After the debriefing I find the complete report in my e-mail inbox. In small radar graphs my scores are explained in detail, giving a profile of my character, work environment preferences and personal style. It also contains a ‘silhouette', reflecting my preference to certain styles of information processing, work ethic and motivation. Completing the APQ gives me great insight into how seemingly random questions can lead to an extensive report on my personality.
Mock Interview with a Psychologist
The mock interview takes place via an online video call. As soon as Symbiotics Principal Occupational Psychologist Karen Moore appears on the screen, I can tell she is an excellent and supportive coach: someone who can really put ab-initio pilots at ease for their first interview, and help them to present themselves at their best.
Though I do get to experience a mock interview, I also get the opportunity to ask her questions to learn how she approaches it. Karen informed me that "I will explore the candidates self-awareness, motivation, industry awareness, and will ask questions to see if they have an understanding of the role of a cadet and what they know of the training organisation they apply to." She continues: "Most candidates are sensible, and I can offer them feedback and give suggestions. Also a major part of a mock interview is helping to remove what we call ‘test environment fear', the not knowing what the process is going to be."
She finally puts me on the spot with a couple of unexpected questions. "When it comes to leadership, when did you have to defend an unpopular decision you made?" "When was the last time you made a decision which required careful analysis?" As I keep rambling on, she reminds me of the STAR technique in answering interview questions: Situation, Task, Actions, Result.
Personally, I think the mock interview is the most helpful tool to prepare for your cadet assessments, and especially for the first one! It can be very useful to get some constructive feedback from a ‘stranger', on your first impression, and on how you answer the practice interview questions. It is, in all honesty, my favourite tool in the practice bundle. Having completed the APQ and the Mock interview, I move onto the pilot aptitude tests within the bundle, which look to measure a candidates knowledge and skills.
Maths, Physics, FAST, Coordination and Cognitive Reasoning Practice Tests
It's been almost two decades since I worked my way through Maths and Physics classes, so I am curious what to expect. The Maths and Physics practice tests are similar in structure: 20 multiple choice questions, getting more advanced as the test progresses. They are timed and to be answered in 30 minutes - you are not allowed to use a calculator.
After completing the test an instant report is generated, telling me how I scored and providing me with personal revision guidance. The Maths test includes fairly basic distance calculations and a Pythagorean theorem exercise and I am pleased to have scored 100% for it. But I definitely found the Physics test more challenging! For Physics the report tells me that ‘the formulae for electrical resistors, both in series and parallel may be tested.' It would also be time to review the formulae for springs, both in series and parallel. ‘Revise both the effect on extension length and resistance.' OK, I will! These tests are an excellent tool to find weaker areas of knowledge.
The Cognitive Reasoning practice test brings me back to my first assessment at a flight school, which as mentioned earlier, I failed. I wish I had invested some time in practicing numerical and verbal reasoning tests, along with working memory, spatial and relationship reasoning exercises. These are all covered in this test and I highly recommend having a go at them to practice in order to get familiar with them.
Finally, to complete the Ultimate Bundle, the FAST and the Coordination practice tests are aimed at your dexterity, which is very important in any kind of simulator assessment. The FAST (Future Aptitude Selection Tool) is quite a challenging multi-tasking dynamic exercise requiring me to deal with multiple information sources simultaneously. Such demanding exercises are part of many assessments; in fact this one is very similar to a test I had to take at my second (successful) flight school assessment. So again, this test makes for great practice. Many flight school selections will subject candidates to a similar test, in which the demanding work environment in the flight deck is replicated.
With the Cadet Ultimate Bundle, Symbiotics have created the most thorough preparation package, with many useful tests and features, to cover everything you may come across in the recruitment process for a cadet role. The great thing is that all tests can be individually purchased as well, so if you feel you don't need such an extensive preparation, you can have a look at the separate tests available and just purchase what you think suits you.
"Proper preparation prevents poor performance - good luck!"
Find the Symbiotics Practice Tests here: Symbiotics Practice Tests
About the author: Eva is a Hong Kong based Boeing 747 pilot and through her Instagram page @Flywitheva she shares her life as a pilot, aiming to inspire, inform and advise the next generation of future airline pilots.