PG&E's Industrial Skill Test Practice

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PG&E's Industrial Skills Test

The Industrial Skills Test assesses job applicants’ ability to follow work instructions and engage in basic problem-solving issues often faced in industrial environments. Based on applicants’ responses to questions formulated in texts, tables, and diagrams, the IST aims to predict how successful job candidates will be in industrial and manufacturing roles. To determine their professional aptitude, the test specifically measures such qualities in job candidates as conscientiousness, quality orientation, self-management, and sociability. In order to evaluate applicants’ industrial skills with better precision, the IST is divided into three parts:  the Reading Comprehension Test; the Working with Numbers, Charts, and Graphs Test; and the Mechanical Principle Test.    

The Reading Comprehension Test

This test was designed to estimate your ability to read and comprehend written instructions. It consists of 25 questions which you will need to answer within 30 minutes. In this test, you will read several short passages and answer questions about them, selecting answers from several alternatives.  You may find it helpful to scan quickly a list of questions at the bottom of the text so that you automatically pay closer attention to certain pieces of information, while you read.

The Working with Numbers, Charts, and Graphs Test

This test measures your ability to draw appropriate conclusions from information derived from graphs, tables, and charts. It also asks you to solve basic mathematical problems that will require from you to make such operations as adding, subtraction, multiplying, and division.  Timed at 30 minutes, this test consists of 25 items.  

The Mechanical Principle Test

This assessment is for technical and engineering roles. It estimates how well you understand mechanical concepts and principles, and how you use them to make deductions and inferences. In each question, you will need to demonstrate that you understand concepts such as diagrams, models, or principles. You will also need to show that you know how to use these concepts and what decisions to make in using them. The test evaluates your knowledge across many areas, including gravity, pressure, energy transformation, kinetic or potential energy, and circuit diagrams. There are 36 questions in the test, which you need to answer within 20 minutes.

Consisting of several parts, the Industrial Skills Test presents considerable difficulties and challenges. Do not jeopardize your chances of scoring high on your PG&E pre-employment assessment by coming to the test unprepared. Practice with our all-inclusive PrepPack™, succeed on the IST, and give yourself an opportunity to impress the company’s employers in the interview.

PG&E IST Sample Questions

Reading Comprehension Sample

The dramatic increase in the number of nursing students in tertiary education institutes indicates a definite boost in the number of expected graduates in a couple of years, which is in direct contrast to the shrinking trend that characterized the previous decade. The problematic issue of job placement following graduation is expected to get worse over the following years as job demand exceeds supply. Hospitals, the main employer for nursing graduates, will need to become creative in the way they absorb the new recruits to ensure proper experience is gained whilst providing opportunities for most graduates.

Which one of the following provides the best summary of the main point of the passage?

Job placement for nurses is expected to be problematic
A dramatic rise in numbers of nursing students ahs been observed.
There is a contradictory trend in nursing schools today
Hospitals will need to absorb new recruits creatively 
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The passage focuses on a future, emerging trend: In the next two years there will be a greater amount of nursing school graduates looking for jobs; this will create a problem due to the lack of job opportunities for nurses. The only distracter targeting this trend is distracter A, which is the correct answer. Distracters B, C and D all describe different aspects of this emerging trend but fail to describe the trend itself.



Tables and Graphs Sample Question 

What is the value of (I)?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is B.

The first step in filling in missing values is to analyze the descriptions of the information given and figure out the relationships between them.

The CODE is a way to identify the type of inventory.
AMOUNT ON HAND refers to the number of units in the warehouse.
PROJECTED USAGE refers to number of units the company expects to use over the next period.
The PRICE tells us how much each unit costs.
MISSING likely refers to difference between the number of units in the warehouse and the number of units the company expects to use. If this is true, we would be able to formulate the equation:


We can now take a row with these given values to check that this equation is in fact correct.
We will use Row 1 (TPO-1923), as it is the only row with all of these values given.

712 – 694 = 18, which is in fact the value given to MISSING.

TOTAL COST may refer to the total cost of the inventory on hand, the total cost of the projected usage or the total cost of the missing inventory. If we divide the TOTAL COST of TPO-1923 by the PRICE, we will see that 342 ÷ 19 = 18 which represents the MISSING value. We can therefore conclude that:


Now that we have identified the correct equations, we simply need to place the correct numbers into the equations to find the missing values.

(I) is the MISSING value for item TPO-1780.
If we place the values given into equation (1) we will get: 81 – 13 = 68.


Question 2

Which ball will hit the ground first?

Free Mechanical Aptitude Test
Answer and Explanation

You might have guessed that the correct answer, in this case, is also that both balls will hit the floor at the exact same moment. But why?

Initially, it seems like a completely different question. Both balls have the same weight, but their trajectories are different. However, the physical principle about free falling remains the same – the falling speed of both balls is equal.

HORIZONTALLY, the blue ball is moving faster, and that's why it will land farther from the table, but VERTICALLY, they are both falling at the exact same speed, so the answer doesn't change.

