Bennett Mechanical Test is the most widely used psychological instrument to measure your mechanical aptitude. It focuses on your knowledge of daily life mechanics and basic principles of physics. But it does not measure your academic mechanical learning and previous training.
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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 the 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.
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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 a computer.
The questionnaire is filled with many small puzzles and mechanical quizzes. The question sheet contains some questions about daily life automated tools and types of equipment such as pulleys, levers, shafts, etc. You are also asked simple questions about dynamics, heat flow, electricity and other underlying physical issues.
You are required to answer the questions by applying your mechanical reasoning. Though it doesn’t take into account your previous knowledge or training, it can help you to be at ease while making your choices.
The different shades of mechanical aptitude are measured with a different set of questions. The data collected is analyzed qualitatively. The employers get a picture of your mechanical abilities and knowledge for the time of testing.
The Bennett test has the 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 for 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 real machines than on a paper pencil test.
Due to its massive impact, some United States citizens have even gone to courts to get a ruling against Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test. The courts, keeping in view 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 conventional mechanics such as plumbing, carpentry, weight, shape, size, ladder, opener, flashlight, etc. This test tries to bring into account such things that you almost see in your everyday 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 various 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 on diagrams instead of a verbal description of the underlying mechanics. They use pictures of more general daily life mechanics and pieces of equipment than the Bennett mechanical aptitude test.
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