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Pilot Aptitude tests are a series of questions and exercises that you have to complete in order to determine your suitability for a given pilot job. They are often used by airlines and flying schools as a way of assessing the potential and skills to become a pilot. If you want to know what an aptitude test is all about, this blog post will give you everything you need to know!
I used PilotAptitudeTest.com to prepare for my pilot testing and found them to be really good.
1. What is an aptitude test?
An aptitude test is a measurement of the skills, abilities and knowledge that an individual possesses. They are often used in pilot job interviews to find out what an applicant knows before they start training for a position.
Aptitude tests can be administered by using pencil paper or computer programs. While many people might worry about how they will do on these tests, there are no right or wrong answers because testing time is limited and the test taker must answer as quickly as possible without worrying about getting everything perfect.
We all know that people are different. Some of us excel in school, while others struggle to make it through the day. Aptitude tests measure candidates in ability level across a variety of areas:
- Mental Arithmetic
- Reaction times
- Spacial awareness
- Personality types and decision-making tendencies.
The test will then provide a recommendation based on these scores so that the suitability of the candidate can be determined.
2. Why is pilot aptitude testing used?
Pilot aptitude tests are used to determine the suitability of an applicant for a position as a pilot. The test is made up of various sections which assess the ability of an individual in certain areas, such as:
- The use and understanding of mathematics
- Awareness and understanding of spatial relationships
- Attention to detail
- Reaction time
- Impulse control
Aptitude tests are used to measure cognitive abilities, personality traits and knowledge. They are given by employers at the time of a job interview or as part of an application process. Aptitude tests are often required for pilots because they need to be able to make good decisions under pressure and have to operate safely.
3. How do you prepare for a pilot aptitude test?
When it comes to the world of aviation, there are many different schools of thought about how to prepare for a pilot aptitude test. Some believe that you need to study hard from books and practice online aptitude test; others say you should show up on test day, be yourself, and do your best.
My preparation was somewhere in the middle. I did what I could to prepare my mental arithmetic and practice my spatial awareness with various tools from PilotAptitudeTest.com.
I also reviewed my ATPL theory and practice technical questions using Ace The Technical Pilot Interview.
For the personality traits, although you can not change your personality! think of your answers within the context of the airline environment.
5. Tips to pass your pilot aptitude test
- Try and have a good nights sleep the night before your aptitude testing. Sleep seriously affects reaction times.
- Most pilot aptitude tests allow you some days to submit your tests (provided you are doing them online) – pace yourself.
- Spreading out your aptitude testing over several days means you will be less likely to get fatigued (assuming your testing is taking place at home)
- Some airlines use the same aptitude testing platforms, i.e. ADAPT, CUT-E etc. Although you may not necessarily want a job with a given company (assuming recruitment picks up), it is worth applying and going through the assessment process to practice aptitude testing.
- If you struggle with a section – keep going no matter how bad you think things are going. During one of my pilot aptitude tests, the questions got easier the further along you went!
6. What should I expect from the pilot aptitude test itself?
Aptitude tests are a common requirement for many for near enough every single pilot job or major pilot training program.
The types of questions and skills tested can vary depending on the company, but in general, they focus on testing your ability to learn new concepts, analyze information, and use logic to find solutions.
The main different types of aptitude testing include:
- COMPASS Tests
- DLR – BU/GU TEST
- PSY0/ PSY1
Most aptitude test will also include one or more timed sections where you need to solve as many problems as possible within a certain time limit. These don’t always count towards the final score, but they demonstrate how well someone can handle pressure when faced with an urgent situation.
7. Things to consider when purchasing a pilot aptitude test to practice
- You can not always practice all the exercises e.g. personality questions
- Some of the practice aptitude tests were useful e.g. mental arithmetic, spatial awareness etc
- Other tests were not entirely valid
- Research your company and the most likely type of aptitude testing you will have and plan your prep around that e.g. some companies ask a lot of ATPL questions. Others may have a recorded interview. Others may have deep personality questionnaires.
8. How does numerical reasoning work (PilotAptitudeTest.com)?
Numerical Reasoning Excerpt from PilotAptitudeTest.com:
Typically, computerised pilot aptitude tests that form part of a recruitment process at an airline or flying school will include some element of assessing mathematical competencies. The reason for this is simple – pilots must work with numbers. Whether in-ground school or line operations, it’s a vital skill that pilots must use every day. How this competency is assessed, however, will differ depending on the type of assessment a pilot is undertaking. Some assessments focus on Numerical Reasoning, whereas others focus on Mental Arithmetic.
Mental Arithmetic tests seek to ask questions in time-pressured environments, where the use of a calculator is forbidden. You can however use a pen or paper to do rough working out, however, as is in the name ‘Mental Arithmetic’, you’ll be expected to calculate answers in your head! These types of tests will typically ask you to calculate answers involving long division and multiplication, percentage change and square root.
On the other hand, Numerical Reasoning tests take a different approach. In these types of tests, you will normally be provided with a table or graph and must interrogate the data presented to you to help with calculating the correct answer. On some occasions a calculator is permitted and you will have a longer period of time available to complete the test.
Assessing Mental Arithmetic and Numerical Reasoning are both valid ways of understanding a candidate’s potential. It is important that you are familiar with both styles of tests – some airlines may provide you with practice material that you can use prior to your assessment. Both types of test can be practiced, and like getting back on a bicycle after many years of not riding, your mathematical competencies can be improved with time and consistent practice.
If you need help with pilot aptitude testing, make sure you check out PilotAptitudeTest.com
Please leave a comment in the section below if you have any questions on pilot aptitude testing. I would love to hear from you.
Kudzi Chikohora is a B737 pilot with over 2,500 hours of flying in Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, is a chartered engineer, and is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Kudzi completed his pilot training via the self-funded modular pilot training route and created kcthepilot.com to share pilot training and aviation content.