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Applying for pilot roles in Navy and RAF simultaneously

MAXtmpu

Midshipman
To what do you attribute the improvement in your score, MAXtmpu?

When I was 18 I had only been taking myself seriously for two years after having committed to a career as an officer/pilot, so I guess I was somewhat underdeveloped at the time (in many ways - academically, but also in terms of leadership and self-awareness too).
  1. My preparation for my second attempt was far better on the second attempt. The resources I had available to me were superior (e.g. the CBAT app) and so I could dig far deeper into multitasking and speed-distance-time.
  2. A physics degree taught me how to process new information and problems at pace. My exams would often feature questions with entirely new concepts not covered explicitly on the course; so for questions on the CBATs I was able to handle the variety of question types under pressure.
  3. Better emotional control when I was making mistakes or feeling the pressure by controlling breathing and managing focus. Some people like mindfulness and meditation for this sort of thing - I just breathe properly.
  4. Being able to sustain concentration for a long time, but I think this just came with age. I was fried at 18 but felt good following my 2nd attempt.
  5. Lastly, this might sound silly, but better lifestyle habits and overall health. I wasn't eating the best quality foods to fuel myself at 18 and a lot of it was processed. By my twenties, I was eating exclusively whole-foods and meal prepping from scratch. It sounds daft, I know, but I never experience issues like brain-fog anymore, and without going too much into the ins-and-outs of it all I like to think this made a difference.
So the long-and-short of it is: better preparation and practice, more life experience, and more personal development. I'm in awe of anybody who can get through the flying tests and AIB at 18 or younger.

My attitude was "anybody telling me that I can't prepare for these tests is lying" and so I hammered the preparation, which I viewed as the only controllable within my sphere of influence. That being said, an RAF candidate I know of didn't use the same CBAT app, was shown it the day before his tests and panicked because he was rubbish at it, but scored over 170 out of 180 on the day. Think he works in a garden centre now.
 

jnc90

Midshipman
When you're young (17, 18) it feels like the most important day of your life if its all you've ever wanted to do! The truth is that you just go back again if you fail. Statistically, the average person's scores peak at age 23, so a young person (or anybody committed enough for that matter) who fails should have no hesitation in resitting. I scored 110 for pilot aged 18 but 132 at age 23. My mistake was taking 5 years to pluck up the courage to go back.

The AFCO will have experience of the situation and will guide you properly. The last thing you want to do is sell yourself short of the right role for you - whether that be pilot or something else. I don't want to sway you one way or the other as I'm not a careers adviser! Maybe the AFCO can arrange some potential officer visits for different roles to get you thinking about what you want.

Keep us up to date with your progress.
Yeah, I got that impression from some of the youngsters that were there. They had a sleepless night before it, racked with nerves. I was fairly laid back about it all, maybe I would have been a little sharper had I been more nervous to be honest.

Spoke to the AFCO today just to double check the cut offs for the RN and he wasn't sure either so is checking for me but realistically I think I know the answer. I am going to arrange to go in and have a chat with them either way but I think I may explore other options that I had in my mind prior to the age limit being raised for pilots in the RN. If it happens that come this time next year I want to try again then will still be within the age limits to do so, keeps my options open at least.
 

MAXtmpu

Midshipman
Yeah, I got that impression from some of the youngsters that were there. They had a sleepless night before it, racked with nerves.

That's why I think the emotional maturity and intelligence that you get from an extra 3-5 years of life goes such a long way. Just having the experience of high-pressure exams at university gave me a little bit more experience to draw from on the night before, so I was much calmer and so slept better.

I'm willing to accept though that there's probably a degree of survivor bias playing here. I might attribute my success at CBATs to all the aforementioned things in my earlier posts, but the psychologists who work on the tests could well be right in that the aptitude is intrinsic and the average person peaks at 23 - the age I sat mine. Hopefully what I have shared is still of value to somebody regardless.
 
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