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.

What Do Airlines Look for in 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

What are Pilot Aptitude Tests?

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:

Numerical Reasoning

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

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. 

Spatial Reasoning and Orientation

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. 

Mechanical Reasoning

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 or Logical Reasoning

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. 


Other Pilot Assessment Tests

Most pilot recruitment processes will involve some other aptitude, psychometric or ability tests. These tests can vary, but they include:

Compass Test for Pilots

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:

  • Maths test - Speed, distance time questions as well as the basic calculations. This test is quick moving and calculator free.
  • Memory tests - These tests look at your short term memory, how well you can remember pieces of information and reproduce them a short time later.
  • Spatial awareness - How well can you read instruments and understand the relationship between information and space.
  • Tracking test - A test that looks at your hand-eye co-ordination.
  • Multitasking - How well can you manage multiple pieces of information and input the relevant pieces of information in the right place on a form.
  • Aviation English - How well do you understand the technical terms that you will use daily as a pilot.

Pilot Personality Test

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.

How to Become a Pilot

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.

Airline Pilot Interview and Interview Questions

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:


  • D- diagnosis
  • O- options
  • D- decide
  • A- allocate
  • R- review

Pilot Interview Sample Questions

  • Why have you chosen this career?
  • What would you do to motivate others and inspire them to work?
  • Give an example of a time where you had to meet a deadline.
  • Give an example of a time when you needed to be cost efficient but still meet a specific goal.
  • Give an example of a time where you made a mistake whilst working and what you did to prevent it from happening again.

Pilot Aptitude Test Practice

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.

What's Included

  • Over 140 aptitude tests
  • Numerical reasoning - computation, word problems, table & graph
  • Verbal reasoning - true/false/cannot say
  • Spatial, mechanical and technical reasoning 
  • Non-verbal reasoning - shape sequences and diagramming
  • Personality test preparation
  • Study guides and video tutorials
  • Immediate online access, practice 24/7
  • Secured payment
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