Guide to the RAF OASC Aptitude Tests Practice

Are you applying for a position with the RAF? Most applicants to the RAF have to visit the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) in Cranwell at some point in their recruitment process. Here, you can expect a range of aptitude tests, leadership exercises and an interview at Cranwell as well as a medical and fitness test. In this article we will go through those tests and offer tips on how to prepare for them.
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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 you are applying to. 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
OASC interview
Airmen/ AirwomenAST Final or specialist interviews
OfficersOASC aptitude tests Aptitude tests
Leadership Exercises
OASC interview
RAF RegimentAST

All jobs with the RAF fit into four categories:

  • Officers - the equivalent of senior managers, there are 20 jobs included in this category including Pilots, Dental Officers, Logistics Officers and more.
  • Non-Commissioned Aircrew - these are aircrew roles, and there are four roles in this category, also known as Weapons Systems Operators. Weapons Systems Operators roles are: aircrew, linguists, acoustics operators and electronic warfare systems. NCOs fly onboard 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 you have applied to, 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 have applied to. 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 - measuring 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 as well as accurately.
  • Numerical reasoning test - there are two parts to this test. The first part tests your basic maths skills, including fractions and basic maths 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. You may be asked in a test like this 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 - testing 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.

If you have triumphed in the aptitude tests, you will move to day 2 of the OASC, including the group exercises and interview.

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