Electronic Data Processing Test
Personal Experience with the EDPT
The EDPT was administered to me at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) during my day at processing. There were approximately 120 questions to be answered in a period of 90 minutes. All questions are multiple choice with five available answers for each. It is a paper and pencil test, not computerized, and the testing personnel provided me with two sheets of scratch paper and a pencil (calculators are not allowed).
The test was divided into four parts: analogies, arithmetic word problems, sequencing and patterns, and pictorial analogies.
The analogy questions are just like those given on the SAT - _____ is to ______ as ______ is to _____. One needs to determine the relationship between the first two words and find the answer that has the same relationship to the third word given.
For example: "Cattle is to herd as fish is to _____." The correct answer would be "school," as that is what a group of fish is called. Any SAT test prep book/course would help in preparing for this portion of the test.
Arithmetic Word Problems
The arithmetic word problem questions are just that -- word problems. The questions incorporate a lot of extraneous information into the wording and one has to be able to pull out the information needed and discard the garbage. I found that the questions themselves did not require an extremely high level of mathematical ability (algebra, some geometry and maybe a tiny knowledge of physics), though each test form could differ in the types of questions given.
There were a few questions in the form of, "If train 'A' leaves Chicago traveling 100 mph and train 'B' leaves New York traveling 150 mph and the distance between Chicago and New York is 600 miles, how far from New York will the trains be when they meet?" In essence, read each question carefully, utilize the necessary information provided and go from there.
As in any other Multiple Choice test, one could probably eliminate one or two answers quite quickly and then plug the remaining answers into the equation to determine the correct answer. This method takes a while longer, so wait until all easier questions have been answered and go back at the end if time remains.
Sequencing and Patterns
The sequencing and patterns portion of the test was my favorite. Either four or five numbers are given and then a blank space in which you must provide the next number in the sequence. For example: "2 8 32 128 _____." The correct answer would be "512," as each number has been multiplied by 4. (2 x 4 = 8 x 4 = 32 x 4 = 128 x 4 = 512).
In all honesty, the sequences are not a whole lot harder than that. I found that the pattern was not always the same throughout the sequence, but there was always an easily derived. One of the harder ones might be as follows:
"3 9 4 16 11 _____"
I found the easiest way to answer these types was to write out the sequence on my scratch paper with a space between each number. In the spaces, write out the relationship between each number. In our example "9," the second number in our sequence, is either 3 + 6, or 3 x 3- so I would write "+6" and also "X3" between "3" and "9." Then I would look at the next number in the sequence, "4." Four is five less than nine, so I would write "-5" between the "9" and "4." Looking at the next number, I would know that "16" is "4 x 4" or "4 + 12." Again, I would write both in the space.
11 is 5 less than 16 so again I would write "-5."
So, my scratch paper would look like: "3 (+6)(X3) 9 (-5) 4 (X4) (+12) 16 (-5) 11."
To answer the question, I could now look at the possibilities: I know know that the difference from sequence numbers 2 to 3 and from sequence numbers 4 to 5 is "-5." For sequence numbers 1 to 2, 3 to 4 and 5, I can see that the relationship is multiplying by an increasingly larger integer (3 x 3 is 9, 4 x 4 is 16, 11 x 5 is 55). so the answer would be 55.
Therefore, for the above example, the pattern would be "3 (x 3) 9 (-5) 4 (x 4) 16 (-5) 11 (x 5) 55." By writing the possible sequences down on the scratch paper, it becomes much clearer and one can see the pattern much more quickly. There were no tricky fractions or other strange patterns on the test -- just adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing integers to the previous number.
Tithe last type of question on the test are the pictorial analogies. Just like the analogies portion, questions are in a form similar to _____ is to ______ as ______ is to _____.
The difference is that geometric shapes are used and one has to determine which of the multiple choice answers matches the third shape in the same way the second picture matches the first (Guide Note: See the example at the top-right of this page. In the example shown, the correct answer would be #2, as it matches object 3 in the same way that object 1 matches object 2.)
Object 2 is cut in half, diagonally and the colors are inverted. Answer 2 is also cut in half diagonally and color inverted. On the EDPT, there are five choices rather than just 3. Just as in the sequencing and number patterns, it may be easiest to draw the object on the scratch paper and try to replicate the relationship between the first two objects. Some of them will be rotated, cut, or otherwise manipulated, but there is always a reasonably discernable relationship.
Do not expect to be able to answer all the questions on the test. A quick look at the number of questions and time allowed shows that one has only about 45 seconds per question and many of the word problems require at least that much time just reading and deciphering what information is necessary, then putting the data into a workable problem.
I recommend answer all the easier questions first, then (time permitting), go back and start working on the harder ones.(I found myself playing "Christmas tree" during the last two minutes to make sure all questions were answered- remember: it's definitely wrong if it's not answered at all).
There is nothing overly difficult about the test- and I am positive a large number of people could score VERY well if the test were longer, say 3 hours rather than 90 minutes. It's the relatively short time allowed that makes scoring well on the test more difficult.
I am not sure what scores are needed for other services, but in the Air Force, a score of 71 is needed for the AFSC of computer programming (3C0X2) and 57 for Technical Applications Specialist (9S100). The test has nothing to do with either job at first glance, but what it does accomplish is determine one's ability to think logically. All four parts of the test require the testee to think logically and that is essentially what computer programming is.
The following information was provided by an acquaintance of the author's (Chris from Tampa) who had the opportunity recently to take the Air Force/Marine Corps Electronic Data Processing Test (EDPT).