The Construction and Skilled Trade Selection System or CAST exam is used as an employment test by many utilities companies in the U.S. for a wide variety of jobs including but not limited to transmission and distribution, electrical repair, machining and vehicle repair, facilities and repair, meter service and repair, and other facilities. It is maintained, although not administrated, by the EEI or Edison Electric Institute. Each company using this exam administers and uses it in their own way.
Who is Eligible?
Utility companies that use this exam make their own requirements on who can and/or should take it. Many choose to have all potential employees take it, while other may only require those within certain categories to do.
They may also require you to fulfill other requirements, such as education or experience to be able to take this exam. Please check with your potential employee as to what these requirements might be.
Some companies may also require you to pay an examination fee for the CAST exam. This is to be determined by that company as well as if a reimbursement will be given if you receive a passing score or get hired through them.
When and Where is it taken?
As this exam is most often given to those applying to certain utility companies by that employer, this exam can be scheduled year-round at many different locations throughout the nation. Your prospective employer will notify you about times, dates, and locations where you will take this exam.
What Should I Bring?
As with any scheduled event or exam, it is important to arrive on time and prepared. Specific companies may make certain requirements as to how early you should be and what the arrival process looks like.
All companies using this exam are required to have you show a valid and current photo ID at the testing center. This must contain your full name as it appears on you application, your signature, and a recent and recognizable.
Any and all personal items are prohibited in the testing area. This includes cell phones, food and drink, calculators, or any study materials. All items needed to complete the exam and all of its sections will be provided for you.
What Topics are Covered?
The CAST exam consists of 110 multiple choice questions broken into four section. You are given about 87 minutes to complete the entire exam.
Below is a brief outline of the exam and the topic that it covers, as well as then number of questions and minutes given in each section.
16 questions/30 minutes
This section has two drawings or graphics to represent certain information. Several questions will follow each drawing, asking you to solve basic arithmetic problems.
44 questions/20 questions
Each of these questions will include a pictorial description of a mechanical situation. You will be asked to understand basic mechanical principles based on these.
Reading for Comprehension
4 reading passages and 32 questions/30 minutes
Each reading passages will be followed by several multiple-choice questions about the passage.
18 questions/7 minutes
These questions will expect you to solve basic mathematic problems using information that will be provided at the beginning of the exam.
How is it Scored?
Some companies will have the exam scored by hand while others will have it scored by machines. The timing of this depends solely on the company providing the exam.
Your score is calculated by combining the results of all four sections into a single Index Score. This is then reported on a scale of one to ten. Your scaled score helps to predict whether or not you will succeed in a certain position.
Each company will decide what the passing score required is. It is important to note that a great score on this exam does not always mean that you will be hired or that you will succeed in that job. Therefore, it is a good idea to understand your potential employers’ expectations and requirements for approval.
Each company will also regulate if and when you are allowed to retake the CAST exam if you do not pass on your first attempt. Some, like Southern Company make you wait at least 45 days while Duke Energy has a 90 day waiting period.
How Can I Prepare for the CAST Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!