IBEW Aptitude Test Prep: Land Your Electrical Apprenticeship
Shlomik Silbiger

Shlomik, IBEW test Expert at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at: ask_the_team@jobtestprep.com
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IBEW aptitude test video

What Is the IBEW Aptitude Test?

The IBEW Aptitude Test is a timed multiple-choice test required from anyone who aims to become an electrician apprentice. The Electrical Training Alliance conducts the test in cooperation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

The NJATC aptitude test battery has two sections - math (with a small portion of mechanical reasoning) and reading comprehension. The test duration is almost 2 hours, with a break between the two sections. A score of 4 (out of 9) is required to pass the test and continue to the next stage - the IBEW interview.

💡Did you know? 

IBEW and NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) form the NJATC (National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee). You must pass the IBEW aptitude test (also known as the JATC test) to get accepted.


IBEW Question Types

This aptitude test is divided into two sections and contains 3 main topics: math, mechanical reasoning, and reading comprehension.

In the first section – math and mechanical reasoning, you are asked to answer 33 multiple-choice questions in 46 minutes. The questions involve algebra, number series, force and torque, wheels and pulleys, gears, velocity, and electricity.

The second section – the reading section, contains 36 (also multiple-choice) questions to answer in 51 minutes.

The exact structure of the test may vary due to the local electrical training alliance branch, but the general structure is as follows:



Let’s elaborate on each section.


IBEW #1 Section: Math and Mechanical Questions

The first section of the pre-apprenticeship aptitude test consists mainly of math questions and can contain a few mechanical questions, but not necessarily. The math level is considered difficult, with complex algebra and advanced number series questions, while the mechanical questions are on basic mechanical principles. You can't use a calculator on the IBEW test, only pen and paper. For all those reasons, your preparation should focus mainly on perfecting your math abilities.


What Kind of Math Is On The IBEW Aptitude Test?

  • Algebra

The algebra questions contain algebraic equations, functions, and polynomials. The level of the algebraic questions in the test is considered hard, and it is best to brush up on basic algebra rules before approaching the practice test questions. Let’s see an example of an easy-moderate question: 


IBEW Practice Test Question - Algebra 

Please choose the correct answer. If none of the options is correct, please choose answer e, "N".

0.1X = 1.2 - 0.3X
X = ?

a. 16
b. -3.5
c. 4
d. 3
e. N
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is (D) - 3

This question deals with a single-variable equation. 
When solving a single variable equation, the goal is to isolate the variable (mostly called x) to find its value.
The way to do that is by gathering all variable expressions of the equation (one or more X-expressions) on one side and all numerical members of the equation on the other side. This is done using the four operations (+, -, *, /) in the equation, as needed.
Important! Any numerical operation must be applied on both sides of the equation.
In this case, to isolate X apply the following operations to both sides of the equation:
1. Add 3X
0.1X + 0.3X = 1.2 - 0.3X + 0.3X
0.4X = 1.2
2. Divide by 0.4
0.4X/0.4 = 1.2/0.4
X = 1.2/0.4 = 12/4 = 3
X = 3


💡Tip: to ease the calculation, you may use solving by substitution.


  • Number Series

Number series questions present you with mathematical sequences that follow a logical rule based on elementary arithmetic. In these questions, a sequence of numbers called ‘terms’ are presented, with 1 or more missing element(s). You are then asked to find the rule that connects them to each other. After you have detected the rule, you can deduce the missing number. 

How to solve a number series question?

Look at the numbers and then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are they increasing or decreasing?
  2. What is the rate of increase or decrease?
  3. Is there a pattern?

Try to implement these steps on the sample question below.


IBEW Practice Test Question - Number Series

144 | 73 | 18 | 10 | 520 | ?

a. 76
b. 146
c. 247
d. 261
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Every two terms are a pair. The first number is divided into two and then increased by 1 in order to produce the second term.
144/2+1 = 73
18/2+1 = 10
250/2+1 = 261
Therefore, the correct answer is D.


