How can you prepare yourself for your pilot aptitude assessments?
The pilot aptitude testing process commonly involves several different test types to ensure full measurement of the core pilot competencies across the assessment. One of the best ways to prepare yourself for the assessment process is to understand what is required of you and take the time to refresh your skills and knowledge and practice these areas ahead of undertaking the assessment.
The organisation or airline you are applying to will likely send you information ahead of the assessments so take some time to read through and understand anything you have been sent; this can be a good insight into what areas are important for the organisation you are applying to. You can use this information to help focus your preparation on the key areas of the assessment process and to understand what sort of preparation and practice you may find beneficial. Take some time to go through each of the different tests and evaluate where you think your own strengths and weaknesses are, to better understand where to focus your time; this can help you understand how much preparation time you may need for each area.
There are different types of tests you will likely experience as part of your application. Online assessments may include knowledge tests, tests of ability, and behaviour, personality, and preference-based tests, and you may also face additional assessment elements such as an interview; each of these assessment types will require a different kind of preparation.
Knowledge tests are designed to measure the amount of academic or theoretical understanding you have in a particular subject, and often your ability to apply the relevant concepts in this area through calculations or analysis of information. As these tests will have a right or a wrong answer, there is a clear benefit for preparing yourself fully here.
A useful preparation activity you can do is to get back to the basics of the topic area, such as re-visiting ATPL theory to help refresh your understanding of basic concepts and then continue to build on this information, such as through practicing calculations or discussing the concepts with people around you. Taking practice tests can be an excellent way to familiarise yourself with the type of questions you may experience, and to gain an understanding of where your knowledge level is currently and if there are any areas that you need to focus on revising before the assessment.
Tests of Ability
Ability tests are designed to measure a particular set of skills, or your potential to learn and develop a particular set of skills, to predict your future performance and on the job-related tasks where the skill in question is required.
As these types of tests are more applied in nature, the preparation should follow this approach and can vary in how you can set out to do so. This can be achieved throughout your role on a day-to-day basis, for example, try consciously practicing your multi-tasking more generally, such as carrying out more than one activity at a time or completing a practical task whilst answering cognitive questions. This can also be through sports and activities such as aerobics, yoga, and team sports, which can all improve coordination through improving focus, concentration, and reaction times. Similarly, practicing a hobby or skill that requires fine motor control can help improve manual dexterity; for example, model-making or learning a musical instrument.
As with Knowledge Tests, taking practice tests can help you to familiarise yourself with how you will be tested, and allow you an opportunity to refine the specific skill set that you are likely to be tested on.
Behaviour, Personality and Preferences-Based Tests
These types of tests are designed to measure personality traits, individual preferences and behaviour that influence suitability for a particular role and/or organisation. Although there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ personalities, your preferences can determine how well you are suited to a particular role, or the culture of the organisation you are applying to.
Personality underpins our preferences, our attributes, and our behaviours, all of which will determine how well we will fit into a particular role. So, personality questionnaires and other preference-based questionnaires allow us to assess individual characteristics and this information can then be used to help determine an individual’s suitability for a particular role. There isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ personality, though there are some traits and characteristics that are aligned better to particular roles, or the specific cultural environment of the organisation you are applying to. This is why it’s important you answer honestly and openly when completing these questionnaires, to ensure you are portraying the most accurate representation of yourself. To do this, try not to over-think the questions or second guess what is being asked of you - the questions aren’t designed to trick you, so answer honestly. You can also take some time to reflect on yourself and your own strengths and weaknesses, to best understand where you may need to focus any self-development. Practice personality or preference-based questionnaires can help to reduce any anxiety you may have about this kind of test, and often also come with feedback that can support your self-awareness.
Interviews can be part of an assessment process at all levels throughout your career as a pilot and they are typically used to understand more about your motivation, knowledge and suitability for a particular role or organisation. This is because organisations can vary in terms of their expectations and culture and therefore being a suitable fit for one company, does not necessarily mean you will be a strong fit for another; this is also beneficial for you as well as the organisation, to ensure the environment will be a suitable fit for you before making the transition!
To help prepare yourself for any interview phase, as with the online assessments, try and find out as much information as you can ahead of the interview, as to what you can expect and what is required of you – for example, if you need to bring any documentation with you, or prepare for any activities ahead of the interview. As well as conducting research on the organisation you are applying for and requirements of the role, it can also be useful to spend some time reflecting on your past experiences to date, and what you have learnt from these; try to tie these in with the core pilot competencies, to consider situations where you have displayed the necessary skills for the role most effectively. Try to be as open and honest as possible when discussing these experiences and where possible focus on situations you remember well enough to discuss in detail.
It is important to remember that the interview experience may not be exactly the same for each individual going through the process, so don’t assume you’ll face the same questions as a colleague who may have also recently completed an interview. As such, it may be more effective to focus on general preparation rather than scripting and memorising answers to specific questions, to ensure you can respond to a variety of different questions with confidence. Take the opportunity to practice your interview technique, such as through practicing with friends and family, or through a mock interview practice session with feedback with an appropriate professional, to hone your interview skills and improve your familiarity with the assessment process.
Increasingly, more organisations are looking to remote interviews as part of the selection process, as they can be more easily organised and conducted in the current climate and offer more flexibility for interviews where you may have previously had to travel. While the same principles of preparation should apply wherever your interview is conducted, there may be a few additional things to consider in this scenario; ensuring you have a professional, quiet environment in which to conduct the interview is key so you can carry out the process free from distractions. Make sure you test your technology in advance to ensure all equipment is working and you have a stable connection, as well as familiarising yourself with any video conferencing software you may be required to use. If you anticipate any potential technical issues due to the location you are in, it may be a good idea to inform the interviewer of this ahead of this occurring.
It is a good idea to prepare as well as possible for your pilot aptitude assessments and taking practice tests can allow you to familiarise yourself with the different kind of pilot aptitude tests and what you can expect to be involved in each of the tests.