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1,001 questions about the ASTB (post your scores & ask your questions here!)

Hey, all, here's my two cents.

I took the ASTB on 11/26/18, the Monday after Thanksgiving, at 1000. Scores were 68 8/7/8. Applying for NFO.

Background
I'm a double major in Sociology and Mathematics finishing up my last couple quarters at university. I currently have a 3.14 cumulative GPA, but will hopefully finish off my schooling around a 3.3, or higher (I am retaking a class I tanked). My university grinds us pretty hard, so I'm used to tests. I have no prior flight experience, simulated or otherwise.

Studying
I studied for about two weeks using this study book off of Amazon and reviewed it for about a week before my exam, focusing primarily on the aviation, nautical, and mechanical sections as I felt confident with the math and writing sections from my university background. I carefully read the sections on the PBM so that I understood what would be asked of me during that phase of the testing. I really liked this book as it was relatively inexpensive, covered a good breadth of material at a reasonable depth, and, most importantly, it explained how each scored section was weighted. According to my book, your AQR and FOFAR scores are heavily influenced by how well you perform on the MST, which was what mattered to me.

Additionally, I reviewed some online flash cards for the parking lot piece of the PBM, but I cannot seem to find the link right now. Will update if I find it, though it was definitely floating around in one of the stickied threads.

Test Day
I had average sleep that night and I don't think I drank any coffee as I did not want to be jittery. I had a light breakfast and brought a few snacks with me (KIND bars). I arrived at my recruiting station early, so I spent about 15 minutes lightly reviewing the aviation and nautical sections. This helped immensely, but more on that later.

MST (Math Skills Test)
I saw a range of questions here including probability (dice), basic fractions, quadratic equations, systems of linear equations, a few word problems including rates (think two mechanics each fix a different number of cars per unit time, blah blah...), and some shitty exponents (numbers raised to fractional powers).

The computer ended the exam before my time elapsed, so I assumed it had gathered enough on me.

RCT (Reading Comprehension Test)
Almost every reading piece I received was some kind of Navy document, most likely taken from briefs, memos, and training manuals. Holy shit were those entries dry. The questions asked were everything from straightforward to four versions of essentially the same sentence with its words in a different order to subtly change the meaning.

I sat this section for the full amount of time and I honestly questioned my ability to read and extract information at the end of it as sometimes the system would lag heavily when I submitted an answer and I'm wondering, "Did I fuck that one up? Is it wondering how dumb I am?"

MCT (Mechanical Comprehension Test)
I saw the usual range of questions discussed here on Air Warriors including pulley systems, guys jumping off boats onto docks (don't recommend that on small boats), blocks on ramps, shit falling out of the sky, and a few nuclear (conceptual) flavored questions. Oddly, I was asked one question about superconducting, which seemed a bit unusual based on the other questions I saw.

Unfortunately, I do not remember if I ran out the clock on this portion of the exam or it ended early.

ANIT (Aviation and Nautical Information Test)
I feel like I got off easy here. I had one history-type question that asked about a class of fighter plane from WW2. Other than that, it was a standard range of questions including, but not limited to, parts of the airplane such as the elevators, ailerons, and rudder, parts of a ship, including the beam, draft, and deck, and the standard layout of airports.

As I mentioned earlier, my light review of my book before the exam proved useful as I covered the aforementioned parts and then received multiple questions on those topics. Dumb luck.

NATFI (Naval Aviation Trait Facet Battery)
As was said by another posted, "You do not take the NATFI, the NATFI takes you." I moved through this section fairly quickly, doing my best to answer each pair of options by instinct. I did give some thought to some.

PBM (Performance Based Measures Battery)
I found this section challenging in a fun way. The fact that I am not going for pilot made it easy for me to relax a little during this section. The UAV section took me a bit of time to warm-up to, but felt dialed in after the first 8-10. My times were not particularly speedy, though.

The dichotic listening test was pretty straight forward. Tracking the plane in 1D (up and down) was also straight forward, but tricky. Tracking the plane in 2D (across the plane) was hard. Doing everything all together was madness, but oddly enjoyable compared to doing it all separately. I did the best that I could, but felt pretty all over the place.

Advice/Remarks
Looking back on my test experience, I strongly recommend that you should review everything, rather than be selective like I was. While most of the math questions asked were pretty simple, I hadn't done simple calculations in a while, so I was slower than I could have been, definitely botched one or two.

On the reading pieces I received, I let myself get bogged down in how dull they were and I did not study for the RCT at all. DO NOT DO THIS. Even if it is just a little bit, review for this section. Success depends on being able to choose the best answer and you will often be given answers that are similar. Practice on dry, shitty documents, wherever you can find them.

For the NAFTI, just plug away by instinct. Don't let those questions bog you down or psyche you out, especially since they come right before the PBM, and you want to be in a focused, but relaxed frame of mind for that.

For the PBM, give yourself a few minutes to feel out your controls and understand how they handle and what condition they are in. Mine were somewhat loose, so I knew to expect that, but I did not notice until I was using them that the suction cups on the bottom of them did not work...

