IBEW Math Aptitude Test Success: Proven Strategies & Practice to Boost Your Score

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This is a complete prep guide for the IBEW Math Aptitude Test.

Below, you’ll find 12 lifelike sample questions that resemble the actual question types you’ll see on the exam.

Use them to get a feel for what you’re up against, identify your stronger and weaker areas, and understand where to focus your prep efforts.

Also, at the end of the page, you’ll find helpful answers to frequently asked questions about the IBEW apprenticeship math test.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

What Kind of Math Questions to Expect on the IBEW Aptitude Test?

The math portion of the IBEW aptitude test consists of 33 multiple-choice questions with a 46-minute time limit, followed by a Reading Comprehension test section.

The math topics include algebra, which is divided into four sub-topics, and number series.

Important note: all unions and locals use the same test version. This means that if you’re taking the NJATC/JATC aptitude test, the NECA aptitude test, or any other Electrician Apprentice/Pre-apprentice test, you’ll encounter the same question types.

So, overall, these are the math topics you’ll see on these tests:

  • Equations
  • Polynomials
  • Functions
  • Inequalities
  • Number Series

Maximize your IBEW math score with 40+ practice tests simulating the actual test questions.

Free IBEW Math Practice Test

Algebra Equations and Inequalities

Question #1

What is the value of X?

(x/6) = (x/2) – (4/3)

A. 1
B. 3
C. 4
D. 6
E. 12

The correct answer is (C) – 4

(x/6) = (x/2) – (4/3) / The common denominator on the right side of the equation is 6.

(x/6) = (3x/6) – (8/6) / Multiply each fraction on both sides by 6, to eliminate the denominator

x = 3x – 8 / Subtract x from each side.

0 = 2x – 8 / Transfer -8 to the left side of the equation, turning it into a positive number.

8 = 2x / Divide each side by 2.

4 = x

Question #2

What is the value of X?

5x + 3x – 9x = 15 – 21 + 9

A. -3
B. 3
C. 0.5
D. 1.5
E. 1

The correct answer is (A).

  1. Combine Like Terms: Start by simplifying both sides of the equation:(5x + 3x – 9x) = (15 – 21 + 9)
    -x = 3
  2. Solve for x: To isolate x, divide both sides of the equation by -1, remembering that dividing by a negative number flips the sign:
    -x / -1 = 3 / -1
    x = -3

The answer is A, -3.

Question #3

If a = b * c, what does c equal?

A. a + b
B. a – b
C. b – a
D. a / b
E. b / a

The correct answer is (D).

We’re given an equation and asked to rearrange it to solve for a different variable (in this case, ‘c’). Here’s how to do it step-by-step:

  1. Start with the given equation:
    a = b * c
  2. Isolate ‘c’: Our goal is to get ‘c’ by itself on one side of the equation. Since ‘c’ is being multiplied by ‘b’, we can undo this by dividing both sides of the equation by ‘b’. Remember, we must do the same operation to both sides to maintain equality.
  3. Divide both sides by ‘b’: (a) / b = (b * c) / b
  4. Simplify: On the right side, ‘b’ in the numerator and denominator cancel each other out, leaving us with: a / b = c

Therefore, c = a / b

Question #4

If (a – b)2 – (a + b)2 = 4 , then ab = ?

A. -4
B. -1
C. 1
D. 4

The correct answer is (B).

Use the following formula:


Accordingly, the correct answer is (B).

If you chose answer (A), check your calculations. If you chose answers (C) or (D), you probably did not use the formulas correctly.

Algebra Functions

Question #5

Look at the following graph:

Algebra Functions Sample Question

Which of the following equations best represents the graph?

A. Y = 3X – 3
B. Y = 5X + 3
C. Y = -6X – 4
D. Y = -3X + 8

The correct answer is (B).

As can be seen from the graph, the slope of the line is positive. Thus, choices (C) and (D) can be eliminated. As can also be seen from the graph, when X = 1, Y is between 5 and 10. According to answer (A), Y = 0 when X = 1.

According to answer (B), Y = 8 when X = 1. Thus, only answer (B) agrees with this graph.

Question #6

What is the slope of the line that passes through the points (3, 2) and (1, -6)?

A. -4
B. 1/4
C. 4
D. -1/4

The correct answer is (C).

