Bennett Mechanical Test is the most widely used psychological instrument to measure your mechanical aptitude. It focuses upon your knowledge of daily life mechanics and basic principles of physics. But it does not measure your academic mechanical learning and previous training.
The Bennett mechanical aptitude test is professionally known as Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test (BMCT). It was designed and adopted by the United States military in 1940. However, like many aptitude tests (and of course IQ tests), its parameters for mechanical reasoning were redefined in 1990s. For restructuring purpose, the results of the previous Bennett tests were profoundly analyzed.
The effectiveness and validity of the Bennett mechanical aptitude test soon fascinated military and private organizations of other countries as well. Now, after more than 50 years, the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test has been customized and adopted almost all over the world.
The Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test is comprised of two alternative forms (From S and Form T). Each form has 68 questions and can be solved within 30 minutes. It is a written test to be taken with pencil on paper or mouse on computer.
The questionnaire is filled with a number of small puzzles and mechanical quizzes. The question sheet contains a number of questions about daily life mechanical tools and equipments such as pulleys, livers, shafts etc. You are also asked simple questions about dynamics, heat flow, electricity and other basic physical issues.
You are required to answer the questions by applying your mechanical reasoning. Though it doesn’t takes into account your previous knowledge or training but it can help you to be at an ease while making your choices.
The different shades of mechanical aptitude are measured with different set of questions. The data collected is analyzed qualitatively. The employers get a picture of your mechanical aptitudes and knowledge for the time of testing.
The Bennett test has same kind of limitations as other mechanical aptitude tests are criticized for. However, it attracts a lot more criticism in some other areas as well.
1- Various studies have suggested that the test is discriminatory to women. Female candidates score lower than the male candidates. The supporters of the Bennett mechanical test propose that the reason of this difference is not due to test but result of female’s lack of interest in mechanics.
2- Some other studies have observed that Bennett mechanical aptitude test is discriminatory to the minorities as well. However, the supporters of Bennett mechanical test claim that differing results are due to socio-economic, cultural and environmental differences.
3- The Bennett mechanical test does not measure your actual performance on mechanics. It is possible that you may perform better on actual machines than on a paper pencil test.
Due to its heavy impact, some United States citizens have even gone to courts to get a ruling against Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test. The courts, after responding to the discriminatory nature of the test, have directed the employers either to make the test non-discriminatory or adopt some other balanced tool.
The discriminatory nature of the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test has forced psychology testing companies to come forth with alternative solutions. Now they prefer to use other instruments which claim culturally and sexually fair. One such example is Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude (WTMA).
WTMA diverts its attention from livers, pulleys and gear to some other common mechanics such as plumbing, carpentry, weight, shape, size, ladder, opener, flash light etc. This test tries to bring into account such things that you almost see in your every day life. Such tools are considered more common in daily life.
The WTMA is different from Bennett mechanical test on another ground. It constructs a diagram for every question and you are required to visualize on movements of different components of a machine. The movements may be one dimensional, two dimensional, three dimensional or even multi-dimensional, depending upon nature of the job.
Such tests claim to be non-discriminatory to the women and
minorities because they focus upon diagrams instead of verbal
description of the basic mechanics. They use diagrams of more common
daily life mechanics and equipments than the Bennett mechanical aptitude test.
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