AIB Aptitude


Lantern Swinger
Hi there.
I have my AIB in 2 weeks (arghhh) and I am in panic mode about the aptitude tests.
Does anybody have experience of the tests?? If so please feel free to offer any tips or advice you feel could help me out!

Sending my best smile as a bribe. :D


War Hero
Book Reviewer
well its been a while... and I'm sure that someone will update you.

Written tests - nothing you can do about that - you either know it or you don't.

Practical tests - all spelt out before you start - they are not looking for a tactical genius, just someone who can do some elementary problem solving, work out a plan, transmit that plan in the form of instructions, make sure that if it needs changing it is, and can encourage and take inputs from the team as required. When you are not the leader then be helpful but not too pushy - if you have an idea then say so at the appropriate time, if its not accepted then don't sulk but do your best for your leader anyway - after all you would hope they would do the same for you.

Written tasks - concentrate. If I remember this is when you have to brief on your own plan in front of the team - this is where you do need to perhaps look after #1 and be prepared to fight your corner.

Interviews - make sure you are well up to speed on current affairs and the state of the Navy (shouldn't take long!!), and for the rest just be yourself.

There are no tricks or hidden agendas - you will either be the right type or not. An element of butterflies in the tummy is good because it keeps you concentrated, but there is nothing that scary about it that should keep you awake at night.

Hopefully some more recent candidates will be along to help....


It won't do you any harm to have a good read through the Newbies section your question has been answered many times including by myself, here: Preparing for the AIB - Tips?

SUYAIB said:
You can't go wrong listening to the advice of Tattoo Dog!

Have you got your practice questions they send with the joining instructions yet? If you have, these are very similar but the most difficult of the ones they send you is equivalent to the easiest on the actual tests.

Look at the PQs, work out from them how long you have for each question on the actual tests. For most of them it's about 7 seconds. When you do the tests, stick with these times - if you can't answer, or are not working a question out after 5 seconds then move on. Speed is of the essence in the tests. If you can do quick arithmetic you should be ok. The verbal stuff - read a dictionary - there'll be words you've never heard of unless you've read one!

Remember as much as possible from the PLT demonstrations - once you've had these, the pictures in your cabin will make a bit more sense!

For the bleep test, look up what you should be expected to achieve as a member of the RN here: RNFT standards and aim to at least reach this. It's not a big part of the overall score, but every point counts, so if you do some prep it's easy points. Male, 20 got to level 6-2, female, 18/19ish, got to level 4-5, both failed. Don't stop until you either die or you get your 3 misses

In the PLTs you need to be loud - make sure the board (watching from a distance) can hear you. In the leaderless task, try to naturally take charge of the others but be careful not to be overbearing - this is a team player assessment! In your task, be loud, lots of motivational stuff for your team and get stuck in with them. The comment about not getting the task done not making a difference, I'd be tempted to disagree - but that maybe the case for civilans. On my AIB 2 of 3 passed, the failure was the only one not to complete his task, on my oppos AIB, same thing(Update - Another oppo has just got back, he completed his PLT but failed overall so this doesn't follow with my theory!). Perhaps they expect in service candidates to complete the task.

For the discussion exercise, remember as much as you can from the information you read, every little detail, from names to the time of sun rise and sunset, don't just concentrate on the scenario - they'll question you on everything. When you go into the board room for the discussion, make sure you get your input to the scenario but let others talk - it's a fine line between being left out of the group and being overbearing. You must hammer down about getting your aims, then prioritise the aims, then devise your plan to achieve the aims.

The quick fire questions - it's a nightmare! don't bluff, don't lose it and give it stacks of erm erm umm. If you don't know then say "I don't know" if you think you know, have a go and do it confidently. Find out a method of quickly calculating times to cover distances at whatever speed.

The interview, just tell them all about you. It's based around the information you put on your Q101 form. Examples of when you've been a leader, a team member, goals you've set yourself. Don't be afraid to mention when you've had something go wrong, as long as you can follow it up with how you fixed it! Know where the RN and UK armed forces are operating, maybe a bit about NATO and UN operations also.

From the time you get there, get to know the other 3 members of your board, the staff will harp on about this, but it helps if you get on with them and can work well with them

Hope this helps!
and also try here:
Admiralty Interview Board

Also have a look at: Yahoo groups - RNAIB It's not been updated for a while but may be a little useful

And here:The Student Room - Armed Forces A student site, mostly RAF types but there's some up to date info there for AIB.

