Pilot Aptitude Tests

Last Updated: 04 March 2020

Airbus has projected that the industry will need over 500,000 new pilots in the next twenty years. However, the competition will remain fierce, so you need to make sure you are well prepared.

This article will reveal what to expect from a pilot aptitude test and how to prepare for and practice the test questions.


  1. What Are Pilot Aptitude Tests?
  2. Are Pilot Aptitude Tests Only for Commercial Pilots?
  3. The Skills Assessed by Pilot Aptitude Tests
  4. What to Expect From Your Pilot Aptitude Test
  5. Where Do You Take a Pilot Aptitude Test?
  6. Preparing for a Pilot Aptitude Test
  7. Final Thoughts
  8. Further Reading

What Are Pilot Aptitude Tests?

Simply put, they are a way for airlines to filter through potential candidates to find those who are most likely to succeed through the training and development programmes.

Flight school training can cost more than £100,000 (even more if you have no prior flight experience) so it’s vital that airlines feel confident that they have a robust selection process.

A pilot aptitude test isn’t about your flight experience or your knowledge of how to fly an aircraft. It’s about testing a potential candidate’s aptitude, potential and ability to work under pressure.

Those who score highly on pilot aptitude tests will be highly sought after by airlines looking to invest in a new generation of pilots. If you do well, the airline may subsidize your flight school training.

Are Pilot Aptitude Tests Only for Commercial Pilots?

If you are serious about becoming a pilot, you will likely need to take a pilot aptitude test, regardless of whether you plan to become a commercial airline pilot, a freight pilot or even a member of the RAF.

As flying is such a competitive field, you must prepare for and score highly on the aptitude test to give yourself opportunities for greater flexibility and employability.

The Skills Assessed by Pilot Aptitude Tests

With so many different pilot aptitude tests available, it can be difficult to know exactly what examiners are looking for.

A pilot aptitude test is a form of psychometric testing that allows potential employers to assess the key skills required to be a pilot. These might include:

  • Reasoning
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • How you react under pressure
  • Spatial and situational awareness
  • Hand to eye coordination
  • Long-term memory
  • Multi-tasking

Looking to take practice tests specifically for pilots? Check out this package from JobTestPrep.

What to Expect From Your Pilot Aptitude Test

There is a wide variety of pilot aptitude tests available. Some of the most common include:

  • Cut-e
  • Advanced COMPASS
  • Talent Q

Each airline uses its own criteria so, during your preparation, you may find a wide range of potential test questions.

However, you can feel confident that the tests covered below will be included within your chosen pilot aptitude test.

1. Cognition Testing

This is where you’ll likely be tested on your cognitive functionality, most notably through numbers and reading.

  • Numerical Reasoning. Pilots need to accurately understand and interpret data, so you will be tested on your numerical and analytical reasoning skills. Information may be in charts, graphs or tables; you will be expected to answer questions based on the data provided.

    Some airlines will add time pressure to the numerical reasoning section of the pilot aptitude test, so you will need to ensure that you have allocated enough time to complete as much of the test as possible.

    In some scenarios, different questions may have different weighting – so it’s important to read the questions thoroughly and work out which ones merit spending more time on.

  • Verbal Reasoning. Pilots need to excel at communication. Therefore, the verbal reasoning section will explore your English language skills. Like most such tests, you will be expected to read a paragraph or statement and answer questions based on that text. Often questions may be posed as true or false, or you will need to determine which statement is correct based upon the text.

  • Perceptual and Spatial Awareness. Another key part of the testing process will be monitoring your perception and spatial awareness. You may have to look at a series of patterns, shapes or colours and find the odd one out or the next in the sequence. Or you could be asked to play a 3D pursuit game that assesses your spatial awareness, or take memory tests.

Example Question 1:

British Airways is selling tickets from London to New York. It has sold 40% of the available tickets and still has 420 tickets available to sell. How many tickets were originally available on this flight?

a) 700
b) 535
c) 380
d) 420

The correct answer is: a) 700

A 40% decrease in the total number of tickets is 420

Therefore, 60% of the total number of tickets is 420

This means that 0.6 x the total number of tickets = 420


Total number of tickets = 420 / 0.6 = 700

Example Question 2:

Which image can be made from the three shapes shown?

The correct answer is: C

Example Question 3:

Read the passage below and then decide if the statement is true, false or cannot say.

