Find out all you need to know about the Train
Driver Assessment

So you've applied to a Train Operating Company, maybe you've already had an interview.  

The next stage on the way to becoming a Train Driver is the Assessment.
These are usually conducted at one of several places across the U.K and you will be sent some practice
material at least 7 days prior to the test taking place.   
Take the time to work through the practice material as it will really help you when the big day comes!  About
65-85% of candidates fail the assessment stage!  Really, it's not
that hard!
Some Important Information:
If you've already taken an Assessment before and failed, then you know what happens in the test, yet there
are some rules governing re-tests you should know about.
If you have failed the
assessment twice, don't
think you can apply to
another Train Operating
Company or take the
assessment at a different
centre.  The records are
held on a central
database and you will be
found out!  Plus, you do
have to show I.D before
the assessment.
If you've already taken two tests since 1997 and have failed to meet the
required standard on both occasions -
You are not allowed to take
another test.......ever!
If you failed once before, you may take another test, but must wait at
6 months before trying again.
If you have passed a Train Driver Assessment, you must begin Driver
Training within
12 months of that test for it to remain valid.
The assessment is basically in six parts,

Numerical Computation Test - Maths to you and me, this measures                 
basic numeracy.

Mechanical Comprehension - This tests your understanding of                         
basic mechanical principles.

Work Sample Test - This will test whether you can learn new                                
information quickly and effectively. (Test divided into 2 parts)

Concentration Test - checks your ability to concentrate on a                               
mundane and repetitive task whilst still remaining focused.

Reaction and Co-ordination Test - Where you will have to react                       
quickly and accurately to sound and colour light signals.

Interview - this is basically a 2nd. Interview where your past                                 
experience and it's relevance to the role of 'Train Driver' is explored.
Want to know what the
Train Drivers
Assessment is really like
from someone who took
the tests and passed?!!

Check out Guy
Rennisons' diary of his
day at the Assessment
Centre in Doncaster.

for taking the time to
write the review and
Good luck in your new
Numeracy Test: This includes questions involving basic arithmetic such as
addition, multiplication, division and subtraction.  Questions are multiple choice
and consists of 40 questions and you'll get 10 minutes to do the test! As far as I'm
aware nobody finishes the test in that time, but the main aim is to work quickly, but
accurately.  If you get stuck, move on to the next question. No calculators are
Mechanical Comprehension Test (MT4): As a Trainee Driver, you'll be taught
how a locomotive works, including all the air, fuel, lube and electrical systems on
your train. This test is designed to see if you have a
basic knowledge of
mechanical principles. On the day you get 15 minutes to do this test. 40
questions that will test your knowledge of basic mechanics  Covering things like
aerodynamics, momentum, weight/balance, leverage etc.
You'll be suprised what you picked up in those 'physics' lessons at school!
Work Sample Test: Designed to test your apptitude to learn and recall job
related information and learn new procedures this test is officially known as
'Trainability for Rules and Procedures' and is divided into two parts (TRP1&2).
On the day,
Part 1 consists of being played and audio tape about 'sandite' or
'glop' as they call it.  As this is playing you will be handed out a printed copy of
these instructions.  Listen to the tape, read the info, make notes on a scrap of
paper and study for 3 minutes. All this stuff is taken away from you and you'll then
be asked to answer 10 multiple choice questions on what you've just heard.  
You get 7 minutes for this test!

Part 2 of the test you'll be presented with a reference sheet telling you about a
new layout of dials that mimics the console in a drivers cab.  For each dial you'll
be given instructions that needs to be applied if the arrow on the dial is pointing
to the left or right and if this means 'safe' or 'danger'.  After having studied these
instructions you'll be given a multiple choice question sheet with various
combinations of dials and you've got to work out which ones are at 'Safe' or
'Danger' . You get 5 minutes to do 10 questions so you need to work fast!
Concentration Test:  The infamous 'dots'. will be like nothing you've done
before.  If you wear glasses make sure you take them with you!  This test is
designed to measure you're ability to concentrate on boring and repetitiive
tasks.  When working alone for long periods of time, a Driver must stay alert and
cannot afford to lose concentration!
The test consists of a large sheet of paper (although it is now sometimes done
on a computer) with 5 panels on it, each with 25 columns.  They contain patterns
of small groups of 3,4,5 dots and you've got to scan across the columns and
cross out the pattern of 4 dot's only.  Every 2 minutes the tester will call
"Change!"  (this is  designed to disrupt your concentration!) and you move on to
the next panel of dot's.  The test lasts for 10 minutes and is solid concentration.  
You will not finish each panel of dots.......but you need to work fast but
accurately, so pace yourself. If you get about half-way down each panel you're
doing O.K!
Reaction & Co-ordination Test: This test is designed to test the speed of your
reactions and co-ordination.  You'll be sat in front of a computer screen and a
modified keyboard. There will be pedals by your feet and you'll be wearing
headphones. Blue, white, yellow, red and green circles will flash up on the screen
and you've got to press the corresponding button on the keyboard.  At the same
time you'll be getting a 'hi' or 'lo' tone coming thru' on the headphones and you
need to press the correct button on the keyboard as well.  Just to add to the
mayhem a box displaying 'L' (left) or 'R' (right) will appear on the screen and you
need to press the corresponding foot pedal!  This gets faster and faster.  It's all
coming at you thick and fast...don't worry if you get lost. take a breath and catch
up.  Again accuracy is as important as speed. The test is in two parts, each
lasting for 5 minutes.
The Next Stage: Once you've passed the Assessment you
will then be invited, at a later date, to take a 'Medical'. To find
out more about the required standard and what to expect....
click here>>