divided into three main topics:

  • Math: algebra and number series
  • Mechanical reasoning: force and torque, wheels and pulleys, gears, velocity, and electricity
  • Reading comprehension

Do All Electrical Unions Give the Same Electrical Aptitude Test?

All electrical unions and locals use the same version of the Electrical Aptitude Test. This includes the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association), which form the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee.

What Are the Basic Requirements You Must Meet Before Taking the IBEW Aptitude Test?

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a minimum grade of “C” for one year of high school algebra, or choose one of the alternatives – take college algebra courses, take a college math placement test, or complete the NJATC Math Tech Course.
  • Be in general good health and physical shape.

Master the IBEW Aptitude Test using these accurate practice simulations covering all exam topics.

IBEW Math Test Section Overview & Sample Questions

You’ll encounter the following question types in the IBEW math aptitude test section:

  • Whole Numbers
  • Fractions
  • Decimals
  • Integers
  • Rational Numbers
  • Exponents
  • Algebra Essentials
  • Equations, Formulas, and Inequalities
  • Ratios, Rates, and Proportions
  • The Cartesian Plane
  • Systems of Equations
  • Number series

Note that you can’t use a calculator on this test, but you can use a pen or pencil and scratch paper for your calculations. 

IBEW Math Sample Questions

Below are three math sample questions (with solutions) similar to the real test questions.

Algebraic Equations

IBEW Aptitude Test Math Equation Sample Questions

A. R = 1961.39
B. R = 196.14
C. R = 19613.89
D. R = A x Q

IBEW Aptitude Test Math Equation Sample Solution

Algebra Linear Functions

What is the slope of the line that is perpendicular to the line that passes through the points (2,3) and (-8,1)?

A. 5
B. 1/5
C. -5
D. -1/5

The correct answer is (C).

To solve this problem you need to know the relationship between the slopes of the perpendicular lines. The slopes of two perpendicular lines are negative reciprocals of each other.

First, find the slope of the line that passes between the two points you were given: (2,3) and (-8,1).

To find the slope of this line, you can use the slope formula ( /[\frac{(y_1 – y_2)}{(x_1- x_2 )}] ) and substitute the two points given.

The slope of a line is the change in 𝑦 divided by the change in 𝑥. The change in 𝑦 is 3 – 1 = 2. The change in 𝑥 is 2-(-8) = 10. Thus, the slope of the line is:

2/10 = 1/5

Remember that perpendicular lines have opposite signs, and their slopes are reciprocals. The slope we found is: 1/5

The negative reciprocal of 1/5 is -5, thus the slope of the perpendicular line is -5 and the correct answer is (C).

Number Series

0 | 1 | 1 | 3 | 6 | ?

A. 18
B. 12
C. 9
D. 7

The correct answer is (C), 9.

This series involves the use of two arithmetic functions: addition and multiplication (+, x), which alternate using the same number (starting from 1) and increasing in intervals of 1. The rule is: +1, x 1, +2, x 2, etc. We therefore add 3 to the last number = 9.

Take this free IBEW practice test for additional math sample questions.

Math Test-takings Tips

Ensure you understand the basics before moving on

Make sure you fully grasp math basics before progressing to harder questions. This will include learning the four operations, arithmetic, decimals, basic equations, square roots, exponents, and more. If you don’t understand these core concepts well enough, the next level of math questions will most likely give you trouble.

Understand what the question is asking

Algebra problems can often be confusing if you do not read them properly. Ensure you are clear on what is being asked before solving the problem.

Simplify the problem as much as possible

Start by breaking down the problem into smaller doses, eliminating irrelevant information, and focusing on the key points. This will help you better understand the problem, remove any potential distractions, and make it easier to get to a solution.

Train hard, fight easy

If you want to do well on the test, it’s suggested that you solve math problems that are just a little bit more challenging than what will be on the actual exam. When you’re comfortable with harder questions, the ones on the test will seem much simpler in comparison.

Learn how to solve problems backwards

Stuck on a question for too long? See if any of the answer choices fit by plugging them into the problem until you find the right one.

