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AFOQT - How to Prepare, How to Succeed

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The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) is a standardized test similar to the SAT and ACT. The AFOQT measures aptitudes and is used to select applicants for officer commissioning programs, such as Officer Training School (OTS) or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (Air Force ROTC). It is also used for selection into specific training programs such as pilot and navigator training. The AFOQT is a required test for all cadets and students on scholarship or in the POC.

To ask questions yourself and discuss issues with other students, candidates, cadets, student pilots, instructor pilots and other officers, please visit our Military Aviation Forum where you can post questions, browse answers and comments, and interact with your peers and those that have completed the pilot training journey ahead of you.  Find out more about how to get an AFROTC pilot slot.

USAF AFOQT TestIn practice, all uses of the AFOQT involve a prediction. By measuring the aptitudes of applicants prior to selection, the AFOQT contributes substantial information for making personnel decisions. The AFOQT assesses aptitudes required of student pilots, navigators, students in technical training and officers in general.

> Examinees are required to complete all sections of the test regardless of the program for which they are applying.
> The AFOQT can only be taken twice. (waiverable)
> Examinees must wait 180 days (6 months) between tests.
> AFOQT scores never expire.
> The most recent AFOQT test score is the one that counts.

The AFOQT is a standard test, a lot like taking the SAT's or the ACT's. However, it is considerably more comprehensive. There are 12 sections to this test and it will take you 3 1/2 hours to complete the test. Although 210 minutes sounds like a lot, it can go by very quickly.  When you take the 12 sections, your aggregate scores will be measured using five different scores. These scores will determine whether a person is qualified to be a pilot or not.


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AFOQT Test Advice

"I would highly recommend the ARCO book. There is one called Officer Candidate Tests and another called Military Flight Aptitude Tests I studied for about four weeks and did a few full strictly timed practice tests and ended up making a 98 on Pilot and 95 on Nav when I took the real one last July. I found that many of the practice problems were more difficult than those on the test. The book was a great asset to my scores. Good luck!"

"Study advice: The Military Flight Aptitude exam book is good for mazes, mechanical comp, word knowledge etc. However study the Officer Candidate Tests book, it is much better and more challenging in the math and arithmetic knowledge sections (spelling is obviously not my strength).  Study to realistic times ONCE YOU HAVE mastered the problems."

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  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test. 

  • Arrive on time to take the AFOQT.  If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to take the test. 

  • Wear comfortable, yet professional civilian clothing to take the test.

  • You may not use a calculator on the test. Watches are allowed if they do not have a calculator feature.

  • Food and Drink will not be allowed in the testing area during test taking.

  • Pencils and scratch paper will be provided.

What to expect

 The AFOQT will last approximately 3.5 hours.  This includes time preparing the answer sheets, administrative time between sections, and a 10 minute break.

Each test question is multiple choice with 4 or 5 possible options.  Each question has only one correct answer.  You will not be penalized for guessing.

On many of the sections you will have enough time to answer all the questions.  On others, you may not finish.  This is normal.  Just work as quickly and accurately as you can.

The testing schedule below will familiarize you with the sections of the test.

Description of each AFOQT Subset

Pre-Test Activities
Administrative actions. (24 minutes)

1. Verbal Analogies -- 25 questions in 8 minutes -- to pass this one, you have to see relationships between words.

2. Arithmetic Reasoning -- 25 questions in 29 minutes -- to pass this one, use math skills to solve problems.

3. Word Knowledge -- 25 questions in 5 minutes -- to pass this one, understand how to use synonyms properly.

4. Math Knowledge -- 25 questions in 22 minutes -- to pass this one, use math to logically solve the problems.

5. Instrument Comprehension -- 20 questions in 6 minutes -- to pass this one, read the dials and understand which way the plane is going as a result.

6. Block Counting -- 20 questions in 3 minutes -- to pass this one, you have to be able to see three-dimensionally and figure out how many blocks are adjacent to / touching the block in question. \

BREAK TIME -- relax for 10 minutes.

7. Table Reading -- 40 questions in 7 minutes -- to pass this one, just understand the tables as quickly as you can.

8. Aviation Information -- 20 questions in 8 minutes -- to pass this one, you have to understand the concepts and terminology of aviation.

9. General Science -- 20 questions in 10 minutes -- passing this one requires a thorough knowledge of science concepts.

10. Rotated Blocks -- 15 questions in 13 minutes -- passing this one requires you to use spatial awareness to manipulate items and set them aright.

11. Hidden Figures -- 15 questions in 8 minutes -- to pass this one, you have to be able to see smaller objects inside of larger one. This is sometimes called template matching.

