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Free IBEW Aptitude Practice Test: 17 Sample Questions & Answers to Help You Ace Your Electrical Aptitude Test

Ready to launch your electrical career? The IBEW Aptitude Test is your first hurdle.

Get a head start with our free IBEW practice test, featuring 17 test-like sample questions, coupled with detailed answers.

This sample test will help you understand the test format, pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, and build the foundation you need to succeed.

Start your prep now!

What Is On the IBEW Aptitude Test? A Quick Overview Before You Start

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 & Mechanical Reasoning: Math – algebra and number series. Mechanical – force and torque, wheels and pulleys, gears, velocity, and electricity.
  • Reading comprehension

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Free IBEW Practice Test

Math & Mechanical Reasoning Section – Math

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

Whole NumbersRational NumbersRatios, Rates, and Proportions
FractionsExponentsThe Cartesian Plane
DecimalsAlgebra EssentialsSystems of Equations
IntegersEquations, Formulas, and InequalitiesNumber series

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

IBEW Algebra Practice Questions

Question #1

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

Question #2

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).

The slope of a line is the change in š‘¦ divided by the change in š‘„. The change in š‘¦ is 3 ā€“ 1 = 2. The change in š‘„ 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).

Question #3

Choose the correct answer. If none of the options is the correct answer please choose answer choice E, “N”.

9X ā€“ 1.2 = 4.8 + 3X
X = ?

A. 1
B. -1
C. -2
D. 5
E. N

The correct answer is (A).

  1. Combine X terms on one side: We have X terms on both sides. To combine them, subtract 3X from both sides: (9X – 3X) ā€“ 1.2 = 4.8 + (3X – 3X) This simplifies to 6X ā€“ 1.2 = 4.8
  2. Isolate X: Now we need to get rid of the constant term (-1.2) on the left side. Add 1.2 to both sides: 6X ā€“ 1.2 (+ 1.2) = 4.8 (+ 1.2) This simplifies to 6X = 6
  3. Solve for X: Finally, divide both sides by 6 to isolate X: (6X) / 6 = 6 / 6 This gives us X = 1

Question #4

Choose the correct answer. If none of the options is the correct answer please choose answer choice e, “N”.

(3/4)X – 2 = (1/2)X + 3
X = ?

A. 10
B. 20
C. -20
D. -10
E. N

The correct answer is (B).

  1. Combine constant terms on one side: We have constant terms on both sides (-2 and 3). Move the constant term (-2) to the right side: (3/4)X = (1/2)X + 3 + 2
  2. Combine X terms on one side: Now we can focus on the X terms. Multiply both sides by the least common multiple (LCM) of the denominators (2 and 4), which is 4: 4 * [(3/4)X] = 4 * [(1/2)X + 5] This simplifies to 3X = 2X + 20
  3. Isolate X: Subtract 2X from both sides: (3X – 2X) = 2X + 20 (- 2X) This simplifies to X = 20
  4. Verify the solution: Although we obtained the answer, it’s good practice to check if it satisfies the original equation. Substitute X = 20 back into the equation: (3/4) * 20 – 2 = (1/2) * 20 + 3 This simplifies to 15 – 2 = 10 + 3 (which is true)

Therefore, X = 20 is the correct answer.

Question #5

If x + y = 5, what is the value of 3(x + y)Ā² – 4(x + y)?

A. 49
B. 55
C. 59
D. 65

The correct answer is (B).

  1. Substitution: We are given that (x + y) = 5. Instead of trying to solve for x and y individually, we can substitute the value of 5 wherever we see “(x + y)” in the expression.
  2. Simplify the Expression: Let’s substitute and simplify the expression: 3(x + y)Ā² – 4(x + y) = 3(5)Ā² – 4(5)
  3. Calculate: Continue to simplify using the order of operations: 3(25) – 20 = 75 – 20 = 55

Question #6

(2x – 5y)^2 = ?

A. 4x^2 – 25y^2
B. 4x^2 – 10xy + 25y^2
C. 4x^2 + 20xy – 25y^2
D. None of the above

The correct answer is (C).

We need to expand the expression, which is in the form of a squared term. This means we can use the perfect square pattern to simplify it.

The perfect square pattern for expanding (a+b)2 is:


In this pattern, “a” and “b” can be any monomial (a single term that can include a coefficient and variable(s) with exponents).

Steps to solve:

  1. Identify a and b: In our question, the expression to be squared is (2x – 5y). Here, “a” is the term 2x and “b” is the term -5y.
  2. Substitute into the perfect square pattern: We can rewrite the given expression using the pattern:

(2x – 5y)^2 = (a)^2 + 2(a)(b) + (b)^2

  1. Expand the terms: Now, we substitute “a” and “b” with their actual values and expand the squares:

(2x)^2 + 2(2x)(-5y) + (-5y)^2

  1. Simplify: Evaluate the squares and combine the terms:

4x^2 – 20xy + 25y^2

Therefore, the expanded expression is 4x^2 + 20xy – 25y^2 (choice C).

