Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test

The Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test (BMCT) measures aptitude to comprehend mechanical applications in realistic situations. The original form was published in 1940 by the Psychological Corporation and was developed to aid in training and employee selection as well as job performance predictions.

Currently, Form S and Form T of the BMCT are available. These forms were developed from previous forms and updated by editing the wording of earlier versions and increasing the range of item difficulty of questions. The two versions of the forms, S and T, are comparable. Both forms contain 68 items, each covering 18 categories of mechanical comprehension.

The BMCT is a paper-and-pencil test that contains items composed of pictures of simple mechanical concepts and questions regarding the pictures. Results can be used to discriminate aptitude in a range of mechanical applications as well as the level of comprehension of each application. The test also has been formatted into a videotape version for those with reading skills below the test’s sixth-grade reading level. A paper-and-pencil version in Spanish to be used with non-English-speaking test takers is also available.

Bennett Mechanical Comprehension TestReliability evidence is provided in the 1994 Manual for the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test, by George K. Bennett. The split-half reliability for both forms on samples of skilled-trade job applicants and technical and academic high school students ranges from .81 to .93. In addition, research found no practice effects after taking either Form S or Form T in close succession with an older version (BB) of the BMCT that included some items identical with those on the later forms.

Evidence of the validity of the BMCT includes scores on the BMCT Form S and Form T that correlated .63 with a job knowledge test for operators at a chemical plant. In addition, Michael Mount and his colleagues found, for two samples of college students in a laboratory work study, that scores on the BMCT correlated .58 and .51 with a simple mechanical task and .55 and .62 with a complex mechanical task. Research by Paul Muchinsky also found that compared with the Flanagan Aptitude Classification Test-Mechanics and the Thurstone Test of Mental Alertness (Form A), the BMCT was the best predictor of job performance for an electromechanical-manufacturing employee sample.

In addition, evidence of convergent and discriminate validity has been shown for the BMCT. For example, BMCT scores correlate .74 with the U.S. Army’s Mechanical Aptitude Test scores and .66 with scores on the College Board Spatial Relations test. On the other hand, scores on the Cooperative Reading Test correlate .14 with scores on the BMCT. The BMCT was developed for use in employee selection for jobs demanding mechanical comprehension. In addition, it has been used to predict performance in jobs requiring mastery of mechanical principles. The 1994 test manual also suggests that the BMCT can be used as a measure of training program effectiveness and for employee career services.

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  1. Bennett, G. K. 1969. Manual for the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test, Forms S and T. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
  2. Bennett, G. K. Manual for the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
  3. Muchinsky, P. M. 1993. “Validation of Intelligence and Mechanical Aptitude Tests in Selecting Employees for Manufacturing Jobs.” Journal of Business and Psychology 7:373-382.