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Airman Selection Test – Ultimate Study Guide

If you are working towards a career in the airforce, you will have to take the Airman Selection Test. This is no easy feat, and it can be daunting if you have it coming up.

Working in the RAF means you will be contributing towards safeguarding many interests. Responding to threats at home and abroad (such as unauthorised aircraft or cyber-attacks), strengthening national and international security to prevent conflict, monitoring the UK airspace continuously, and providing aid in partnership with the Department for International Development.

Several RAF roles involve a selection test known as the Airman Selection Test (AST). Among them are:

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Air Traffic Control Officer
  • Aerospace Battle Manager
  • RAF Regiment
  • Weapons Systems Operator

But what exactly is an AST? What does it entail? And how can you prepare? We will cover all below, so keep reading!

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What is an Airman Selection Test (AST)?

The Airman Test is a method of determining aptitude. A candidate’s suitability for recruitment into the RAF is determined by using a combination of factors, including:

  • A health evaluation
  • A physical fitness test
  • Pre-recruit training
  • Interviews

Because some elements of the AST will not be relevant for all positions, the RAF encourages candidates to complete the entire test in order to evaluate their own strengths, and find abilities that were previously ignored.

A candidate’s AST score determines where he or she would be best-suited to succeed in the Royal Air Force.

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Format of the AST aptitude test

Seven sections make up the aptitude test, and we dig into each in greater detail below. Its purpose is to assess your cognitive capacity, accuracy under time constraints, and technical mastery of specific abilities and tasks.

Each segment contains multiple-choice questions that must be answered in a limited amount of time to pass the sections. You should attempt to answer as many questions as possible, but keep in mind that most candidates do not complete each test in its entirety.

Because there is no negative marking on the test, no extra points are deducted for incorrect answers. Before you begin each segment, you will have enough time to go over the instructions and complete a practice question if you choose.

The test will be administered at the Armed Forces Career Office that is nearest to you. You’ll be required to carry an ID, such as your passport or license, and everything else will be provided to you.

RAF Numerical Reasoning Test

The numerical reasoning test administered evaluates your ability to deal with numbers and process data presented in graphs, tables, or charts. It’s divided into two sections.

The first section will consist of 12 questions, with a total time limit of 4 minutes to answer each question. Calculation skills in the form of ratios, fractions, percentages, and sequences will be tested in these problems.

The second half will be concerned with your ability to understand and analyse various types of data. The time limit for this will extend to 11 minutes since you’ll be required to answer 15 questions. No calculator is allowed, but you may work on paper for the duration of the assessment.

To try a free numerical reasoning test from Job Test Prep, click here.

RAF Verbal Reasoning Test

The verbal reading test administered by the RAF measures your ability to comprehend, interpret, and apply textural material. There will be brief passages of text on which you will have to answer multiple-choice questions referring to the content of the paragraph. You may need to identify the implications of information in the passages.

Answering 20 questions will take 15 minutes of your time. Using a dictionary is prohibited.

Try a free verbal reasoning practice test at Job Test Prep.

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RAF work rate test

The work rate exam determines how quickly and accurately you can accomplish activities in a certain amount of time. In order to maximise processing efficiency, you’ll have only 4 minutes to complete the 20 questions that will be presented to you.

You’ll be provided with a table including rows of numbers, letters, and shapes as part of the test. You will then be given 20 codes, and you’ll need to use this table to figure out what the alternate combinations are for each of those 20 codes.

For more information and practice tests, click here.

RAF spatial awareness test

There are two elements to the RAF spatial awareness test. The first test assesses your ability to deal with 2D shapes, visualising how they rotate, transform, and fit together as a group of elements.

The pace is intense, as you only have four minutes to answer ten questions. This component of the examination is comparable to an abstract reasoning assessment.

The second portion of the test involves the interpretation of three-dimensional objects, with candidates being evaluated on their ability to visualise these items from various perspectives.

For more information and practice tests, click here.

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RAF electrical comprehension test

The electrical comprehension test evaluates your understanding of basic electrical concepts and terminology. Make sure you’re comfortable with electrical symbols because some questions will include illustrations (for example, the representations for a fuse, battery, bulb, switch and motor).

The questions will be at a difficulty level that corresponds to that of the GCSE Physics syllabus. You’ll have 11 minutes to complete this test, which will consist of 21 questions.

For more information and practice tests, click here.

