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EEI Cast Tests

EEI Cast Tests

Updated November 17, 2022

The EEI Cast Tests are aptitude tests used in the construction and skilled trade to assess the suitability of candidates for jobs in this field.

If you apply for a role at a company in the skilled trade or construction industry, the application process will likely include an invitation to take a series of tests to establish competencies in relation to mathematics and comprehension.

What Is the EEI Cast Test?

If the role you have applied for is in transmission and distribution, facilities and repair, electrical repair, machining and vehicle repair, or meter service and repair, you will take the EEI Construction and Skilled Trade Selection System examination (CAST) Test.

Founded back in 1933, the EEI or Edison Electric Institute represents many US electric companies.

EEI has various tests available which assess different skills related to the energy industry, of which, one is the CAST test.

The CAST test assesses aptitude by testing four key skills: graphic arithmetic, mathematical usage, mechanical concepts, and reading comprehension. The CAST test is considered to be the most generic battery of tests created by the EEI.

Unlike some other psychometric tests, CAST tests are not administered and marked by the creators but by the individual employer, which in this case means that not all CAST tests are marked in the same way.

The CAST test is used by employers as part of the recruitment process but it can also be a useful test to take to advance your career if you are already employed in the skilled trade.

What Job Roles Use the EEI Cast Test?

Applicants for roles in US utility companies will usually be asked to carry out the EEI CAST test as part of the recruitment process.

You may encounter the CAST test if you apply for a job or internship as an electrician, mechanic, machine technician or in repair and maintenance, although this list is not limited amd may include many other skilled trades.

What Companies Use the EEI Cast Test?

Many US utility companies use the EEI Cast test as a screening process as part of their recruitment. These include:

  • Southern Energy
  • Hawaiin Electric
  • The PSEG Foundation
  • Centerpoint Energy
  • Entergy
  • NextEra Energy
  • Duke Energy
  • First Energy
  • Edison International

...and many others.

Some companies may charge a fee to sit the test which is then reimbursed if you are successfully hired. As the test is administered by the individual companies and not by the EEI itself, the process differs by company.

It also means that there is no published data about how many candidates sit the test each year, what the average score is or even what the desired pass mark is, since all that data remains with each company.

What to Expect When Taking the EEI Cast Test

Rather than thinking of the Edison Electric Institute CAST test as one test, it is really four multiple-choice tests taken in one sitting.

Taking all four of the tests will take around two hours, although the individual sections are not evenly divided by time.

Remember, the test is designed to assess skills in relation to on-the-job performance, so each of the four tests relate to skills that you should be able to demonstrate successfully.

The four test areas are:

  • Graphic Arithmetic Test
  • Mechanical Concepts
  • Reading for Comprehension
  • Mathematical Usage

See each paragraph below for more details on each test and a sample question.

The whole CAST exam is 110 questions, divided into these four sections. The whole test takes 87 minutes, although you will usually be in the test situation itself for around two hours.

You should brush up on your basic arithmetic and skills such as converting measurements from one type to another, high school level algebra and other types of math that you might encounter in your day to day work.

Graphic Arithmetic Test

This test is about interpreting and understanding visual data in the form of prints, drawings and charts. You may also have to solve arithmetic problems using the data contained in the drawing or chart using mental arithmetic or elementary algebra.

The test contains two such drawings, each of which is followed by questions. In total, you will answer 16 questions within your 30-minute time limit.

Designed to assess the ability to interpret a plan, this question shows a graphic with dimensions listed for some of the wall measurements.

The candidate must examine the information and, using the values that are provided, calculate the answers to the questions.

Example Question

Look at this wiring plan which has three sockets marked X, Y and Z – all dimensions are in inches.

1. How far away from the top wall is socket X?
2. How far away from the right-hand wall is socket Y?
3. What is the length of wire that connects sockets A and Z?

Mechanical Concepts

Mechanical principles or concepts include force, pressure, friction, acceleration, velocity and so on. This test measures your ability to interpret and understand these concepts using drawings representing a mechanical situation (such as centrifugal force, or a lever, pulley, or gear, for example) and then asking a question, followed by three possible answers.

In the test, you will see 44 pictures on which you will have 20 minutes to answer questions.

For example,

Example Question

Which bucket will require the most effort to pull up?

a) Bucket A (one pulley)
b) Bucket B (two pulleys)
c) Bucket A and B equally

Reading for Comprehension

As you might expect, reading comprehension assesses the ability to read and understand written text.

The test sets out four passages with some multiple-choice questions about the passage. In the allotted 30 minutes, candidates must answer 32 questions.

All the answers will be contained in the passage. You mustn't base your answers on prior knowledge or experience.

Try this example of a reading for comprehension paragraph and then answer the following questions:

Example Question

Between 2018 and 2019, confidential calls to the ASPCA about puppy farming rose by 35%. This rise could be attributed to the demand for designer dogs seen on social media sites like Instagram, where photos of Sausage Dogs (or Dachshunds to give their proper name) and Pugs have increased in likes by 500%. Additionally, breeds like French bulldogs have increased in popularity in recent years due to celebrity promotion and endorsement.

Hashtags like #puppiesforsale and #dogsofinstagram have been accused of unwittingly feeding into the hands of puppy farmers. The platform has been accused of turning a blind eye to animal welfare issues. However, animal groups like the ASPCA have used the platform to promote rehoming to great success.

Puppies born at a puppy farm are more likely to have behavioral issues, infectious or inherited diseases and may have a shorter life-span. They are more likely to be aggressive or fearful and often have to be put down. Vet trips for puppy-farmed dogs will be significantly more frequent than for other types of puppy.