IBEW Number Series Practice Questions

Question #7

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.

Question #8

2 | 10 | 5 | 6 | 30 | 15 | 16 | ?

A. 32
B. 42
C. 30
D. 80

The correct answer is (D) – 80.

In this series, the pattern is as follows: first, multiply by 5, then divide by 2, and add 1; then multiply by 5 again, then divide by 2, and add 1, and so on.

The pattern is: x5, Ć·2, +1 | x5, Ć·2, +1, ā€¦

The last two numbers in the series are 15 and 16. 15 is smaller than 16 by 1, so the following number should be 16 multiplied by 5.

16 x 5 = 80.
Therefore, 80 is the correct answer.

Question #9

1 | 3 | 10 | 8 | 1 | 3 | 10 | ?

A. 10
B. 13
C. 8
D. 20

The correct answer is (C) – 8.

In this series, the pattern is as follows: the first number is increased by 2, then the next number is increased by 7, then the next number is decreased by 2, then decreased by 7, and so on.

The pattern is: +2, +7, -2, -7, +2, +7, -2, ā€¦

The last three numbers in the series are 1, 3 and 10. 3 is bigger than 1 by 2 and smaller than 10 by 7, so the following number should be 10 subtracted by 2.

10 – 2 = 8.

Therefore, 8 is the correct answer.

Question #10

10 | 8 | 11 | 7 | 12 | 6 | 13 | ?

A. 16
B. 5
C. 11
D. 13

The correct answer is (B) – 5.

In this series, the pattern is as follows: first 2 is subtracted, then the next number is added by 3, then the next number is subtracted by 4, then added by 5, then subtracted by 6, and so on.

The pattern is: -2, +3, -4, +5, -6, +7 ā€¦

The last two numbers in the series are 13 and 6. 6 is smaller than 13 by 7, so the following number should be 13 subtracted by 8.

13 – 8 = 5.

Therefore, 5 is the correct answer.

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Math Test-takings Tips

  • Master the Fundamentals: Build a strong foundation in core math concepts like basic operations, fractions, decimals, percentages, and simple equations. A shaky foundation will make harder problems much more difficult.
  • Read Carefully, Decipher the Question: Take the time to understand exactly what the problem is asking. Identify keywords and what information is important. Misinterpretation can lead to incorrect solutions.
  • Simplify and Break it Down: Complex problems can be overwhelming. Break them into smaller, more manageable steps. Focus on the core elements and eliminate distractions.
  • Practice at a Higher Level: Challenge yourself with slightly more difficult practice problems than you expect on the test. This builds confidence and makes test-day questions feel easier.
  • Work Backward for Insight: If you’re stuck, try plugging in answer choices into the problem. This can sometimes lead you to the solution or eliminate incorrect options.
  • Manage Your Time: Be aware of how much time you’re spending on each question. Don’t get bogged down by a single problem. If needed, skip it and come back later with fresh eyes.
  • Check Your Work Meticulously: Even if you’re confident, take a few moments to double-check your calculations and ensure your answer makes logical sense within the context of the problem.

Math & Mechanical Reasoning Section – Mechanical

Question #11

Which wrench is easier to use to loosen a bolt?

IBEW Free Practice Test - Mechanics Sample

The correct answer is (B).

The definition for moment of force is:

Ļ„ = r X F

Where r is the arm (the length of the wrench) and F is the force applied. With a longer wrench, you can apply less force and get the same momentum on the bolt.
Remember the physical principle: Longer arm = larger moment = less force needed.

Question #12

Which of the axes will turn slowest?

The correct answer is 3.

In this question, three wheels, each surrounding an axis, are connected by two belts. When two wheels of unequal diameters are combined in a system, the wheel with the larger diameter rotates slower.

The reason is that a larger wheel has a greater circumference and therefore covers a greater distance for each single revolution, whereas a smaller wheel has to turn more than one revolution to cover the same distance.

In this question wheel 3 has a larger diameter than wheels 1 or 2 and will therefore rotate the slowest.

Question #13

In which direction will the large gear spin?

A. 1
B. 2
C. Neither 1 nor 2

The correct answer is 1.

The gray gear spinning counterclockwise as indicated by the arrow will make the adjacent gear spin in a clockwise direction.

This gear (spinning in a clockwise direction) is connected to another gray gear by an axle and therefore the wheel on the other side of the axle will spin in a clockwise direction as well.

This gear spins within a large gear and therefore it will make it spin in the same direction – clockwise, indicated by arrow 1.

Question #14

In the circuit below, how many bulbs will light when switches II and III are closed, but switch I is open?

A. Bulbs A, B, and D
B. Bulbs D and A
C. Bulbs A, B, and C
D. Bulbs B and C
E. None

The correct answer is (E).

According to the circuit shown in the figure above, the inner, left, branch of the circuit containing switches II, III is connected in series to bulbs “D”, “C”.

