Complete COBRA Test Preparation Guide

What Is the COBRA Test?

The COBRA test, or Console Operator Basic Requirements Assessment, is a validated assessment that has been shown to be a good predictor of job performance for companies in the petroleum, chemical, utility, mining, or pipeline industries. The test provides an objective, computer-scored assessment that presents a simulation of a simple distillation process.

To take the COBRA test you don’t require prior experience since it is a non-professional assessment. It is a multitasking test that will examine the following abilities:

  • Selective Attention: focusing during busy periods.
  • Problem Sensitivity: determining when something is likely to go wrong.
  • Time Sharing: dedicating time to several things at a time.
  • Deductive Reasoning: understanding the cause of a problem.
  • Resistance to Premature Judgment: properly operating the system.
  • Responsive Orientation: making quick decisions.
  • Visualization: forming a mental image.
  • Speed of Closure: processing a lot of information quickly.

Since 1993, the COBRA test has screened over 100,000 candidates in over 150 locations worldwide. The assessment is currently available in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese.

This assessment is used by many employers in the petroleum, chemical, utility, mining, and pipeline industries - including Phillips 66, Chevron, Shell, and many other electricity-related enterprises to screen potential candidates. It's a comprehensive test that covers a wide range of topics, including computer systems and networks, system monitoring, and problem-solving.

What Is the Role of a Console Operator?

A Console Operator is responsible for the operation and monitoring of computer systems and networks. They monitor the system for errors and performance issues, and take corrective action as needed. Console operators also work with systems engineers and other IT professionals to troubleshoot and resolve complex problems.

Console Operators play a significant role in ensuring the smooth operation of computer systems and networks. The position requires strong technical skills and knowledge of computer systems and networks.

To succeed in this position, you must be able to concentrate over extended periods of time, concentrate in the face of distractions, multi-task, quickly detect anomalies, remain calm and focused on emergencies, and be proficient in problem solving.

The COBRA test is ideal for screening candidates for the following Console Operator positions:

  • Chemical Plant Operator
  • Electric System Operator
  • Gas Control Operator
  • Liquids Pipeline Controller
  • Mine Control Operator
  • Oil Platform Operator
  • Power Plant Operator
  • Production Field Operator
  • Refinery Operator
  • Terminal Operator

Learn more about how to prepare for the hiring process in the Oil and Gas industry.

JobTestPrep is currently developing a preparation and tailored PrepPack for the COBRA test, for more details, contact us

Structure of the COBRA Test

The COBRA test is approximately 4 hours long.

It is a computer-based and completely automated simulation where you will have to monitor and manage multiple systems, respond to alerts, and make decisions to keep the systems running smoothly. You will be provided with the necessary equipment to listen to and respond to audio content material including alerts and voice messages.

The test is divided into three sections:


The first part is a computer-based training that will take 2 hours. It will teach you everything you need to know to take the test. Even how to use your mouse!

You will learn about the simulation interface, identifying system problems, and how to keep the systems running smoothly. This part of the test aims to ensure you are prepared for the simulation.


After completing the training, you will take a 1 hour practice simulation that will test your ability to monitor and manage multiple systems, respond to alerts, and make decisions in a real-world work environment.

You will be presented with 8 practice scenarios. These scenarios are designed for you to practice what you learned during the training. This section will not be scored on nor have any impact on the rest of the COBRA test.


This part will last around 1 hour. It is a “4 Test Scenarios” with each scenario lasting 15 minutes.

You will have to meet the production goal of producing barrels, it is important to note that the production goal decreases in each scenario, but the number of interruptions increases. This means that each scenario will get more challenging. An example of interruptions can be a malfunction like a fan that stops working.

At the same time, you will make sure that the system is working as it normally should, like the temperature staying at a safe range.

💡Remember: to every action you take there is a reaction. If you increase the volume in the evaporation tower, the temperature will decrease.

Your COBRA test score will be generated based on your performance on this assessment.


Get more practice for similar tests with our Free Mechanical Aptitude Test Practice and Free Cognitive Ability Test. We also offer complete and tailored PrepPacks for other Power, Utilities & Energy companies such as the NuStar Assessment.

How is the COBRA Test Scored?

The COBRA test score is based on your performance on the simulation. Each section of the simulation is scored separately and then your overall score is calculated by averaging each section.

Your performance is based on accuracy, speed, decision-making, procedure adherence, and multitasking. The COBRA Test is scored on a scale of 0 to 100. Generally, a passing score of 70 or higher is considered passing, although each company will determine their own requirements.

How to Study for the COBRA Test

  1. Become familiar with the test format: Since the COBRA test is a computer-based simulation test. It is important to familiarize yourself with the test format and the types of questions that will be asked
  2. Review the test topics: The assessment covers a wide range of topics, including computer systems and networks, system monitoring, and problem-solving. Review these topics carefully and make sure that you have a good understanding of them.
  3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Take a practice test and identify the areas where you need to improve. Focus your study efforts on these areas.



How long does the COBRA test take?

The COBRA test takes approximately 4 hour to complete, including all three sections.

What type of questions are on the COBRA test?

The COBRA test consists of a variety of question types, including multiple-choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank questions. Some of the questions are designed to assess your general cognitive abilities, while others are more specific to the job or industry you are applying for.

When can I take the COBRA test?

COBRA is a SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, so you can start using it as soon as you sign up for an account. There is no need to install any software or download any files.

What does the COBRA test measure?

The COBRA test is a web-based assessment that measures cognitive abilities related to job performance, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. It is also designed to measure cognitive skills that are important for success in today's workplace, such as adaptability, creativity, and innovation.


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