What is the Defence Aptitude Assessment (UK)?


The Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA) is an essential part of the process for joining the UK military.

Several tests form the DAA, and they are recognised as strong indicators for in-job performance at all ranks, and across all jobs/roles.

  • In the Royal Air Force (RAF) the DAA was previously known as the Airmen Selection Test (AST); and
  • In the Naval Service (Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Marines (RM)) as the Naval Service Recruitment Test (NSRT).

What is the DAA?

  • The DAA is a series of tests, which evaluate your knowledge, understanding and performance in key areas vital to career success within the military.
  • The questions have multiple choice answers, usually 4-5.

When Was the DAA Introduced?

  • Naval Service: March 2022.
  • RAF: April 2022.

Who Has to Take the DAA?

  • Anyone who wishes to join:
    • The Royal Air Force (RAF) as an other rank (for both technical and non-technical roles);
    • The Naval Service: Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Marines (RM) as a commissioned officer or other rank; or
    • The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) as an officer or rating.
  • Everyone has to take the DAA regardless of their qualifications.
    • Does not apply to RN/RFA candidates who are professionally qualified and can prove they already hold the required degree qualification need for the role they are applying for (such as medical, engineering, and chaplaincy roles).
    • RAF candidates applying to be a commissioned officer do not undertake the DAA.

As of September 2023, the British Army has no plans to introduce the DAA.

What is the Pass Mark?

  • One of the first questions people ask.
  • There is no set pass mark.
  • Different roles require different scores, both overall and in different sections of the DAA.
  • The higher your score the more jobs/roles will be available to you.

“DAA thresholds are role specific and subject to change based on current and future service requirements. As such there is no set minimum score. This is the case for all RN, RFA and RAF roles.” and “approximately 78% of RN and RFA candidates who attempted the DAA indicated that they were happy with their result following their first attempt.” (FOI 2023/09951).

Where Can I Take the DAA?

You can take the DAA:

  • On your own laptop, tablet, or PC (with a minimum screen size of 10.2 inches); or
  • At your local Armed Forces Career Office (AFCO) on a Service provided device.

When Do I Need to Take the DAA?

  • To take the official DAA you will receive a link to access the assessment via the email address supplied on your application.
  • You will then need to complete the DAA within fourteen (14) days of receiving the email.

Can I Practice the DAA?

  • Yes.
  • Both the RAF and RN/RM have practice areas on their official websites so you can practice the various parts of the DAA.
  • The practice questions on these websites are designed to be as close to the real assessment as possible.
  • You can practice as many times as you like.
  • See below for links to these pages.

How Many Times Can I Take the DAA?

  • You can take the DAA up to two (2) times, with a 28 day break between each official test.
    • This does not include any practice sessions.
  • RN specific:
    • Candidates may attempt the DAA twice, although a third attempt may be offered by RN career staff at their discretion.
  • RAF specific:
    • Candidates can only undertake the DAA once in a 12-month period.

How Long Does the DAA Take?

  • The DAA takes approximately 25 minutes to complete.
  • Each section is timed.
  • When you are out of time the clock will turn red, but you will be able to answer the remaining questions before you move onto the next section.

What Does the DAA Consist Of?

The DAA is made up of six parts, as outlined below.