💡Tip: as you practice more and encounter the different rules and complexities of number series problems, you will improve your ability to find the pattern quickly.

How Do I Prepare For IBEW Aptitude Test?

JobTestPrep has been researching the IBEW Aptitude Test since 2016, basing its IBEW practice tests on thousands of phone interviews, customer feedback, and the actual test itself. Here’s the tried and tested practice plan:

  • Step 1: Take an IBEW Diagnostic Test & Initial Guide
    Start your preparation with a concise guide and a diagnostic test to understand your overall level. You will discover your strengths and weaker sides and know where to put your focus to see quick improvement.
  • Step 2 + Step 3: Focused IBEW Practice Tests
    Continue with focused practice containing interactive study guides, allowing you to zoom in and dedicate time and attention to each subject's specific traits and challenges.
    You will first take math and mechanical practice and brush up your numeric skills to tackle even IBEW's most challenging questions. Then, take the Reading Comprehension practice and master the ability to interpret valuable information from a written text quickly.
  • Step 4: IBEW Simulation Tests
    After thorough practice and reinforcement of your skills, it’s time for the IBEW Test simulations. That way, you can compare your progress to the first diagnostic test.


What Kind of Mechanical Reasoning Is On The IBEW Aptitude Test?

The mechanical reasoning questions include the following subjects: force and torque, wheels and pulleys, gears (cogwheels), velocity, and electricity.


IBEW Practice Test Question - Mechanical Reasoning 

Where along the rope is the tension greater? (If equal, Mark C.)

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C.
Tension is the force going through the rope from the load to the constraint (ceiling). In a continuous rope, that force is equal in every point along it.
Remember the physical principle: Tension is equal in every point along a continuous rope.


💡Tip: remember the physical principle: tension is equal at every point along a continuous rope.

 For more math and mechanical practice, check out our IBEW sample test.


💡Did you know? 

There is no penalty for wrong answers in the IBEW Aptitude Test - so guess if you don't know the answer or have run out of time. 

Aiming for an elevator mechanic position? Practice your skills with our Free EIAT Practice Test.


IBEW #2 Section: Reading Comprehension Questions

Reading Comprehension examines your ability to understand written texts. You will be presented with a passage, which will be followed by multiple-choice questions relating to the information contained in the text.

The test's reading section forms a more significant portion than the math section. Even so, many people tend to overlook the importance of solid preparation. Answering correctly 36 reading comprehension questions in less than 1.5 minutes each requires quick thinking and utilizing time-saving strategies.

Let’s see an example followed by a useful tip.


IBEW Practice Test Question - Reading Comprehension 

Based on this passage, determine whether the following statement is true, false, or cannot say.

“Sharing economy” is on the rise, with millions of people renting beds, cars, boats, and other assets directly from each other, coordinating the transaction via the internet. Technology has reduced transaction costs, making sharing assets cheaper and easier than ever, and therefore possible on a much larger scale. The big change is the availability of more data about people and things, which allows physical assets to be disaggregated and consumed as services. Smartphones with GPS let people see where the nearest rentable car is parked; social networks provide a way to check up on people and acquire additional information; and online payment systems handle the billing.


The main reason the “sharing economy” is becoming more popular is reduced costs.

True based on the passage
False based on the passage
Not possible to say if the statement is true or false based on the passage
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

This is a tricky question that requires meticulous examination of the statement presented in the question. The statement involves the words “main reason” serving as a clue that perhaps there is more than one reason offered in the passage as to why “sharing economy” is on the rise.

In this question we are asked whether or not reduced costs are the main reason. Although the passage does mention this development as contributing to the popularity of “sharing economy,” the main reason is presented later in the text: “Technology has reduced transaction costs, making sharing assets cheaper and easier than ever, and therefore possible on a much larger scale. The big change is the availability of more data about people…” It is possible to decipher from these two sentences that although reduced costs have contributed to the rise of “sharing economy,” the availability of data about people is the main development that has contributed to its popularity.

Thus, the correct answer is B.


💡Tip: go over the questions carefully before reading the passage. It can be helpful to see what information you should concentrate on when reading the passage and eventually save time.


