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The Electronic Data Processing Test

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The Electronic Data Processing Test (EDPT) has the reputation of being one of the hardest tests that one can take at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).

The EDPT is used by only two of the military services: The Air Force and the Marine Corps. The test is used to evaluate one’s basic ability to learn a military job which involves computer programming or working with electronic data processing equipment.

Information about the EDPT is surprisingly difficult to come by. Unlike the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and the Defense Language Aptitude Test (DLAB), it’s hard to find people with enough memory of what went on during the test to give a good overview of the test procedures.

The test is basically designed to tests one’s concept of “logic,” for lack of a better term. There are 128 questions on the test, in four different areas:

Change Comparisons. This is much like the object assembly portion of the ASVAB, but is reported to be much harder. In this section of the test, you are shown three geometric shapes. You are then required to select a fourth shape from a list of possibilities that corresponds to the third shape in the same way that the second shape corresponds to the first shape.

Numbers Logic. This portion of the test measures your ability to decode continuing patterns of numbers.

For example, one may be shown the following series of numbers: 1, 3, 5, 7, and ask what the next number is (multiple guess with five -- not four -- possible answers). In this case, of course, the next number is 9, because the series was showing a list of all the odd numbers. Of course, don’t expect the number series shown on the EDPT to be so simple!

Algebra/Math Problems. Exactly what it says. This section of the tests asks you to solve various algebra equations and word problems that need algebra to solve. The problems here are reported to be much more advanced than the basic algebra questions asked on the ASVAB. While the actual math isn't all that hard, setting up the problem, and finding the logical solution, based on the very little bit of information you are given can be time-consuming. Therefore, those taking the test sometimes spend too much time on this portion of the test, at the expense of other, easier sections of the test.

Anologies. "Hoof is to Horse as Paw is to (blank)" with four possible answers (example: dog, octopus, zebra, allegator).

Applicants have 90 minutes to complete the test. However, don’t be surprised if you don’t complete all 117 questions in the time period. Most people do not, and you do not need to complete all the questions to get a qualifying score. Most Marine Corps and Air Force computer and electronic data processing jobs only require a score of 71 (Air Force) and 50 (Marine Corps).

Because wrong answers aren't counted against you, it is wise on this test to skip ahead to answer the easier questions, then go back to cover the tough ones. That way you won't miss a point for not getting to one of the easy questions that could have been answered quickly.

Once the EDPT has been taken, one cannot re-test for a period of six months. MEPS commanders may authorize an immediate retest when original tests were administered under adverse conditions (i.e., undue distractions). This does not include illness that existed before the test session because the applicant is informed not to take the test if ill.

There are no EDPT study guides available to my knowledge. There probably never will be, as relatively few people are required to take this test (only a few Air Force and Marine Corps recruits who are applying for a few, very specific jobs). The best advice to prepare for this test is to practice your math and algebra skills. As I said above, this test is considered by many to be the toughest aptitude test given at MEPS, so you will want a good night’s sleep before the test.

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