Pilot Aptitude Test: A Definitive Study Guide with Practice Questions
Does your desire to fly come from making your mum proud or impressing your significant other? Or did it all start that time you saw a bird crash into your front window and you imagined you could do a better job than that darn robin at gaining altitude and avoiding collisions?
No matter what has brought you here, the facts are simple: you want to fly planes.
But there is one thing getting in the way. The pilot aptitude test.
This rigorous test selects only the top candidates so it can seem daunting. However, with some guidance, studying and practice, you will know what to expect and have everything you need to succeed.
Read on to discover what the test is about and all you need to ace the exam and gain employment as a commercial airline pilot.
Table of Contents
What is the Pilot Aptitude Test?
The pilot aptitude tests gauges a candidate’s suitability as an airline pilot. Because this career is in great demand, and the stakes for success are so high. And airlines recognise the importance of selecting only the top candidates for this profession.
Thus, the pilot aptitude test is used as a screening measure to determine which candidates meet these exacting standards. For the most part, this exam does not directly test a person’s ability to fly an aeroplane. Rather, it assesses his or her competency, maths skills, mechanical and verbal reasoning, and spatial awareness.
The pilot aptitude test is notoriously challenging, but candidates can prepare for these difficulties by seeking out practice exams, becoming familiar with the types of questions asked, and honing their skills in their weaker knowledge areas.
It is also essential to develop your reaction times and get used to answering questions within a time-pressure environment. Because flying an aeroplane requires quick decision making skills, the aptitude test will measure your ability to think on your feet and utilise your critical thinking skills without a lot of lead time.
Why is a High Score Important?
The pilot aptitude test can determine whether an individual is ready to begin training to be a pilot. Pilot training is expensive as it involves access to multi million dollar equipment and tutelage under industry experts. This training process can cost as much as £120,000 out of pocket.
This can be a hefty sum for an individual to spend on logging the flight hours necessary to gain pilot eligibility. However, candidates who score high on the pilot aptitude test may receive subsidised commercial pilot training.
This may make it financially easier to become a pilot for a major airline. Additionally, a low score may rule out a candidate’s chances to enter a cadet training programme, effectively ending his or her dreams of flight.
What Can I Expect on the Pilot Aptitude Test?
Let’s talk about some of the things you will see on the pilot aptitude test and the best ways to prepare for the exam.
The numerical reasoning tests provide an opportunity to demonstrate cognitive reasoning skills. Candidates will be asked to perform maths calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
They may also be asked to read charts and graphs or interpret data presented in a word problem form. Test takers should also be familiar with percentages and have the ability to state which numbers are larger or smaller than other numbers.
These tests are typically framed in an applied setting rather than a theoretical framework. You will be asked to find answers to real world questions through data analysis and numeracy skills.
Here is an example question:
The price of a book before a 25% discount is £10. What is the price of the book after the discount?
For more example questions, navigate to this site.
Pilots must exhibit leadership skills, which require exceptional communication with both the air traffic control tower and other pilots. The verbal reasoning test is an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their ability to use logic and reading comprehension in a timed environment.
To succeed in this area, practise reading passages of information and deducing answers from the information given.
Commercial airline pilots operate in three-dimensional space and must be aware of their relationship to all other objects—both above, below, in front, behind, and to each side. They must also be cognisant of object speed and trajectory.
In short, a person who does not have proper spatial awareness will probably not succeed at flying a plane. Thus, the spatial awareness test gauges a candidate’s understanding of objects in space. These objects may be turned, disassembled, or mirrored. You may also be asked to read maps or combine two-dimensional shapes.
The trick to acing this portion of the exam is to practise the spatial awareness tests and focus on your areas of weakness. Once you complete the test, go back and take it again in a timed environment. Then go over your answers and see which areas you excelled at and where you need improvement.
Spatial awareness skills can be developed, so don’t get frustrated if you find this to be challenging at first. Simply keep practising.
This test builds on your spatial awareness, but it is assessed by directing the candidate to manipulate a joystick in a precise manner in a fast paced test environment. Candidates may also be asked to complete another task simultaneously, which tests one’s ability to multitask while staying focused and precise in real time.
Reaction time is important during this portion of the test. You’ll want to ensure precise hand-eye coordination as you multitask.
In addition to quick thinking and 3D perception, pilots must also have the type of personality that allows for seamless transition between different airports, altitudes, and coordination with multiple others along the way. The personality test aspect of the pilot aptitude test will gauge your ability to be a leader, a teammate, and a high achiever.
Be sure to answer these questions truthfully, and give whatever answer is the best fit for your own personality.
There are several software companies that offer pilot aptitude tests. Each airline may have contracted to use a different aptitude test. While these tests largely screen for the same skillset, familiarity with the specific test you’ll be taking can help you prepare for the exam.
If possible, try to find out which test you’ll be taking so that you can practise those specific questions.
Some of the testing options include:
- COMPASS or COMPASS Advanced
- Talent Q
If you have a pilot aptitude test scheduled with a particular airline, navigate to their website to learn all you can about their specific pilot training programme and what sort of candidates they are looking for.
The Bottom Line: Study!
Even if you are confident in your cognitive abilities and you performed well in school, you should not take your success for granted. Spend a lot of time practising for the pilot aptitude test. You should acquire practice tests that will give you answers and help you gauge not only what sorts of questions will be asked but to help you identify your weak spots and help you to gain proficiency in these areas.
Top marks on this test are vital for continuing your journey to become a pilot. Every question you answer adds up to the score you achieve, and therefore you should do everything you can to boost your skill level and try to receive the best score possible. Grab some test questions and get started!
Related Article – How Long Does it Really Take to Become a Pilot?
The Pilot Aptitude Test: You Can Do It!
Many children dream about flying aeroplanes when they grow up. The commercial airline industry values passionate, exceptional individuals who thrive in a challenging and high-pressure environment. Because safety is of paramount consideration, there can be no mistakes when it comes to piloting an aircraft.
The pilot aptitude test screens people for just these skills. While many take the test, not everyone will receive a high enough score to be considered for a flight training programme. Thus, preparation for the pilot aptitude test is a tremendously important aspect of achieving one’s dreams of flight.
That being said, with proper skills and preparation, it is possible to ace the pilot aptitude test and move towards the next stage on the journey to become an airline pilot. Individuals who are motivated and set high standards for themselves are just what is needed for the next generation of airline pilots.
If you think you have what it takes to receive high marks on this test, get started practising and visualise yourself flying through the skies in a successful career as an airline pilot.
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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.