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The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) Explained – Part 3

BogiDope fans, we are wrapping up this three part series with this final article.  In theory, you have learned about, studied and taken the AFOQT.  Now you are patiently waiting to receive your scores and understand where you fall in the order of merit of AFOQT scores. This article will help you understand where you can find your AFOQT scores, give you a rough gauge of your competitiveness based on your scores and explain the process for taking the test a second time.  Let jump right in.

When Can I Get My AFOQT Scores?

AFOQT answer sheets are graded at AFPC headquarters at Randolph AFB (San Antonio, TX). The answer sheets are delivered via traditional mail, so the turnaround time is largely influenced by the geographical distance from your testing center to San Antonio, TX. Most applicants report waiting anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to receive scores.

Once your scores are processed, you can view them on this AFPC webpage. You will need to enter your social security number and last name, and select your testing center from the list. This page will provide you with your Pilot, Navigator, Academic Aptitude, Verbal, and Quantitative subscores. To access your ABM subscore, you will need to visit this page on the AFPC PCSM website and enter your first name, initials, and the last 4 digits of your social security number. This page also retrieves a CSO subscore, but this is identical to the Navigator subscore available on the previously mentioned site. If you are working with a Line Officer Recruiter or you are an Air Force Academy or Air Force ROTC cadet, your recruiter or your cadre will be sent a copy of your scores when they are processed. If you are applying with a Guard or Reserve unit, you’ll likely need to retrieve the scores yourself and include copies of the score printout sheets in your application.

Minimum AFOQT Scores

The Air Force has established sets of minimum AFOQT score requirements which must be achieved in order to apply for a commission. These requirements differ depending on the position being sought and are listed below.

Pilot and RPA Operator AFOQT Score Minimums
Pilot: 25*
Navigator/CSO: (no minimum)*
ABM: (no minimum)
Academic Aptitude: (no minimum)
Verbal: 15
Quantitative: 10
*Previously, Pilot/RPA applicants were also required to have a minimum Navigator/CSO score of 10 and a combined Pilot and Navigator/CSO subscore total of 50. These requirements have been removed according to the latest version of AFI 36-2605. However, many Guard and Reserve units still utilize these requirements.

CSO AFOQT Score Minimums
Pilot: (no minimum)*
Navigator/CSO: 25*
ABM: (no minimum)
Academic Aptitude: (no minimum)
Verbal: 15
Quantitative: 10
*Previously, Navigator/CSO applicants were also required to have a minimum Pilot score of 10 and a combined Navigator/CSO and Pilot subscore total of 50. These requirements have been removed according to the latest version of AFI 36-2605. However, many Guard and Reserve units still utilize these requirements.

ABM AFOQT Score Minimums
Pilot: (no minimum)*
Navigator/CSO: (no minimum)*
ABM: 25
Academic Aptitude: (no minimum)
Verbal: 15
Quantitative: 10
*Previously, ABM applicants were also required to have a minimum Pilot score of 10, a minimum Navigator/CSO score of 10, and a combined Pilot and Navigator/CSO subscore total of 50. These requirements have been removed according to the latest version of AFI 36-2605.

General Commissioning (Non-Rated) AFOQT Score Minimums
Pilot: (no minimum)
Navigator/CSO: (no minimum)
ABM: (no minimum)
Academic Aptitude: (no minimum)
Verbal: 15
Quantitative: 10

Competitive AFOQT Scores

There’s no magic set of AFOQT score thresholds that will guarantee you will be selected with a Pilot slot. Applicants at the upper end of the spectrum are sometimes not selected, just as applicants with unimpressive scores sometimes snag slots. The rest of your application is obviously very important. That said, it’s always a good idea to do everything within your control to maximize your odds, so you might as well study hard and do the best you possibly can.

 We're often asked, “What AFOQT scores do I need to be competitive?”  I call this the “how do I compare” statistic. The following AFOQT score figures are based on a fairly small sample size of 46 Pilot selectees from some of the Officer Training School selection boards for fiscal years 2013 through 2017.  In this example we averaged the scores (in each category) for the individuals who were selected to pilot training. It's important to note that these statistics don't actually represent one individual person.  Instead it is simply an average. So here is what we found (keep in mind this is a small sample size and it always depends).