RAF mechanical comprehension test

This test assesses your understanding of mechanical concepts and your ability to apply them. You’ll have to respond to 20 questions in 10 minutes.

Several questions will have illustrations to illustrate mechanical principles in their explanations, and many of them will be multiple-choice questions. Expect a level of difficulty comparable to that of GCSE assessments, with subjects such as energy, forces, motion, screws, pulleys, gears, and levers.

For more information and practice tests, click here.

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RAF memory test

The RAF memory test examines your ability to recall facts with accuracy and precision. It comprises 20 questions, which are divided into two parts, both of which are provided in video format.

You’ll be required to memorise a sequence of letters in the first segment of the test. Following that, you will be asked questions about their appearance in order and the number of characters between particular letters.

The second section is concerned with the recall of forms and patterns from memory. Grids of coloured squares will be displayed one at a time, with each grid being displayed one at a time. As the series goes, the grids’ complexity will rise in both size and intricacy.

After that, you’ll be asked to identify which of the more intricate grids are composites of the original grids that were displayed earlier in the sequence.

For more information and practice tests, click here.

Prepare for the Airman Selection Test

Taking the assessment can be nerve-wracking, so making sure you’re well prepared can help you remain calm and perform at your best on the day of the test. Consider the following tips before taking the assessment.

  • Take practice tests

The most effective strategy to prepare for your RAF assessment is to complete as many practice papers and test questions as you can before the test date. Apart from helping you to become more familiar with the questions and visuals that will be presented to you, this will also help you avoid any unpleasant surprises on the day of the exam.

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare

Arrive at your test centre early on the day of the test to minimise any last-minute worry.

  • Understand the formats

Please make certain that you’re familiar with the format of the tests and that you have practised remaining within the time limits set forth. The 90 minutes will pass fast, and if you have practised under time conditions, you’ll be less flustered by this experience.

  • Tackle your biggest challenges

Concentrate on the areas that are the most difficult for you. If you know you’ll struggle with the, for example, the Spatial Reasoning test, devote more time to it during your practice sessions. The more confident you are in your ability to answer tough questions, the more probable it is that you’ll perform well on the day.

  • Brush up on your skills

Make sure you brush up on your math and comprehension skills.

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How is the RAF aptitude test scored?

Scores for the AST are determined by the number of points earned from answering questions. It does not have a negative marking on it. Along with an overall result, you will receive individual scores for each of the areas of the assessment.

However, the RAF does not publish the minimum scores required to pass each section, but they differ depending on the function and service area for which you have applied. More competitive and technical roles will have higher pass expectations (such as engineering positions).

Because the assessment identifies your talents and abilities, better results in specific categories will suggest greater appropriateness for specific roles within the organisation. The RAF wants to ensure you are put in the most appropriate professional field to succeed in your new position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about the Airman Selection Test.

Is the RAF aptitude test hard?

A significant challenge of the RAF AST is that it tests a wide variety of skills from written comprehension to arithmetic skills and mechanical knowledge and understanding in a short amount of time. To make an impression, you must have high test scores. You can, however, feel competent in all sections of the evaluation on the day of the test if you put in the effort.

How long are the RAF aptitude tests?

Each section of the RAF AST differs in terms of the number of questions asked and the time allotted for completion. The time allocated for certain sections is 4 minutes, whilst others allow for a more leisurely pace with a 15 minute time for others.

All portions will need to perform at a rapid pace without sacrificing precision in order to earn enough points to pass. The test will take approximately 90 minutes to complete in total.

What happens if you fail the RAF aptitude test?

It’s possible that if you do not achieve the required score to advance with training in the RAF area that you wish, you’ll be offered a spot to train for a different specialisation (with a lower score requirement). Once you have received your findings, you will discuss your options with the recruiter at the AFCO.

If you have your heart set on a certain specialisation, you’ll be given the opportunity to retake the test. But if you fail for the second time, you’ll be required to submit a new application within a couple of years.

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Following your decision to join the RAF, there are a few more items to check off your to-do list to ensure a smooth transition into your next professional position. As soon as you have completed and passed the assessment, you will be called to take part in an interview, during which they will get to know you and your background.

Following your successful completion of the interview process, you will be required to complete health evaluations and a physical examination. The RAF wants to make sure that you are not suffering from any health problems.

Before you take the assessment, be sure to take your practice test. Please click here for more information about the practice test packets.

Best of luck!

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