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The Construction and Skilled Trade Selection System examination (CAST) is maintained by the Edison Electric Institute, a trade organization founded in 1933 which represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies.[1] The EEI maintains several different test batteries which focus on skill areas related to energy industry jobs. The CAST focuses on skills relevant to positions in transmission and distribution, facilities and repair, electrical repair, machining and vehicle repair, and meter service and repair. These skills include graphic arithmetic, mathematical usage, mechanical concepts, and reading comprehension.[2]

Function of the Test

CAST Study Guide

The CAST is administered as an employment test by individual utility companies. It is not administered directly by its creator, EEI.[3] Utility companies use the examination to measure job applicants' aptitude in skill areas relevant to skilled trade positions.[4] Because the CAST is administered by individual utility companies, the EEI does not report the number of people who take the examination each year or how well these test takers perform. However, the EEI represents hundreds of companies and organizations across the United States which together employ more than 500,000 people, so the CAST is likely taken by several thousand job applicants per year.[1]

Test Administration

CAST Flashcards

The CAST has four sections: Graphic Arithmetic,[5] Mathematical Usage,[6] Mechanical Concepts,[7] and Reading for Comprehension.[8]

The CAST is administered by individual utility companies as part of each company's job application process.[3] As such, the conditions and regulations for the examination vary widely. Some standard policies exist, however. EEI states that test takers must bring photo identification to any EEI employment examination. Furthermore, test takers are not allowed to bring a calculator or dictionary; all materials required to take the test are provided by the test administrator.[9]

Other test regulations vary from company to company. For example, Southern Company states that job applicants may retake the examinaton every 45 days if invitated to do so,[10] while Duke Energy specifies a 90-day waiting period before a retest.[11] Job applicants should contact their prospective employers directly to inquire about test dates and locations, retesting policies, and possible fees related to taking the CAST.

There are no standardized accommodations for test takers with special needs, but most companies which offer the CAST state that they will provide appropriate accommodations upon request. For example, CenterPoint Energy states that "[i]n accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if you have a disability that you feel may require special arrangements to take a test, please let us know at the time you are invited to a test session."[12]

Test Format

Distribution of questions on the CAST exam[5][6][7][8]
Section Length Time
Graphic Arithmetic 16 questions 30 minutes
Mathematical Usage 18 questions 7 minutes
Mechanical Concepts 44 questions 20 minutes
Reading for
3 reading passages
+ 32 questions
30 minutes
Total 110 questions 87 minutes

Test Environment

EEI doesn't administer tests, so the test environment may vary depending on where candidates are applying. The tests will be administered by the company that the candidate is applying at.[13]

Test Structure

The Construction and Skilled Trades Exam usually lasts about two hours, and consists of four different batteries. The exam's four parts include Graphic Arithmetic, Mechanical Concepts, Reading for Comprehension, and Mathematical Usage. Test takers will take this test with paper and pencil, however it is available to be scored either by machine or by hand.[14]

Sample Questions

More free CAST help.


Depending on the preference of the company administering the test, the CAST may be scored by hand or by machine. Candidates' results on the four sections of the CAST are combined into a single Index Score which is reported on a scale ranging from 1 to 10. This Index Score is used to predict a candidate's probability of succeeding in a given position.[2]

EEI does not clearly report whether there is a penalty for guessing on the CAST. However, they suggest that test takers make educated guesses on difficult multiple choice questions,[9] which implies that guessing is not penalized. EEI also does not report exactly how the Index Score is calculated, so it is not clear whether one section may be weighted more heavily than any other.

Because the CAST is an employment exam designed to measure candidates' aptitude for a wide range of jobs, there is no single "passing score." Individual companies are free to set their own score cutoffs for a given position, and due to the competitive nature of the job application process, successful performance on the CAST does not guarantee employment.[2]


  1. ^ a b About EEI. March 20 2014
  2. ^ a b c Construction And Skilled Trades Selection System Online Brochure. March 20 2014
  3. ^ a b EEI's Employment Test Batteries. March 20 2014
  4. ^ Industry Employment Testing. March 20 2014
  5. ^ a b Construction and Skilled Trades: Graphic Arithmetic. (Click "Graphic Arithmetic" in sidebar.) March 20 2014
  6. ^ a b Construction and Skilled Trades: Mathematical Usage. (Click "Mathematical Usage" in sidebar.) March 20 2014
  7. ^ a b Construction and Skilled Trades: Mechanical Concepts. (Click "Mechanical Concepts" in sidebar.) March 20 2014
  8. ^ a b Construction and Skilled Trades: Reading for Comprehension. (Click "Reading for Comprehension" in sidebar.) March 20 2014
  9. ^ a b Test-Taking Tips. March 20 2014
  10. ^ Southern Company Employment Testing. March 20 2014
  11. ^ Duke Energy Employment Tests. March 20 2014
  12. ^ Center Point Energy: EEI Testing. March 20 2014
  13. ^ EEI Tests 19 June 2014
  14. ^ CAST Content 19 June 2014

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