Friday, November 30, 2012

COAB and Bennett tests

I just took these two tests, and I am (almost) humiliated to have not done well-enough to "pass." I get to retake sometime soon, TBA. And expect (with reasonable hope) to do much better, especially now that I know what I am up against. That is the crux of this post. Maybe one of those poor souls searching around online for a little guidance will find something to help them. I sure didn't find much, or rather I found too much seeming advice in the wrong direction. Any advice or comments I make are from my own one-time experience. The test questions almost certainly change, although I am given to wonder if they change in type of question as well. These tests are both for industrial machine operator training, but I have read where they are applicable (and taken by) various job categories, from the armed forces to structural engineers. I took both tests today, although I imagine a person might take only one or the other, or maybe combined with other industry-specific tests. THIS PRACTICE TEST HELPED A LOT WITH BENNETT:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=994d01e560db146b&bpcl=39314241 First thing to know: these tests are timed sharply. With both tests, it is very important to realize you will be in a huge rush to finish on time. I have heard a few different things about that, and they can't all be right. Some have said you should take your time and be sure you are right. Others seem to say that you should go as fast as you can and do as many as possible, even if you don't feel confident, or even a guess. So in the end, I'm not sure how to advise, just to be aware. Bennett test (Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test): This is about 15 tests (of maybe 4-16 questions) in one, and I think the grades are merged together for the final score. Categories of questions included: Acoustics, Inertia, Belt Drive, Levers, Center of Gravity, Optics, Centrifugal Force, Planes and Slopes, Electricity, Pulley Systems, Gears, Resolution of Forces, Gravity and Velocity, Shape and Volume, Heat, Structures (such as arches), Hydraulics, and Miscellaneous Let me go thru each one from my experience today: 1- Acoustics - (can horn in a tunnel any louder than normal?) 2- Inertia – (I didn't notice any) 3- Belt Drive - (Belt A turns this way; how does Belt B turn?) 4- Levers – (I didn't notice any) 5- Center of Gravity – (Which loaded crane would tip over easier?) 6- Optics – (How would a pen look if half in water, A,B, or C) 7- Centrifugal Force – (What movement will mud travel when slung off a wheel.) 8- Planes and Slopes – (A winding path vesus a straight incline) 9- Electricity – (Which switch turns on ONLY bulb B. What set-up for 2 battaries is correct?) 10-Pulley Systems – (Does man A pull harder or man B in the same task?) 11- Gears - (If gear A turns this-a-way, which way will gear B turn? And which turns faster? which will have more complete rotations?) 12- Resolution of Forces – (I didn't notice any) 13- Gravity and Velocity – (if you throw a stone horizonally, will it land at the same time as one siply dropped?) 14- Shape and Volume - (What shape has more capacity for volumn, a box or a cylinder of the same width?) 15- Heat- (I didn't notice any) 16- Structures – (What kind of arch is strongest? Which bridge?) 17- Hydraulics – (wish rushing water, will a faster current "push" water up a pipe?) 18- Miscellaneous - (will a helicopter fly on the moon? how do you pull from beside a canal?) I advise everyone to study rudders (ride of a boat on water, shooting a bullet on the moon) I think I did fairly well here, as most of the test questions were "simple" physics and so-called mechanical common sense. However, neither of these tests should be taken for granted. Some of the points that were tricky (for me) were connecting multiple battaries and water pressure (hydraulics) questions. But how pullies work, what turning gears and belt do go eath other, one turning the other at what speed, but it also asked what direction mud slings off a raised bycycle wheel. Ah, that was a cintrifugal force question. COAB (Computer Operator Aptitude Battery): The COAB is really 3 tests in 1, and each is fairly seperate, although scored together. It requires no prior knowledge or even familiarity with programming, but is rather logical reasoning, ordering of events in sequence, following directions in formating, ability to follow complex procedures (flow charts), and attention to detail. First is sequences, second is formatting, and last is interpreting flow charts. Good (although inexact) Bennett resources: Google: mechreasoning sampletest (look for tlc and;jsessionid=aZyaYbQ9f3D9
Good resources for COAB (not exact): I could not find much help, and most of what I did find was inapplicable, not what was on the test, but there are a lot of Yes or No on the flow charts and I suggest sketching your own flow chart on scrap paper and go aheard and write in the outcomes at each point. It seems like you waste time, but it is quicker in the end. For the formatting, just remember to follow directions, all of them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Tiw's Day

I learned today that Tuesday comes from the Old English version of Tiw's Day, where Tiw is a Saxon war god. (Maybe THE Saxon war god? I dunno). Apparently, he is better known as the Norse god Tyr. Speaking of Tyr, have you seen this?: Sorry, I've been reading a bit about the historical background of the Druids. Oh, that reminds me, don't forget, the festival of Samhain is November 1st I have thought for a while of adding obscure holidays and celebrations to my calender. Well, obscure for my neck of the woods, anyway. Bastille Day on July 14, 1789 (also commemorating F. Scott Fitzgerald) The Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773 (grab a Sam Adams) First Contact Day on April 5, 2063 (the Vulcans land and meet humans) Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept 19 Do you nominate a poorly appreciated date?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

JHW: Stuck in our Part-Time Workers Economy

To continue my ongoing Job Hunt Woes series... Please listen to this radio show if you can. It really is a great discussion. It calls this a crisis. I agree completely. They also mention that this appears to be a "Chicken or the Egg?" sort of problem. Some people blame the employment scheme in the U.S. for the economy, while some blame the economy for this whole situation. I, myself, blame the ethics in modern America, whether they be business ethics, the ethics of the shoppers, and personal ethics. (I myself sail smoothly above these things ;-) I love their term: "the involuntary part-time workers". This show says less than 25% of Americans have a "normal" job, full-time, M thru Fri, 9-5 More specifically, I blame the prominance of corporations. I have had a theory for a while that corporations are the most unethical of businesses because they do not have accountability for moral decisions. No conscience. A traditional business has an owner who accepts responsibility for ethical decisions, whether the business choices are ethical or not. Imagine the CEO: he or she is responsible to the sharehlders, not their own conscience. On the other side, the shareholders do not consider themselves accountable, because they aren't involved directly in decisions. Irnoically, this broadcast came along soon after a (very good!) Climate Change discussion on NPR about that worldwide looming crisis, and saying how our day-to-day focus prevents us seeing the big picture of how dire the situation is. I am very lucky. I have a respite from this madness for myself, while I draw unemployment (which is another blog in itself: most people seem to be misinformed about it; they are giving you YOUR money back that they extracted from your employer)