The physical principle: The free-fall speed of two falling objects is always identical, regardless of shape, size, or mass. 

PG&E Hiring Process

PG&E’s hiring process has several stages.

Phone Interview

After you apply online by submitting your résumé and application form, you will have a phone interview with a PG&E recruiter. This interview will revolve around your work history and career goals. Another option PG&E offers to job applicants is to have an online video recording interview instead of a phone interview. The pre-recorded interview webcam session contains five or six questions. You will be given one minute to prepare for each question and three minutes to record it. Although this interview may be less personal than a phone interview, you may correct your answers and re-record as many times as you want. Most of the questions will assess your behavior in specific situations.

The Industrial Skills Test (IST)

After your initial interview, you will be sent a link to the Industrial Skills Test. This test consists of three parts: reading comprehension, working with numbers, charts, and graphs, and the mechanical principle test. All three sections are administered in one session.

In some case, in addition to the IST, you may be required to pass the FCC license test.

Face-to-Face Interview

If you score high on your Industrial Skills Test, you will be invited to a face-to-face interview with the company’s representatives. As a rule, the personal interview at PG&E takes the form of a panel. You will have a conversation with a manager of Human Resources and your prospective managers. Sometimes, the interview panel will be divided into two parts, giving you an opportunity to speak with six PG&E’s employers. Interviewers will describe the duties and responsibilities that you will have if you get hired. Prepare also to answer behavioral and competency-based questions in the STAR format. PG&E’s interviewers may also ask you to describe your behavior and reaction in specified situational scenarios. Other questions posed in the face-to-face interview are technical in nature or about safety rules. You will be asked to give EVMS calculation data or analyze the code that you have prepared at home. Alternatively, you may be invited to make a PowerPoint slide presentation that you will submit prior to the interview. Overall, this interview may last from 90 minutes to four hours.

If you receive a job offer at PG&E, you will need to do a drug test within 72 business hours.

PG&E Interview Questions

The hiring process at PG&E is manifold. Apart from asking job applicants to take the IST, PG&E’s recruiters schedule two interviews for them, provided their test results are satisfactory. The first interview is conducted either on the phone or via webcam. You will need either to answer a recruiter’s questions about your work experience or reply to pre-recorded questions on the computer.

The second interview is a face-to-face panel conversation with several managers. To gather all the relevant information about candidates’ ability to perform required tasks, PG&E’s employers use the STAR technique, believing that this format can better predict future performance at work than a traditional interview. The STAR interview format is a behavioral technique and contains the following components:

  • Situation: You will be required to talk about a challenging situation which you experienced at your previous workplace.
  • Task: The interviewer will want to know what you were trying to achieve during the challenging situation. In answering questions about the tasks, emphasize your motivation to perform well.
  • Actions: The interviewer will want to know what exactly you did in the challenging situation and what were the alternative actions available to you. You will need to explain why you chose to act as you did.
  • Results: You will need to elaborate on what you achieved through your actions and tell the recruiter how you met your objectives. Prepare also to tell what you learned from your experience.

In addition to describing your behavior in the challenging situation, get ready to talk about safety in the workplace. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the company’s safety rules before you set a foot in the interview room and think over a safety story which you will tell PG&E’s recruiters. Other questions will be technical. Below are questions asked by the company’s interviewers:

  • Describe a time where you went above and beyond to ensure the completion of a project.
  • Describe a time when you had to handle a task with little direction from your managers.
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What makes you a great candidate?
  • Describe a time when you worked with someone with whom you did not get along. What was the outcome of the conflict and what did you do to help resolve it?
  • What are three attributes you have that make you a good fit for the applied position?
  • What is meant by improving?
  • What are set up time and operational time?
  • What is industrial engineering?
  • Give us an example of how you manage safety. 
  • Have you ever been faced with an immediate safety issue and how did you deal with it? 

Before you come to the interview, formulate answers to the questions listed above. Armed with smart answers, you will appear more confident and knowledgeable in the interview. When you respond to answers well, you are also likely to create a more lasting impression on interviewers, inspiring them to make you a job offer.  

PG&E Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Can I Retake the Industrial Skills Test If I Fail It?

You can retake the Industrial Skill Test after a certain waiting period. If you failed the IST once, you will have your second attempt three months after. You are permitted to take your third attempt six months after the second. Subsequent attempts are allowed one year after the previous attempt. 

When Should I Take the Industrial Skills Test?

When you receive an email with a test key, you will have five days to take the IST. If you do not take it within five calendar days, the test will expire. The test will not be extended after this time. 

What Do I Do If I Receive Two Invitations for the Same Test?

If you receive duplicate invites for the same test, take it only once.

Can I Use a Calculator on the Industrial Skills Test?

You cannot use a calculator. You are permitted to use only a pen or pencil and some scratch paper on the exam.

PG&E’s hiring process is demanding. Passing the Industrial Skills Test and interviews is difficult and cannot be done without preparation. Practice with JobTestPrep’s exclusive PrepPack™, get ready for the IST, and stand head and shoulders above other applicants for your desired job position.

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