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Everything You Need To Know About The Royal Air Force Aptitude Test

26 March 2019
Zara Woodcock
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The Royal Air Force have aptitude tests that are a bit different from the usual ones. They are created to test a range of cognitive abilities and each test measures specific elements of the cognitive process that have been identified as important for job success.  There are two types of tests which are the RAF Airman test or the RAF Airman Selection test.

RAF entrance test results are added up to create an average overall score. The recruitment tests are all computer-based. Don’t worry, advanced technical skills are not required to pass. Before the exam starts, you will receive directions on how to fill out the test. The assessment is made to measure your potential for success during professional training in different branches. Nevertheless, not all branches will have aptitude tests. The tests you are given depends on the branch you apply for. Therefore it is a good idea to prepare for every outcome of the RAF entry test.

What Is The Airman Selection Test?

The RAF Airman Selection Test (AST) is the main assessment for the RAF airman recruitment process. These tests take place in a specific test room which has the capacity of 45 candidates. Furthermore, all AST is always done via a computer fit with special hardware (e.g. joysticks and foot pedals). You are given rest breaks after each stage of the test, so you will be required to answer as quickly and efficiently as possible during each stage. The entire programme may last up to 8 hours so having a good nights rest is beneficial for the long day. Every RAF AST is designed to measure the specific abilities of each candidate.

Every Single Test You Will Have To Take

Listed below is every single assessment you will have to complete before being considered to join by your employer:


  • The Airborne Numerical Test – is usually the first test completed. It is designed to test the mathematical abilities, including abilities to estimate answers that are demanded in airborne environments.
  • The Angles, Bearing and Degrees Test – is a spatial test made to check the candidate’s skills when judging bearings.
  • The Auditory Capacity Test – is a short-term memory test made to assess your memory capacity under multiple situations.
  • Cognitive Updating Test – is made up of different tasks made to assess one’s ability to manage and coordinate tasks in a challenging environment.
  • Colours, Letter and Numbers Test – is created to evaluate the ability to quickly shift attention between different tasks.
  • Digital Recognition Test – is used to assess your short-term visual memory when dealing with a string of digits.
  • Directions and Distances Test – is another spatial test which checks your ability to interpret descriptions of spatial relationships.
  • Dynamic Projection Test – evaluates your skills in interpreting and directing movements within a dynamic 3D environment.
  • Instrument Comprehension Test – has candidates inspecting instrument readings to visualise the orientation of an aircraft.
  • Mathematical Reasoning Test – this one is different from the previous one but still checks a candidate’s numerical solving skills.
  • Numerical Operations Test – the assessment follows the Mathematical Reasoning Test. However, this one is more arithmetic and involves doing simple arithmetics in a short time.
  • Rapid Tracking Test – an eye-hand coordination exam that addresses your ability to track and target objects using the joystick
  • Sensory Motor Apparatus Test – designed to assess coordination but the candidate is asked to use the joystick and the foot pedal to aim a cross-hair and keep it in an area for as long as possible.
  • Situational Awareness Test – this is a multiple task assessment that asks you to collect verbal, numerical and pictorial information to build a mental picture of a changing situation.
  • Spatial Integration Test – added to collate information provided by 2D images so as to form a 3D air/group picture.
  • Systems Logic Test –  a reasoning test that assesses your ability when it comes to solving logical problems related to a system based on numerical and verbal information.
  • Table Readin Test – assesses your skills with scanning and cross-referencing tables of information
  • Target Recognition Test – a multiple task test made to test a candidates ability to identify a series of visual targets on the screen.
  • Trace Test 1 – a spatial test (similar to a flight simulator) that judges your ability to orientate in 3D spaces.
  • Trace Test 2 – similar to the previous assessment but it tests your ability to remember the movement of objects in a 3D space.
  • Verbal Logic Test – a simple read-and-respond assessment to examine your ability to interpret information
  • Vigilance Test – an assessment used to grade your ability to scan information and switch priorities when need be.
  • Visual Search Test – is finally the last exam. It tests the candidate’s skill when it comes to interpreting information under strict time constraints


It looks like a lot, and it is. Every single test was designed specifically to check every skill and ability you have and is extremely important for the role. Not to worry, our partner provides every single assessment in its RAF Premium Pack.

As shown above, the RAF assessment procedure is an extremely time-consuming and challenging procedure. This means it is extremely important to be well prepared. The only way to achieve success is through practice and preparation. Give yourself a lot of time before the actual test as well as using the sample RAF exam questions on the site.

These free practice questions give you a glimpse into what the RAF assessment is actually like. The RAF Aptitude Test Pack will provide more assessments and explanations for each section. If the RAF tests are a bit daunting to you, have a read of our top 10 aviation employers in the UK to give you an idea of other available options.