IBEW Aptitude Test: Expert Advice on How to Pass

Want to know how to pass the IBEW Aptitude Test? We’ve got you covered in this guide.

Here you’ll find everything you need to prepare and be sure you’re ready to go once it’s test time.

In this free IBEW Aptitude Test prep guide, we’ll provide you with:

  • A full explanation of what the test entails
  • Sample questions so you’ll know exactly what to expect
  • 4 pro tips to dramatically increase your odds of passing

You can find some of the best IBEW practice tests here.

IBEW aptitude test

What’s an IBEW Aptitude Test?

Let’s start from the top. IBEW stands for The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

It’s a labor union that represents roughly three-quarters of a million electrical workers, as well as those who are retired from the industry.

The IBEW Aptitude Test is required for anyone applying for an apprenticeship with the organization so they can eventually become a licensed electrician.

In total, the test consists of 69 questions, which are divided into two sections — math and reading comprehension.

Section 1 – Math

The first section contains 33 questions about:

  • Algebra
  • Functions
  • Polynomials
  • Inequalities
  • Number series

Here you’ll be tested on your knowledge of basic math and will need to have an understanding of elementary algebra and problem-solving.

Calculators are not allowed for this part of the test, and you have 46 minutes to answer the 33 questions.

Section 2 – Reading comprehension

The second section contains 36 questions. This part of the IBEW Aptitude Test is designed to see how well you absorb information from text.

Here you’ll read different passages and be asked relevant questions afterward, where you’ll need to:

  • Recall specific information
  • Summarize key points
  • Draw conclusions

Note that the reading comprehension section won’t necessarily involve electrician-related information. The purpose is simply to gauge your ability to read, retain, and recall information.

It’s heavy on deductive reasoning, which you can learn more about here.

You’ll be given 51 minutes to answer the 36 questions from this section.

Grand total, you have just over 1 ½ hours to complete the test. But to administer the entire test, it may take as much as 3 hours.

It’s also recommended that you show up about 15 minutes early to settle in and get fully prepared.

IBEW aptitude test

What you need to know for IBEW Aptitude Test prep

First of all, you must take the test in-person. While testing will be done on a computer, it’s not one you can take at home. 

Whoever is administering the test will give you the address for the closest location before you take the exam so you’ll know exactly where to take it.

In terms of scoring, you aren’t penalized for wrong answers. Rather, your score is strictly determined by how many questions you answer correctly.

There’s also no set score you have to reach in order to pass.

Instead, you need to be in the top 45% of test takers to pass. So, out of nine test takers, you would need to be in the top four.

The higher you score, however, the better, as this will be taken into consideration later on when applying for an electrician apprenticeship and when you’re looking for a job.

Therefore, you don’t want to have a “bare minimum” mindset and do everything you can to reach the top percentile.

In the event that you don’t pass, you’ll be given the chance to retake the IBEW Aptitude Test after six months. And you can retake it multiple times if necessary.

IBEW aptitude test questions and answers

To give you a better idea of exactly what to expect, let’s look at some IBEW Aptitude Test practice questions…

Sample test question 1

Here’s one involving number patterns for the first section on math.

  • What number would follow this sequence of numbers: 98, 100, 105, 107, 112?

A) 92

B) 96

C) 114

D) 117


The correct answer is “C) 114”

In this sequence:

  • The numbers 98 to 100 go up 2 digits
  • 100 to 105 then goes down 5 digits
  • 105 to 107 goes up 2 digits
  • 107 to 112 goes down 5 digits

So, following this pattern, the next number would go up two digits again, meaning 112 would go up to 114.

Start practicing now with these IBEW Aptitude Practice Tests!

Sample test question 2

Here’s a sample question directly from IBEW for the second section on reading comprehension.

Click here to view the the reading comprehension passage.

  • From the passage when was the sun directly overhead at noon in Edzna?

A) Only on August 13

B) Only on July 26

C) August 13 and one other day

D) July 26 and one other day


The answer for this question is “D) July 26 and one other day”

IBEW aptitude test: 3 minute overview video

Have a watch of this bitesize video from JobTestPrep on what to expect and how to prepare.

Visit their webpage for more information and practice tests.

How to pass your IBEW Aptitude Test: 4 pro tips for success

#1: Practice by timing yourself

You only have around 1.4 minutes to answer each question on this test. This limited amount of time can stress some people out, which can lower their performance. 

To become more comfortable with the limited time, try practicing your answers in advance while timing yourself.

That way, you’ll be better prepared when you’re doing the real thing and should feel more relaxed.

We mentioned a couple of sample questions above, but you can get more tailormade IBEW aptitude practice tests here.

#2: Prioritize your math testing by topic

Although the IBEW doesn’t openly state which topics of the math section of the test they focus on the most, actual test takers say that it usually breaks down as follows:

  1. Equations
  2. Polynomials
  3. Number series
  4. Functions
  5. Inequalities

So that should give you a good idea of what they consider most important and how to approach your preparation.

Equations and polynomials should be at the top of your list, while inequalities should be at the bottom.

You can practice numerical reasoning tests here.

IBEW aptitude test prep

#3: Do plenty of reading before the test

A big part of effective IBEW Aptitude Test practice for reading comprehension is simply immersing yourself in books. 

If you’re not an avid reader, spend at least a few weeks beforehand reading consistently so that you can move through text more fluidly and retain more information.

You can find helpful tips on verbal reasoning here and numerical reasoning here.

And you can practice verbal reasoning tests here.

#4: If you get stuck, guess and move on

Due to the limited time of this test, you can’t afford to get hung up on a single question because it’s going to throw off the rest of your testing. 

Remember that scoring is done by adding up how many questions you get correct — not which ones you get wrong.

If you just can’t figure a particular question out, your best bet is to take your best guess and keep moving.

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