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pilot aptitude tests

Pilot Aptitude Tests

  • 17 tests
  • 239 questions
pilot aptitude tests

Becoming a pilot involves hours of training and is costly. To be accepted onto a training programme, especially one administered by a major airline, it is important that you can demonstrate the abilities and skills that a pilot would need. In almost all cases, this means performing well during a pilot aptitude test.

What is a pilot aptitude test?

Pilot aptitude tests assess a specific set of skills needed to be a safe, effective pilot – whether you are looking to become a freight pilot, work with private clients, or join the large commercial airlines.

As a general rule, airlines are looking for aptitude in areas like:

  • Long-term memory retention and recall ability
  • Hand-to-eye coordination and spatial awareness
  • Reaction time
  • Data analysis and pattern recognition
  • Accurate estimations

Pilot aptitude tests tend to be used mostly for cadet recruitment. For qualified pilots with hundreds of flying hours, it is assumed that they will have the natural aptitude to move forward through the application process.

Major airlines may have their own aptitude tests, but the main publishers used in the tests are Cut-e, PILAPT, Compass and Talent Q. In every case, you can expect to face questions on numerical, verbal and mechanical reasoning, as well as personality tests and psychomotor assessments.

What makes pilot aptitude tests hard?

A pilot aptitude test, like other psychometric tests, is designed to be challenging. Structured as a puzzle that needs to be solved rather than a traditional ‘exam’, the questions are designed to push candidates.

Alongside the difficulty of the posed questions, the short time limits mean candidates must perform under intense pressure – another skill that is important for pilots.

Part of the reason why pilot aptitude tests are so hard is because they effectively decide whether a candidate is suitable for training. A high score is needed to even be considered for a cadet programme.

Training to become a pilot is expensive. If you are considering this as a career path, it could cost £40,000 to £120,000 just to train.

Scoring highly on the aptitude tests could help you receive subsidised training, reducing your out-of-pocket expenses and making the dream of flying more attainable.

pilot tests

What skills do pilot tests evaluate?

To become a pilot, you need to have considerable interpersonal skills, as well as mechanical knowledge. Being able to make quick decisions based on available data – and often under pressure while performing other tasks – are core proficiencies for a successful pilot.

The pilot aptitude tests are not about what you have learned, but rather how you apply your inherent knowledge.

Cognitive skills

The way you approach a problem, to understand the information given, analyse it, and use logic to find an answer, are all assessed via cognitive skills, as detailed below.

Numerical reasoning

In numerical reasoning tests, you are assessed on your ability to understand and interpret data to produce an answer to a question. This might be presented as a graph, table or chart, or it could be a mathematical word problem.

Other than a basic knowledge of mathematical functions, no previous knowledge is needed – the data provided gives you enough to find the correct answer.

Verbal reasoning

In verbal reasoning tests, you are presented with a passage of information, and then asked questions about it. Answers are provided in the text, so the subject matter is not important.

Success in verbal reasoning assessments requires careful consideration of the given information – quickly reading and understanding, and then analysing to find the answers.

Spatial awareness

Pilots need to have a good awareness of the things that are around them, and your understanding of the relationship between objects is what the spatial reasoning test is for.

Questions are based on patterns and shapes, spotting the odd one out or predicting the next pattern in a sequence.

You may also be assessed through a 3D pursuit game, and your memory will be tested too.

The tests were well suited to the job that I’ve applied for. They are easy to do and loads of them.
Sophie used Practice Aptitude Tests to help pass her aptitude tests for Deloitte. Start your success story

Mechanical reasoning skills

Mechanical reasoning tests assess your understanding of physical forces and mechanical elements: skills that are needed every day in the life of a pilot. Pilots need to have the practical knowledge of mechanics and understand the principles behind flight.

In mechanical reasoning assessments for pilots, questions will have a strong focus on physics – subjects like space, time, movement and force will feature.

This is still an aptitude test, so you will not need a science degree to perform well. Instead, you need basic knowledge of scientific principles and an aptitude for understanding how mechanical elements work in practical circumstances.

Psychomotor skills

Flying a plane is a precision skill, requiring great attention to detail and hand-eye coordination.

In the psychomotor skills test, you will be asked to complete a task using a joystick, and your reaction times and movements will be tracked and recorded.

Quick and measured reactions are important skills for a pilot, and to make it more of a realistic assessment you may be asked to complete the joystick task while also doing something else, demonstrating your ability to multitask.

Personality tests

While a personality test may not be a strict aptitude test, it does demonstrate your strengths and weaknesses. In pilot aptitude tests, personality is an important factor in deciding whether you will become a Captain.

Personality tests typically offer a statement and ask you to rate your reaction (ie whether you agree or disagree). You might be asked to decide what your response would be to a given situation, or decide whether a personality trait describes you.

The best advice about personality tests is to answer them truthfully. Although it might be tempting to give the ‘right’ answers, your personality is part of the reason that you will make a great pilot (or not).

Five tips to prepare for pilot aptitude tests

1. Do your research

Applying for a role as a pilot needs thorough research. Do you want to fly commercial airlines around the world or would you rather fly private jets? There are different requirements for each pilot role, so researching what you need to do to get a job in your preferred area is needed.

When you have decided where your flying career is going, you also need to decide how you are going to train. That might mean choosing a cadet program with an airline like EasyJet or British Airways.

2. Know what is coming

When you have chosen your training route, find out all you can about the application process. Have a good idea about what is coming and what to expect.

For many commercial airlines, the information about how to apply and what to expect is available on their websites. Also look for online forums where people might discuss their experiences.

3. Find out what testing platform is used

Although all pilot aptitude tests are looking for the same personal skills and abilities, not all testing platforms are the same. If you can find out which organisation is publishing the assessments you will be given, you can focus on those tests specifically.

4. Study

Aptitude tests don’t need specific knowledge, but as pilot aptitude tests are specifically complicated and known to be difficult, preparing for the tests is necessary to achieve a high score.

Brush up on your physics knowledge, and make sure that you spend some time on your basic maths functions. Even if your English skills are good, some of the language used in your verbal reasoning assessment might be specifically formal or business-orientated, so read, understand and analyse passages of business journals and newspapers.

5. Practice

Part of the difficulty you might have with aptitude tests is unfamiliarity. Practicing verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning tests will help you to become more familiar with the structure, layout and wording used in the assessments.

This is why knowing the publisher of your test will help. Even if you don’t know the publisher, becoming familiar with the similarities and differences of pilot aptitude tests will improve your performance, helping you to score higher in the tests.

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  • 45 Numerical reasoning tests
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  • 30 Diagrammatic reasoning tests
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