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A little help regarding FATs & AIB?



I am currently an AB in the later stages of the UY scheme (aircrew is my current preference). I was really hoping I could extract a little information on a couple of points I am struggling with

1. FATs are frighteningly soon and while I have put considerable effort into mental arithmetic and SDT, I was wondering if someone could give me a little insight as to the format of the mathematics?

2. While I am pursuing the aircrew route, I am acutely aware of just how competitive aircrew selection is. I would still hope to commission in another specialisation in the event I fail FATs. Will I be looked upon unfavorably as a result of FAT failure?

3. If I make it to AIB and pass, but fail the medical, can I still be considered by the FSB for another specialisation? If so is this automatic?

Any info or help would be very much appreciated, reading all the publications in the world does not make up for personal experience and insight.


DruAde, thanks, very helpful thread. I am aware of some question formats. Unsure if the questions vary wildly in format from each other in the 'numerical reasoning' section.

chopp95, Yes I have a date. Soon! Funnily most pilots/observers I know recommended exactly that, 'fly a plane upside down on GTA while answering basic maths and juggling!', seriously though, the general theme of advice is smash mental arithmetic to give yourself an edge, the rest is not really 'learnable'. I am unsure of pass marks, although I have been told you are graded separately for Observer, ATC & Pilot, indicating each requires a different skill set.


Couldn't help notice the thread while I was flicking through at work - I've not got time to go into detail ATM but I will at some point - just a quick few heads up - ATC/Obs/Pilot are as they are, if you want to be a pilot but fail ATC you're good to go for pilot (this is what it was like when I went anyway! So if its changed, no falling out
Other than that just make sure you're up with your hand/eye skill along with your mental math’s, read some of the papers too, its not a test on news but the way the paragraphs are worded are a lot more difficult than what you find in the Daily Mail, above all else its 'aptitude' so you either have it or don't. I found a pretty helpful guide from the American Air force with example questions which I'll try and get up later. Some questions they ask, cant be done (Anyone remember trying to remember the flight path of 7 spitfires, one green on red and one blue?) so remember this and just do as best as you can!


chopp95, I won't mention the actual date (PERSEC and all), but I didn't wait particularly long, 4-5 weeks after applying for the test. Waiting times and such may vary wildly between in-service candidates and civvi though so don't quote me. Either way they will creep up on you quicker than you'd like, so hammer you arithmetic :)

cwohildreth, thanks, I have been sort of neglecting the verbal reasoning aspect which I suspect may be a mistake, best get round the Telegraph! Have you taken the tests recently? Its great to get other peoples experience, for example, is the numerical side multi-choice?

DruAde, excellent link, some interesting stuff there!


Right, here we go trying to remember my time at FATs, it was 2011 time I sat them so they may of changed slightly but I can't see it being majorly different! I‘ll try and write in as much of a chronological order as I can to make it simple to read through.
Arrive at RAF Cranwell, sign in at the guard gate etc etc etc and receive poorly worded directions and get lost on route to the candidates accommodation! Drop bags off in the room and make your way over to the FATs area, when I went it was on its own as a separate building (very nice looking Spitfire in the front garden) and sign in with the person on the front desk, telling him what you’re here to do and make a point it’s for the Navy, he sent me back to the accommodation thinking I was there for the RAF before running across half the base to fetch me back telling me I had a brief to sit as I was Navy candidate.
After the brief it was pretty much free time until the next day (test day) for you to use the candidates mess and bar, standard MOD style, cheap as chips beer and food. Some people were set on getting back to the room and brushing up for a last few hours but in my view if you’re at this stage and can’t do it, another 3 stress filled hours won’t matter.
So here it is, test day time! To start off with everyone will muster in the FAT building (be they RAF, Royal Navy or Army Air Core) and have a quick how to guide on using the computers and how to answer the questions along with a quick history of how the testing has evolved from world war 2 time to now.
When you get into the room you have your own individual pod with your monitor, keyboard, trackball mouse, joystick and rudder pedals.
The questions are pretty much the same as the questions you sit when first applying for the forces, I also had in my JI’s an A4 paper with example questions on. MAKE SURE YOU CAN DO S/D/T QUICKLY! That’s the main player for me which I found most difficult out of them all. Other than that like I said before, its aptitude and you can’t fudge it.
After this you’ve got you hurry up and wait for a while before being called in by the officer there from the RN telling you how you’ve done. You don’t have to pass each area (pilot, observer and Air Traffic) to pass the FATs just what’s needed for your chosen application. I passed pilot and ATC with a high pass rate, but didn’t do great on observer but still carried forward as I wanted to go for pilot.
That’s it for the FATs, moving onto the next question on if you fail. First of all don’t go in with a backup plan, right now you’re going to pass the FATs and that’s that! But for others reading (I stress I never experienced this so its from memory of what my AFCO told me), if you bunk your FATs and say you want to go for Logs or Engineering for example, then it’s not mentioned. The way to look at it is like this, you’re applying to look after engineering equipment and personnel working on it, they couldn’t care less if you didn’t cut it at an Aptitude test to be a pilot...

