Are RAF Aptitude Tests Trade Specific?

Short Answer

No (and Yes).

Longer Answer

All applicants will sit the Airman/Airwoman Selection Test (AST). The AST consists of seven multiple-choice tests, each focusing on different skills. The tests will cover (Assessment Centre HQ, 2014):

  • Verbal reasoning (15 mins & 20 questions): how do you use and interpret written information?
  • Numerical reasoning (11 mins & 15 questions): can you use basic fractions, decimals and formulae; can you understand and interpret graphs and tables?
  • Work rate (4 mins & 20 questions): how quickly and accurately do you complete tasks?
  • Spatial reasoning (part 1 (2D) 4 mins & 10 questions; part 2 (3D) 3 mins & 10 questions): can you understand how shapes and objects work?
  • Electrical comprehension (11 mins & 21 questions): can you work with electrical concepts?
  • Mechanical comprehension (10 mins  & 20 questions): can you work with mechanical concepts?
  • Memory (20 questions): how accurately can you remember information?
  • The test takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

The cumulative score from the above tests provides a final score which will ‘open’ jobs to the applicant. The higher you score the more jobs are opened up to you (look here for the British Army version: the BARB Test).

However, ‘Requirements of the Service’ is a phrase you need to understand. For example, a particular trade may have 10 vacancies for that training year, which have been filled, and you are applicant number 11. You will be given the choice to wait until the next training year or offered a different/similar role (in-service transfers are possible).

Recruitment and initial training is based on a cycle, and jobs with fewer personnel in the trade have fewer initial courses which consequently increases competition for selection to that trade. A higher score in combination with the other elements of the RAF Recruitment & Selection Process can increase your individual chance of being selected over your peers.

As such, on top of the AST you may also need to consider:

  • The general interview all applicants must attend;
  • A specialist interview (for certain trades);
  • Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC), which incorporates the AST;
  • Pre-Recruit Training Course (PRTC).


Assessment Centre HQ (2014) RAF Aptitude Test – 2014 Success Guide: What to Expect & How to Succeed. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 12 January, 2014].


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