Introduction

The Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) in Cranwell is responsible for the selection of all RAF officer and non-commissioned aircrew recruits. Recruits at the OASC will face a series of aptitude tests, leadership tests and an interview. The exact aptitude tests you will take are determined by the role for which you are applying. In all, candidates can expect to spend four days at the OASC, sometimes in more than one visit. Candidates for airmen/ airwomen and the RAF regiment are expected to take the Airman/ Airwoman Selection Test (AST). The OASC takes several days, and involves several stages:


RAF Selection Processes

Job Type Aptitude Tests OASC Interview
Non Commissioned Aircrew (NCO) AST and OASC aptitude tests Aptitude tests Leadership Exercises Interview OASC interview
Airmen/ Airwomen AST   Final or specialist interviews
Officers OASC aptitude tests Aptitude tests Leadership Exercises Interview OASC interview
RAF Regiment AST    

All jobs with the RAF fit into four categories:

  • Officers - the equivalent of senior managers. There are 20 jobs available in this category, including Pilots, Dental Officers, Logistics Officers and more.
  • Non-Commissioned Aircrew - these are aircrew roles, also known as Weapons Systems Operators. Weapons Systems Operators roles are: aircrew, linguists, acoustics operators and electronic warfare systems. NCOs fly onboard both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
  • Airmen/ Airwomen - the majority of RAF personnel are Airmen and Airwomen who work in ground staff roles, including RAF Police, Musicians, Air Cartographers, Logistics Officers, Drivers, Aircraft Technicians and more.
  • RAF Regiment - this is the RAF's specialist fighting force. Personnel in the RAF Regiment are usually either Officers or Gunners.

 


RAF OASC Aptitude Tests

The first task at the OASC is to sit a series of aptitude tests. These tests are designed not to measure what you know, but your potential to develop the abilities the RAF are looking for. These tests are computer based, and taken in one sitting, which can last up to six hours. The tests you take will depend on the role for which you are applying, with pilots undertaking specific tests related to the actions they take in the cockpit, or Air Traffic Controllers and Fighter Control Officers tested on their ability to multi-task. The score you need to achieve also depends on the role you wish to get. Read any instructions you are given ahead of time, to identify what you need to prepare.

The tests you can expect to take examine your memory, spatial reasoning, mental agility, eye/ hand/ foot co-ordination, verbal and numerical reasoning, instrument comprehension, digit recall and more. Each individual test is short, but you can expect to sit up to 18 different tests assessing different skills. The tests in the RAF aptitude test include:

  • Verbal reasoning test - This test measures how strong you are at dissecting and organising language. In these tests you are traditionally given a passage of text with a series of statements relating to the text. You have to choose the statement that best fits the information in the text. These tests are time limited, creating additional pressure to work quickly and accurately.
  • Numerical reasoning test - There are two parts to this test. The first part tests your basic maths skills, including fractions and basic math functions. The second part tests how you manipulate and interpret numerical data. You are given information in the form of a table, graph or chart, on which you are asked questions and you need to choose the correct answer. You are not allowed to use a calculator in these tests, so preparing in advance will refresh your skills.
  • Logical reasoning test - This test measures how well you can reason without using words or numbers. In this test, you are given a sequence of shapes and you need to identify the pattern in order to choose the next shape in the sequence. The difficult part in a test like this is learning how to identify the pattern.
  • Deductive reasoning test - Deductive reasoning tests measure your ability to draw logical conclusions from a set of premises that are known to be true. In a test like this, you may be asked to complete a scenario or identify the strengths and weaknesses of an argument.
  • Trace test - This test examines your spatial orientation, and includes tests such as identifying the same shapes at different angles.
  • Visual search test - In this test you are given a screen full of options, and have to search for the correct answer, including a matching shape or pattern.
  • Colours, letters and numbers test - this test gives you a series of colours, letters and numbers on a screen, and tests your ability to multi task.
  • Rapid tracking test - This test checks your hand/ eye/ foot coordination.
  • RAF speed/ distance/ time tests - These tests are designed to measure your mental ability when it comes to keeping track of multiple fast-moving airborne objects. The test contains 10 questions of varying difficulty. Many questions require working out on a piece of paper, but no calculators are allowed. All answers are in units of time, distance or speed (for example minutes, miles or miles per minute), and all answers are in whole numbers. In order to prepare for this test, revise speed-time calculations, and practice doing them in your head or on a piece of paper quickly and accurately.

Aptitude tests review

After you have completed your aptitude tests you will have an aptitude test review to discuss your results and whether they match with the role you have applied to.


OASC Exercises

In this set of exercises you are split into small groups of four or six people. In all, there are five leadership exercises designed to allow you to demonstrate your leadership potential and style in challenging environments. Throughout the day you are assessed against a series of competencies including: confidence and resilience, oral communication, influence, problem solving, and teamwork.

