ASTB Test: Introduction
The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps use the ASTB (Aviation Selection Test Battery) as their principal exam in the selection of candidates to their respective officer aviation programs. The ASTB has been updated in recent years introducing many technical improvements. These developments have dubbed the exam the series-E, and is now widely referred to as the ASTB-E. However, for simplicity, we will be referring to it still as the ASTB. However, all information presented refers to the most up-to-date version of the ASTB – the ASTB-E.
If one of your aspirations is to become an officer in the Navy you will need to take the ASTB. Do not underestimate how important this exam is when it comes to your career as an Officer. Your score on the ASTB will dictate whether or not you meet the standards to go to officer training as well as show your suitability for other military occupations.
The below article as well as other articles on this website will break down the ASTB Test for you, laying out its structure and format, provide a practice test you can use in preparation for the ASTB, show you what the scoring requirements are and what kind of score you should strive for on the ASTB, we will also recommend specific ASTB study guides and let you know which ones we think you should steer clear of, we will also answer the most common FAQ’s when it comes to the ASTB. All of this information should give you a better idea of what you’re in for when writing the ASTB and give you a leg up on your competition!
ASTB Test Layout
There are 7 sections to the ASTB, see the table below for a complete breakdown of the different sections.
The first 5 sections of the ASTB (The MST, RCT, MCT, ANIT, and NATFI) are all computer adaptive. Meaning each following question is based on your answer to the last.
The first four are multiple choice with 20 to 30 questions in total. A personality inventory makes up the fifth section and is a grouping of 44 pairs of questions.
If you’re not looking to get into aviation but, still want to be an officer you only need to complete the first three sections of the ASTB known as the Officer Aptitude Rating or OAR.
The OAR itself can take up to 2 hours to complete while writing the full version of the ASTB can take just over 3 hours with the exception of having to complete the BI-RV on your own time preferably, prior to writing the rest of the ASTB.
|Math Skills Test (MST)||Officer Aptitude Rating (OAR)||Aviation Standard Test Battery (ASTB)|
|Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)|
|Mechanical Comprehension Test (MCT)|
|Aviation and Nautical Information Test (ANIT)|
|Naval Aviation Trait Facet Inventory (NATFI)|
|Performance Based Measures Battery (PBM)|
|Biographical Inventory with Response Validation (BI-RV)|
For a more complete explanation of each section please find each described in more detail below:
Aviation Standard Test Battery Section Summaries
Section 1: MST (Math Skills Test): Nothing you probably haven’t seen before in high-school but, it’s definitely worth brushing up on. You’re going to see some basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, angles, and perimeter, along with the occasional time and distance word problem and potentially some basic probability.
Section 2: RCT (Reading Comprehension Test): Again, really straight forward stuff. You read a passage of text and are given options of sentences only one of which is totally true based on the text given above. Most will seem true but, only one can actually be derived from the provided passage.
Section 3: MCT (Mechanical Comprehension Test): The questions in this section are similar to what would find in an intro to physics class. Brush up on your knowledge of basic physics and how it relates to velocity, volume, and pressure as well as the mechanics of simple machines when it comes to gears, electricity, and weight distribution.
Section 4: ANIT (Aviation and Nautical Information Test): You guessed it! On this section of the ASTB you’re going to need to know some nautical terminology, a little bit of aviation history as well as some principles of aviation like aerodynamic principles, basic aircraft components, and flight rules
Section 5: NATFI (Naval Aviation Trait Facet Inventory): You sort of get off easy here as there’s no real way to prepare for this section. It’s a personality inventory that, in the end, will gauge ones suitability for a career in aviation based on their personal characteristics.
Section 6: PBM (Performance Based Measures Battery): Depending on your tastes this might be the most ‘fun’ part of the ASTB. You basically get to do a flight simulation. You’ll be given a flight mock-up flight console with a throttle and joystick along with a headset. You’ll also get a map that you’ll need to study before guiding an airplane around on a screen. For a more detailed of explanation of this section check out our full-length article of the different sections of the ASTB called ASTB Test Layout.
Section 7: BI-RV (Biographical Inventory with Response Validation): This is the part of the ASTB that you can complete from any computer with an internet connection. It is recommended that you complete this section prior to writing the rest of the ASTB. All it is, is a questionnaire about your previous experiences and successes or achievements with aviation. Like section 5 you really can’t prepare for this section – just answer honestly as there aren’t any real right or wrong responses.
Check out our article on the ASTB Test Layout to get a more in depth look at the individual ASTB Exam sections and what they entail.
ASTB Test Scores
The scores of the different ASTB sections are then used to create 4 different ratings. These ratings are the AQR, the PFAR, the FOFAR, and the OAR.
AQR stands for Academic Qualifications Rating
PFAR stands for Pilot Flight Aptitude Rating
FOFAR stands for Flight Officer Aptitude Rating
OAR stands for Officer Aptitude Rating and is made up using the first three sections of the ASTB (the MST, RCT, and MCT). This rating uses a point system and is given a score from 20 to 80 using 1 point increments.
