Proper rest, nutrition, and schedule management in the days leading up to the test and on the day of your military flight aptitude test can make a big difference. Attending to these areas can boost your test score significantly (maybe by 10 percent). That isn’t a scientific percentage, just an estimate. By taking care of these variables, you can show up to the test site mentally ready to kick butt!

Arrive at the test center well rested

It can't be stressed enough how important being well rested for your test is. The best technique for preparing yourself to rest up for the test is to start adjusting your body at least two weeks ahead of time to the schedule you’ll need to adhere to on test day.

If you feel that you must get up at 0500 hours to avoid having to rush to the test site, spend the two weeks leading up to that day getting up at 0500 hours and going to bed no later than 2200 hours. (That’s 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., respectively, if you’re a little rusty on your military time.) Of course, this schedule is just an arbitrary example, but it’s a good one to use. The bottom line is to get the normal amount of sleep your body is used to.

Another component to getting enough rest is considering the effects of late-evening caffeine or alcohol. Both interfere with your sleep patterns (even if you don’t notice it), so slowly back off your intake of both during your schedule adjustment period to get your body used to a good night’s rest.

Finally, keep in mind that the body encounters a natural rhythm in which most people get drowsy at 1400 hours (2 p.m.). If you’re taking a test that will last into this time, be aware of that tendency.

Reschedule the test if necessary

Make sure you’re ready for the exam before you take it. If you aren’t feeling up to taking the exam on your scheduled day, don’t hesitate to reschedule! You’re better off to wait and make sure you’re on your game for the exam than to muff it. Be aware, though, that rescheduling more than once reduces the likelihood that the application staff will be willing to accommodate any additional changes in schedule.

If you must reschedule an exam, do it as early as possible. Although not taking the test may be better than taking the test while coping with an unexpected sickness or personal tragedy, you must let your aviation recruiter know so that he or she can reschedule you as soon as possible.

Dress comfortably in layers for the test

Have you ever been too hot or too cold and unable to do anything about it? Both conditions are miserable, and you don’t want to be in that state of mind when taking a test that can determine the course of the rest of your life; that’s enough pressure as it is. Dress in layers that you can easily remove or add as the test environment changes.

Specifically, bring a sweater or light jacket with you. If you end up not needing it, great; if you find yourself cold, having the extra layer available will be a huge relief.

Fuel up before the test

Although you don’t want to go into the exam on an empty stomach, you shouldn’t just mindlessly grab whatever’s handy while you do some last minute studying. When preparing your test-day breakfast (most if not all tests start in the morning), don’t consume tons of carbohydrates, especially the simple carbohydrates found in such foods as sugary cereal, maple syrup, and sweet tea.

Enjoy a balanced meal with an emphasis on proteins (eggs, sausage, bacon, and so on) to maximize your mental alertness.

Arrive early for the test

A common mistake that a lot of people make is planning on arriving at the test site as they would any event, where being fashionably late if they’re running behind is often no big deal. But showing up right at the wire or even late for your aptitude test is a bad idea, so plan accordingly.

One of the worst things you can do is cut your schedule close and then end up stuck in traffic. That move can make the difference between a nice, leisurely drive where you arrive fresh and ready to go and a frustrating drive where you arrive frazzled and mentally incapacitated.

Map out the route to the test site and make a practice run (preferably at the same time of day) to get a feel for the route, the traffic, and the time required to get there. One option to help ensure you get there in plenty of time on test day is to have a light-to-medium-sized breakfast at a restaurant close to the test site.