Canadian Forces Aptitude Test: Your Complete CFAT Prep Guide

Congratulations –– you’ve decided to apply for a role in the Canadian Armed Forces! Whether you’re looking to join Canada’s Army, Navy, or Air Force, the CAF hosts a huge variety of military positions.

Before you can be considered for any of these roles, you’ll have to take an Aptitude Test (CFAT).

As the first step for those aspiring to join the Canadian Forces, it plays a crucial part in where you can end up. How you score on the CFAT determines which roles you’ll qualify for!

Thorough preparation is key to this part of the recruitment process. Preparation for the CFAT involves familiarizing yourself with the test structure and content while practicing all of the relevant skills tested on.

Take the Canadian Forces Aptitude Assessment Practice Test to improve your score.

The CFAT evaluates abilities such as verbal proficiency, spatial awareness, problem-solving, and mathematical skills.

Although the test technically isn’t structured on a pass-or-fail basis, failing to plan is still planning to fail. Strong preparation and performance will increase your chances of qualifying for your desired role in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Whether you’ve only recently heard of the CFAT, or you’re almost ready to take it: we’ll run you through the steps for sufficient preparation. The following guide covers:

  • Understanding the CFAT’s purpose
  • Application Process
  • Breaking down the CFAT sections
  • Effective Study Strategies
  • Day of the test: what to expect
  • Interpreting your results

Let’s get into it!

Understanding the CFAT

The Canadian Forces Aptitude Test is a standardized test used by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as part of their recruitment process. All applicants must take the CFAT to apply and be considered for any military position.

The CFAT is designed to assess a candidate’s aptitude for general and specific military service. It helps the Canadian Armed Forces to determine if you possess the cognitive abilities required for various army roles.

The primary purpose of the CFAT is to evaluate a candidate’s mental skills across the different areas that are considered important for different levels of military service.

These areas include verbal skills, spatial ability, and problem-solving, which involve various literacy and mathematical skills.

A certain level of cognitive ability is necessary to perform effectively in your chosen role.

The CFAT is an important tool in the recruitment process, as it helps the Canadian Armed Forces identify individuals with different strengths across these sections. Your performance in the test will indicate which of the roles you are most suitable for!

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CFAT Application Process

Before you can even consider preparing for the Canadian Forces Aptitude Test, ensure that you meet the basic eligibility requirements:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Be at least 18 years old, or 17 years old with parental consent.

For paid education programs & primary reserves, you may be at least 16 years old, and:

  • Have completed at least Grade 10 or 24 credits of Secondary IV in Quebec.

For non-Canadian education, you must have your ECA’s (educational credential assessment) completed for your high school.

Note that some jobs may need higher levels of education or require specific qualifications (such as for joining the CAF as an Officer).

Once you know your eligibility, there are 5 main steps to apply for the Canadian Armed Forces, including of course the Aptitude Test (CFAT).

The application process consists of submitting all I.D. and education documents, filling in reliability screening forms, completing the CFAT at a recruitment/test center, receiving a medical exam / physical fitness test, and partaking in an interview.

Breaking Down the CFAT Sections

Verbal Skills

The literacy section of the CFAT assesses a candidate’s ability to comprehend information in written form.

You’ll be tested on three main areas of language/vocabulary: synonyms, antonyms, and definitions. You’ll make good use of a dictionary for this one.

Spatial Ability

The spatial ability section assesses a candidate’s capacity to visualize by mentally manipulating, folding, or rotating 2D and 3D objects. This is important for roles involving navigation, maps, and spatial relationships.

Problem Solving

The problem-solving section assesses a candidate’s ability to solve problems quickly and accurately.

This includes word problems, analogies, number sequences, and IQ-type questions. There tends to be a heavy mathematical component to most problem-solving questions, so ensure expertise in fractions, decimals, and long division.

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Effective Preparation & Study Strategies for the CFAT

Basic test advice follows: get enough sleep the night before, eat well, stay hydrated, and show up early.

