CAST Mathematical Usage Practice Test

The CAST exam is an aptitude test designed to help companies select new hires with high potential to perform the job. Because of that, the questions are exclusively focused on the skills and knowledge that you need on the job. That is true for the mathematical usage section as well, which contains core mathematical concepts that are extremely relevant for most construction and skilled trade positions.


When and Where Can I Register for the CAST Exam?

After applying for a job, a potential employer will tell you whether or not they require candidates to take this exam. If they do require it, you will schedule your appointment through the company directly. They will also be the ones who administer the test.

What Is the Test Day Process Like?

While each company will have their own unique procedures and requirements, there are a few things that will be consistent no matter where you take the test:

  • The length of the entire test will be about two hours but you’ll only have seven minutes to complete the mathematical usage section.
  • The test is entirely paper-and-pencil based.
  • Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early with your photo ID. Call in advance to find out what forms of ID they accept.
  • You shouldn’t bring any personal items in with you, not even a pencil. All the materials you need for the test will be provided for you.
  • Do not bring a calculator, dictionary, or anything else for the test. You won’t be allowed to use them.

Any additional information you need to know (including any accommodations for disabilities that you might need) you’ll have to find out by calling up the potential employer and asking.
What Kind of Math Will Be on the Mathematical Usage Section?

All of the questions on this section will be focused on the math that you would be most likely to actually use in the day to day duties of your job. So that means you’ll need to brush up on the following subjects:

  • Basic arithmetic including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • High school level algebra
  • Measurements, including the ability to convert between different kinds of measurements

How Will the Exam Be Scored?

You will receive one cumulative score for the entire CAST exam. This score will range from 1-10 with 10 being the best possible result. This number might seem low since there are significantly more than 10 questions on the exam. However, that is because it is not an exact measure of your performance on each section.

Instead, it’s a measure of your relative potential to perform the job for which you are applying. There is no universal minimum established but every employer will have their own minimum cutoff.

The best way to make sure you get it right the first time is to do the following:

  1. Ask the employer what their cutoff score is.
  2. Take a practice exam without any prior studying (remember to time it as it would be timed on test day).
  3. Score your practice exam to see where you are at right now without studying (and to see which sections of the exam are your weakest subjects).
  4. Create a study plan that will get you from where you are right now up to (or above) that cutoff score.

You can usually retake the exam if necessary though different companies will have different policies on this. However, it’s always better to just get it right the first time around so you can get it over with. The process mentioned above will help you do that.

What’s the Best Way to Study for the Mathematical Usage Section?

Studying math is a two part process that involves memorizing formulas and rules and then practicing their application across a lot of sample problems. For the CAST exam, you have the additional requirement of learning to apply those formulas and rules under extreme time constraints.

Since you will have just seven minutes to answer 18 questions, you need to develop strategies for fast calculations as well as the ability to evaluate the answer without having to actually work through the math.

That is where the Mometrix study guide will come in handy. With it, you’ll be able to refresh your memory on all of the core concepts in arithmetic, algebra, and common measurements. It also provides proven strategies for picking the right answer using rapid reasoning and deduction skills rather than time-consuming calculations.

Of course, you will still have to do some calculations and work through some problems using the formulas and rules you studied so you should also get a set of Mometrix flashcards that can help you commit those mathematical concepts to memory as well as better recognize which problems require which formulas or rules.

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