Is the Pilot Aptitude Test Hard?

Yes, it is. The Pilot aptitude test is a psychometric exam, meaning that it’s designed to assess your suitability for the role on all levels, not just one.

In light of this, your personality will be observed alongside traditional assessments of cognitive and verbal ability.

Unfortunately, being that it can catch you out on minute details across such a wide-ranging area of focus, it’s an incredibly difficult test.

To make matters worse, it has to be completed in an especially short amount of time, placing an immense amount of pressure on prospective aviation students.

The time limit isn’t enforced to make the test hard for hard’s sake; it’s there because student pilots need to be able to handle stressful, time-sensitive situations day in and day out.

Once you’re a qualified pilot working for an airline, in corporate business aviation, for the emergency services, etc. the ability to act swiftly and calmly under pressure can mean the difference between life and death.

Another reason the pilot aptitude test is so dang tricky is that it’s formatted in a way you will have never come across before, and being that you’ve had no formal practice testing in this manner, it can really throw a spanner in the works.

Structured as more of a selection of puzzles than a traditional exam, it may sound fun, but trust us, it is extremely challenging, especially as the puzzles are interspersed with quick-thinking conundrums and logic questions.

Further complicating matters, the problems you’re asked to solve may be on topics you’ve never even thought of before, which, if nothing else, is going to slow you down a great deal.

Different aviation schools will likely have slightly different pass conditions, but the required score for admission will always be very high, so it’s important you study hard and fully apply yourself to the task.

If you score well on the aptitude test, your chances of receiving financial aid skyrocket, which is a fantastic incentive to do well. Being that Aviation school can set you back upwards of $50,000, for many, securing a grant or loan of some kind is the only way they’ll be able to 

live out their dreams and become a pilot. This ‘no plan B’ scenario increases the competitiveness of the process exponentially.

How Do I Pass the Pilot Aptitude Test?

Having just read all that, no one would blame you for feeling intimidated, and yes, it is a difficult test, but if you dedicate yourself, you can and will be very successful.

To get you started, let’s discuss some pro-tips on passing your pilot aptitude test.

  • Decide on a Pilot Career Path Now  Training programs for specific pilot roles are starkly dissimilar to one another, so before you even think about applying for one, you need to decide what your career path will be. Do you want to fly for commercial airlines or captain private jets? Do you want to work for the Emergency Services or as a flight instructor?
  • Research, Research, Research - Once you decide where you fit into the professional spectrum, you need to do extremely thorough research on what the job itself entails and how you get there. You need to know as much as possible about every link in the chain that takes you from where you are right at this moment, to sitting in the cockpit. We highly recommend searching online for other people’s experiences in the same field. Knowing what they faced ensures you’re ready for it in your own journey.
  • Train - Next on the agenda is enlisting in training programs as relevant to your chosen career as possible. For example, if you’ve chosen to be a commercial airline pilot, this might be signing up for a cadet program with a leader of the industry.
  • Find Out the Testing Platform - all pilot aptitude tests are designed to assess the same core attributes, but they’re produced by a variety of organizations, each one producing a slightly different test. If you can find out which organization formulated the test you plan on taking, you can hone in on them specifically, giving you an edge come crunch time.
  • Study, Study, Study - Knowing specifically what to bone up on for a pilot aptitude test can be difficult, so it’s best to focus on three general areas…

  1. Physics - Aviation is all about physics, so make sure you know your stuff.
  2. Math - You’ll need a mastery of at least basic mathematical functions.
  3. English Language - You may already be a smooth talker and a great writer, but the lexicon of the verbal reasoning assessment may be more formal and business-like than you’re used to. That’s why we recommend analyzing newspapers and business journals in preparation for the test.
  • Practice - Take mock versions of all aspects of the test. Knowing the format and language of each section is essential in attaining a high score.