SIFT Test: Introduction
The Army uses the SIFT (Selection Instrument for Flight Training) as their main exam for candidates wishing to progress to later stages of an Army Aviation career. The SIFT was introduced to replace the older AFAST test.
The importance of the SIFT for your Army Aviation career cannot be overstated. You can only take the SIFT twice in your lifetime – if you fail twice, that’s it. Game over. Your first passing score is also your permanent SIFT score. There is no possibility of improving it.
Read on to discover the most important SIFT information. Elsewhere on this site you can read in-depth guides relating to the SIFT Format, check out detailed information on SIFT scores, find answers to your SIFT FAQs, read about the best SIFT study guides and even take a small SIFT practice test.
Take your time to absorb this information. It will help you feel prepared to get the best possible SIFT score and begin your journey to an amazing Army Aviation career.
SIFT Test Layout
There are 7 sections to the SIFT, see the table below for a complete breakdown of the different sections.
The first 5 sections of the SIFT (SD, HF, AAIT, SAT, RCT) have a fixed number of questions which must be answered within a fixed period of time.
The final 2 SIFT sections (MST and MCT) are computer adaptive. This means that the number and type of questions vary depending upon your performance.
The SIFT typically takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete, depending on the candidate’s speed, time spent waiting between sections and an optional exam break.
|SIFT Test Section||Number Of Questions||Time|
|Section 1 – Simple Drawings (SD)||100||2 Minutes|
|Section 2 – Hidden Figures (HF)||50||5 Minutes|
|Section 3 – Army Aviation Information Test (AAIT)||40||30 Minutes|
|Section 4 – Spatial Apperception Test (SAT)||25||10 Minutes|
|Section 5 – Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)||20||30 Minutes|
|Section 6 – Math Skills Test (MST)||Varies||40 Minutes|
|Section 7 – Mechanical Comprehension Test (MCT)||Varies||15 Minutes|
For a more complete explanation of each section please find each described in more detail below:
Selection Instrument for Flight Training Section Summaries
Section 1: SD (Simple Drawings): This requires you to rapidly identify the ‘odd one out’ in a series of simple graphics. The identification isn’t the challenging aspect – it’s the speed at which this section must be completed.
Section 2: HF (Hidden Figures): Requires you to identify an image which is hidden behind other lines and images.
Section 3: AAIT (Army Aviation Information Test): A mixture of questions on different aspects of Army Aviation. These can relate to basic flight principles, the types of aircraft used by the army, flight controls, and the physical components of an aircraft.
Section 4: SAT (Spatial Apperception Test): Requires candidates to envision the view from an aircraft cockpit depending upon the position of the craft in relation to external geography. This is the SIFT section most closely related to practical flight.
Section 5: RCT (Reading Comprehension Test): Candidates are presented with short textual passages. They must then choose a sentence which accurately refers to the text. All sentences may seem possible but only one is fully accurate.
Section 6: MST (Math Skills Test):The first adaptive section, meaning the number and type of questions may vary. Topics include order of operations, algebra, geometry and logic.
Section 7: MCT (Mechanical Comprehension Test):The second adaptive SIFT section. Although it has a fifteen minute time limit, the MCT is widely regarded as one of the harder SIFT sections. Candidates are tested on physical and mechanical principles.
Check out our article on the SIFT Test Format to get a more in depth look at the individual SIFT Test sections and what they consist of.
SIFT Test Scores
SIFT scores range between 20 and 80. 40 is the minimum pass score to be considered for later stages of Army Aviation training. 50 is the average score. The exact relationship between each test section and the final score has not been made public. However, it has been officially confirmed that bad performance on one section can be compensated for by strong performance on another. Anecdotally, 60 is considered to be a good score. More detailed information about SIFT scores can be found here.
SIFT Test Study Guide
Army Aviation is a competitive career. It’s not enough to assume that you’ll get through each section based on luck and distant memories of high school. You need to equip yourself with every tool that will help you succeed. Spending time on a quality SIFT study guide and taking practice tests can help you to get through the SIFT with an impressive score that gives you the best chance of making your Army Aviation dreams into reality.
The best SIFT study guides carefully consider only the most relevant information for the SIFT test. They reflect the actual SIFT test rather than the older AFAST. They should also contain a specific practice test for the SIFT in order to familiarize candidates with the test conditions they will face.
One of the key reasons to use a SIFT study guide is to get a good SIFT score the first time you take the test. Remember, your first passing score is your lifetime SIFT score. If you take the SIFT and get a 40 then you will be stuck with a below average score for life.
To help you find the best SIFT study guide for your money, we’ve reviewed and recommended the following:
The Complete SIFT Study Guide is the most up-to-date study guide on the market as well as being the cheapest. It has a full practice test as well as diagrams and examples throughout.
Some of the main advantages of this particular guide include a practice test section which is as close to the real SIFT test as possible (the SAT section uses a helicopter, for example, unlike other guides) and lots of useful information and external resources covering every section of the SIFT are provided.
You can check it out here.
SIFT Study Guide 2018-2019 is a little pricier than the Complete SIFT Study Guide, and doesn’t offer anything more than what our #1 recommendation does. Therefore, stand to save yourself a couple of dollars AND get more.
Now that doesn’t mean we aren’t fans of this book. It does the job. But I’d only recommend picking this book up if you’ve already picked up The Complete SIFT Study Guide and want another crack at a practice test.
You can check it out here.
Check out the above guides on Amazon to read reviews and see if they are right for you. If you want a more detailed breakdown of your SIFT study guide options, check out our in-depth article here.
SIFT Practice Test
SIFT Test Frequently Asked Questions
How do I signup to take the SIFT Test?
If you are already in the Army, contact your local servicing education center. WOFT applicants are assisted by their recruiter in scheduling their SIFT test.
How many times may I take the SIFT Test?
The SIFT can be taken a maximum of twice over a lifetime. The first passing score a candidate attains is their lifetime score. Two failures means a candidate is ineligible to ever take the SIFT again.
How much does it cost to take the SIFT Test?
There is no charge to take the SIFT test.
Check out a more detailed list of SIFT FAQS here.
How to Pass the SIFT
Passing the SIFT comes down to a good understanding of what each section requires, a commitment to attaining enough knowledge ahead of the test, and the ability to perform under test conditions.
It’s important to see the big picture when it comes to the SIFT. Your first passing score will be on your record for life. Why not make it as impressive as possible? Army Aviation is far too competitive to risk getting by with a below average SIFT score.
The best way to set yourself up for SIFT success is to use a quality study guide as the basis for your preparation. Absorb its material, read around the relevant topics elsewhere, and take practice tests in order to identify and improve upon your weaknesses.
Your Army Aviation future deserves your every effort. Don’t just pass the SIFT – give it everything you’ve got.