RAF Aptitude Test Practice: Pass Your AST [2020] - JobTestPrep
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The RAF Aptitude Test

Also known as the Airmen Selection Test (AST), the RAF Aptitude Test consists of seven aptitude tests, each focusing on a different set of cognitive skills. It is a very challenging exam that demands full concentration and high accuracy.

Your performance in the test will be crucial not only for your admittance into the RAF, but also for determining which trades and placements you’ll be offered, hence for your entire future.

The RAF Aptitude Test will take place at your nearest Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO) and it takes about 90 minutes to complete.

You’re not allowed to use a calculator or dictionary during the tests. For the Numerical Reasoning test, you’ll be provided rough paper for working out your answers.

What to Wear to the RAF Aptitude Test?

Have you wondered what you should wear for your RAF testing and interviews? Here's what an official RAF document says: "During testing you are to wear smart dress, strictly no T-shirts, sports clothes, jeans or training shoes... For the ladies, you are advised to wear low-heeled shoes for the aptitude testing."

The following is a breakdown of its seven aptitude tests:

Verbal Reasoning

In this part, there are 20 question items which test your reading comprehension. Each item consists of a short passage you must read, followed by questions related to it. Most questions are not too difficult.

However, they require the ability to pay attention to detail and filter relevant data. You will have 15 minutes to complete this section.

Numerical Skills

This part includes two sub-sections: basic arithmetic and data interpretation. The first sub-section, containing 12 questions, concerns the use of the four basic operations, decimals and fractions.

You have 4 minutes to complete it. The second sub-section has 15 questions involving tables and graphs and requires 11 minutes to complete.

Work Rate

Here you are presented with a table containing three rows - letters, numbers and shapes. Thus, each column is a combination of three items – one of each type. You will be given 20 sequences of codes, for which you will be required to indicate the correct alternative combination. This part takes 4 minutes to complete.

Spatial Reasoning

This part contains two sub-sections. The first is made of 10 questions that measure your 2D orientation skills – your will be given 4 minutes to reconstruct shapes which are broken into pieces. The second sub-section assesses your 3D orientation skills.

You will be presented with three-dimensional shapes viewed from different angles and asked to indicate the ones that change only the perspective (and not the type of shape itself). You will have 10 questions, and 3 minutes to answer them.

Electrical Comprehension

This part of the exam is based on elementary electrical concepts that are part of GCSE-level physics. There are 21 questions and 11 minutes to answer them.

Mechanical Reasoning

While this section, too, is based on GCSE-level physics, it focuses on mechanical principles, such as energy, forces and motion, levers, screws, pulleys and so on. You will be given 10 minutes to complete 20 questions.

Memory

This test consists of two parts, each containing 10 questions. In the first part, you will be shown a sequence of letters, one at a time. Afterwards, you will be shown two of those letters and required to indicate how many letters were shown between them originally.

The second part examines your ability to remember patterns. You will be presented with a sequence of blue grids (2 or 3), each with several yellow squares in it, one at a time. Subsequently, you will be shown several other, more complex grids, and asked to indicate which one represents the combination of the original grids displayed in the sequence.

 

Let’s warm up with an example for an RAF Aptitude test question:

RAF AST Sample Question - Numerical Reasoning

The ferry is the most popular route to travel between Helsinki and Tallinn. Many tourists and businessmen prefer that route.

Helsinki Ferry

The table below shows the departure times of three ferry lines operating between Tallinn and Helsinki.

RAF AST Free Test


Which of the following will allow Sven to leave Tallinn on Sunday morning to attend a Bar festival 15 minutes from the Helsinki dock that starts at 12:00 at the cheapest price?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
See the full solution here:

The correct answer is (D) - 07:30 Viking Line

Looking at the table, at the Sat-Sun columns and the relevant 'cost' tabs, you can see that the cheapest Sat-Sun ticket is of Viking Line. This directs you to focus on the answer options dealing Viking Line and see if there is a fit.

Only answer-option (D) suggest Viking Line as an option for Sven's travel. According to this answer-option Sven should take the 7:30 Viking Line ferry, which can be found on the Sat-Sun column and it allows him to reach the Bar-festival by 10:00 (2 hours and 15 minutes on the ferry and another 15 minutes drive to the Bar-festival) which is long before 12:00. Therefore, it is the correct answer.

Answer-option (A) suggest that Sven should take the 07:35 Tallink Silja ferry. However, according to the table this traveling time in this ferry line is found on the Mon-Fri column, which you are to ignore, and therefore, eliminate this answer-option.

