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Royal Air Force Tests

Royal Air Force Tests

  • 23 tests
  • 304 questions
Royal Air Force Tests

The Royal Air Force, or RAF, is one of three branches of the British Armed Forces. It provides incredible training and qualifications to all those enrolled on its prestigious graduate scheme. To join, you’ll need to undergo some of the most demanding tests used today.

Careers at The Royal Air Force

The RAF protects these interests at home and abroad by responding to threats (whether from unauthorised aircraft or cyber-attacks), strengthening national and international security to prevent conflict, constantly monitoring UK airspace and delivering aid in partnership with the Department for International Development.

There are a number of roles within the RAF that require you to complete a selection test, known as the AST. Such roles include:

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Air Traffic Control Officer
  • Aerospace Battle Manager
  • RAF Regiment
  • Weapons Systems Operator

But what is the AST?

What is the Airman/Airwoman Selection Test (AST)?

The Airman/Airwoman Selection Test is an aptitude assessment. It is used alongside a health assessment, fitness test, pre-recruit training and interviews, to decide whether candidates are suitable for recruitment into the RAF.

Although some test sections will not be relevant for all roles, the RAF asks candidates to sit the full AST so they can identify their strengths – and perhaps uncover skills that have been previously overlooked.

As there are a wide range of opportunities available within the RAF, the AST is used to provide an indication of where a candidate may be best placed to excel.

The format of the RAF aptitude test

The RAF Aptitude Test is made up of seven different parts, which are explained in detail below. It aims to test your cognitive ability, accuracy under pressure and technical knowledge of specific skills.

Each section consists of multiple-choice questions, which must be answered under timed conditions. You should aim to answer as many of the questions as possible, but be aware that most candidates do not fully complete each test.

The test is not negatively marked, so no extra points are lost for incorrect answers. Before you start each section, there will be time to read through the instructions and complete a practice question.

The test will be taken at your closest Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO). You will need to bring photographic ID, such as your passport or driving licence. Everything else you need to take the test will be provided.

RAF verbal reasoning test

The RAF verbal reasoning test assesses your ability to understand, interpret and apply written information. The test consists of short passages of text, on which you will have to answer multiple-choice questions pertaining to the content of the paragraph or implication of the information divulged.

You will have a total of 15 minutes to answer 20 questions. Use of a dictionary is not permitted.

RAF numerical reasoning test

The RAF numerical reasoning test assesses your ability to deal with numbers and process the data in graphs, tables and charts. It is split into two parts.

For the first section, you will have 4 minutes to answer 12 questions, which will test your basic mental arithmetic – such as your ability to deal with ratios, fractions, percentages and sequences.

The second section will focus on your ability to interpret and analyse data. You will have longer to complete this, with 15 questions to answer in 11 minutes. Use of a calculator is not permitted, but you can use rough paper for your workings.

RAF work rate test

The work rate test assesses how quickly and accurately you can complete tasks. As the emphasis is upon speed of processing, you will have only 4 minutes to answer 20 questions.

For the test, you will be presented with a table containing rows of numbers, letters and shapes. You will then be given 20 codes and must use this table to determine the alternative combinations for these codes.

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RAF spatial awareness test

The RAF spatial awareness test consists of two parts. The first focuses upon how well you can work with 2D shapes, visualising how they rotate, transform and fit together.

The pace required is substantial, as you will have only 4 minutes to answer 10 questions. This section of the test is similar to an abstract reasoning test.

The second part of the test requires the interpretation of 3D objects, with candidates assessed on how well they can visualise these from different angles. For this section you will need to pick up the pace, as you will have 3 minutes to answer 10 questions.

RAF electrical comprehension test

The electrical comprehension test assesses your grasp of electrical concepts. Some questions will feature diagrams, so ensure your knowledge of electrical symbols is secure (for example, the representations for a fuse, battery, bulb, switch and motor).

The difficulty level of the questions will equate to the GCSE Physics syllabus. For this test, you will have 11 minutes to answer 21 questions.

RAF mechanical aptitude test

The RAF mechanical aptitude test is a mechanical reasoning test that assesses your knowledge of and ability to apply mechanical concepts. You will have 20 questions to answer in 10 minutes.

