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The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) Explained-Part 1

At BogiDope our goal is to help you make educated and informed decisions about your aviation career.  The first step in your aviation journey is going to be completing the necessary requirements to compete for an elusive Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) slot. A large part of that process is going to be taking standardized tests (get use to it if you want to be a pilot in the Air Force) which will make up part of your application. One of the first steps in this journey will be taking the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT). In order to better educate you on the process BogiDope has created a three-part series to help you understand, study and maximize your score on the AFOQT and the importance it has on your chances of getting a UPT slot.

What Is The AFOQT?

Whether you're looking to obtain a pilot slot through an Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve unit, Officer Training School, Air Force ROTC, or the Air Force Academy, you will be required to take the AFOQT. The AFOQT was created to gauge mental aptitude across a variety of areas and taking it is a requirement for all applicants seeking a commission in the Air Force.

Doing well on the AFOQT is especially important for those looking to become pilots or other rated specialties (Combat Systems Officer, Air Battle Manager, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator) because it was also designed to measure aviation-related aptitude specifically. The AFOQT is a vital part of your application, both as a unique component and for its influence on your Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) score. Your PCSM score is calculated using your AFOQT Pilot subscore, your Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS) data, highest level of formal education, and the amount of logged flight time you have accrued.

The AFOQT is made up of 12 timed subtests. Each subtest is multiple choice with 4 or 5 answer choices per question. Answers must be bubbled in on a paper Scantron sheet using a pencil. The testing session is conducted in a fashion like that of a standardized college admissions test, like the SAT or ACT. A typical session lasts about 5 hours, including a 10-minute break and a 15-minute break. The proctor will verbally read instructions prior to each subtest and will announce how much time is remaining at intervals towards the end of each subtest. Some proctors will place a digital timer in clear view to provide an easy way for anyone to track the time remaining at any point during each subtest. Keeping track of time is critical because many subtests require you to solve problems extremely quickly to complete them all within the allotted time. You are not penalized for wrong answers, so guessing is a valid strategy if you're almost out of time. Watch the clock or heed the time warnings and do not leave any answers blank.

What's On The AFOQT?

The following are the 12 subtests on the most recent version of the AFOQT (Form T) along with the allotted time and a broad calculation of the average pace required to complete all problems:

Verbal Analogies (25 problems in 8 minutes) (3 to 4 problems per minute)
Arithmetic Reasoning (25 problems in 29 minutes) (about 1 problem per minute)
Word Knowledge (25 problems in 5 minutes) (5 problems per minute)
Math Knowledge (25 problems in 22 minutes) (1 to 2 problems per minute)
Reading Comprehension (25 problems in 38 minutes) (less than 1 problem per minute)

(10-minute break)

Situational Judgement (50 items in 35 minutes) (1 to 2 items per minute)
Self-Description Inventory (240 items in 45 minutes) (5 to 6 items per minute)

(15-minute break)

Physical Science (20 problems in 10 minutes) (2 problems per minute)
Table Reading (40 problems in 7 minutes) (5 to 6 problems per minute)
Instrument Comprehension (25 problems in 5 minutes) (5 problems per minute)
Block Counting (30 problems in 4.5 minutes) (6 to 7 problems per minute)
Aviation Information (20 problems in 8 minutes) (2 to 3 problems per minute)

Time is of the essence when taking the AFOQT. To increase your chances of getting through every problem within the allotted time for each subtest, it’s a good idea to make estimates, round numbers for quicker calculations, and even go with your gut feeling at times. Resist the urge to spend too much time on one problem, even if you think you can solve it eventually. If you feel like you’re getting stuck or you’ve made a mistake and need to start over, make an educated guess and move on to the next problem.

Although many sections require you to work at a blazingly fast pace, don’t be alarmed by the Self-Description Inventory’s 45-minute time limit for 240 items. This section is made up of a collection of statements and you are required to rate how strongly you agree or disagree with each one. If you go with your gut feeling, you can easily finish this section with time to spare.

How Is The AFOQT Scored?

