The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all use the Aviation Selection Test Battery as part of the criteria for gaining acceptances into officer aviation programs. For aspiring aviators who wish to build their career in any of those branches of the armed forces, a good performance on the Aviation Selection Test Battery is required. While there are three versions of the test in existence, all of them feature the same number of questions, time limit, and topics. In all, the ASTB is approximately a two and a half hour test.
The goal of this test is to identify the best candidates for aviation training programs in these three sections of the military. Because aviation training and practice are so expensive and time consuming, applicants have to be carefully screened so that only viable individuals are included in the program. The positions within these programs are highly desirable, and the competition to achieve a high score on this test and gain entry into a program can be quite fierce.
A total of three attempts at the Aviation Selection Test Battery can be taken by any one individual. Each attempt has to be on a different form of the test – so that no one form of the test is taken more than once. After the first attempt at the test, an individual must wait at least 30 days before attempting it again. If a third attempt is needed, another 90 days must pass before that test can be administered. There is no possibility of waiving those waiting periods, so careful planning is important to make sure scores are available at the proper times for application to the aviation program that is desired.
In all, there are six subtests that make up the whole of the Aviation Selection Test Battery. Each of the subtests is timed individually and covers a different topic. The combination of scores from all of these sections will create an overall score that helps place the applicant into a ranking with others trying to gain entry into aviation programs.
The first subtest is a math skills test, and it includes 30 questions. These are math questions not unlike what would be found on a high school or college entry exam. Some of the questions are rather basic, but a few of the questions move into more complex areas of mathematics. For the second subtest, reading skills are examined. There are 27 questions in this section, and it is focused on reading comprehension. Careful reading of all of the instructions with each question is important to success in this subtest.
The third subtest on the ASTB is the mechanical comprehension test, which examines mechanical aptitude over a variety of subjects with 30 total questions. The level of knowledge needed for this test can be compared to a high school physics course, with things like pressure, volume, velocity, engines, gears, and more being quizzed. On the fourth subtest, spatial relations are tested. This section is called the spatial apperception test, and includes 25 questions. Visual orientation is the key in this section, with views from the cockpit being provided for the test taker to choose from.
The aviation and nautical information test is fifth on the list, and it includes 30 questions. Aviation history, nautical terms, aerodynamics, flight rules, and more are covered within this section. A general study of aviation from commonly available sources will help to prepare for this portion of the test. The aviation supplemental test is the final subtest, and it has 34 questions that need to be answered. This section may contain various topics from other parts of the test that delve further into some of the areas that were covered previously.
A career in aviation within the military will never get off the ground without a good performance on the Aviation Selection Test Battery. As with any test, good preparation is the key to finishing with a good score and increasing your chances of being accepted into a program. Working through sample questions and making sure to study up on the various topics that comprise the test will help you work through the nerves and perform your best on test day.