I was there in January so my experience is pretty recent. Be wary of the advice of anyone who did it before about Jan 2005 - It changed it's format slightly, in particular, the deep knowledge of current affairs isn't tested and also the written paper with arts and history type questions has gone. If they quiz you on current affairs or the like, they want you to put across an opinion which is your own.

Feel free to ask anything, I'll be happy to help

SUY(In waiting)


Well I'm a civy(with a uni degree and a placement year in the civil serivce behind me for context) who passed my AIB in January and am starting Dartmouth in June :-s so my experence are at least current!

Aptitude tests, practice your mental maths at speed, do the practice questions and find books off amazon to practice

Other than that there isn't a whole load you can do. Its the way the tests are designed I'm afraid. Work methodically and quickly moving over questions you can't answer and coming back to them, on my papers their were some easier ones at the end in particular the pattern recognition test(can't remember the proper name, abstract reasoning or something similar)

On the PLt tasks welll as stated I'm a civy and out of my group of 4 only one of us completed their PLT and he didn't pass so it isn't necessary to complete it to pass. I would expect in service to have a higher completion rate of PLT's not just because they have more experence themselves at doing this sort of thing but because the team they are leading is also more used to following orders and do this sort of thing.

Since doing my Aib i have met a former brigadier who used to be president of the army RCB (AIB's equivalent) Now Army command tasks are a bit different to the Armies command tasks in theme, i.e the army are more about speed and aggression the navies require you to use your brain a lot more and the techniques your are taught. The army give you about 4 techniques, a couple of cantilever bridges and the rest being lashing planks together, and using a rope to hoist people over things.

In contrast the navy have about 30 odd different techniques and you don't use ropes

But apart from that the task are pretty similar and looking for the same thing. The brigadiers opinion was that they(the army) deliberately set time limits that are almost impossible to achieve the objective to test how you react under pressure when time is running out. Caring more on how you manage your team and communicate your ideas. I think the navy have teh same thinking behind their tasks, but your experence may vary.

Also on the getting stuck in with your team on the plt where you are the leader. In my quick debrief by my board president(not had my full debrief yet due to my carrers officer going on terminal leave) They brought up "me getting over involved in the task" as a negative aspect to my PLT score. Again its a fine line between being involved enough and not to much, but i say when you are the leader your job is to tell people what to do and only do something when you can't complete the task without your input. When someone else is the leader shut up and do what you are told unless you can't do something becuase of safety reasons or the equipment rules. again not a hard and fast rule but a guideline

Also the navy knowledge test for civvies is as stated in the literature nothing you can't get off the navy website and from navy news, couple of historical questions like at which battle did nelson die, some questions about naval bases such as where is the merlin based or where do ratings do their initial training, and a couple of questions on weapons systems and ship such as what is the type 23's primary role. No trick questions

Hope that helps, in my opinion the aptitude tests are the easiest part of the AIB, OK they are stressful and intense at the time but its something you either pass or fail on your own merits. If your want something to worry about the grilling you get on the scenario is your best bet

any other questions yell

Ps. Final peace of advice if you have in service candidates doign their board at the same time as you, for Gods sake talk to them and listen to them. I leartn the answers to several of the questions on the navy knowledge test and at interview from chatting with them about their job now what they had done in the past etc

PPS. listen to your board NCO as if they are an incarnation of God himself. Should they suggest a certain way of doing anything follow it. They are completely neutral. My NCO gave me very helpful advice on how to do things as well as expanding my knowledge of a part of the service i didn't know a huge amount of(Can't say which as it would make it obvious who my NCO was)


Hi All
I have my AIB the end of June and the part I am dreading is the part of the interview where they point to a ship on the wall and you have to talk about it. I was wondering whether you could tell me how long this lasts for, what are they looking for eg specifics such as weapons, sonar, radar etc and was also wondering what sorts of ships could they ask you about i.e do I need to learn about all the minesweepers and other smaller vessels or just concentrate on the much larger vessels. Any help would be grateful


Warrior said:
Hi All
the part of the interview where they point to a ship on the wall and you have to talk about it. I was wondering whether you could tell me how long this lasts for, what are they looking for eg specifics such as weapons, sonar, radar etc and was also wondering what sorts of ships could they ask you about i.e do I need to learn about all the minesweepers and other smaller vessels or just concentrate on the much larger vessels
In my experience they are likely to ask about the larger ships and the role and type of equipment of a basic nature. For example your would want to know that a Type 23 is "An anti submarine fitted with active sonar a passive towed array and stingray torpedoes but also fitted with harpoon anti-surface missiles." Nothing there is classified or too detailed.