The six AFOQT subscores are Pilot, Navigator (also known as Combat Systems Officer or CSO), Air Battle Manager (ABM), Academic Aptitude, Verbal, and Quantitative. Each numerical subscore represents a performance percentile compared against a reference group of test takers. For instance, a subtest score of 90 would indicate better performance than 90% of the test takers in the reference group. The subscores do not represent the overall percentage of problems that were answered correctly.

The exact calculations used to formulate each subscore are proprietary information and are kept confidential. According to the official AFOQT Form T Information Pamphlet, the subtests used to calculate each subscore are as follows:

Pilot
Math Knowledge
Table Reading
Instrument Comprehension
Aviation Information

Navigator/CSO
Word Knowledge
Math Knowledge
Table Reading
Block Counting

ABM
Verbal Analogies
Math Knowledge
Table Reading
Instrument Comprehension
Block Counting
Aviation Information

Academic Aptitude
Verbal Analogies
Arithmetic Reasoning
Word Knowledge
Math Knowledge
Reading Comprehension

Verbal
Verbal Analogies
Word Knowledge
Reading Comprehension

Quantitative
Arithmetic Reasoning
Math Knowledge

You may have noticed that Physical Science, the Self-Description Inventory, and the Situational Judgement Test are not present in any of these subscores. According to the official AFOQT Form T Pamphlet, these subtests are not factored into any of the subscores. These sections are new to the Form T version of the test and it is likely that the Self-Description Inventory and Situational Judgement Test data will be continuously analyzed and perhaps used to look for correlations between certain personality attributes and personnel performance data, such as job preferences and attrition rates. The previous version of the AFOQT (Form S) included a broader subtest called General Science rather than Physical Science, and it was a factor in the Navigator subscore. It’s possible that the Air Force is waiting to collect more performance data for the new Physical Science subtest before deciding how to factor it into any of the subscores.

Where Can I Take The AFOQT?

The AFOQT is administered at every Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in the United States. If you contact an Air Force Line Officer Recruiter  and express an interest in applying for Officer Training School, they will likely schedule you for a testing session at the MEPS closest to your location.

The AFOQT is also administered at many Air Force bases and Air National Guard bases. If you’re currently enlisted, contact your base’s education office to find out more information about testing sessions on base. If you’re interested in applying with a Guard or Reserve unit, contact the recruiting office of a local unit to inquire about testing sessions.

In addition, Air Force ROTC detachments usually administer the AFOQT at least once per semester at their respective college campuses. Priority obviously goes to the detachment’s cadets, but it is sometimes possible for accommodations to be made for civilian applicants. Most detachments have a section on their university websites and contact information can be found there.

Form S vs. Form T

The newest version of the AFOQT is called Form T and it replaced Form S in February 2015. Form T eliminates the Rotated Blocks and Hidden Figures subtests and replaces the broad General Science subtest with the more narrowly focused Physical Science. Form T also adds a Reading Comprehension subtest and a Situational Judgement subtest. The Instrument Comprehension section has also been updated with higher quality graphics. Study guides for Form S are still very useful, but be sure that you don’t spend any time on the Rotated Blocks or Hidden Figures sections, and don’t bother with brushing up on any non-physical science.

Applicants who took Form S are not required to retake the test. However, Form S scores have been automatically recalculated in accordance with the new version. PCSM scores have also been automatically updated since the AFOQT Pilot subscore is used in the PCSM calculation. According to Air Force Personnel Command’s PCSM website, Form S scores converted to Form T are one percentile point lower than the original scores, on average. If you have already taken Form S two times but have yet to take Form T, you are authorized to take Form T one time, but you must contact the AFPC Test Management Office to request a waiver.

Conclusion

We hope you have a better understanding of what the AFOQT test is and what you can expect to see on the test.  Sign in to BogiDope next week to read Part-2 in the series where BogiDope will explain how to study for each section of the AFOQT.  Part-2 will help you prepare and maximize your AFOQT score which will greatly improve your chances of getting a UPT slot. You will not want to miss this detailed article. 

 

Note: this article was written using mulitple different sources.  These sources include, the Pilot Candidate Selection Method website, prep books for the AFOQT test, USAF AFPC Official AFOQT Form T Prep Course and multiple phone calls to understand the process. 

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