FEAST Test: Process, Assessment & Preparation Guide
For an aspiring air traffic controller, the First European Air Traffic Controller Selection Test is crucial on your journey to life as an accredited and registered air traffic controller!
Everyone in air traffic control has to pass the FEAST test – and as such, it is a robust and effective test to assess the cognitive ability and multitasking skills required to be a successful and safe air traffic controller.
In this article, we’ll cover the important fundamentals of the FEAST test to help prepare you for this important step in your career. We’ll discuss a lot of important details, including:
- An overview of the FEAST test itself
- The FEAST test process
- How to prepare for the FEAST test
- What to expect on testing day.
And plenty more to make sure you’re prepared and confident when it comes time to sit your test!
Table of Contents
What is the FEAST Test?
The FEAST test, or First European Air Traffic Controller Selection Test, is a battery of tests devised by the organization that oversees air navigation safety in Europe, EUROCONTROL.
Many of Europe’s Air Navigation Security Providers use the test to choose candidates for roles in air traffic control. It is also a common tool for air traffic training schools to form part of their qualification.
The FEAST test identifies individuals who are best suited to the stresses and workload of air traffic control by finding candidates early in the early stages of training and before any technical instruction is given.
It is a series of tests that assess memory, multitasking, cognitive skills, language ability, and understanding of air traffic control principles.
While EUROCONTROL designs the FEAST test, they do not actually administer it, and it is up to each of the schools or safety organizations to make their own decisions after running the test for prospective air traffic controllers.
The FEAST Test comes in three parts:
FEAST 1: This test covers cognitive abilities like decision-making, logical thinking, perception, memory, attention, multitasking, and English language proficiency.
FEAST 2: This component includes more complex multi-tasking assessments and simulated air traffic control.
FEAST 3: This final component is the FEAST Personality Questionnaire which covers a candidate’s personality. Not all organizations administer the FPQ.
The FEAST Test Process
The FEAST test is broken into multiple stages.
First, a candidate applies for the position of Student Air Traffic Controller. This is the first foot-in-the-door stage, and the candidate submits an application to whichever Air Navigation Service Provider or training organization they plan to train with.
Before they enter their training institution of choice, candidates are screened to ensure they meet basic requirements. Requirements might include educational qualifications, language proficiency, or any other prerequisites that are necessary to enter an air traffic control training program.
Candidates who pass the initial screening will be invited to sit the FEAST selection tests. They will be informed of the aims of the FEAST test, which are administered by computer using a specific FEAST testing program.
Candidates undergo the FEAST I tests, which measure basic skills and abilities in decision-making, logical reasoning, visual perception, memory, attention, multi-tasking, spatial orientation, and English language knowledge. The testing session may take between 2½ to 4 hours.
Candidates who successfully complete FEAST I may be invited to undergo FEAST II.
This phase includes more complex multi-tasking tests simulating air traffic control tasks.
Finally, candidates may then be asked to undertake FEAST III, the personality test, to assess their personality type against the role of air traffic controller.
Candidates will be given feedback on their tests, though the timeline for feedback can vary. Feedback and results will help inform a candidate’s next steps.
If a candidate is successful, they will be able to go on to formal air traffic controller training!
The actual details of the feedback process or the testing timeframe will be specific to each training organization, but this outline gives a good idea of the process.
Types of Assessments in the FEAST Test
As previously stated, the FEAST test battery is broken up into three distinct components, though some assessors only administer the first two of the tests.
FEAST 1: is the initial stage of testing and the selection process and assesses and evaluates fundamental cognitive abilities and skills.
Candidates undertake computer-based tests that cover decision-making, logical reasoning, memory, attention, multitasking, visual perception, and an English-language test.
The test can range in length from 2 ½ to 4 hours, and each portion of the test is opened with an overview of its principles and intention.
Candidates can practice with sample questions, but the actual assessment conditions are standardized and formalized to ensure everything is equal for all candidates.
FEAST 2: Feast 2 is a more complex set of tests and comes after the successful completion of FEAST 1.
FEAST 2 brings more complicated and intricate multi-tasking tests that simulate real-world air traffic control challenges.
Some of these include the ATC Radar Test which simulates a series of radar-related tasks, as well as the FEAST MULTI-PASS Test which covers more complex multitasking.
It’s important to note that these tests do not demand any prior air traffic control education or knowledge, as they are conceptual and not technical tests. Detailed instructions are provided.
FEAST 3: FEAST 3 is an optional stage that not all assessors administer. It is a personality-based test with no right or wrong answers.
The FEAST 3 component aims to give an assessor an impression of a candidate’s personality and how they might handle the challenges of air traffic control.
Preparation Strategies for the FEAST
While none of the FEAST test components require robust background knowledge of air traffic control, there are still some steps you can take to prepare for your assessment!
Familiarize yourself with general air traffic control concepts.
While you won’t have to understand any official procedures to sit the FEAST test, you will want to have a basic comprehension of what goes into air traffic control to help inform some of your decision-making.
You can also practice basic test performance indicators like cognition and multitasking.
Try practice puzzles, sample questions, and online simulations to test these different elements.
Sitting a sample FEAST test and online lessons can give you an excellent grounding in the requirements of the test, so it’s well worth exploring options like that to greatly improve your chances of success!
Make sure your English is up to scratch. Because English is the formal language of aviation, you need to be able to communicate in English to work as an air traffic controller.
What to Expect on Test Day
Test day for FEAST candidates follows a different pattern for each training organization, though there are some basics that are true in all cases.
Firstly, you will have to sit the test on the premises of the training organization that is assessing you.
You will need to check-in, where you will be met by a test administrator. Their role is to explain the day’s testing and procedures, as well as give you instructions on how the day will pan out.
Once the test begins, you will be given detailed and comprehensive instructions before you start any given assessment question.
This will ensure that you and everybody else taking the test are on equal footing and on a fair playing ground.
There will be breaks between components, but the testing components themselves will be packed full of questions. You’re encouraged to work quickly and attempt to solve every question!
Post-Test: Interpreting Results and Next Steps
Results are typically conveyed via email and provide insights into your performance in each section of the FEAST tests.
Results indicate whether or not you have successfully passed the tests or if further steps are required. Your feedback may include specific details about strengths or areas for improvement based on the assessment outcome.
The subsequent steps after the test vary depending on the organization’s selection process.
In many cases, candidates who have successfully passed the FEAST may be invited to participate in additional assessments or interviews such as situational judgment tests, group exercises, or structured interviews designed to further evaluate the candidate’s suitability for air traffic control.
The FEAST test results are crucial in determining your progression in the selection process and your suitability for air traffic control on the whole.
Successfully passing the tests indicates you have a strong foundation in the cognitive and multitasking skills required for air traffic control!
The overall goal is to identify individuals who not only perform well in the assessment tests but also exhibit the qualities necessary for success in air traffic control training and their subsequent careers in the field.
The FEAST test is a crucial part of becoming an air traffic controller in Europe, and there’s no way to work as an air traffic controller in a FEAST country without passing!
That being said, the test components are based on your cognitive skills and proficiencies in key personality areas and not based on technical knowledge derived from work in the field.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand that you can practice for the test every day by challenging your mind to solve puzzles or perform complex tasks.
In the end, however, the FEAST test itself is a robust assessment that will uncover your strengths and weaknesses.
Therefore, by reading this article to get an overview of the process, you are already on the way to successfully passing and beginning your career in air traffic control!
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.