IBEW Test Verbal Section Overview & Sample Questions

The IBEW reading comprehension test section consists of short passages followed by multiple-choice questions that evaluate your:

  • Ability to understand written text
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar

IBEW Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

Below are two reading comprehension sample questions that follow the same structure as the real exam.

Sample Question #1

Alternative fuels such as biofuels, natural gas or electricity have been pitched as a way to overcome the US’s dependence on oil; no less than 94% of transport uses it, of which 84.3% is imported. Alternative fuels might also be the solution to reducing the negative impact of transport on the environment but they are being held back by low consumer demand caused by high prices and a lack of recharging and refueling stations, which in turn deter consumers from buying green cars. The Department of Transportation believes that support is needed if vehicles running on these alternative fuels are to take off. Therefore, it is proposing a package of binding targets on states for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels, arguing that infrastructure needs to be in place to give consumers the confidence to buy non-fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Which of the following would be the most likely outcome if the DOT’s proposal is implemented?

A. Oil imports will decrease significantly
B. Alternative fuel prices will decline
C. Consumer demand will rise

The passage states that alternative fuels ’are being held back by low consumer demand caused by…a lack of recharging and refueling stations’.

The DOT suggests that states should be obligated to provide a minimum level of infrastructure in order to ’give consumers the confidence to buy non-fossil fuel powered vehicles.’

Thus, if the cause for low consumer demands is removed (infrastructure is strengthened), then the likely result is a rise in consumer demands. Answer option A isn’t the most likely consequence because we cannot assert that oil imports will be reduces significantly.

As for answer option B, we have no information in the passage regarding the connection between the lack of infrastructure and fuel costs. Therefore it is not a likely outcome of infrastructure improvements.

Sample Question #2

Earthquakes happen when plates, or rocks, within the Earth suddenly break or shift under stress, sending shock waves rippling to the surface. Most quakes are unnoticeable by people on the surface. In fact, thousands of quakes occur every day around the globe, most of them too weak to be felt. Severe earthquakes, however, cause widespread destruction and occur on average once every five years. These great earthquakes can destroy cities, burst dams, trigger volcanic eruptions, and set off landslides and giant sea waves. Most occur along fractures in the Earth’s crust called “faults”, and these follow along the edges of major plates, huge slabs of rock that make up the Earth’s lithosphere, or shell.

Which of the following statements is correct?

A. Minor earthquakes cannot be measured
B. Some earthquakes bring large scale devastation
C. All earthquakes occur along fault lines
D. All volcanic eruptions are triggered by earthquakes

Option B is the correct answer: “Severe earthquakes, however, cause widespread destruction and occur on average once every five years.”

Take this free IBEW practice test for additional reading sample questions.

Reading Comprehension Test-taking Tips

  • Start by reading the questions carefully and ensuring you understand what is being asked.
  • Skim through the passage to understand the main points and topics covered.
  • Underline or highlight any words or phrases that seem important or confusing.
  • Go back to the questions and try to answer them using information from the passage.
  • If you’re still stuck, reread the passage, this time paying close attention to the highlighted words and phrases.

Many consider the reading comprehension portion the easier part of the exam (although you shouldn’t neglect it as it makes up 50% of your score). Check our detailed guide to see what question types are the most difficult on this test.

How to Study for the IBEW Aptitude Test?

It is recommended that you prep for at least eight weeks. During this time, you should focus on improving your reading comprehension, arithmetic and algebraic skills, mechanical aptitude, and knowledge of electricity.

It is important to practice with test prep materials specifically designed for the IBEW aptitude test to get familiar with the types of questions that will be asked.

Additionally, ensure you are well-rested and relaxed when taking the test, as anxiety can interfere with your performance.

Below are several effective preparation methods to help you pass the exam. Also, check this guide to get 9 useful practice tips to help you prepare.

Khan Academy Free Math Courses

The Khan Academy free math courses can help you start preparing for the IBEW aptitude test. The courses are comprehensive and cover various topics, so you can find the ones that best match your needs.

