What Are the ACT WorkKeys Tests?

Instructor: Donna Smith
ACT WorkKeys tests evaluate your job skills and readiness to enter the workforce. Find out about these tests, including where and when you can take them.

About the ACT WorkKeys Tests

ACT WorkKeys assessments look at your career readiness, and gauge your foundational and soft skills. The test scores are used to determine your aptitude for a specific career, or to demonstrate your expertise to future employers.

Career Readiness WorkKeys Tests

ACT offers three exams that test your basic skills and qualify you to earn the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate:

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Locating Information
  • Reading for Information

Foundational Skills WorkKeys Tests

Other foundational skills tests measure your aptitude in several areas that are applicable to employees in a number of industries. These tests include:

  • Applied Technology
  • Business Writing
  • Listening for Understanding
  • Workplace Observation
  • Teamwork

Soft Skills WorkKeys Tests

The soft skills WorkKeys tests gauge your interest and compatibility with a particular occupation as well as your attitudes and behaviors regarding certain workplace principles. The three soft skills tests are:

  • Fit
  • Talent
  • Performance

How and When to Take the Tests

WorkKeys tests can be found in high schools across the country, and five states have adopted the WorkKeys assessments for statewide testing. These assessments are also being used in colleges, businesses and government agencies. The vast majority of these tests are Internet-based, and some also have a paper-based option. The Teamwork test is the only one that's strictly paper-based.

High school students can take the WorkKeys assessments in ninth grade, and again in eleventh or twelfth grade. Results from the early administration are helpful in determining a proper academic plan to obtain skills needed for attractive professions. The later administration helps determine if those target skills have been achieved.


WorkKeys scores are based on the number of answers that are right. Level scores demonstrate the degree of difficulty you have reached per skill. Levels of difficulty go from 1, being the least difficult, to 7, being the most complex, but none of the tests actually have that entire range. For example, the Applied Mathematics test has a range from 3 to 7, while levels of difficulty on the Listening for Understanding test go from 1 to 5. Level scores are used for employment purposes. The other kind of scores, scale scores, inform educators of how a student's skills have grown across time.

Preparing for the Tests

You can find free sample questions on the ACT website. There are four different practice tests available on the ACT site at a cost of $5 each.

Study.com offers affordable test prep through self-paced courses and chapters. You'll find engaging video lessons and plenty of opportunities for practice through exams and quizzes. Online instructors are only a click away if you have a question or need guidance. You can start getting ready for the WorkKeys tests with these Study.com resources:

Career Readiness TestsPreparation Resources
Applied MathematicsBusiness 110: Business Math
Math 102: College Mathematics
Locating InformationUsing Visuals in Workplace Communication
Developing Strategic Thinking in Business
Presentation Skills in the Workplace
Reading for InformationBusiness Reports and Proposals

Foundational Skills TestsPreparation Resources
Applied TechnologyElectricity
Fluid Mechanics in Physics
Thermal Physics & Thermodynamics
Business WritingWriting Skills for Business
Communication in the Workplace
English 104: College Composition
English 105: Technical Writing
Listening for UnderstandingListening and Feedback
The Importance of Effective Listening
Communicating in the Workplace
Workplace ObservationApplying Strategic Thinking Skills
Big Picture Thinking in Business
TeamworkCommunicating in a Team Environment
Elements of a Cohesive Work Team
Team Member Contributions & Interactions
Developing Trust Within Teams at Work

Soft Skills TestsPreparation Resources
FitHow to Choose a Career
How to Find a Career Path
TalentThe Importance of Professionalism in the Workplace
Setting Yourself Up for Success at a New Job
Developing Soft Skills in the Workplace
PerformancePracticing Ethical Behavior in the Workplace
Essentials of Organizational Behavior

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