Be ready for the aptitude test. Preparation tips!

The pilot aptitude test has become a key part of job interviews, especially for first time commercial pilots, and mainly focuses on skills that a potential pilot has developed naturally, not necessarily learned through a controlled learning environment.  

That doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to put in some practice beforehand and brush up on your abilities. 

The test will examine how able a pilot is in situations that have not been revised and for most airlines it is an important part of the hiring process, particularly for low hours pilots. Some airlines may ask you to complete a test before attending an interview, others may have the test available to you on the day of your interview. 

Aptitude tests (also known as psychometric tests) can also be a part of the enrolment process of a flight school to assess students’ abilities before they’ve even flown a plane. This ensures that anyone who is really not suited to becoming a pilot can be identified before beginning his or her education. 

The results give the hiring party an idea of competencies and qualities of a pilot. They can then tell how well suited you are to their further training or the specific role that you are applying for within their company. 

Subjects such as spatial awareness, co-ordination, memory, reaction times, pattern recognition, multi-tasking and personality can be examined, as well as arithmetic and verbal reasoning. 

As you can see, the above requirements to become a pilot cannot be taught, but they can be practiced. 

A positive outcome from an aptitude test does not guarantee that you will be employed by the airline if you’re attending an interview. It’s one part of the interview process, but it’s not the only factor that determines whether you’ll be deemed employable. It’s still a competitive space for candidates. 

Whether it’s a test to enroll into a flight school or if you’re going for a job interview, here are a few things you could do to prepare: 

Improve memory/ability to recall
Brain training games can be really useful for this exercise, with many including memory tests. Enlist help from friends and play games such as memorizing a deck of cards that is out of order.  

Practice daily arithmetic
At the supermarket? Work out how much change you’ll be due before it’s handed to you. At the petrol pump? Work out how many litres you’ll get for your budget. There are scenarios every day that can be helpful here, without a calculator! 

Co-ordination skills
Gaming can help with hand/eye co-ordination. Flight simulators and several free online games are designed to assist with this skill. Also simple games such as throwing and catching a small ball or juggling can help. 

Set up multi-tasking opportunities
Again, friends and family can help out with this one. Get them to ask you questions (perhaps test you on ATPL theory!) or give you a pop quiz while you’re doing something else. It could be cooking and understanding a recipe, playing a computer game or watching a video. - anything that enables you to split yourself between two activities.  

Take problem solving as a challenge
Don’t get stressed out next time you need to solve a problem. Use this as an opportunity to think logically, work it out and consider the options for solving that one problem. This is a very transferrable skill!  

Those are just a few examples of things you can do every day to keep the relevant parts of your brain active and improving. Practice is vital. Even once you’ve passed aptitude tests and are working as a commercial pilot, keep brushing up on these skills. 
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