Airlines, FTOs, the RAF and training schemes all use aptitude tests to determine if candidates have what it takes to join their ranks. Although they use different test providers, all pilot tests look for the same skills and skill level that’s needed for the job. Trainee pilots can usually expect a test called the PILAPT or a similar suite of pilot aptitude tests. If you are applying to the RAF, our dedicated page details the aptitude tests involved. Even if you have been flying for years, these tests can prove tricky, with difficult question styles and time constraints to challenge you. The best way to come through these tests successfully is by practicing with preparation materials tailored for pilots.
Pilot aptitude tests are designed to ensure that you have the necessary skills for the job and that you are at the top of your game. The list below sets out some of the skills tested throughout the recruitment process. You may be tested against additional skills, so always read the job description carefully.
|Understanding of maths and physics||Ability to understand technical information/ work with technology||Spatial awareness and coordination - hand/ eye coordination|
|Communication skills - written and verbal||Team-working skills||Ability to think quickly and make decisions in difficult situations|
|Capacity to remain calm under pressure||Discipline, self-confidence and commitment||Leadership skills|
|Ability to follow spoken instructions||Ability to multi-task, deal with more than one thing at once|
Pilot assessments usually include a series of psychometric, aptitude and psychomotor skills tests. In some cases, usually as a trainee pilot, you may be asked to take the set of tests known as the PILAPT. These tests are used in many recruitment processes not to examine your knowledge, but to look at your skills and get an impression of your potential to do your job. Pilot aptitude tests examine candidates for these skills through a variety of challenging question styles to ensure you are the right fit. Only with a passing score on the pilot psychometric tests will you be able to move forward in the pilot recruitment process. Ensure you are at the top of your game by preparing for these using practice aptitude tests.
These skills are tested through a range of tests collectively known as a pilot aptitude or psychometric test. easyJet, Jet2, Emirates and British Airways all use assessments provided by test providers to see if candidates are the right fit for their airline. Many airlines use the pilot aptitude test provided by CEB’s SHL.
The exact tests you will encounter may differ between airlines, but some of the common tests you will come up against include:
These tests assess your ability to work with numerical information and data. In your day to day job, you need to be able to read and understand numerical information and make calculations quickly and accurately, which may mean the difference between life and death.
Verbal reasoning tests look at how well you can analyse and draw conclusions from written texts. In your job as a pilot you need to be able to follow instructions given to you in a written format and act on them accordingly.
Some of the key skills for a pilot are the ability to understand the relationship between forms and space. In spatial reasoning tests, you are asked to organise two and three dimensional shapes, mirror images, and different perspectives.
Technical comprehension and understanding of physics is often measured through a mechanical reasoning test. These tests measure your understanding of mechanical concepts and diagrams. Find out more about the types of questions in these tests and prepare with our tailored preparation pack.
Diagrammatic and logical reasoning tests both assess your ability to draw logical conclusions from non-verbal information and apply this information to solve a problem. Our range of non-verbal practice packs can help you prepare whatever the assessment.
Most pilot recruitment processes will involve some other aptitude, psychometric or ability tests. These tests can vary, but they include:
Pilots need to be able to work with computerised information. This test, the Computerised Pilot Aptitude Screening System, is often taken at pilot assessment centres. The test is made up of several components, some of which use similar skills to the tests you may have taken earlier in the process, but also including:
Some airlines may ask you to take a personality test at some point in the recruitment process. The aim of this test is to assess your personality against some of the characteristics they are looking for in their pilots. Your task is to give as good an account of yourself as you can. One way to do this is to go into the test familiar with how it works, including the different types of questions you may come up against.
Pilot application processes usually follow several key stages. Once you have submitted a successful application, the next step is usually the online aptitude tests outlined above. Following on from a successful testing stage, airline pilot recruitment processes usually involve several more interview and assessment stages. Below we will look at some examples of these assessments.
One of the biggest challenges you face in the pilot recruitment process is the airline pilot interview. The focus of the interview is the non-technical aspects of the job, such as your attitude, teamwork skills, understanding of the aviation industry, brand awareness and communication skills. Remember that besides your main duty of safely flying an airplane, as a pilot you are also a representative of the airline’s brand.
When airlines hire, they look for responsible, organised individuals who can be both team players and leaders according to the situation. Good problem solving and decision making skills are a must, and the aviation industry has developed its own acronym for solving problems:
At JobTestPrep, we have all sorts of materials to help you prepare; from cadets just starting out to experienced pilots joining airlines, we have everything you need to practice for your pilot aptitude tests. We look forward to having you on board.