For more free sample questions, visit our IBEW practice test.


Prepare & Land Your Apprenticeship!

Our designated electrical training alliance (IBEW) Test preparation pack enables you to learn from your mistakes with step-by-step explanations that offer instant fixes - this will put you on the right track to experience significant improvement and ace the IBEW Apprenticeship Test.

"This was a game-changer. I would recommend to anyone trying to take the union aptitude test."

Cord L.

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Tip: the IBEW aptitude test goes by many names, but still refers to the same test. For example, Pre Apprenticeship Aptitude Test or NJTAC Aptitude Test is the same as the IBEW or the ETA test (Electrical Training Alliance). 

Is IBEW Aptitude Test Hard?

The IBEW aptitude test Test is considered more difficult than other common pre-apprenticeship tests, especially the math section.

The mathematical concepts required in this test (functions, polynomials, etc.) are more complex than those found in nearly all apprenticeship tests.

Which Electrical Trades Require the IBEW Aptitude Test?

If you want to take an apprenticeship path in the electrical industry, you will be required to pass the IBEW Aptitude test with the electrical training alliance. These trades include:

  • Inside wireman
  • Outside wireman
  • Residential wireman
  • Installer Technician / Sound and communication technician

The IBEW Aptitude Test is identical for all electrician trades. However, the required score may vary based on trade demand and popularity.

IBEW Apprenticeship Test Scores

What is the passing score for the IBEW Aptitude Test?

The standard qualifying score of the NJATC aptitude test is 4/9. However, you should note that this score DOES NOT mean getting 45% of the questions correct. It means that you score on the top 4-ninths of the test takers.

Therefore, in highly competitive areas or times, where more people tend to apply and prepare, this boundary might be higher to reach than in others. For optimal test performance, make sure you get prepared.

I Passed the IBEW Apprenticeship Test - Will I Get an Apprenticeship?

Not necessarily. Remember that open apprenticeships are limited, and demand always exceeds supply. That means that eventually, the IBEW will select the candidates with the highest scores to carry on with the process, so just passing is not enough.

I Failed the IBEW Aptitude Test. Can I Retake It?

Yes, the IBEW Aptitude Test can be retaken multiple times. The only limitation is that you have to wait 6 months between attempts.

For How Long Is My Test Score Saved?

The IBEW Aptitude Test score is saved for 2 years. If you have not been accepted to an apprenticeship within 2 years of the test, you will need to retake it.

Will I Get to Review My Test Answers?

No. The Electrical Training Alliance does not provide you with a review of your test answers. All you will know is whether you passed or failed.



The IBEW Aptitude Test Among Locals and Unions

One of the most frequent questions I get is "is the IBEW Aptitude Test conducted by local X?"

The answer is yes.

All electrical unions and locals use the same version of the IBEW Aptitude Test.

That's because it is the exact reason this test was designed, to begin with - to provide a standard, uniform measurement scale for all U.S electrical apprentices. Both the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) and NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association) use the same aptitude test.

Therefore, all the following refer to the same:


      • NJATC Aptitude Test / JATC Aptitude Test
      • Electrical Aptitude Test / Electrician Aptitude Test
      • Electrician Apprentice Test / Electrician Pre-Apprenticeship Test
      • Electrical Training Alliance Aptitude Test / NECA
      • Local 3 IBEW Test / Local 134 IBEW Test
      • Local 1245 IBEW Test / Local 26 IBEW Test
      • Local 11 IBEW Test / Local 1 IBEW Test
      • Local 47 IBEW Test / Local 77 IBEW Test
      • Local 98 IBEW Test / Local 103 IBEW Test



Test Provider

The leading authority responsible for the electrical apprentice candidates’ assessments is the Electrical Training Alliance (NJATC). Becoming a licensed electrician requires passing the Electrical Training Alliance test.

8 Expert IBEW Aptitude Test Tips


#1 - Lay a Solid Mathematical Foundation

Most test-takers are pretty rusty on basic math skills - BEDMAS, the four operations, fractions, etc.

