What you need to know about the WorkKeys

Student taking the WorkKeys®.

The basic WorkKeys® test has three parts: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. You may take all three sections at one time or at different times. There are both paper/pencil and online versions. Within each section, there are questions on five different levels of difficulty, from 3 to 7, with level 7 questions being the most difficult and complex. All of the skills tested have been deemed to be important for success in the workplace. Results may also be used to match employees to types of jobs. There is no penalty for guessing on this test, so be sure to attempt to answer every question.

There are other available WorkKeys® tests that you may take: Applied Technology, Business Writing, Workplace Observation, Talent, and Fit. These additional tests are not covered in our materials.

What are the costs?

The cost for taking WorkKeys® varies widely. Some employers may pay the entire fee or part of it, and some locales offer it free as a government service. We did not see any prices over $50 for the entire test in our research. You’ll need to check with the institution or company offering the test in your vicinity to determine your actual cost, if any.

What should I bring?

The best way to come prepared for this examination is to contact your testing facility and ask what will be required. It will probably include government-issued photo identification and two sharpened no. 2 pencils if you are taking the paper/pencil version of the test. Otherwise, try to limit personal belongings and none will be allowed in the testing room. Some locations may provide lockers for these items, but check with yours to be sure.

How is it scored?

A basic passing Level Score on this test is 3, but that shouldn’t be your only goal. You can score from 3 through 7, depending on your competence in answering questions on the various difficulty levels. Some jobs may require a score higher than 3, as well.

You’ll also receive a Scale Score between 65 and 90, but it is only for training purposes and to identify progress made within levels. It is usually not used by employers. For employment purposes, the Level Score is used.

What kind of job can I get?

WorkKeys® is a test to determine your readiness for the workplace, in general, so the job you seek or want to keep will vary. To pass the test, you must score a 3, but higher scores might be required for some jobs and by some employers. Greater achievement levels can also earn you higher levels of certification that can lead to higher levels of employment and pay.

Am I eligible?

You can take the sections of this assessment as many times as you want or need to as you strive to achieve the score you desire.

Why does it matter?

You may be required to make a certain score on a WorkKeys® test to gain or keep a job. Some high schools also use the test to gauge student readiness for the workplace. But passing this test will also earn certification that can help you in a job search. It’s called the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate®, and many employers recognize it and seek it when assessing prospective employees. Your possession of this certificate tells an employer that you have the skills to do the job, and you can use its completion on your resume. To share WorkKeys® test results with your employer, you’ll need to create a “MyWorkKeys.com account” here.

Important note: If you take any of the three sections of the WorkKeys® test separately, be sure that the following information is exactly the same on your registration so you will receive proper credit toward the certificate:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Month of birth
  • Day of birth
  • Examinee ID

What salary can I expect?

Some employers use the WorkKeys® assessment to identify workers who are eligible for higher level positions, which generally mean higher salaries. So, a higher-level score on this test could very well impact your money-earning potential.

When is it available?

There do not seem to be any set testing dates or times for WorkKeys® administration. If you need to find a testing site, that can be done online at the ACT website for WorkKeys®.

How much time is allowed?

You will be allotted 55 minutes for completion of each of the three sections of this test. If you only take one at a time, allow that, plus some extra time for check in, etc. If you take more than one section at a time, there will probably be time allotted between sections for breaks, etc. Consult your testing center for further time information.

Practice using our expertly crafted questions!