What are the Different Types of Aptitude Tests for Pilots?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2019
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Prospective pilots generally must take a variety of aptitude tests before they can begin training for this career. Aptitude tests for pilots are created to make sure student pilots have good math and verbal skills, good eyesight and reflexes, as well as good short- and long-term memories. Pilots are also often required to take information management testing. A number of agencies administer aptitude test for prospective pilots, including flight schools, airline agencies, or the United States Air Force.

One common aptitude test for pilots is known as the three-digit and five-digit listening test. This test involves memorizing groups of numbers in sets of three and five. It is a very short test, lasting only a few minutes. The test-taker must signal when he recognizes a particular group of numbers that has been called out.

Would-be pilots also usually must take the horizontal tracking test, which takes place on a simulator, utilizing foot petals. In this test, the pilot must target a rectangular shape for several seconds. This is another very short aptitude test, lasting less than five minutes.

Some of the other types of aptitude tests for pilots include airplane tracking tests, in which the pilot tracks a particular airplane in flight, and emergency synopsis tests. The emergency tests incorporate many of the aforementioned tests as well as requiring to enter emergency codes when prompted.


Aptitude tests for pilots also often involve reasoning and logic. A psychomotor test is another of the aptitude tests that will be required by many agencies. This generally tests motor coordination and reflexes. A psychometric test involves answering a series of about 200 or 300 questions that will provide an in-depth personality profile. Testing for skills in math may be part of the psychometric exam or a separate aptitude test.

Aptitude tests for pilots may differ somewhat among airlines. Also, cadet pilot programs may require a series of aptitude tests that differ somewhat from an airline company. Aptitude tests for helicopter pilots may also differ slightly.



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