The inner, right, branch containing switches III, I, is connected in series to bulbs “c”, “b” and “A” and the power source.

When switches II, III are closed but switch I is open, the right branch is an open circuit. The left branch creates a closed circuit with no power source, and, thus, no current flows through the bulbs.

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IBEW Test Reading Comprehension Test Section

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 Practice Questions

Sample Question #15

For decades, the construction industry has relied on traditional materials like concrete, steel, and lumber. These staples are readily available and their properties are well understood by architects and engineers. Recently, there has been growing interest in sustainable building practices, promoting the use of ‘green’ materials that have less environmental impact. Examples of these alternative materials include bamboo, recycled plastic composites, and even compressed straw bales. However, the widespread adoption of these materials faces barriers. Costs can be higher than traditional options, and many building codes were written without them in mind. This means builders might require special permits or variances, increasing project complexity.


Based on the information in the passage, which of the following challenges to sustainable building practices is most strongly implied?

A. Lack of skilled labor with experience in green materials.
B. Public distrust of the safety and durability of new materials.
C. Limited availability of alternative building materials.
D. Regulatory hurdles in the construction process.

The correct answer is (D).

While options A, B, and C might also be challenges, the passage focuses on the issues surrounding building codes. Here’s why:

  • The passage highlights how building codes are designed for traditional materials. This implies a regulatory hurdle that builders must overcome when using alternative solutions.
  • The need for “special permits or variances” suggests a regulatory process that adds complexity to using green materials, potentially slowing down or discouraging their use.

Sample Question #16

Elephants are social creatures, relying on complex communication within their herds. This communication encompasses a wide range of sounds, including low-frequency rumbles, trumpets, and roars. However, human activities are disrupting these crucial communication channels for elephants. Noise pollution from traffic, machinery, and low-flying aircraft can mask or interfere with their calls. Additionally, habitat fragmentation can scatter herds and increase the distances over which they need to communicate. These disruptions have been linked to stress within herds and may compromise their ability to find mates or food sources.


The passage suggests that human activities impact elephants primarily by:

A. Causing direct harm to their hearing.
B. Disrupting their social structures and behaviors.
C. Altering food availability in their habitats.
D. Increasing the risk of poaching and illegal trade.

The correct answer is (B).

The passage heavily emphasizes how human-generated noise and habitat changes interfere with elephants’ communication channels. Let’s break it down:

  • The passage emphasizes that communication is crucial for elephant social structures.
  • Noise pollution can “mask or interfere with” their calls.
  • Habitat fragmentation “can scatter herds,” making communication over distance more difficult.

While options A, C, and D might be problems faced by elephants, the passage primarily focuses on the disruption of their social dynamics.

Sample Question #17

The era of the American Civil War (1861-1865) saw significant advancements in military technology. Innovations like the repeating rifle and ironclad warships transformed the battlefield. However, medical practices lagged considerably behind these technological leaps. Battlefield surgeons lacked effective sterilization techniques and an understanding of germ theory. As a result, infections were rampant, and amputation was often the only way to treat severe injuries. These conditions led to a staggering number of casualties and made battlefield medicine one of the war’s deadliest aspects.


Which of the following titles best summarizes the main idea of the passage?

A. Medicine and Technology During the Civil War
B. The Importance of Amputation Techniques
C. The High Casualty Rate of the Civil War
D. The Rise of Ironclad Warships

The correct answer is (A).

Here’s why the other options aren’t the best fit:

  • B. The Importance of Amputation Techniques: While amputation is mentioned, it’s presented as just one consequence of the more significant issue – limited medical knowledge.
  • C. The High Casualty Rate of the Civil War: This is true but too broad. The passage highlights how medical shortcomings were a major factor in those casualties, not just the war itself.
  • D. The Rise of Ironclad Warships: The passage acknowledges new military technology, but this is used to contrast the lack of progress in medicine.

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Reading Comprehension Test-taking Tips

  1. Target the Task: Begin by carefully reading the questions. This helps you focus your reading and identify what information you need to extract from the passage.
  2. Scan for Structure: Quickly skim the passage to get a sense of its overall organization. Note any headings, topic sentences, or key transitions. This gives you a framework for understanding the text.
  3. Mark Key Points: While reading actively, underline or highlight important ideas, keywords, or phrases that seem confusing. Pay additional attention to how those ideas relate to the test questions.
  4. Refer Back Strategically: Now revisit the questions. Try to answer them based on your understanding and the highlighted parts. Use the passage itself as your primary source of evidence.
  5. Targeted Rereading: If you’re stuck, don’t reread the entire passage aimlessly. Focus on the sections containing your highlighted portions, searching for clues that connect to the question.

Many consider the reading comprehension portion the easier part of the exam. That being said, 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.

Understanding Your Test Scores

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

Your score on the 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.

IBEW Aptitude Test FAQs

What Is the IBEW Aptitude Test?

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.

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 ā€œCā€ 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.

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 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.