Since a calculator is not allowed on the test, ensure you can perform such calculations quickly (1.3 minutes per question) and accurately before moving on to algebra.


#2 - Focus on More Prevalent Math Topics First

The electrical unions are rather secretive as to the exact structure of the aptitude test. However, according to reports from test-takers, there are test topics that are more prevalent than others.

IBEW Electrical Aptitude Test Math Topics


#3 Make an Educated Guess

There is no penalty for wrong answers. So, if you're unsure and out of time, make an informed guess. Do not leave any questions unanswered!


#4 - Don't Neglect the Reading Section

Candidates often overlook the reading section because it isn't as intimidating as math.

Don't make that mistake.

The reading section on the IBEW Aptitude Test determines half your score - ensure you prepare for it properly.


#5 - Take the Official Study Manual with a Grain of Salt

The official study manual by the Electrical Training Alliance training committee is familiar among many IBEW apprenticeship candidates. Although it is thorough and provides very good direction as for the content of the test and proper ways to prepare, it should be taken with a grain of salt for several reasons:

      • It is very old and outdated.
      • It includes topics removed from the test a long time ago - such as spatial reasoning.
      • It does not cover all the test topics you may encounter on the test.


#6 - Set a Smart Time Frame for Your Practice

The IBEW aptitude test allows for quite a lot of preparation time - between 1 month if you just applied and 6 months if you had just failed your most recent attempt (you must wait at least 6 months between tests).

Don't wait for the last minute to prepare - the IBEW is more advanced than most pre-apprenticeship tests, and the material takes time to sink in.

Here's how to prepare if you have set enough time in advance:

      1. Test your ability to calculate quickly (as described in tip #1 above).
      2. If you calculate slowly or inaccurately, spend at least several days taking off that rust. if not, jump straight to 3.
      3. Take specific, in-depth practice on each test topic (equations, number series, etc.)
      4. Make sure to go over reading tests during this time - remember - they constitute half your score!
      5. At least 1 week before your test, start practicing with timed, full-length simulations.


#7 - Even If You Began Studying at the Last  Minute - You Can Still Pass!

Although it is certainly better to start preparing in advance, don't give up if you have procrastinated.

It will naturally be a bigger challenge - your plan will have to be more intensive and be structured differently.

Here's how to prepare if you have just a couple of days:

      1. Take 1 full-length, timed simulation test of the IBEW aptitude test.
      2. Identify weaker areas in reading and math.
      3. If you did not finish the test on time, focus on developing shortcut techniques.
      4. Take topic-specific practice drills to improve those areas.
      5.  Go back to 1 and repeat.


#8 - Read Whenever You Can

You can study for the NJATC Aptitude test (The National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee) even when you are not actively preparing.


Read. As much as you can, whenever you can.

Don't just skim-read. Ask yourself questions about what you just read. Try to draw conclusions from the text, detect its fallacies, or summarize it in your own words. Your ability to solve reading comprehension test will skyrocket, and you wouldn't even notice.

One last tip - read things you disagree with - will make the entire process a challenge you might even enjoy (heaven forbid).

Prepare & Land Your Apprenticeship!

  • Accurate - 3 Full-length simulations of the IBEW Aptitude Test
  • Focused - Practice what you need and only what you need. Focus on solving speed and shortcuts
  • Personalization - A diagnostic test to focus you on the most important topics
  • In-Depth - More than 800 practice questions grouped by topic
I’ve failed the test 2 times, this is the most accurate thing I could find, and I’m really glad I did, I feel like that takes away some of the test anxiety.

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The IBEW Apprenticeship Interview

After passing the NJATC aptitude test, the you will face the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers interview with the electrical training alliance.

What can I expect in the interview?

Be aware that the exact stages and structure of the interview may differ from one local to another. In some areas, you will have to undergo two interviews – a mechanical interview and an oral interview.

