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Practice Test-Taking Skills

Practice tests are a great way to both improve your knowledge and practice the test-taking strategies that you will need for the military flight aptitude tests. Take practice tests in an informal setting at the beginning of your test preparation to determine your exact strong and weak areas.

Approximately two-thirds of the way through your study program, begin taking the practice exams (one per sitting) in a formalized setting. Start with the branch you least want to join and work up to your highest-priority test; doing so helps you work out the kinks in your test-taking experience so that you’re as sharp as possible for the most important exam.

Pretend you’re taking the real test; try to find an unfamiliar setting without the possibility of distractions and use the same mental approach as you would for the real deal.

The tests differ slightly from one another and put different emphasis on different subjects, but they all test concepts you need to be familiar with and are all a great way to practice for the real test.

Score your practice test and then informally review the questions you answered incorrectly, spending time boning up on those topics. A few days later, retake the questions you answered incorrectly to cement this information into your long-term memory. Now you can do additional review and set a time to take the next practice test.

Another great strategy to improve your actual test score is to plan on taking all the branch services tests you can. (Some branches may not let you take the test if you’re disqualified — for, say, being too old — from joining that branch.) Start with the branch you’re least interested in joining/least likely to join and work your way up to your preferred branch. This approach has two advantages:

  • Combating test jitters: Taking the less-desired tests first gives you real-world experience and a sense of the level of anxiety you’ll encounter when taking the test you most want to do well on. Sitting in a room with other motivated applicants with a proctor watching serves as excellent training and prepares you far more than any test practice session you may do by yourself.

  • Setting the stage for Plan B (or C): If you put all your eggs in one test’s basket, you run the risk of delaying your dream if that particular branch doesn’t accept you. Taking all the tests as part of your test prep gives you a head start on pursuing secondary options instead of forcing you to gear up for more studying and testing after your initial disappointment. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst!

For example, if you’ve decided your priorities are Marine Corps/Navy first, Air Force second, and Army/Coast Guard helicopter program third and you know you meet all the eligibility requirements, you’d take the Army’s Selection Instrument for Flight Training, the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, and the Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard Aviation Selection Test Battery in that order so that you give yourself a backup for all three branches and use the lower-priority tests as run-throughs for the one that matters most.

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