CAST Graphic Arithmetic Test
The CAST exam is required of potential hires at many construction and utilities companies. The graphic arithmetic test is one of the four tests that make up the CAST exam. It measures your skill and expertise in interpreting visual data and performing basic arithmetic calculations.
Where Can I Register for the CAST Exam?
While the CAST exam is the same no matter where you take it, it’s not administered by any central organization in the same way that the SAT or ACT are. Instead, the company where you are applying for the job will administer the test to you. So registering for it is just a matter of scheduling an appointment with your potential employer to take the test.
What Will the Test Day Be Like?
There are a few general guidelines that will hold true no matter where you are taking the test. Those guidelines include:
- The test will always be pencil and paper based.
- The full exam will last roughly two hours. 30 minutes of that is allocated for the graphic arithmetic test.
- No calculators, dictionaries, or other study aids will be allowed in the exam room.
- Everything that you will need for the test will be provided for you so you don’t need to bring anything except your photo ID.
- Any questions you have about the exam need to be asked before you begin taking it.
- It’s advisable to show up 15-30 minutes before your actual appointment to check in.
However, you should expect some variation depending on which company you are taking the test with. In order to get more specific details about test day, you should have a list of questions prepared when you call to schedule your exam appointment. Here are a few good questions you might want to ask:
- What forms of ID will you accept?
- What is the minimum cutoff score allowed? (more on this below)
- Can you provide accommodations for disabilities?
- What is your retake policy? (more on this below)
What Topics Are Covered on the Graphic Arithmetic Section of the CAST Exam?
This section of the test measures your ability to solve arithmetic problems based on information from prints and drawings. You will encounter a lot of floor plans, blueprints, and other types of drawings and prints that are relevant to construction and skilled trades.
There are just 16 questions on this section but they will ask you to apply the following skills which can be challenging:
- Basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.)
- Elementary algebra (based on high school level algebra curriculum)
- Interpretation of visual information
The test will feature two separate drawings with a series of questions based upon each drawing. You will have 30 minutes to examine the drawings and respond to the questions about them. So you need to have all the algebraic formulas memorized and be able to quickly complete basic arithmetic calculations.
How Is the Exam Scored?
All four sections together will be given a total score ranging from 1 to 10. This is a weighted score that measures your ability to perform the tasks required in most construction and skilled trade jobs. Beyond that, it measures your potential to learn more and improve upon those skills.
You want to get as close to 10 as possible but the actual minimum score you need depends on the employer. Each company sets their own cutoff score so you need to find out what their specific requirements are and then build your study plan around achieving that target score.
How Should I Prepare for the Graphic Arithmetic Section?
The actual math in this section should be fairly familiar since it is largely made up of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The more challenging part is going to be developing your skills at working with prints and drawings.
Whatever your current command level is for these skills, you will definitely need to work on your speed. While this section does allow the most time per question, it’s still not a lot of time to get through the whole test.
To reinforce the core mathematical processes and the strategies for interpreting and using common graphic representations, you should use the Mometrix study guide. It provides clear and to-the-point explanations of what you can expect to see on the test as well as tips and secrets for cracking the more difficult questions on this section.
In addition to the study guide, you should use Mometrix flashcards in order to improve your memory and strengthen your ability to evaluate and respond to questions faster. This is especially valuable for memorizing formulas and common calculations. Make sure to use the proven flashcard method provided along with the set to get the best results in the shortest amount of time.
Upgrade your studying with our CAST study guide and flashcards:
CAST Study Guide