Long-term, candidates are encouraged to access as many resources as they can regularly beforehand to increase their readiness for the CFAT.

Study materials such as practice tests are highly recommended before undertaking the test! See JobTestPrep for CFAT practice tests, which include official sample questions as well as detailed answers and explanations.

Time management is a crucial element of the CFAT, as each section is timed.

Schedule frequent study sessions leading up to the test, and align your own timers with the official section time limits. Don’t focus excessively on the same sections, and spend more time studying areas that you fall behind in.

You might also try to seek advice from recruitment officers or peers who have previously passed the CFAT. They may be able to offer valuable insights toward your preparation.

By approaching the CFAT with an attitude of above and beyond preparation, you’ll maximize your chances of standing out for recruitment. Prioritize determination and readiness to start your performance strong in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Day of the Test: What to Expect

After successful registration, you will be able to take your CFAT at a Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre.

The test is completed by paper and pen, with a multiple-choice (4 answers) format.

Calculators, dictionaries, and any other external resources are prohibited.  For tips during the test: read more on the official site:

Each section will be timed and presented in a specific order.

The Verbal Skills section consists of 15 questions, allowing 5 minutes. The Spatial Ability section consists of 15 questions, allowing 10 minutes. The Problem Solving section is the heaviest of the whole test, consisting of 30 questions and allowing 45 minutes.

During an appointment at the test center, a member of the recruiting staff will review your results with you. You will be advised of the roles that you qualify for based on your CFAT results.

You will then be able to select up to three positions that you are interested in applying for.

Your outcome will depend on the current demand of the Canadian Armed Forces, the availability of chosen positions, and your competitiveness (qualifications and skills) as an applicant.

After the CFAT: Interpreting Scores and Next Steps

As you now know, how you score on the CFAT determines which roles you’ll qualify for.

You’ll need to receive a certain score in certain sections that reflects the aptitude or ability required for that role. Most positions are based on cut-off scores, minimum marks, or relative percentiles.

Although you cannot access your actual score, the recruiter will advise you of which positions you qualified for. You must be medically examined and cleared physically fit to continue, as well as partake in an interview.

If you would like to attempt suitability for a higher position, you can reattempt the CFAT. You are required to wait at least one month from the date of your initial test.

Note that CFAT scores do not expire. Your most recent score is used to assess your application, even if it’s lower than a previous higher score.

Final Thoughts

The CFAT is an important tool in the recruitment process as it helps the Canadian Armed Forces to match recruits with the right roles.

The CFAT is designed to measure your cognitive abilities to assess suitability for military occupations.

The aptitude test (CFAT) covers verbal literacy, spatial reasoning, and problem-solving abilities — which require various literacy and mathematical skills.

Be sure to schedule sufficient preparation beforehand to maximize the chances of qualifying for your desired position. Different roles require different areas of strength, so the better your performance, the broader your options.

We encourage you to focus on time management and to make use of resources like Job Test Prep, which offers tailored preparation packs with sample questions, answers, and detailed explanations.

The more preparation you commit to, the more confident you are likely to feel during the CFAT.

Whatever your desired role in the Canadian Armed Forces, you can come back to this article as your go-to guide for preparation. Good luck, future military personnel!

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What is the passing score for CFAT?

You do not pass or fail the CFAT, as it is a test of aptitude/ability. You will instead be scored by section (which is not shared with candidates), and this will determine which role(s) you qualify for and can apply for.

Is the CFAT test hard?

This depends on your individual level of ability and skills across verbal, spatial, and problem-solving sections. Recruitment in the Canadian Armed Forces is known to be a competitive process, so you may find the test to reflect this.

With adequate preparation — particularly through time management and sample tests – you’ll increase your level of confidence during the test.

Is it possible to retake the CFAT if I don’t pass the first time?

Yes, you can reattempt the CFAT. You are required to wait at least one month from the date of your initial test. However, you will only be able to rewrite the test up to 3 times.