Answer-option (B) suggest that Sven should take the 08:35 Tallink Silja ferry. Although, according to the table this traveling time is found on the Sat-Sun column, it can be seen that its ticket is more expensive (€55) than that of the Sat-Sun Viking Line ticket (€50), and therefore, eliminate this answer-option.

Answer-option (C) suggest that Sven should take the 10:00 Tallink Silja ferry. However, Sven has a total travel time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, which means that he arrives at the Bar-festival at 12:15, 15 minutes past due time. Therefore, eliminate this answer-option.

Answer-option (E) suggest that Sven should take the 09:00 Eckerö Line ferry. However, not only Eckerö Line offers the most expensive ticket (€70) on the Sat-Sun travel, there is no ferry in the time mentioned. Therefore, eliminate this answer-option.

 

In our complete RAF AST Practice Pack, you'll get dozens of mock tests with hundreds of practice questions coupled with thorough explanations - just like you've seen above.


RAF AST Scores Explained

Your RAF Aptitude test scores will be divided into two sections:

  1. Six group scores named A to E, each consisting of a raw score up to 100.
  2. Specific Skills scores for each of the seven test sections, with a score of 1 – 9.

The RAF AST pass marks will vary depending on the trade you’ve applied for. And usually, the pass marks would be higher for trades with higher competition, such as WSOp.

What Happens If you Fail the RAF Aptitude Test?

If you fail to reach the minimum required score for your desired trade, you'll get a second chance to retake the RAF AST. However, if you fail it the second time, you might have to wait several years before you can re-apply and re-take it.

Unfortunately, the RAF doesn’t reveal the exact AST scores and pass marks needed for each trade. So, the best advice would be to prepare well for all AST sections in order to score high and unlock the finest roles in each trade.


RAF CBAT vs RAF AST

The RAF Computer Based Aptitude Test (CBAT) and the RAF Airmen Selection Test (AST) are two different assessments that RAF applicants must take. Here is a breakdown that highlights their main differences and who must take what:

  RAF CBAT RAF AST
Who Takes the Test? Applicants for commissioned personnel: Pilots / RPAS(P) / WSO / WSOps / AO Control / Intelligence Officers Applicants for non-commissioned personnel
Where Is the Test Taken? RAF Cranwell Your nearby AFCO
Test Structure 15+ tests (vary depending on your trade) that mainly evaluate natural abilities: Psychomotor Ability, Short Term Memory, Strategic Task Management, Mental Maths and more Seven different tests: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Skills, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension, Mechanical Reasoning, Memory

You might be confused regarding which test you'll have to sit. But don't worry – the RAF will notify you what test you need to take once your online application gets approved.

Many CBAT test-takers feel that their Mental Arithmetic skills need some sharpening. If you also feel like you need to brush up your Mental Maths skills, make sure you visit our Non-Calculator Maths Practice page.

 


RAF Aptitude Test Practice

I’ve gathered some examples for question types you’ll likely encounter on the real RAF AST (taken from our complete RAF practice pack). Go ahead and give them a try:

RAF Verbal Reasoning Sample Question

Rory started a new job. The office’s procedure regarding the work area are:

Desktop

Keep only essentials on your desktop: Computer, telephone, lamp, note paper and your project. Telephone should be easy to answer and comfortable to use when talking and taking notes.

Supplies

Supplies should be in a supply drawer in easy reach of your desk, but for larger items such as file folders, ring binders and envelopes, consider a cabinet, a closet, or a container. Similar supplies should be kept together. All containers should be labelled.

Workspace

The wastebasket should be within easy reach. Use one that is large enough for a week’s worth of trash. Line it with a plastic bag.

Make sure your workstation is neat when leaving the office for the night. Make sure to empty your wastebasket at the end of the week.

 

Which one of the following statements is not a characteristic of an organized workplace?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is (C).

When solving a negatively phrased question, it is sometimes recommended to rephrase the question in a positive way: ”What characteristics of an organized workplace are mentioned in the passage?” Then go over the distracters and locate them in the passage:

(A) - Mentioned in the text under 'workspace'.

(B) - Mentioned in the text under 'desktop'.

(C) - Under 'supplies' the passage recommends grouping similar supplies together. Ring binders and envelops are not similar.

(D) - Mentioned in the text under 'desktop'.

(E) - Mentioned in the text under supplies.


