What's included in the PILAPT test for pilots?
PILAPT is a test battery used by aviation experts to recruit pilots.
The tests are designed to assess your reaction time, motor skills, technical proficiency, and overall knowledge and understanding.
On the PILAPT test, four distinct sections contain several smaller tests:
The spatial section of the test examines spatial awareness and how skilled you are at mentally manipulating shapes and objects.
Within this section, there is a test called 'squares and circles' that looks at your processing capabilities and spatial aptitude.
There is also a test called 'pattern' which covers two-dimensional shapes and how capable you are at handling them.
The dexterity tests focus on your motor skills and how quick and effective they are.
'ILS tracking' is one of these tests. It looks at your ability to maintain an object as closely as possible to a specific point. This is a recreation of a real-life scenario, where pilots have to glide on an ILS.
There's another test in this section called 'multi-task', which assesses your ability to prioritize tasks while juggling multiple different commands.
And finally, there's 'fly through boxes.' This test requires you to keep an object in space as accurately as possible to the instructions you're given.
The next set of tests is designed to push your attention span to the limit.
'Checkerboard' looks at how well you react to frequent changes, and whether they affect your ability to focus.
'Squares and circles' is more about your spatial ability, and how competent you are at focusing on the task at hand.
The numerical test ensures pilots have the mathematical aptitude needed to cope with the requirements of the role.
This test covers basic mathematical principles and asks candidates to solve the kind of problems they may be faced with daily if they're to become a pilot.
Each test varies in length and the number of questions you'll have to answer, but this information will be labeled clearly before you begin so you know how quickly you need to work. Overall, the whole PILAPT should take a few hours.
What does the PILAPT test for pilots measure?
The PILAPT test is designed to cover the key skills all good pilots need. Some of the motor skills tests require the use of a joystick to more closely simulate the flight experience.
As well as your motor skills, numerical competency, spatial awareness and ability to focus, the test looks at how well you cope under pressure and where your particular strengths and weaknesses lie.
Overall, the test is designed to act as an indicator of how well someone is likely to perform in training, and your potential to succeed in your desire to become a pilot.
When you've completed the test, you'll get two marks. The first will be the percentage based on the number of questions you answered correctly. The second will be a mark based on how well you did compare to others taking the test. This can help contextualize your performance.
What are the benefits of taking the PILAPT test for pilots?
Taking the PILAPT test helps employers get a better understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and potential, and shows them you're committed to the process of becoming a pilot.
Big airlines including British Airways, CityJet, and FlyDubai use PILAPT as a screening device to select potential candidates for their programs. These airlines want to see evidence of your innate skills, your ability to multi-task, and your overall suitability for the complex and demanding role of a pilot.
Only around 30% of applicants pass the PILAPT, so if you're one of them it speaks volumes about your skill and potential.
How you can ace the PILAPT test for pilots
Tip 1: Practice
There is no substitute for practice. Using past tests to shape your learning is the best way to improve your speed and accuracy, and to feel confident on the day you take the test that counts.
Tip 2: Keep things interesting
While practicing past tests is certainly the most effective way to improve your score, there are plenty of other ways you can learn while ensuring you don't get bored of revising in the same way.
Many of the core skills examined on the PILAPT test are skills that are tested in certain computer games, when driving, and when doing puzzles such as sudoku. Try varying your preparation by incorporating some of them.
Tip 3: Always review your results
Every time you take a mock PILAPT test, it's important to review your results and analyze where you did well and where you could improve. Although tempting to focus on what you're good at, it's really valuable to identify your weaker areas so you can spend longer working on them and getting up to speed for the real test.
Tip 4: Get ready for the big day
Don't leave preparation to the last minute. Make sure you've set out a clear revision plan so you're not panicking the night before.
It's also really important to make sure you're physically prepared to take the test. Try to get a good night's sleep beforehand, and ensure you have everything you need in good time before the test.