PartTestOutlineRunning Time (Total Running Time)
1Verbal Reasoning1. The test will assess your analysis of written information.
2. It is designed to evaluate your:
a. Understanding and comprehension of what you have read; and
b. Thought processes in reaching your conclusions.
3. 4 parts with 12 questions in total.
4. Target time to answer them is 9 minutes.
9 minutes
(9 minutes)
2Numerical Reasoning1. In two parts, the test will assess your analysis of numerical information, such as figures and statistics, to evaluate your:
a. Interpretation of information;
b. Calculation processes; and
c. Problem solving.
2. Part 1 has 5 questions with a target time of 1 minute 20 seconds.
3. Part 2 has 9 questions with a target time of 6 minutes 35 seconds.
4. You are not allowed to use a calculator in this section.
7 minutes 55 seconds
(16 minutes 55 seconds)
3Work Rate1. The test will assess how quickly and accurately you can reach conclusions.
2. It is designed to evaluate your:
a. Analysis and answers to given information;
b. Problem solving skills; and
c. Flexible thinking abilities.
3. 4 questions with a target time of 50 seconds.
50 seconds
(17 minutes 45 seconds)
4Spatial Reasoning1. In two parts, the test will assess your understanding of shapes and objects.
2. It is designed to evaluate your:
a. Capacity to work with two-dimensional (2D) objects;
b. Capacity to work with three-dimensional (3D) objects; and
c. Identification and understanding of patterns.
3. Part 1 has 2 questions with a target time of 50 seconds.
4. Part 2 has 2 questions with a target time of 35 seconds.
1 minute 25 seconds
(19 minutes 10 seconds)
5Electrical Comprehension1. The test will assess your knowledge of electrical concepts.
2. It is designed to evaluate, for example, your understanding of:
a. Electrical principles; and
b. Batteries, circuits and switches.
3. 4 questions with a target time of 2 minutes 45 seconds.
2 minutes 45 seconds
(21 minutes 55 seconds)
6Mechanical Comprehension1. The test will assess your knowledge of mechanical concepts.
2. It is designed to evaluate, for example, your understanding of:
a. Moving systems and machinery, such as cogs, gears, pulleys and springs; and
b. Static mechanics such as balance, force, and mass.
4 questions with a target time of 2 minutes 45 seconds.
2 minutes 45 seconds
(24 minutes 40 minutes)

Helpful Hints

  • You should always try and achieve the highest mark in each section.
  • Getting more familiar and comfortable with the format and process will also help you perform to your best during the DAA.
  • It is recommended you practise at least a couple of times, but more if possible.
  • Many people have stated that the actual questions are much harder than the practice questions.
  • A number have mentioned the BBC Bitesize website as a ‘life saver’, with regards revision of the topics.
  • Topics are at the GCSE level, just make sure you practice the questions to get ‘comfortable’ with the style of questioning the DAA uses.
  • Our online research suggests the ‘Work Rate’ element gives applicants the most difficulty.
    • However, the time element is also a big factor.
    • You do not have much time, with 12.5 seconds (on average on the Work Rate part) to read the question, analyse it, think of the answer, and then select the ‘right’ answer.
    • The longer you take on the first question in a section, the less time you have for subsequent questions in the section.
  • Time Pressure:
    • You have 24 minutes 40 seconds to answer 42 questions, approximately 35 seconds per question.
    • 35 seconds might seem a long time, but with the stress and pressure to read the question, analyse the question, think of an answer, and then select an answer, your time will quickly pass.
  • Yes, you can spend a small fortune buying books and ‘training packages’ from websites.
    • However, our online research suggests they are not that helpful regarding pass rates (they do not offer anything more than the free materials offered by the RN/RAF).
    • Purchasing these resources is, of course, a personal matter.

What Happens After I Complete the DAA?

  • Once your DAA has been processed you will receive the results, usually withing 24 hours (although can be up to 2-3 days).
  • Your Careers Adviser will also be sent a copy of your results.
  • Your Careers Advisor will generally call within 0-2 working days of you completing the DAA.
  • Example results graphs below.

What If I Am Successful/Unsuccessful?

If you are successful on your DAA you will receive a certificate and progress to the Selection Interview.

Your certificate will contain:

1. A detailed breakdown of your results; and
2. Information for your selected role.
If you are unsuccessful on your DAA you will receive a certificate informing you:

1. You have been unsuccessful for your chosen role; or
2. Details of other roles your DAA results will qualify you for.

If you have not achieved the required scores on your assessment for your chosen role you will be able to:

1. Retake the test in 28 days’ time (you can take the DAA up to 2 times); or
2. Discuss your results with your Careers Adviser to see if your results suit another role with the military; or
3. If you withdraw or your application is rejected your DAA results are valid for 3 years.



  • The below booklet was originally published by the RAF on 05 August 2015.
  • The practice tests are still relevant, although Test 7 is no longer part of the DAA.
  • Original can be found here.

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