About the ACER

ACER, the Australian Council for Educational Research is a provider of assessment and reporting tools and services for schools, universities, TAFE institutions and Registered training organisations, health professionals, employers and governments in Australia and internationally. They are also associated with the assessment provider Testgrid. There are many different psychometric and aptitude tests in the ACER vocational, adult and workplace education assessments bracket and we will go through each of them below.

ACER VST (ACER Vocational Selection Test)

With over 12,000 candidates tested by the ACER Vocational Selection Test is gaining in popularity to employers across Australia and in the rest of the world. There are five elements to this test but generally only three of them are used. We will explain each of these tests below.

The Core Vocational Selection Test

This ACER aptitude test is made up of three tests: the ACER verbal reasoning test, the quantitative reasoning test and the abstract reasoning test.

ACER Verbal Reasoning Test

There are two different types of question in this test. In the most common form of question in the ACER verbal reasoning test you are presented with a flow chart of sorts that details a specific task or review. After careful analysis of the chart you have to answer a number of questions that relate to the chart. The other form of question is similar to the reading section in the ACER OWAA where you are presented with a passage of text and you have to answer questions based on this. Learn more about verbal reasoning tests on our dedicated page.

ACER Quantitative Reasoning Test/ACER Numerical Reasoning Test

This test assesses your mathematical skills and numerical aptitude levels. The questions focus on your ability to use mathematical concepts in somewhat algebraic terms and use them to answer questions that are primarily based on different shapes. In general terms, quantitative reasoning is commonly known as numerical reasoning and assesses your ability to critically evaluate information presented to you in a numerical form. Learn more about quantitative and numerical tests.

ACER Abstract Reasoning Test

In the ACER test of abstract reasoning you are presented with non-verbal diagrams that have a specific relationship to each other. You have to deduce this relationship that runs through the diagrams and use it to work out the missing diagram. You are given four different answer options and you have to select the correct one. There are different ways of classifying such tests, the most popular of which is called deductive reasoning. Learn more about Abstract/ Deductive reasoning tests on our dedicated page.

Optional Components

There are two optional tests that employers or testing companies can use as part of the ACER VST. They are:

  • ACER Mechanical Reasoning Test- this test assesses your ability to understand and comprehend the way mechanical devices and systems interact with each other. You have to work out the relationship between the moving parts and using this relationship you need to answer the multiple choice questions. For more information on the ACER mechanical reasoning test (MRT),see our blog.
  • Interpersonal Understandings- this is a personality and motivational test where you are asked various questions aimed at understanding your feelings in regard to specific situations, motivations for working and in your behaviour when working with other people. Learn more about personality tests.


The ACER CSPA Aptitude Test (Core Skills Profile for Adults)

This ACER aptitude test is widely used in Australia and comprises five different test elements which will be explained in more detail below. It is an adaptive test which means that you will be tested on the level that is most appropriate to you. The first 10 questions on this ACER test are used to gauge your skill level and whatever mark you get for these questions determines which level test you receive. The five test elements are:


In this section of the test you will be presented with long passages of information that you have to comprehend and answer questions that are based on it. You have to be able to get to the crux point of the article and by doing so you will be able to answer the questions. Further questions in this section test your ability to understand precisely what is written on signs and other short pieces of information.


In this section of the ACER aptitude test you will be presented with either numerical information in a few sentences that you have to use to create a simple calculation (the four basic functions). Moreover, there are questions that test your ability to know how to use simple calculation materials such as a tape measure. The main skills that are tested in these questions are:

  • Problem solving
  • Number and algebra
  • Measurement and geometry
  • Statistics and probability


In this section you are asked to write a letter, report or short piece based on specific skills. For example, you may be asked to write a letter of introduction that informs the reader of who you are, what you do and how you are going to help them. You may also be asked to write a very short note detailing something as rudimentary as a note of their car telling them to please park somewhere else.