Here’s how to find the slope of a line given two points:

  1. Slope Formula: The slope of a line is calculated using the formula:
    slope = (y2 – y1) / (x2 – x1)
    Where (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) are the coordinates of the two points.
  2. Label the Points: Let’s label our points:
    • (3, 2) as (x1, y1)
    • (1, -6) as (x2, y2)
  3. Plug into the Formula: Substitute the values into the slope formula:
    slope = (-6 – 2) / (1 – 3)
  4. Simplify: Calculate the result:
    slope = (-8) / (-2) = 4

Therefore, the slope of the line passing through the given points is 4.

Question #7

What is the slope of the line that is perpendicular to the line that passes through the points (5, 1) and (3, -3)?

A. -1/2
B. 2
C. -2
D. 1/2

The correct answer is (A).

Here’s how to find the slope of a perpendicular line:

  • Find the Slope of the Original Line:
    Use the slope formula:
    slope = (y2 – y1) / (x2 – x1)
  • Label your points: (5, 1) as (x1, y1) and (3, -3) as (x2, y2)
    Substitute and simplify:
    slope = (-3 – 1) / (3 – 5) = -4 / -2 = 2
    The slope of the original line is 2.
  • Perpendicular Slopes are Negative Reciprocals: Lines are perpendicular if their slopes multiply to equal -1. The negative reciprocal of 2 is -1/2.

Therefore, the slope of the line perpendicular to the given line is -1/2.

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

Algebra Polynomials

Question #8

IBEW math sample question Algebra Polynomials

The correct answer is (A).

Remember the formula of the difference of cubes:

Simplify and reduce, if possible:

If you do not remember the difference of cubes formula you can solve it by opening the parentheses:

The correct answer is (A).

If you’ve chosen any other answer, review the solution and the use of formulas.

Question #9

Which expression is equivalent to the expression (x – 2)(x + 2)?

A. x^2 + 4
B. x^2 – 4
C. x^2 + 4x – 4
D. x^2 – 4x + 4

The correct answer is (B).

This question involves recognizing a special algebraic pattern called the “difference of squares.” Here’s how it works:

  • The Pattern: (a + b)(a – b) = a^2 – b^2
  • Applying the Pattern: Our expression (x – 2)(x + 2) fits this pattern:
    • a = x
    • b = 2
  • Expanding Using the Pattern: Substituting our ‘a’ and ‘b’ into the pattern: (x)^2 – (2)^2 = x^2 – 4

Therefore, the expression equivalent to (x – 2)(x + 2) is x^2 – 4

Number Series

Question #10

4 | 8 | 10 | 8 | 4 | 8 | 10 | ?

A. 6
B. 10
C. 8
D. 16

The correct answer is (C) – 8.

In this series, the pattern is as follows: the first number is multiplied by 2, then the next number is added by 2, then the next number is subtracted by 2, then divided by 2, and the pattern follows.

The pattern is: x2, +2, -2, ÷2 | x2, +2, -2…

The last two numbers in the series are 8 and 10. 10 is bigger than 8 by 2, so the following number should be 10 subtracted by 2.

10 – 2 = 8.

Therefore, 8 is the correct answer.

Question #11

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

A. 16
B. 11
C. 5
D. 20

The correct answer is (C) – 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 …

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.

Question #12

5 | 2 | 8 | 11 | 64 | 61 | ?

A. 96
B. 58
C. 196
D. 244

The correct answer is (D) – 244.

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

The pattern is: -3, x4 | +3, x4, |-3, x4…

The last two numbers in the series are 64 and 61. 61 is smaller than 64 by 3, so the following number should be 61 multiplied by 4.

61 x 4 = 244.

Therefore, 244 is the correct answer.

Additional Useful Practice Resources for the IBEW Math Questions

Applicants who score the highest are chosen first to get invited for an interview, while candidates who only pass with a minimum score might wait for an interview for months and even years.

In addition, if you fail the exam, you must wait six months before retaking it. That’s why practicing hard beforehand becomes crucial on the IBEW aptitude test.

Several test prep companies offer preparation materials for the test. However, we found that JobTestPrep’s IBEW Aptitude Test practice offers the best value for money.

This is the only company that provides comprehensive practice material for the mechanical reasoning questions (in addition to math and reading) that appear in some locals’ aptitude tests.