If the electrical training alliance will invite you to a mechanical interview, expect to be asked about several basic mechanical principles and perhaps even physically assemble or fix some decomposed parts. Candidates indicate that the mechanical interview questions and problems aren’t complicated regarding basic things like climbing a ladder or swinging a hammer. They also state that the instructors tend to be helpful and compassionate even if you don’t get something exactly right.

The oral interview is more classical. You will be asked about yourself and your previous experience.

When will I get the interview invitation?

That depends on the IBEW recruitment cycle. Some people wait for more than a year for an interview with the electrical training alliance.

How can I prepare for my interview?

Preparing for an interview is highly important, especially when the available spots are limited and the competition is fierce. Make sure to go through mechanical principles before the mechanical interview and that you know how to answer classic interview questions with confidence.

For more info and prep for your upcoming interview, visit our behavioral interview page.


The Electrician Apprenticeship Program

During the electrical apprenticeship program, you will go through training with the electrical training alliance both in the classroom and on the job. The scope of training varies depending on field and location, but the general standard is:

      • Classroom – Classes will include 575-1,000 hours.
      • Field training – Between 8,000 to 10,000 hours.
The Four Main Electrical Trades Requiring an Apprenticeship

Inside Wiremen

The majority of the inside wireman’s work deals with connecting customer’s electrical equipment to the inner power network.

Outside Wireman

An outside wireman’s training and work focus on transmission lines, distribution systems, and connection to end-users.

Residential Wireman

The residential wireman’s job is very similar to the inside wireman. The difference is that while the latter focuses on commercial and industrial systems, the former specializes in residential ones.

Installer Technician

Specializes in low-voltage systems connected to the high-voltage electricity system like sound, CCTV, or signaling systems.



IBEW Aptitude Test Sample Practice Questions & Answers


IBEW Math Sample Questions

Sample Algebraic Equations Question

Consider the following formula: A = B + 3 ( 4 – C )
If B equals 5 and C equals 2, what is the value of A?

  1. 7
  2. 11
  3. 12
  4. 17


Answer and Explanation

In a case where values for all variables but one are given, it is recommended to start by replacing them all with their values:

A = 5 + 3(4 - 2) = 5 + 3x2 = 11

The answer is, therefore, B.

Sample Polynomials Question

(A-5)2 x (A2-25) = ?

  1. (A-5)4
  2. (A-5)2 x (A+5)2
  3. (A-5)3 x (A+5)
  4. (A4-125)


Answer and Explanation

Looking at the second element, we can see that it follows the well-known form of:

(a2-b2) = (a-b) x (a+b), namely:

(A2-25) = (A-5) x (A+5).

Therefore, the complete expression equals:

(A-5)2 x (A-5) x (A+5) = (A-5)3 x (A+5)

The correct answer is C.

Sample Functions Question

Consider the following table:

9 1
18 2
27 3
36 4
45 5

Which of the following choices represents the same relationship as demonstrated in this table?

  1. Y = 2X + 1
  2. Y is equivalent to the sum of the value X and a constant C, where C equals 3.
  3. X Y
    2 0.222
    3 0.333
    6 0.666
    10 1.111
  4. IBEW Aptitude Test Sample Question


Answer and Explanation

As can be seen from the table, the relationship is Y = X / 9:

1 = 9 / 9
2 = 18 / 9
3 = 27 / 9
4 = 36 / 9
5 = 45 / 9

Answer (A) is incorrect because if Y = 2X + 1, then when X = 9, Y = 19 instead of 1.

Answer (B) is incorrect because if Y = X + 3, then when X = 9, Y = 12 instead of 1.

Answer (D) is incorrect because in the given table, X is always greater than Y, and in the graph, Y is always greater than X.

Only answer (C) represents the same relationship:

2/9 = 0.222

3/9 = 0.333

6/9 = 0.666

10/9 = 1.111

Therefore, the correct answer is C.

Sample Number Series Question

144 | 73 | 18 | 10 | 520 | ?

  1. 76
  2. 146
  3. 247
  4. 261


Answer and Explanation

Every two terms are a pair. The first number is divided by two and then increased by 1 in order to produce the second term.