The questions will be multiple-choice, and many will feature diagrams to illustrate mechanical principles. Again, expect a difficulty level similar to GCSE exams with content covering energy, forces, motion, screws, pulleys, gears and levers.

RAF memory test

The RAF memory test assesses your ability to recall information accurately. It contains 20 questions in total but is split into two parts, which are delivered in video format.

The first section will require you to memorise a sequence of letters. You will subsequently be asked questions on their order of appearance and the number of characters between certain letters.

The second section involves recall of shapes and patterns. You will be shown grids containing coloured squares, each grid displayed one at a time. The complexity of the grids will increase as the sequence progresses.

You will be asked which of the more complicated grids are composites of the original grids shown early in the sequence.

raf AST aptitude test

How is the RAF aptitude test scored?

The AST is scored based on the number of points accrued by answering questions correctly. It is not negatively marked. You will receive individual marks for each of the seven sections, along with an overall score.

The RAF does not publish the scores needed to pass each section – and these do vary according to the role and service area you have applied for. More competitive roles will have higher pass expectations, as will highly technical roles (such as engineering positions).

The test is designed to identify your strengths and abilities, so higher scores in certain areas will indicate suitability for different roles. The RAF wants to ensure you are placed in the correct career area, so you will take to training and thrive in the role.

Five tips on how to do well in the RAF AST

Complete the online practice AST

The RAF website has a mock test to help you become accustomed to the type and style of questions that will be asked in the AST. This is the closest material to the real test available, so make sure you sit it. Also be sure to check out the RAF test resources at Military Aptitude Tests.

Using further aptitude test resources will help you to sharpen your verbal, numerical, abstract and mechanical reasoning skills.

Practice your recall

Alongside the need to recall technical concepts in the electrical and mechanical aptitude tests, the RAF memory test requires fast recall skills that you may not be accustomed to exhibiting.

Prepare for being tested upon your recollection of concepts and patterns, by performing small memory tasks everyday - such as memorising the content of news articles and asking a friend to quiz you. There are also many ‘brain training’ exercises available online that feature letters and shapes.

Work on your pace

All sections of the AST require a rapid pace of work that require thinking critically and accurately under pressure. As there is a specific work rate test, it is paramount that you can display the rapid analytical and recall skills sought. Conduct all your practice under timed conditions so you become accustomed to the pace required.

Hone your weaknesses

Adequately practicing for all parts of the AST will help you to quickly identify where your skills are weakest. Although it is tempting to revise areas you are more comfortable with, tackling the tough questions in practice will help you to excel in the real test.

Familiarise yourself with the test format

Make sure you know exactly what to expect from the AST test. It will test general verbal and numerical reasoning alongside technical knowledge, pace and recall – so ensure you are aware of the expectations and prepare fully for each section.

There will be a practice question to answer before each section, but by the time you sit the test you should be fully prepared for the type of questions you will encounter.


Is the RAF aptitude test hard?

The RAF AST is challenging as it covers a broad range of skills – from written comprehension to numerical skills and electrical and mechanical knowledge – under pressured time conditions. Good scores are needed to impress. With dedicated practice, however, you can feel confident across all areas of the assessment come the day of the test.

What should I wear to my RAF aptitude test?

When attending your local AFCO to sit the test, the RAF requests you wear smart clothing. Sportswear, t-shirts, jeans or trainers are not permitted. It is recommended that women wear flat or low-heeled shoes.

Remember that – whether correct or not – how you present yourself will likely be viewed as a reflection upon your professionalism, personality and character. Seek to make a good first impression by following the clothing rules.

How long are the RAF aptitude tests?

Each section of the RAF AST varies in relation to the number of questions set and the time given. Some sections only allocate 4 minutes, whereas others allow for a less frenetic pace with a 15-minute time allowance. All sections will need to be completed at a substantial pace – while not compromising accuracy – to secure the points to pass. In total, the test takes around 90 minutes to complete.

What happens if you fail the RAF aptitude test?

If you fail to obtain the score required to progress with training in the RAF area you desired, you may be offered a place to train for a different speciality (with a lower score requirement). You will be able to discuss this with a recruiter at the AFCO once you have your results. If you are set on a particular specialism, you will have the chance to retake the test. If, however, you fail for a second time, you will be asked to reapply in a couple of years.

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