The day has finally arrived for your Military Flight Aptitude Test! Time to put the books, study aids, and practice tests away and charge forward, confident that you’ll succeed. But even the most-prepared test-taker can use a little help squeezing a few extra points out of the exam, and here are a few hints.

Eat right before the test

You probably already know the importance of being well rested on exam day, but that’s only part of the battle. To be mentally prepared for the exam, you have to nourish yourself, too. Have a slow-paced breakfast (not too big and not too heavy) focused on protein sources such as eggs, sausage, bacon, and so on.

This kind of meal keeps your energy levels up throughout the morning. If you’re a coffee drinker, feel free to enjoy your usual amount; just remember that bathroom breaks at the test site can be few and far between. If you’re not a coffee person, don’t suddenly drink eight cups that morning.

The absolute worst thing you can do is to eat a candy bar or other sugar-laden treat right before you go into the test. Loading up on sugar can cause hypoglycemia, which leads to a later sugar crash; you won’t have much success on the test if you’re keeled over on your desk.

Write down important formulas

You can’t bring a cheat sheet or your own scratch paper into the exam. However, nothing prevents you from using the paper provided at the test site for largely the same purpose: keeping important formulas at your fingertips.

Store those difficult formulas in your short-term memory right before you arrive for the test and then write them down on the scratch paper provided immediately after the test begins so that you don’t have to worry about drawing a blank later.

Don’t watch the clock

When you’re under the gun and feeling the pressure of a timed test, not obsessing over the time can be difficult. Although occasionally glancing up to do a time check is a good idea, don’t get fixated on the clock.

Doing so serves only to put you in a state of anxiety and stress, which is counterproductive toward calmly performing the task at hand. Don’t become so incapacitated by the fear of not finishing on time that you can’t finish at all.

Read the questions and answer choices thoroughly

Make sure you have a complete comprehension of exactly what the question is asking. Don’t jump the gun and assume you know what the test-makers want to know; incorrect answer choices are often based on these kinds of assumptions, so your haste may trick you into picking the wrong answer.

Similarly, look through all the answer choices before selecting one; don’t just choose the first answer you come to that seems right.

Don’t bring outside knowledge to reading passages

On the reading comprehension sections of the tests, you must be careful to not make inferences or assign meanings based on your own subjective knowledge of the subject. The test-makers aren’t interested in what you know about the topic; they want to know whether you can draw conclusions based on the information given. Use only the provided information as the basis for your answer.

Know the order of mathematical operations

You have to perform all mathematical operations in a certain sequence to correctly complete a math problem. In case you’re a little rusty on the topic, the correct steps for mathematical operations are as follows:

  1. Calculate everything in parentheses.

  2. Compute all exponents and roots.

  3. Perform all multiplication and division from left to right.

  4. Perform all addition or subtraction from left to right.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that the answer you come up with by using some other sequence is listed as one of the answer choices. Including such decoys is a common trick on the part of the test designers to see whether you’re following the correct order.

Develop the fine art of guessing

Guessing is really an art form, and it’s one you’ll have to use when you don’t know the answer to a question. The basic process is to rule out answer choices you know are incorrect and then examine the remaining choices for subtle clues that eliminate them as well. If you can narrow down your four choices to two probable ones, you increase your odds of success from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Not sure about a math problem? Sometimes a faster route is to take the answers given, estimate which one you think may be the closest answer, and then plug in the numbers to solve the problem backward.

Manage your time by choosing your battles

Some questions are harder than others, and those hard questions can tie you up if you don’t manage your time well. You don’t want to spend so much time untangling a tough question early on that you run out of time to answer five easy questions at the end of the section.

If you can tell a question is going to be a time-eater, skip it and answer the easier questions first. You can return to those monster questions later for a more in-depth look if you have time leftover.

Watch your units and conversions

Failing to use the correct units, especially in conversions, has to be one of the single most common errors on scientific and mathematical tests worldwide. Simply put, if a test question has given factors in inches, the solution should be in inches unless otherwise stated.

Don’t panic during the test

Taking the military flight aptitude test is an enjoyable experience, but it doesn’t have to be one big anxiety attack, either. Don’t let self-doubt creep into your conscious thought process if you struggle with a couple of questions. Relax and concentrate on the task at hand.

You have studied and worked hard to prepare yourself for this moment, so the test is the time to show what you’ve got. Be confident in your preparation, and fear and doubt won’t overwhelm you.