The exercises include:

Group Discussion

In this exercise you are given a topic to discuss in your group, but the the topic will change every few minutes. These topics are picked as they can be controversial, and your role is to speak up for yourself and demonstrate how you listen to discussions and understand what is going on around you. The topics are general knowledge, and you are able to add your own knowledge and opinions to the conversation. An example of topic for discussion:

“Has technology made it easier to communicate or has it adversely affected the way we socialise?”

Learn more on our group exercise pages.

Group Planning Exercise

Your group is given a series of papers, setting out a scenario, which includes a number of problems. Over the first 20 minutes, you are expected to analyse the problems and use your calculations to come to a solution on your own. Over the next 20 minutes your group will discuss the situation to come up with a team solution, and in the last 15 minutes, your group will answer questions from the assessment board on your chosen solution. To prepare for this exercise you need to think how you evaluate information and make decisions. Some advice for this exercise is to assign roles to different members of the group, so that more information is covered and more than one thing is done at a time. You should also be prepared to communicate clearly. Find out more about how to prepare for and take part in a case study exercise with JobTestPrep.

Hangar Familiarisation Period

This is a 20 minute presentation introducing you to the upcoming set of hangar based exercises.

Leaderless Exercise

In this exercise you are expected to work as a team, without anyone taking the role of leader. The exercise involves moving the team, and a set of equipment, across an obstacle course. Anyone in the group can come up with a suggestion on how to do this. You are being assessed on how you both lead and work in a team, and how you learn from what goes on around you.

Command Situation Exercise

In this exercise, every member of your team will have a chance to act as leader at some point. The task is to create a plan to complete the obstacle course, and then execute it. You are assessed on how you encourage your team as leader, and how you work as part of the team when you are not in charge. As the leader, you will have 2 minutes to create your plan, and 13 minutes to complete the exercise.

Individual Planning Exercise

In this exercise you work alone. You are given a challenging scenario and asked to devise a solution. You are assessed on your planning ability and presentation skills. This exercise lasts 30 minutes in total, with 20 minutes to assess the problem and come up with a solution, and 10 minutes to give your presentation explaining your solution and taking questions from the panel. In order to prepare for an exercise such as this one, read up on how to deal with a case study, as well as JobTestPrep’s advice and tips on how to give a presentation.


OASC Interview

This interview contains two parts, and lasts 45 minutes in total. Part one of the interview is about you and your achievements to date. You can use examples from school and college, sports, work in the community, or any other voluntary work. Part two of the interview looks at your motivations for joining the RAF, what you know about the RAF, about the military and current affairs. You also have the opportunity to ask questions in the interview. Through the interview, you will be assessed on your manner; speech and power of expression; your activities and interests; physical fitness and potential; your awareness and motivation; and your overall impact. The RAF are interested in six competencies:

  • Awareness of military, domestic and international issues
  • Influence
  • Confidence and resilience
  • Ability to communicate
  • Motivation for a military career
  • Teamwork

When describing your past experience, don't forget to use examples which show your behaviour against the skills the RAF are looking for in your role. Organise your examples around the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to make sure you include all the information you need. Other questions in the interview may involve current affairs, so make sure you are up-to-date with the latest news. For the RAF section of the interview, make sure you know about the history of the RAF, recent or past operations, and what the RAF currently does. The interviewers are looking for clear and concise answers, and they will cut you off if your answer takes too long, so think about how to formulate your answers in the most acceptable way. Don't forget to pull all of this preparation together with a mock interview. A mock interview, such as JobTestPrep's interview, gives you the opportunity to rehearse your answers in interview conditions, with the added bonus of feedback from our trained interviewers.

RAF Interview Questions

Some of the questions you can expect in an RAF interview include:

  • What do you think are the qualities of a good team player?
  • Why do you want to join the RAF?
  • What choice of career are you most interested in? Why have you chosen that career? What are the skills you have to match the role?
  • What is the role of modern airpower in peace keeping operations? (Officer Selection Interview)
  • How old were you yesterday in years, months and days? (Officer Selection Interview)
  • What is your view on taking the life of the enemy? (Officer Selection Interview)
  • Are you prepared to kill or be killed? (Engineering Officer)

Specialist Interviews

Applicants for some roles will be invited to a specialist interview or test about the career you have chosen. These interviews normally take place on an RAF base. You are interviewed by a specialist in the field, and you are being tested to ensure you have the particular skills for the job you have applied to. This interview can take between one and three days as you may also have to take additional tests to ensure your suitability to the role. For example, additional fitness tests might be required for an applicant who wants to become a Physical Training Instructor.

To prepare for this type of interview, make sure that you know the job requirements, and prepare examples of how you fulfill these requirements. For more tips on how to prepare for an interview, see the JobTestPrep online interview preparation pack.


OASC Fitness Assessments

The fitness assessments include three elements:

  1. Bleep test - measures your aerobic endurance.
  2. Sit-ups - tests core strength and endurance.
  3. Press-ups - measures upper body strength and muscular ability.

You must pass all three elements to pass the test.