As with any assessment you undertake, preparation really is key. We recommend that you try and find out exactly what to expect during the process and what is going to be expected of you during the process; you can do this by finding out what different tests or questionnaires you will be completing and what they might involve. These might include a combination of knowledge tests, co-ordination and dexterity assessments, and behaviour and personality questionnaires.
You should also read through any information that has been sent to you by the organisation you are applying to clearly, and if you have any questions, be sure to ask the academy you are applying to before starting. The assessments are not designed to trick you, so if something isn’t clear, make sure you clarify your understanding to give yourself the best opportunity to prepare.
Knowledge-based tests are those that look at your understanding of a particular topic area, measuring knowledge that will be necessary for your pilot training, for example, maths and physics. For knowledge-based tests, a useful preparation activity you can do is to get back to the basics of the topic area, such as re-visiting high-school/GCSE/equivalent to help refresh your understanding of basic formulas and concepts and then continue to build on this information, such as through practicing calculations in your head
These types of tests involve more practical, hands-on tasks, designed to measure your hand-eye co-ordination and dexterity amongst other things; there are lots of ways you can practice and hone your skills here. This can be through sports and activities such as aerobics, yoga and team sports can all improve coordination through improving focus, concentration, and reaction times. Practicing a hobby or skill that requires fine motor control can help improve manual dexterity – for example model-making, learning a musical instrument, and knitting.
Simple activities such as playing a game of catch can help improve hand-eye coordination. You can also practice online games and puzzles with a joystick to help improve your coordination and control. Similarly, try practice your multi-tasking, such as carrying out more than one activity at a time or completing a practical task whilst answering cognitive questions.
Personality underpins our preferences, our attributes, and our behaviours, all of which will determine how well we will fit into a particular role. So, personality questionnaires and other preference-based questionnaires, allow us to assess individual characteristics and this can then be used to help determine your suitability for a particular role.
There isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ personality, though there are some traits and characteristics that are aligned better to the role and particular training programmes. This is why it’s important you answer honestly and openly when completing these questionnaires, to ensure you are portraying the most accurate representation of yourself. To do this, try not to over-think the questions or second guess what is being asked of you – the questions aren’t designed to trick you, so answer honestly.
Becoming a pilot is a huge undertaking and it’s important you have fully considered why you want to become a pilot, to help ensure this is the right role for you. Take some time to think about the training you are potentially undertaking and what you think some of the challenges might be for you and how you can overcome these; this can help prepare you for any difficulties you might face during the training and support you in managing these situations. This will also be useful if you are required to undertake an interview as part of the entry process, as you may be asked to explain your motivation for wanting to join the particular flying school and to become a pilot.
Try and immerse yourself in the industry as much as possible – if you’re able to speak to individuals at your chosen flight school, or who work in the industry, make the most of those contacts to develop your knowledge and learn what the realities of the role and industry are. Familiarising yourself with each of the core pilot competencies can help you understand what will be expected of you in your pilot training and beyond and may help you to evaluate your own skill set and where your strengths and areas of development may lie.
Ensuring you have mentally prepared for the training is as important as demonstrating you have the right skills and aptitudes to undertake the challenge! Mock interview practice with feedback to hone your interview skills and improve your confidence with the assessment process, more information can be found at Symbioticsltd.com.
Taking practice tests can be really useful in being as prepared as you possibly can be; practicing some example tests beforehand can be a good way to familiarise yourself with the type of questions and scenarios you will encounter, helping to reduce anxiety so you can perform to the best of your abilities. They can also help to identify any areas where you may need to devote more time to developing your knowledge and skills before taking the real test and moving forward with your training.
There are many practice tests available for you online to familiarise yourself with the style of questions and type of assessment you will undertake, however, these can vary significantly, so make sure you do your research as some are not as reflective of the type of assessments you will see in flight schools. Symbiotics have a full range of practice tests designed by their psychology team to help you to perform in your pilot aptitude tests. Click here to see the full range of practice tests
Practice and preparation really are key, so refresh your knowledge and practice as much as possible so you can go into your tests feeling confident and ready.