Best of luck for you FATs and the AIB that will follow from it!


Not sure if this is much help as I doubt you'll be told your scores, but I'm also a UY AET who is applying for Aircrew (Pilot). I had my FATs in May this year and scored 135 Pilot, 128 Observer and 125 ATC out of a possible 180. 112 is the pass rate. I had my AIB in September and scored 197. 180 is the pass mark. Just to give you an idea of your chances of selection, I've just been extracted and start BRNC in Feb 14 with those scores. Your DO will be sent a copy of your FAT scores and you can just ask him for them.
In terms of practise, I played a lot of iPad/iPhone apps (such as Mensa and FitBrains) and played on a basic flight simulator. Are you based at Culdrose? I still have all the S/D/T questions you could ever need, you're more than welcome to borrow the worksheets. I just went through the sheets until I could answer them without really even thinking about it.
Hope this helps, please don't hesitate to PM me or reply on here for more advice.



Rilstone, thanks for that post, congratulations on getting extracted! (I start down in Culdrose later this week actually) Unfortunately I did the tests and failed, he was quite vague about how I had done, although he said they only recommend that you come back in 12 months if you score within 10% of the pass mark, and he told me I should try again. Shame this was my only bite of the cherry given my advanced age! (I will be 24 in 12 months time)
I am still carrying on with UY though, only tried aircrew as my DO and I thought 'why not, free to enter and it makes sense since I am already FAA'. Logistics was my initial goal so I will happily pursue that.
With that in mind, I wouldn't mind getting your views on AIB prep?

I know exactly what went wrong, so for anyone worrying, here is what I messed up.
I smashed S/D/T for weeks, that was a strong point, the Maths wasn't really an issue for me (although time is tight). I fell down on the short-term memory side, remembering letter and number sequences was something I practiced but not under pressure, so I crumbled a bit there.
Get comfortable with the equipment, it may sound simple but I majorly messed up on the multitasking test where you cancel out coloured shapes. The keyboard is a mirror image of itself and I swapped sides halfway through, hence I was hitting the wrong colours and it took me a while to notice.
Last but not least, the trace test. Basically watch an aircraft move around the screen and you have to hit the button which corresponds with its movement. It took me a while to realise that it is very easy if you imagine you are sat in the cockpit moving the stick yourself, I picked up on that too late.

In conclusion
1. Brush up on basic maths and SDT so you can work quickly (the test isn't as math intensive as you would think, just tight for time)
2. Memorise letter sequences and number sequences in seconds then recall them under pressure (gaming or something similar)
3. Playing a flight sim will help immeasurably with the trace test (grasping movement from the perspective of the cockpit)
4. Take every break offered and don't change how you use the equipment halfway through a test!

I met guys there who had failed first time and passed second time, so if you are young enough failing isn't the end of the world. Just take it again.


Have you considered that if you go for Aircrew it opens up the age limit for Pilot/Observer to 30, so you can have another bite (two actually) at the cherry and subsequent AIB. Definitely something to consider.
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