If you have the same level of knowledge for the Type 42, type 22, LPD, LPH and CVS then you probably have enough. Knowing that we have some small ships MCMV and patrol boats of various types and roles is enough and also that we have 3 types of subamrine. Where are the ships/subs based? That is probably enough. Anything more than the detail found from on the link below is too much. Remember you are trying to show the board a willingness to learn and not be a walking book of reference. It is a fine balance. GOOD LUCK!
It is also good to remeber these guys do know what they are doing and looking for. they will be impressed by some one who is honest genuine and shows the attributes they are looking for, they will be distinctly unimpressed by some one who tries to appear to be what he is not.

They are looking for potential not a trained officer.

I would suggest that if you cannot pass the written tests by now naturally you may well have problems completing training, though having said that some practice now to improve your confidence is never bad. Remeber the tests they give you are given for a purpose and are the result of years of refinement not the whim of some trick cyclist.

Be confident, be positive and above all be yourself



i canonly give you my personal experece on this, but my "ship question" was on HMS ocean, Nice big pick on the wall although under the stress of interview and the AIB i use the fact she has boats on her side to identify her rahter than the lack of the ski jump.

Once i guessed her, i was asked about what her primary role was. HPD, and carrying a royal marine assault force

Follow up question was alogn the lines " of tell me about the kind of aircraft she carries" luckily navy news had had several articles about oceans new TAG so was able to talk about that and the exercise they had just done in Sierra leone"

Other people on my board had the same type of questions, though with different ships, eg. id the ship talk, be able to talk about its primary and secodnary roles and general weapon systems. Although not all were on the ships one got asked about the type of helicopter landing on the ship and its role and weapons, she wanted to be a logi not a pilot so sdon't forget your aircraft when swatting up.

One thing i found really usefull when learnign the ship types is to get a copy of "broad sheet" from you carrers office if you don't lready have one. In the back of it they have a fold out couple of pages with all the royals navies ships planes helicopters submarines and royalmarine units on it. Along with all the infor you will need on each class, and a nice silouteete to help with your recognition. Pin that somewhere you will see it a lot and you should find your recognition improving.

ps. Its probally a lot harder for inservicce candidates which i have assumed you ain't

Any other questions yell


War Hero
For PLTs, follow the leader when tasked with someone, make a suggestion if it is constructive, and get stuck in - when not the leader they're looking for team players, but not lemmings. When leader, stand away from the group during the task, acknowledge suggestions and listen to them (not just hear them), praise when useful (good idea). Don't be afraid of saying "I don't know, any suggestions" or "I screwed up, let's start over". The PLTs are designed to see your potential as an officer, not Nelson incarnate.

As for gen knowledge, read around the subject, have an good idea of what the Navy is doing today (not just in the Gulf, but also in Afghanistan (RM and logs and helo support, west africa/west indies guard ships, etc); Navy News, page 2 left hand column is v.useful for that one. Know what a CVS, T42, T23, T22, T45, MCMV, SSBN and SSN are and what they're used for. But don't get too hung up about it - at my AIB, there was one bloke who swallowed Janes Fighting Ships before going in and knew every spottery fact about the ships, boats, systems, weapons, colour of the furniture in the JRs mess. He didn't get in!

Have a good answer to the questions "what are your greatest weaknesses" and "why do you want to join the navy". If you went to college, "why are you studying XXX".

But throughout, be yourself. Life in a Blue Suit is not for all, so you want to be sure that you're doing the right thing by joining as well as them wanting to see what makes you tick. And whatever you do, never, ever lie - the PSO will be VERY good at catching you out!
ml2sjw said:
PPS. listen to your board NCO as if they are an incarnation of God himself. Should they suggest a certain way of doing anything follow it. They are completely neutral. My NCO gave me very helpful advice on how to do things as well as expanding my knowledge of a part of the service i didn't know a huge amount of(Can't say which as it would make it obvious who my NCO was)
Wasn't a former submariner was he? :D (The CPO I'm thinking about was exceptionally switched on, his advice no doubt has got many people through.)

Its true those ratings are a gold mine and will do what ever they can to help you pass.

To everyone with an AIB coming up, best of luck, and just enjoy it, it is not as stressful as you think. My group, I feel, really gelled together, and out of 11 candidates 8 passed.
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