More than 50,000 dogs are left without a home in shelters every year. There is a common misconception that dogs in shelters have something wrong with them; however, most dogs up for adoption are healthy, vaccinated and fully assessed and will be placed with the right family for their needs. They are usually significantly cheaper than puppy farmed dogs, as most shelters will only ask for a donation and will usually pay for any vet treatment that is necessary long-term.

1. Why are puppies from shelters significantly cheaper?

a) The purchase price is a set price
b) Only donations are usually required not a purchase fee
c) Only cheaper breeds are available from shelters
d) There is no financial cost at all to taking a rescue dog

Example Question

2. Which breeds have increased in popularity due to celebrity endorsement?

a) French bulldog
b) Dachshunds
c) Pugs
d) Labradoodles

Example Question

3. What are Dachshunds otherwise known as?

a) Hot dogs
b) Sausage dogs
c) Burger dogs
d) Warm dogs

Example Question

4. Which one of the following can be inferred from the passage as a possible consequence of puppy farming:

a) Puppy farming leads to more dogs in shelters
b) There are more designer breed dogs than mongrels
c) The ASPCA get more confidential calls
d) Puppies from puppy farms are more expensive to keep than rescue dogs

Example Question

5. The fourth paragraph of the passage serves to:

a) Persuade prospective dog owners to rescue a dog from a shelter
b) Point out possible disadvantages of owning a dog
c) Elaborate on the effectiveness of social media advertising
d) Provide further details on the benefits of dog ownership

Mathematical Usage

This test tests your ability to solve basic mathematical problems by providing a set of information and then asking questions based on that information. You will have 7 minutes to answer 18 questions. Some of the questions will be more straightforward, others you will have to find a common denominator to decode the answers.

For example:

Example Question

Given that:

  • 1 kilogram = 2.205 pounds
  • 1 pound = 16 ounces
  • 1,000 grams = 1 kilogram

What is the correct solution to:

2,000 grams = ? ounces

a) 55.55
b) 17.56
c) 70.56
d) 170.56

How Is the Test Scored?

As each company carries out the test themselves there is no central method of scoring. This means that some employers will score the test by hand (e.g. physically mark it) and others will have an online system that uses technology to create a computerized score.

The test is marked and then converted to an index scoring system from one - ten (ten is the highest). It isn’t based just on how many questions you got right, but your relative potential to perform the job.

This means there is no universal pass rate, but an employer/ role specific minimum cut off score. You should be able to ascertain what that cut off score is in advance, although remember that scoring above that mark only gets you part of the way to being offered the job.

Depending on the company you may be able to retake the test but it is of course better to plan to pass it the first time around. If you are allowed to retake the test you will generally have to wait a specified number of days which could be between 45 and 90 days before you can resit the EEI Cast test.

How to Prepare for the Test

First of all, you should establish your benchmark, or where you need to get, and then ascertain where you are in relation to it.

Ask what the cutoff score is for the role you have applied for. Then take the appropriate practice test in exam conditions, e.g. without a calculator, timed, and so on. Use the results to ascertain whether you would have made the cutoff, what your weakest areas were and then use this information to create a study plan for improvement.

As part of your study plan, you can take practice tests, both to get comfortable and familiar with the format of the tests but also to reinforce knowledge, particularly in the math sections.

Using a range of tests may help give you a wider base of understanding – you can try Prepterminal, JobTestPrep and Mometrix who have study guides and in-practice questions, as well as the EEI who have a practice question section accessible by a password provided by the company asking you to take the test.

Using flashcards to improve your memory recall can also help, particularly with the two math-related tests.

Other tips to consider after taking each practice test:

Review your performance. Read through your answers in comparison to the correct answers and note:

  • How many did you get wrong?
  • Did you finish the test in the allotted time? How much did you run over by?
  • Were your mistakes because you didn’t know the answer, or because you answered either too quickly or without reading the question properly?
  • Did you skip over any questions that you could have answered?

Key Tips to Remember

You stand the best chance of scoring highly in the CAST tests if you follow these key tips:

Read Each Question Carefully

Make sure that you answer the question that is being asked. Do not read too quickly and make assumptions.

Practice All Aspects of the Test

Take practice tests for all areas and work out which ones you have more difficulty with, then spend more time working on those areas.

Using a Process of Elimination

Where the options are multiple-choice, you can often quickly work out which answers you know are incorrect and then do a basic calculation to decide which of the others are more likely. If you have time you can then do a detailed calculation to check your work.

Skip Over Difficult Questions

If you are struggling with a question against time pressures, skip it and answer the others before coming back to the one you are having difficulty with at the end.

Arrive Early to Your Test and Bring a Valid Photo ID

Make sure that you are well prepared for the test and are not flustered by being late.

Do Not Bring a Calculator or Dictionary

Ensure you have complied with all the rules set out by the employer carrying out the test, including leaving your calculator and dictionary at home. This means you will have to carry out your arithmetic by hand or in your head, so make sure you have practiced these ahead of time.

Look After Yourself

Do not stay up all night studying beforehand. A proper meal and a good night's sleep are important preparation just as much as practicing your mental arithmetic.

Conclusion

It is worth spending time preparing for the EEI Cast test as it can be a pressured test to pass without any preparation. With practice and revision, you should be able to train yourself to pass according to the cutoff mark for the company to which you have applied. After all, math and comprehension are what you will need to know for your job anyway, so you shouldn’t find that daunting. Familiarity with the format will simply come with practice.