The AQR, PFAR, and FOFAR use what is called a stanine (STAndard NINE) system of rating. This means they are weighted using a scale from 1 to 9 with a mean of 5 and a standard deviation of 2.
See the chart below for the breakdown of each stanine by percentile:
Minimum ASTB Test Scores
Different branches of military occupation and service require differing minimum scores from the ASTB. Consult the table below to see which minimum score is required for each branch:
|Student Naval Aviators (SNA)||4||5||—||—|
|Student Naval Flight Officers (SNFO)||4||—||5||—|
|Marine Pilots and Marine Flight Officers||4||—||6||—|
|Coast Guards and OCS||4||5||—||—|
Keep in mind that minimum scores are just a base line. There are a finite amount of seats available and applicants with the highest ratings will be successful. So although you may achieve the minimum score you need it may still not be good enough. Do your absolute best – strive for the highest score you can possibly get.
ASTB Test Study Guide
After seeing the layout and what’s covered on the ASTB I’m sure you can see how things might be a little tricky when it comes to writing this exam. It’s not that the questions themselves are overly complicated but, that there’s a lot of material and a strict time requirement. Therefore, practicing with the right resources or the right ASTB study guide becomes that much more important.
A quality ASTB study guide truly will be invaluable when it comes to preparing for the ASTB. The right guide will go into the proper amount of detail for each section and help you to learn the pace of the exam so that when you sit down to write it you’re as prepared as possible for the ASTB.
As noted above, the questions themselves are of a simple nature but, when time is of the essence mistakes can be easily made. That’s why using a study guide a head of time will help to familiarize yourself enough that there won’t be any real surprises when you sit down to write the ASTB. Having the right guide and writing a few ASTB practice tests before the actual exam can mean the difference between real success and failure.
To help you find the best ASTB study guide for your money, we’ve reviewed and recommend the following:
The Complete ASTB Study Guide is the best ASTB study guide on the market. It’s not only the most up-to-date, but also the cheapest while still offering a full assortment of examples and even a practice test. This should allow for you to not only fully understand that ASTB but also gain enough experience to prepare for the exam – without spending the most for it. Also, the writer seems to really know what they are talking about. Therefore, it is the Military Flight Tests #1 ASTB test prep guide on the market.
The ASTB Study Guide comes in at #2 because it has less examples and questions, as well as having a higher price. Although it does do a good job of explaining the exam, it has some editing issues and a couple of questions that are incorrect. This doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, but only serves to show why it got our #2 recommendation instead of our #1. However, if you’ve bought the Complete ASTB Study Guide listed above, and still want more practice questions, then this would be a good one for a secondary backup.
Check these two guides out on Amazon through the above links, or if you’d like a more in depth review of them as well as a few alternatives and recommendations on which guides to absolutely avoid check out our official full-length article Best ASTB Study Guides. This article will go through the nuts and bolts of each recommended guide, helping you to make the right choice for an ASTB study guide saving you lots of time, money, and frustration in the long run.
ASTB Practice Test
No practice test can be completely exhaustive but, it will give you a good indication of where you are now and some of the sections you will want to focus your study efforts when it comes to getting and using a proper ASTB Study Guide.
ASTB Test Frequently Asked Questions
How do I signup to take the ASTB Test?
To start the process you will need to get in touch with the nearest US Navy Recruiter. At first, preliminary information will be gathered so that they can ensure that you are suitable to write this exam. If you qualify through this process they will give you the contact information of the officer recruiter in your area. This officer recruiter will be able to set up a date for you to be tested on.
How many times may I take the ASTB Test?
Unfortunately you don’t get an infinite number of chances to write the ASTB. You are limited to three chances to write the ASTB Test in your lifetime. Each exam has to be at least 90 days apart and there is no possibility of getting a waiver to shorten this period and no request to write the ASTB again within 90 days of having taken the test will be considered.
Another thing to consider is that your most recent score is the one that will count. They don’t simply take your best score. So unless you’re very confident that you can improve your score it is not worth the risk.
How much does it cost to take the ASTB Test?
Probably the best news of all – the ASTB is completely free to write. You won’t have to pay a dime to write the ASTB exam.
For more FAQ’s please visit our official full length article ASTB FAQ.
How to Pass the ASTB
Like many things in life passing the ASTB comes down to hard work and dedication. If you’re not willing to put in the time studying and preparing for the ASTB than your chances of success are a lot lower.
And if you actually want to do well and be at the top of your class this work ethic is even more important. What you have to remember and keep in mind is how important the ASTB exam is in the long-term. Placing well on the ASTB really can make a difference for your career in the Navy. Studying hard and practicing now will pay huge dividends in the future.
Therefore, the absolute best way to ensure your success is to utilize the best study guides and write as many practice tests as possible. Doing this will help you to familiarize yourself so much with the type of material you’re likely to see on the ASTB that there will be no surprises when you’re sitting down to write this exam.
It truly is a competitive game with a lot of other smart and hard-working candidates preparing for the ASTB. One of the best ways to separate yourself from the pack is to be one of the ones that puts in those long study sessions and completes as many practice ASTB questions and tests that they can.
Believe me the small sacrifices you make now to be the best prepared you can be could have a huge impact on your future later.