You can also take practice quizzes to test your knowledge and see where to focus your studies.

Note that these courses are not intended to simulate the actual exam and should only be used to improve your fundamental math skills.

Practice Books

There are a few different IBEW practice books available on Amazon. These books do not replicate the actual exam, but they can help you get a feel for the types of questions you will be asked. Additionally, the prep books will provide a review of the material that will be covered on the test.


A tutor can help you prepare for the IBEW aptitude test by providing practice questions and explaining the answers. They can also help you understand the test format and how to approach it best.

However, there are some potential cons to using a tutor for this type of test. Firstly, it can be expensive, and secondly, it may not be as effective as self-study. If you have the time and resources, it may be better to study independently to get the most out of your preparation.

Free IBEW Practice Tests

Several test prep companies and alliances, such as the Electrical Training Alliance (NJATC), provide free sample questions and practice tests.

A free IBEW practice test is a great way to start studying, but it should not replace full-length practice simulations.

While sample tests can give you a general idea of what to expect on the test, they are not always accurate depictions of the actual exam. Additionally, since they are shorter than the actual test, they do not always cover all the material that will be tested.

To get the most out of your studying, it is essential to use both sample tests and full-length practice simulations. This will ensure that you are familiar with all the content that may be covered on the exam and that you can complete the entire test in the allotted time.

Take a free IBEW practice test and get full-length IBEW test simulations.

Practice Tests That Simulate the Actual Exam

Practice tests that look and feel like the real thing are the best preparation methods because they accurately represent what you will experience on test day. They also allow you to time yourself and track your progress.

From our experience, JobTestPrep offers the most comprehensive prep kit, and it’s the only one that covers mechanical reasoning questions (in addition to math and reading comprehension).

Their tests are carefully designed to provide an accurate simulation of the real exam, so you can be confident that your practice will prepare you for success on test day.

Here are a few screenshots from their preparation pack:

Get dozens of accurate IBEW practice tests (math, reading, mechanical) to help you pass the exam.

Understanding Your Test Scores

The IBEW aptitude test is more than just a pass or fail test.

Your score on the IBEW aptitude test is extremely important, as it is the only factor determining your interview eligibility.

The passing score is usually getting into the 4/9 of test-takers. Still, in highly competitive locals or unions, where more people tend to apply, this boundary might be harder to reach than others.

Additionally, If you only reach the minimum passing score, you may be pushed down the line by applicants who scored higher. That’s because recruiters invite applicants for an interview starting from the top of the list to the bottom.

Visit our in-depth results guide to learn more about the IBEW aptitude test scoring method and see the exam results FAQs.

Essential Things to Know Before Heading to the Test

When Is the Electrical IBEW Aptitude Test Given?

Your specific test date will be sent to you by the local or union you applied for. You’ll usually have at least several weeks’ notice so that you have enough time to prepare yourself.

What Should You Bring with You to the IBEW Apprenticeship Test?

To take the test, bring a photo ID and know that calculators are not allowed. Test materials such as pencils and scrap paper will be provided at the testing site.

What to Wear to the IBEW Aptitude Test?

While you don’t have to overdress, it is important to look presentable. Wear pants or jeans that are clean and a button-down shirt. In addition to looking put together, smelling nice is key, but avoid wearing too much cologne or perfume. Also, keep your jewelry and cosmetics simple.

What to Do If I Have to Reschedule the Test Date at the Last Minute?

If you miss your original test date, contact the local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee to see if another time would work better for you. Keep in mind that they may not be able to accommodate your request.

Do You Have to Finish the Exam in One Sitting?

If you do not complete all of the test sections, your score will only be based on the questions you did answer. You cannot complete the tests on another day or at another time. If you do not finish the tests, you will have to wait at least six months before you can retake them.


The IBEW aptitude test is not easy, but you can ace it with enough preparation. This guide has provided all the information and resources you need to do well on the exam.

We wish you the best of luck and encourage you to continue preparing until you feel confident in your abilities. Remember, practice makes perfect!