144/2+1 = 73
18/2+1 = 10
250/2+1 = 261

Therefore, the correct answer is D.

Sample Inequalities Question

If |3x + 8| > 12, which of the following represents all possible values of x?

  1. x < -20/3; x > 4/3
  2. -20/3 < x < 4/3
  3. x > -4/3
  4. x < -20/3


Answer and Explanation

If |3x + 8| > 12, then there could be two options:

3x + 8 > 12 OR 3x + 8 < -12.

Let's look at each option separately:

3x + 8 > 12

After combining like terms we yield 3x > 4

After dividing both sides of the inequality by 3, the result is x > 4/3.

3x + 8 < -12

By implementing the exact same process, we yield x < -20/3.

Remember: Both answers are possible!

Therefore, the correct answer is A.


IBEW Verbal Sample Question

Sample Reading Comprehension Question

Last year, road fatalities decreased by 9%. According to the latest figures published by the Department of Transportation today, this year has seen the lowest number of deaths in road traffic since records began. However, road deaths are only the tip of the iceberg, because for every death on US roads there are 10 serious injuries such as damage to the brain or spinal cord. Country by country statistics shows that the number of road deaths per year still varies greatly across the US with the countries reporting the lowest number of fatalities being California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Maine, with only 30 deaths per million inhabitants. Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and users in certain age groups, notably the elderly, are particularly affected by serious road injuries.

Which of the following statements is correct?

  1. Cyclists should be banned from riding on the roads.
  2. More animals are killed by cars than by pedestrians.
  3. Road deaths are on the rise in Vermont.
  4. There are more serious injuries than deaths.


Answer and Explanation

Option D is correct. This is what the text states: "for every death... there are 10 serious injuries".


Need More Practice? Click the link below to access our free interactive IBEW sample test.




If you want to become an electrician, there’s no way around the IBEW Aptitude Test. But if you have it in you to take on a professional, technical and demanding career, you definitely have it in you to pass that aptitude test.

All you need is some guidance and a lot of practice. JobTestPrep's accurate IBEW practice tests give you the best, most comprehensive practice you need to pass and get the apprenticeship.

Electrical Aptitude Test FAQs 


What Does the IBEW Aptitude Test Consist Of? 

The training committee had officially published that IBEW Aptitude Test contains 2 topics, divided into 6 sub-topics: 


  • Algebraic Equations 
  • Functions 
  • Polynomials 
  • Inequalities and Systems of Equations 
  • Number Series 

Verbal Reasoning 

  • Reading Comprehension 

For official IBEW sample test go to IBEW 692.

For JobTestPrep free IBEW sample test go to IBEW Sample Test.

How Many Questions Are on the IBEW Aptitude Test?

The test contains a total of 69 questions: 33 questions on the math section and 36 questions on the verbal section. 


Is the IBEW Aptitude Test the Same for All Locals?

Yes. The IBEW Tests is the standard tool of measurement for apprentices in the electrical industry and is therefore identical among all IBEW locals across the U.S.


How Long Does the IBEW Aptitude Test Take?

The IBEW Aptitude Test takes a total of 97 minutes - 46 minutes for the math section and 51 minutes for the verbal section.


How Long After Application Do You Get a Test Date?

Although this number can change based depending on the number of applicants for a particular local, applicants report it usually takes around 8-10 weeks.


How Long After the Test Will I Get My Score?

Depending on the candidate volume, electrical training alliance return score of the IBEW Aptitude Test usually between 2-4 weeks after the test.


What Is the Passing Score of the IBEW Aptitude Test?

The qualifying score of the IBEW Aptitude Test is 4/9.

Note that this is NOT to say 44% of the questions. It is an internal scale of the IBEW which eliminates those who scored at the bottom third (3/9) of test-takers.

With an ever-growing competition for open apprenticeships, a GOOD score on the IBEW Aptitude Test, to put you in a competitive position for an apprenticeship, is way above that 4/9 threshold.


Can I Use A Calculator on the IBEW Aptitude Test?

No. The use of a calculator of any kind is not allowed. You may use a pen and scratch paper.

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