RAF Work Rate Sample Question

RAF AST Tips
Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is (C) - ✕✔3

According to the question,
'G' can be coded as either '6' or '✕'
'N' can be coded as either '5' or '✔'
'J' can be coded as either '3' or '✱'
Therefore, look for the answer-option that contains any combination of either one of the two possible codes each letter has.

Only answer-option (C) contains such a combination.

In answer-options (A), '✚' is an alternative code for 'A', making the code 'G N A' and therefore, can be eliminated.
In answer options (B), both '6' and '✕' are alternative codes for 'G', making the code 'G N G', and therefore, can be eliminated.

In answer option (D), both '3' and '✱' are alternative codes for 'J' and '✚' is an alternative code for 'A', making the code 'J J A'. Moreover, the code starts with 'J' instead of 'G' (as the original code suggests), and therefore, can be eliminated.

In answer option (E), '9' is an alternative code for 'A' making the code 'N A G'. Moreover, the code starts with 'N' instead of 'G' (as the original code suggests), and therefore, can be eliminated.


RAF Spatial Reasoning Sample Question

The letters near the side of each shape point out where exactly should the different shapes be joined together. Which of the following options shows the correct joint shape?

RAF Spatial Reasoning Sample Question
Answer and Explanation

The correct answer is (C)

According to the question, the sides marked with letters are the "joint sides" of the different shapes. Therefore, these sides will not appear in the newly formed shape (made of all three shapes) since they function as connecting sides and not as borders of the newly formed shape and hence, cannot visually be seen.

It is strongly recommended to draw the gathering process of the three shapes as their marked sides are being brought together.

Now, look at your options and choose the one whose borders are obtained by joining the three shapes together via their marked sides. The only shape that fits is the one in option (C).

 

Need More Practice? 

Access the Complete RAF AST PrepPack™, Ace the Test and Get the Best Roles in Every Trade

 

 

Starting at £39 Only

See What You’ll Get
  • RAF Diagnostic Test
  • 2 Full-Length Simulation Tests
  • 5 Verbal Reasoning Practice Tests
  • 4 Numerical Reasoning Practice Tests
  • 6 Work Rate Practice Tests
  • 3 Spatial Reasoning Practice Tests
  • 4 Electrical Comprehension Practice Tests
  • 4 Mechanical Comprehension Practice Tests
  • 8 Memory Practice Tests
  • 13 Study Guides & Video Tutorials


RAF Selection Interviews

Once you successfully pass the RAF Aptitude Test, you’ll get an invitation for the RAF Selection Interview. Depending on the trade and position you’ve applied for, the interview will take place either at your nearby AFCO or at the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OACS).

The RAF interview will last about 30-45 minutes and will cover the same areas you were asked about in your application form: Family details, education, work, hobbies and pastimes, and why you want to join the RAF.

Additionally, the interviewer might ask you questions like:

  • Why have you chosen the RAF specifically and not the Army or Navy?
  • Why do you think you'll be suited to the RAF?
  • What are the positives and negatives about joining the forces?
  • What do you think you'll struggle with most during basic training?

If you’d like to practise mock interviews and get more professional tips and advice on how to win your RAF interview, visit our Interview preparation page.

 

RAF Fitness Test Standards for 2020

Every candidate has to pass 2-3 separate fitness tests as part of the RAF application process. These fitness tests are named: Selection Fitness Test, Pre-joining Fitness Test and Pre-recruit Training Course. The fitness standards vary according to age, gender and the role applied to, but they generally consist of a 2.4 km run, press-ups and sit-ups.

Visit the RAF official site to see a complete breakdown of the RAF fitness test standards for 2020.

RAF Entry Requirements

If you’d like to get into the RAF, there are certain requirements you must meet:

  • Nationality & Residency: You must be a UK citizen, have dual UK/other nationality, or you should have been a UK resident for at least three years before you’ve applied to the RAF.
  • Age Requirements: These requirements vary depending on the position you’re after. The youngest age for applying is 15 years and nine months for an Airman. The oldest is 55 years for a Medical Officer.
  • Educational Requirements: The range of educational qualifications differs greatly. Some require specific skills or a degree, while others require only minimal qualifications. Visit the RAF official site for more info.
  • Fitness Requirements
  • Health Requirements: You must meet three health requirements – BMI (18 – 28 for adults), eyesight test, and pass a Medical Risk Assessment.
  • Background Checks

Even if you meet and surpass all the requirements above, there are still some disqualifying factors that will automatically prevent you from being accepted into the RAF. These include: extreme political affiliations, offensive tattoos, substance abuse and pending court appearances.

 

 

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