Average Pilot Selectee AFOQT Scores (based on individual subscores)
Pilot: 90.8
Navigator/CSO: 89
Academic Aptitude: 79.3
Verbal: 78.3
Quantitative: 73.6

Here is another “how do I compare example” from an official Air Force Reserve site (sample size unknown). Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) publishes official statistics following most of their unsponsored rated selection boards. The following are the average AFOQT subscores for Pilot selectees from the first board of fiscal year 2016 (16-01).

AFRC 16-01 Average Pilot Selectee AFOQT Scores (based on individual subscores)
Pilot: 91.5
Navigator/CSO: 76.2
Academic Aptitude: 64.4
Verbal: 60.3
Quantitative: 61

Ok thats enough statics for one article.  Don't get wrapped up in the comparison game.  You have to do your best on every part of the test and that is all you can control. It’s important to note that GPA and PCSM score (which utilizes the AFOQT Pilot subscore in its calculation) are also important aptitude factors that are reviewed as parts of your application. But as you can see, you don’t have to score above the 90th percentile in each component to get a Pilot slot.  In fact, since the AFOQT Pilot score directly affects your PCSM score, often that's the one that truly matters.  In my experience, a 90+ Pilot score with sub-50s in every other subsection is more competitive than 80's across the board.  They're hiring you to fly, not write a novel, so make sure you focus on knocking the Pilot sections out of the park!

It’s impossible, however, to predict exactly how much weight each member of a selection board will put into aptitude scores and it’s easy to drive yourself crazy comparing yourself to others. Keep in mind that board members are aware that standardized testing is not a perfectly accurate measure of potential military aviator performance and that other factors about character and work ethic are sometimes better indicators of potential for success. Make the rest of your application as outstanding as you possibly can and the selection board might give you the benefit of the doubt if your scores don’t seem competitive.

Can The AFOQT Be Taken Multiple Times?

AFI 36-2605 states that two AFOQT test attempts are authorized without the need for a waiver, but the retest must occur at least 5 months (150 days) after the first testing attempt. These regulations also indicate that a waiver to retake the test within this waiting period is a possibility if justification is sent to the AFPC Testing Office for approval, but it is likely that this would require extenuating circumstances. Taking the AFOQT a third time is a possibility with a waiver, but approval requires an applicant to provide substantive proof of pursuing relevant education since the last test attempt, such as completing a related college course or gaining significant flight experience. Those who have not yet taken the Form T version of the test but have taken Form S twice are also permitted to take the test one more time, but must submit a request to the AFPC Testing Office to gain approval.

It is important to note that the scores from the most recent test attempt are the ones that count, even if they are worse than the original ones. Prepare well and be sure that you will make an improvement if you retest.

Next Steps After Taking the AFOQT

If you’re not happy with your AFOQT scores, don’t beat yourself up. You can retake the test 150 days after your first attempt and just having the experience of knowing what to expect the second time is sure to make a positive difference. Discipline yourself and create a regimented study routine. By the time you’re eligible to retest, you’ll have gained a wealth of knowledge and will be able to approach your retake with confidence. Just be sure that you put in the effort and truly commit to studying. If you do worse on your retake, you’re out of luck because the most recent scores are the valid ones. Be absolutely sure that you’re significantly more prepared so that you don’t waste your retake.

If you’re satisfied with your AFOQT scores, then congratulations — you’ve gotten one of the most important (and stressful) components of your application out of the way! If you haven’t already taken the TBAS, you can now do so and receive a PCSM score. If you’ve taken the TBAS before, your PCSM score will now be available since it utilizes the AFOQT Pilot subscore in its calculation. Breathe a sigh of relief and start making sure the rest of your application is top notch. Aptitude scores are important, but the “whole-person concept” is a reality and the selection boards want to see that you’re a well-rounded person. Acing the AFOQT is a huge help but it doesn’t guarantee selection. Your scores should augment a well-crafted application rather than attempt to make up for an otherwise subpar application.

Conclusion

We hope you have learned a ton and enjoyed this three part series.  BogiDope enjoyed putting it together and hopes it will help you prepare for the AFOQT.  It might seem overwhelming to you but it's just another step in the process.  The path to the cockpit is a long journey.  Keep taking strides to attain your dream and continue to put one foot in front of the other. 

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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