ACER Abstract reasoning Test

In the ACER abstract reasoning test you are tested on your ability to identify abstract patterns, rules, and relationships between different images. You will be presented with a sequence of different images and it is your task to discern what this relationship is and use this understanding to select the next image in the sequence. Learn more about abstract reasoning here.

Mechanical reasoning

This section of the ACER CSPA test assesses your understanding in the following areas vis a vis mechanical reasoning:

  • Area
  • Circumference
  • Diameter
  • Radius
  • Volume

You are presented with an image of a mechanism with a number of different movable parts or a number of images. Making a change in part of the image will have an effect elsewhere and you have to work out what this is. For more information on mechanical reasoning tests see our dedicated page.

The ACER Mechanical Reasoning Test/MRT (ACER Mechanical Reasoning Test)

ACER Mechanical Format & Content

This ACER aptitude test is designed to understand your ability to answer questions concerning mechanical aptitude and understand relationships between mechanical components. You need to understand basic principles of physics and mechanics, cause and effect relationships among others. The ACER-MRT consists of 42 questions with a 20-minute time allotment and can be administered on paper or online. Every question includes a simple pen-and-ink illustration and multiple answer choices.The ACER-MRT does not measure any previous knowledge in mechanics or reading ability. It measures specifically your mechanical aptitude: understanding the relations between mechanical components and visualizing spatial movements. Only a very basic familiarity with physical and mechanical principles is required.Topics discussed in the test are:

  • wheels
  • gears
  • clamps
  • levers
  • sliding rods
  • shafts
  • pulleys
  • weights
  • conveyor belts
  • fixed and non-fixed pivots springs

This is the most common ACER test and is the one you are most likely to face if asked to take an ACER test. Learn more about mechanical reasoning tests on our dedicated page.

Purpose of the ACER-MRT:

  • Assessment of mechanical reasoning ability, which is viewed as essential for various positions. The test is used for the screening of apprentices, trainees and recruits for technical and trade personnel, and other mechanically-oriented positions.
  • Individual counseling for high school graduates and mature career changers, who wish to pursue occupations requiring mechanical abilities.

Preparing for the Mechanical Test Online

To succeed on your ACER-MRT test, it is important to practice. JobTestPrep’s mechanical reasoning practice test pack covers the topics seen on the actual ACER test. The practice tests can be taken in real-time simulation mode (reflect similar test conditions) or in step-by-step mode. Practice tests include answers and in-depth explanations.

The ACER TEEM (Test of Employment Entry Mathematics)

This test assesses your ability to work with numerical concepts such as percentages, rounding off and fractions. For each of the 32 questions in this test there are four possible answer options. It can be administered through a booklet or online. This test is used in the assessment of apprentices, trainees, technical and trade personnel as well as others who need to perform basic mathematical problem solving. The questions are generally in the form of a sentence where you have to work out the information needed to answer the question before you start making any calculations. Learn more about numerical reasoning tests.

OWAA (Online Writing Assessment for Adults)

This ACER test is designed to be used in the assessment of vocational learners, ESL students, students enrolled in higher education pathway programs and graduates and professionals in the workplace. In this exercise you will be asked to generate a report and an argumentative piece of writing that will be assessed using the OWAA assessment criteria:

  • Purpose and audience
  • Quality of ideas
  • Text cohesion
  • Language choices
  • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation OF sentences
  • Punctuation WITHIN sentences
  • Spelling

The OWAA is administered online and is generally used in conjunction with the most common of the ACER tests, the CSPA which is a combination of five different test subjects.

The ACER SYLF (Senior Years Learning Framework)

The Senior Years Learning Framework is an educational framework preparing students either for university or going straight into the workforce. It is an Australian national qualification.

Prepare for ACER

This page has served as an introduction to the various ACER tests in the vocational, adult and workplace education assessments. JobTestPrep provides materials that are similar in style and more importantly in difficulty level to these tests.

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