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How to Do Well on Pre-Employment Tests for Railroad Jobs

Railroad jobs are physically and mentally taxing. Working for a railroad entails working more than 40 hours per week, including night shifts, weekends, and holidays. This workload is required because most of the railroads across the United States operate around the clock. Railroad work requires physical agility, fitness, endurance, and strength. Before a person is hired, he is required to pass pre-employment tests. A pre-employment test will assess the applicant’s overall fitness to work in a railroad job. Such tests usually include a general knowledge test or reading comprehension test, medical and drug tests, physical fitness and strength tests, and the job interview. Take these steps to do well on pre-employment tests for railroad jobs.

Quit your vices. If you smoke, drink, or take drugs, commit to quitting. A medical and drug exam is one of the pre-employment tests for railroad jobs. Avoid any chances of becoming ineligible because of a bad history of drinking and drug abuse.

Take a separate medical exam before the pre-employment medical exam and have your blood pressure checked. Ask your doctor how you can improve your health and keep your blood pressure at a normal level for your height and weight.

Check your body mass index (BMI). Weigh yourself and check your height to see if your BMI falls within normal range. You can find a BMI chart in a clinic near you or online by typing the keywords “body mass index.” Check your pulse rate with a meter while resting and while performing physical activity. Consult a heart rate chart to see if you fall within normal range for your age.

Get yourself in shape by exercising regularly. Perform cardiovascular exercises and choose healthy foods to eat. Consume foods rich in protein such as eggs, poultry, nuts, and lean meat. Combine these foods with complex carbohydrates. These calories can be stored as energy in your body and will be used eventually through physical activities.

Prepare mentally. Hone your reading and comprehension ability by taking college entrance exam review tests. Test your reading skills by answering questions on vocabulary, sentence sequencing and comprehension.

Practice for the job interview by preparing answers to possible questions. Search online resources for tips on how to conduct yourself during the interview process and for sample interview questions. Browse information at your local library that will provide insight about railroad employment if you do not have work experience as a railroad transportation employee.

Prepare a resume. If you already have railroad experience, provide details on your resume, and mention your experience during the interview process. On both the resume and during the interview, show a connection between your prior experience and the prospective job. If you do not have previous railroad experience, highlight those aspects of your previous jobs that are related to skills you will need for railroad work.

Learn techniques for handling anxiety. Some railroad positions are extremely stressful and require a high level of concentration to avoid serious injuries to yourself and others. Read about stress management techniques, such as calming yourself through deep, regulated breathing. Take deep breaths if you feel nervous and exhale through your mouth. This will release tension. Use these techniques to prepare for the interview.

Dress to impress. Wear business attire for the interview, and shine your shoes. Let the interviewer know that you care about your appearance and will represent the company well.


Develop your strength to lift very heavy objects. Railroad employment experts say you should be strong enough to lift and transport objects weighing 85 pounds. Slowly increase lifting of heavier weights during your exercise routines as you prepare for the physical test. Continue to gradually increase weight limits until you hit your target.


Work with a fitness trainer or another trusted individual when exercising and preparing for the railroad physical test. Always have a "spotter" or someone able to assist you in lifting heavy weights off your body.