Machinist tests are used to verify the knowledge of a student machinist before allowing the student to compete in the job market. It is typical for machinist tests to cover shop math and print reading as well as measurement tools. Testing on the student's ability to take precision measurement readings is also performed, and basic machine shop practices are also tested during this phase of examinations. The examination is commonly a timed test, with the student using a computer to mark the answers to a given question. The machinist tests examine a student's ability to identify proper machining practices and tool identification, as well as basic metallurgy knowledge.
When a prospective machinist has completed all of the required training, a battery of machinist tests must be successfully completed prior to receiving any form of machinist-certification. Much of the machinist tests revolve around the measuring tools and the methods of both using and properly reading them. From line rulers to micrometers and calipers of all types and styles, the machinist must be able to use the tools accurately in order to perform the correct machining procedures on a given piece of steel. Shop math is also included in the various machinist tests and is critical in devising many machining steps.
Some of the most important of all the machinist tests measures the student's ability to correctly identify the proper machining practices of any given machine shop task. From the initial preparation of the piece to the finished product, the student will be tested as to the proper steps and procedures taken during each and every step of the machining process. Among the steps tested are blueprint comprehension, stock selection and machine setup. Also tested are tool selection and troubleshooting measures to suspected problems. The student is given a scenario to read, understand and problem-solve in order to properly finish the machine work initiated on a given part.
Metallurgy knowledge and understanding is also part of machinist tests. The student will be asked to identify a piece of metal by one of several tests. Typically, the spark test is one of the most accurate means of identifying a piece of metal. This involves the student placing a sample piece of the metal against a spinning grinding stone to create sparks. The sparks are then identified by the color, shape and intensity and compared against a chart of known steel spark tendencies. After successfully completing the machinist tests, the student will become certified as a machinist.