“The first successful aeroplane flight was made by Orville and Wilbur Wright, also known as the Wright brothers, in 1903. This plane was made of spruce wood, a favourite of the brothers. They were also responsible for inventing various control systems that helped pilots steer and control the aircraft.

The three-axis control system was the most important of their designs and is still used today. Although planes are now mostly made of aluminium, the technical advancements made by the Wright brothers revolutionised the 20th Century and beyond.”

Aircraft are built in the same way as they were in 1903

a) True
b) False
c) Cannot say

The correct answer is: b) False

Although the passage states that the three-axis control system is still used today, it also states that the materials used to build the planes have changed.

2. Psychomotor Testing

This is where you’ll be tested on your hand-to-eye coordination. You could be asked to complete a task using a joystick, which will track your movement and reaction times.

You may also have to focus on two simultaneous tasks so examiners can see how you react to multiple situations, much like pilots have to do for real.

3. Physics Knowledge

Another core part of the pilot aptitude test is to assess your knowledge of basic physics.

As a pilot, you will need to understand space, time, movement and force – it is after all the driving function of how the aeroplane works.

Example Question:

Which is NOT a force?

a) Gravity
b) Thrust
c) Heat
d) Air resistance
e) Magnetic

The correct answer is: c)

A force is the push or pull on an object as a result of another object interacting with it. Heat is a type of energy.

4. Aviation Knowledge

A final part of the pilot aptitude test may comprise of some general questions relating to the aviation field. You will probably also face these types of questions in your pilot’s interview.

In a competitive environment, examiners are looking for those who show a passion and commitment to the aviation industry. Common subjects include law, aerodynamics and aircraft instrumentation.

Example Question:

Which code is used when two-way radio communication is lost?

a) Code 1555
b) Code 7600
c) Code 7511
d) Code 9587
e) Code 6744

The correct answer is: b)

A pilot should use code 7600 if the aircraft is fitted with a radar transponder and two-way radio communication is lost.

How should you prepare for a pilot aptitude test? Watch this video from JobTestPrep for some expert insights.

Preparing for a Pilot Aptitude Test

If you’re keen to start your career as a pilot and you feel that you’re ready to take the pilot aptitude test, then you can book a test through organisations such as The Honorable Company of Air Pilots.

You may also wish to look at the websites of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic or the RAF, to see what they say about taking the aptitude tests.

How Can You Prepare for a Pilot Aptitude Test?

There are numerous resources online which will help you to prepare in full for the pilot aptitude test. Here are a few practical tips which may help:

  • Study hard. When it comes to the pilot aptitude test, those who score highly will be the most employable. Because it is a competitive job market, the big airlines can choose the pick of the crop and will pay salaries accordingly.

  • Check what type of aptitude test you need. Each airline will likely use a different testing platform. Therefore, if you have a specific career path in mind, it’s worthwhile researching your preferred airline and focusing your preparation efforts on their specific requirements. It may help to focus your mind and allow you to get a much higher score.

  • Use online testing products. There are a variety of online pilot aptitude testing packs available that provide practice pilot aptitude tests. Some practice tests will be available free of charge, whilst others (such as those from JobTestPrep) offer a paid-for service which will not only help you study but will offer practice exam questions, allowing you to monitor your progress. Alternatives include the popular PilotAptitudeTest.com website. We recommend trialling a few different products and establishing what works best for you.

  • Use WikiJob to assist your study. WikiJob has a wide range of articles focusing on aptitude tests, including numerical and verbal reasoning. Before you start looking at specific questions, you should feel confident that you understand the format of these different tests. As well as using our in-depth articles and making use of our wide range of free aptitude tests, our forum is a valuable tool to ask questions.

Final Thoughts

Pilot positions are becoming more accessible to candidates of all backgrounds. This article will help you be fully prepared for your aptitude test.

Make sure you’re clear on what you need to study and do the maximum preparation before you book your final test date. The more confident you are in your subject matter, the higher your final score will likely be.

Good luck.

Further Reading

You might also be interested in these other WikiJob articles:

Aptitude Tests

Numerical Reasoning Tests

Verbal Reasoning Tests

Non-Verbal Reasoning Tests

Psychometric Tests: Guide & Free Practice Tests

Thomas International GIA Test