Today’s Air Force has a single test — the Officer Qualifying Test — that covers all officer candidates, regardless of whether they plan to be aviators. The Air Force believes that this one test is the single best predictor of overall success within the various fields of this service branch.

The AFOQT takes about three and a half hours to complete, which accounts for pre-test instruction and a break. Calculators aren’t permitted. Here’s a breakdown of the testing time:

The AFOQT Test
Subtest # of items Time
1. Verbal Analogies (VA) 25 8 minutes
2. Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 25 29 minutes
3. Word Knowledge (WK) 25 5 minutes
4. Math Knowledge (MK) 25 22 minutes
10-minute break
5. Instrument Comprehension (IC) 20 6 minutes
6. Block Counting (BC) 20 3 minutes
7. Table Reading (TR) 40 7 minutes
8. Aviation Information (AI) 20 8 minutes
9. General Science (GS) 20 10 minutes
10. Rotated Blocks (RB) 15 13 minutes
11. Hidden Figures (HF) 15 8 minutes
12. Self-Description Inventory (SDI) 220 40 minutes

The following categories show how the Air Force combines your scores into five specific composite scores. (Note: Various sections are weighted differently according to a secret formula, so you can’t find your composite score by just adding up the number of correct answers for each section.)

• Pilot (AR + MK + IC + TR + AI): This score predicts your success in the aviation field by measuring how your knowledge and abilities stack up to those the Air Force feels you need for successful pilot training.

The components of this score measure mathematical ability, aeronautical knowledge, spatial relation of the aircraft to its systems and instruments, and perceptual speed. Pilot candidates must score at least 25 for this composite; if you’re a navigator candidate, you need to score at least 10.

• Navigator-technical (VA + AR + MK + BC + TR + GS): This grouping measures the abilities that Air Force navigator training requires. This score doesn’t focus on aeronautical knowledge and spatial orientation. Pilot candidates need a minimum score of 10 for this composite; navigator candidates need a minimum score of 25.

• Academic aptitude (VA + AR + WK + MK): This score looks at verbal and quantitative knowledge — important aspects of your military officer career. Good news: You don’t need a particular minimum score for this composite.

• Verbal (VA + WK): This composite measures verbal knowledge and abilities. The combined subtest determines your ability to reason, understand synonyms, and recognize relationships between words. All candidates must have a minimum score of 15.

• Quantitative (AR + MK): This grouping measures your math-related abilities and knowledge. All candidates must achieve a minimum score of 10.

You receive a score for each of these five areas, but you don’t get a total combined score. For pilot and navigator candidates, just reaching the minimum composite scores isn’t enough; they also need a combined pilot and navigator-technical score of at least 50.

However, you can perform marginally on one section (as long as you don’t go below the minimum) and make up the points in another, higher-scoring section. All commissioning sources determine how high these scores must be for the test-taker to be selected.