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

IBEW Math Test Practice Tips

  1. Solid Foundations First: Ensure you’re confident with basic operations, decimals, fractions, percentages, and order of operations (PEMDAS/BODMAS). Struggling here will make harder problems impossible.
  2. Target Your Weaknesses: As you practice, pinpoint areas where you struggle most (equations, number series, etc.). Focus your study time heavily on those topics for maximum improvement.
  3. Speed Up, Stay Accurate: Timed practice tests are essential. Aim to solve problems quickly without sacrificing accuracy. Learn shortcut techniques for common calculations.
  4. Level Up Your Practice: Work on problems slightly harder than you expect on the test. This makes actual test questions feel easier by comparison.
  5. Work Backwards Strategically: When stuck, plug in answer choices to see which one fits the equation. This can be a shortcut or a way to check your work.
  6. Skip and Return: Don’t waste time on difficult problems. Mark them, solve the easy questions first, then come back with your remaining time.

Check our IBEW test preparation guide to get 9 additional tips to help you start off on the right foot.

IBEW Math Aptitude Test FAQs

How Hard Is the IBEW Math Test?

The math questions on the IBEW aptitude test are harder than on other common pre-apprenticeship tests. Several reasons make this test section challenging for most candidates. Many applicants feel rusty as they haven’t touched math since high school, others failed their math classes, and some think it’s their weak spot.

Additionally, since there’s a tight time limit of less than 90 seconds per math question, it might make the testing experience even more overwhelming.

Despite these challenges, it’s possible to improve your math skills quickly using focused practice, even if you haven’t solved math problems for years.

Check our detailed guide to read about other reasons that make the IBEW aptitude test so difficult.

Can You Use a Calculator on the IBEW Aptitude Test?

Calculators are not permitted on the IBEW aptitude test. You’re allowed only to use a pen and scratch paper.

For some of the easier questions, you might even want to use mental calculations and save extra seconds for the tougher questions that come later.

Why It’s Essential to Score High and Not Only Pass the Test?

The minimum passing score for the entire test is getting into the top 4-ninths (4/9) of the test takers.

That being said, since there are many applicants and only limited open spots (especially in more competitive locals), candidates who score the highest will be selected first.

Other candidates who only pass the test but don’t score high will need to wait until new slots are open and the hiring staff reaches their names on the list. And this process may take even YEARS.

That’s why it’s important to strive to score as high as possible on your first try and ensure that you’ll be one of the first to get invited for the oral interview.

Visit our IBEW test scoring guide to learn more about the exam’s results and see answers to FAQs.

What Are the Math Requirements to Be Eligible to Apply for an Apprenticeship?

To be able to apply for one of the apprenticeships, you must meet several prerequisites.

One of them is strict math requirements. For most apprenticeships, you’ll need a minimum grade of “C” or better for one year of high school algebra.

If you don’t meet this minimum grade, you have several other alternatives:

  • Take equivalent college algebra courses (which can be taken at your local community college).
  • Show the college math placement test results, indicating a placement level beyond high school algebra.
  • For GEDs taken after January 1st, 2014 – a minimum score of 150 on the math test portion.
  • Provide evidence that you’ve successfully completed the NJATC Math Tech Course. This is the least favorable alternative, as the Math Tech Course is costly and demanding. The enrollment costs $135 and the algebra level is much higher than what you actually need to pass the aptitude test.

*Note that you must provide transcripts for most of these alternatives.

What Math Subjects Will You Encounter in the Actual Classes and Training?

A large chunk of the IBEW (or other locals and unions) class training consists of math classes. That’s also why passing the aptitude test with a sufficient score and meeting the math requirements is so important for these institutes.

Students who don’t have the needed math fundamentals and skills will likely struggle in their math classes and find it hard to pass the internal math exams.

The subjects you’ll learn and be assessed on include:

  • Add/Subtract/Multiply/Divide whole numbers and fractions
  • Ratios
  • Systems of equations
  • Trigonometry
  • Vectors
  • Geometry
  • Technical math

Why Do You Need to Know Math As an Electrician?

Many ask this question when they see the strict math requirements for getting into an electrical apprenticeship (and then the math curriculum).

The truth is that you don’t need high-level math skills to be a successful electrician. The math you learned in high school is more than enough for this profession.

The only exception is for people aiming for an electrical engineering career. This career path will demand stronger math skills and mastering advanced math and physics concepts.

Here are some examples of the basic math skills you’ll need to use as an electrician:

  • Trigonometry: you’ll need to know how to use equations, specifically for understanding AC power or to determine the correct angle to bend a section of conduit.
  • Ohm’s Law: you’ll use it to find out the current of a circuit, voltage drop, power loss, and conductor resistance.
  • Four Operations Arithmetic and Percentages, Fractions, and Decimals: used mainly for routine measurements and calculations, such as room measurements, wiring lengths, calculating loads, and converting watts to kilowatts.