12. Self-Description Inventory -- 220 questions in 40 minutes -- this is a personality test. It's simply to determine what type of person you are.

> Test results are given in five areas. They are: Pilot, Navigator, Academic Aptitude, Verbal and Quantitative (Math).

Pilot (Minimum score requirements for pilot candidates shown below.) This composite measures some of the knowledge and abilities considered necessary for successful completion of pilot training. The Pilot composite includes subtests which measure verbal ability, knowledge of aviation and mechanical systems, the ability to determine aircraft altitude from instruments, knowledge of aeronautical concepts, the ability to read scales and interpret tables, and certain spatial abilities.
  • Pilot score of 25
  • Combined Pilot and Navigator score of 50
  • Quantitative score of 10

Navigator (Minimum score requirements for navigator candidates shown below.) This composite measures some of the knowledge and abilities considered necessary for successful completion of navigator training. The Navigator-Technical composite shares many subtests with the Pilot composite. Subtests that measure verbal ability, ability to determine aircraft altitude, and knowledge of aeronautical concepts are not included. However, subtests measuring quantitative aptitudes, some spatial or visual abilities and knowledge of general science are added.

  • Pilot score of 10
  • Combined Pilot and Navigator score of 50
  • Quantitative score of 10

Verbal (All candidates must achieve a minimum score of 15.) This composite measures various types of verbal knowledge and abilities. The Verbal composite includes subtests which measure the ability to reason and recognize relationships among words, the ability to read and understand paragraphs on diverse topics and the ability to understand synonyms.

Quantitative (All candidates must achieve a minimum score of 10.) This composite measures various types of quantitative knowledge and abilities. The Quantitative composite shares subtests with the Navigator-Technical composite discussed above and includes subtests which measure the ability to understand and reason with arithmetic relationships, interpret data from graphs and charts, and to use mathematical terms, formulas and relationships.

Academic Aptitude (No minimum score required.) The Academic Aptitude score, which is a composite of Math and Verbal sections, is used as part of the Field Training selection process. This composite measures verbal and quantitative knowledge and abilities. The Academic Aptitude composite combines all subtests used to score the Verbal and Quantitative composites.

> Each of the five scores are percentile based, meaning they range from 01-99.
> Statistical analysis indicates average scores are in the 40s for each of the areas.
> It is highly recommended that individuals interested in being pilots should strive to achieve scores in the 70s or above. 

Scoring the Test

The following list will tell you which test sections make up each composite score.  The numbers correlate to the numbers on the testing schedule.

Pilot: 2,4,5,7,8

Nav Tech: 1,2,4,6,7,9

Academic Aptitude: 1,2,3,4

Verbal: 1,3

Quantitative: 2,4

All scores are scaled and compared to other people who take the test (ie. A verbal score of 40 means that you did better than 40% of people who took the test). Below are the minimum scores to qualify for each category of officer:

  Pilot Navigator Pilot+Nav Verbal Quant
Officer Candidate -- -- -- 15 10
Pilot 25 10 50 15 10
Navigator 10 25 50 15 10

Your test results will come back 1-2 weeks after you complete the test.  Examinees will get a chance to meet with your cadre after the fact to formally go over your results.

If you do not meet the minimum scores, you will be allowed to re-test 6 months (180 days) later. 

You are allowed to take the AFOQT only twice in your lifetime.  If you would like to re-test to aim for higher scores, you must consider that there is also the possibility of lower scores.  The most recent AFOQT score is the only one that counts.

How many times can I take the AFOQT?

Under very strict circumstances, yes. The Air Force limits you to two attempts and your scores do not expire. The downside to this is that the second set of scores supersede the first ones. So if your scores are respectable the first time, it may not be in your best interest to take it again.  Also you are not allowed to take the test a second time until at least 180 days have passed since you took your first test. Be careful about choosing to take it again.

There do exist waivers to allow you a third or fourth attempt, but those are only given out in rare circumstances. If you do well the first or second time, there's no reason to need a waiver.

Check out our Aviation Bookstore test review section for AFOQT test preparation study guides. Also, any SAT review material may be useful as you prepare for the Math and Quantitative (Math) sections.  Plan now and pick the right study guide for you.  Also, check out the free full length on-line practice test:

o   Link to Peterson's Online Test Website

o   Click on the “Start Now” link, click on the “Register” link, create your profile, and you’re in!


Still have questions about the AFOQT?  Looking for tips from recent test-takers? 
Want some advice on preparation and study guides?  

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