While studying, remember that understanding the ASTB and how its subsections work and are weighted as well as general test taking strategy will all be as important, if not slightly more important, than the amount of material you actually know. I am not saying to study or know less material, but that you should not neglect sharpening your test taking skills or understanding of the ASTB itself.

If your computer starts acting funny, lagging, or just being weird, don't let it phase you; just plug away at your section and grab your recruiter if it gets bad or crashes. Do not look for patterns in the kind of questions you get. Yes, it is a CAT system, but just focus on answering questions. I let this little behavior get the better of me during the RCT and I think it negatively impacted my performance. I squared myself off moving into the next sections; you can, too.

And of course, get the best sleep you possibly can, eat some kind of breakfast, and avoid caffeine/energy drinks/stimulants if at all possible, especially if you know they make you jittery.

Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks for reading, and best of luck on your exam and with your package! You got this!

P.S. Yes, yes, no TL;DR. Just skim it, friend.
 
Can you please post video links for Organic Chemistry that specifically includes those math topics. I watch him too but he's got so many videos with similar titles that I don't know which ones to watch that touch on those topics. Merry Chrithmith.
Hey man, sorry for the late response. You’re right, he has multiple videos on those topics. Simply watch all of them lol. That’s what I did
 
Hey man, sorry for the late response. You’re right, he has multiple videos on those topics. Simply watch all of them lol. That’s what I did
- Do you know about that matlab sim that supposedly trains for the pbm? If anyone knows about it, let me know how I can get it to work so I can practice. I’m retaking the ASTB soon.
 
- Same here. Ended up with 3/5/3. I think since we fly, there must be that factor where we have to unlearn everything we have learned. It’s easier for someone who has never flown to do better at PBM section that us pilots, and I have an instrument rating. I fucked up big time on the dichotic listening, was hitting the trigger for odd numbers and clutch for even, and it was supposed to be opposite. Basically I took the first time cold as a way to find out what exactly would be in the ASTB and rushed through the whole thing. I did so bad, I didn’t even get the emergencies to do. Hopefully second time around I get those 7’s.
You might be right with this. I had a second post discussing that I increased my Pilot score by using a combat Flight Sim Ace Combat 6 with an actual stick and throttle for the game. Focusing on purely on gun kills which simulated the the PBM really well. Hope this helps.
 
ASTB Study Materials on Google Drive
Hey everyone,
This forum has been extremely helpful to me in getting ready for the ASTB so thanks so much to all of you! I made a Google Drive folder that has practice tests and review for the OAR subsections plus the ANIT. Some of the stuff is already on the forum while hopefully some is new. Hope this helps!

Link:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1yF6a44EmkonbPCXAlR-W2w-GGjcSu_uV?usp=sharing
 
What in particular did you
Hey guys, last Friday I took the ASTB. I scored a 9/8/8 68.

My first attempt, I got a 7/5/6 58. This wasn't passing, since the Marines need a 6 on the PFAR. It wasn't a bad score but the standards are there for the Marines.

This thread has been extremely helpful in terms of knowing what material to expect. I want to share my mistakes and successes in terms of test taking in general.

Here is a list of my mistakes the first time, and how I fixed them the second time.

Too much caffeine on test day, not enough sleep the night before.
I was talking to a candidate who graduated OCS with an aviation contract and he said he took a 5 hour energy before the PBM. I took that to the extreme and had a 5 hour shot in the morning and a medium coffee before/during the ASTB. However, I wasn’t energized. I became anxious, especially during the PBM. This led me to mess up the emergency procedures and be too aggressive with the controls. In addition, I was so wired that I made some stupid mistakes on the math section.

The second attempt, I made sure to get 8 hours of sleep the night before. I pushed back all my other school assignments and prioritized sleep. I only had my standard cup of coffee that morning. I came into the test energized but not overly wired.

Thinking I “didn’t need to study for” certain sections.
I scored highly on my SAT back in high school and was confident I could do well on similar math and reading questions. I am a mathematics major so I thought that the math section would be easy. That I just needed to focus on the mechanical section and ANIT. That’s what some other people from my school were saying and they passed. NOPE. There were a ton of word problems that were hard to comprehend at first, and they got the best of me. The reading section was also dry as hell with a ton of navy specific material, so that was hard to get through.

It didn’t help that I am a math major and I had barely done any hardcore reading for the last 2 years. I bought the recent Barrons military flight aptitude test book, with the SIFT and AFOQT included in that book. I did math and reading practice sections from those tests as well as from the ASTB practice tests.

I also used the the Barron’s GMAT math workbook to get additional practice with complicated algebra problems and word problems. For word problems, know the mixture problems, distance/rate/time, and “work done” problems especially well. I thought the GMAT math was MUCH closer to what’s on the ASTB than what was in the ASTB practice tests I used.

Rushing the test. Do NOT rush.
I was more careful on the math section and paid attention to what the problem was asking for. For the reading, I read the entire passage carefully and did not gloss over it like I did with the SAT way back. There’s no way around reading the entire passage, since there will always be 2 answers that seem correct, but you’ll know which one is better if you really read the passage. Also, there is only one formal break. However, make sure to practice enough so that you get done with each section with 3-5 minutes left. The first attempt I just moved onto the next section.

The second time, I used this time to get up and stretch, do a few pushups, and refocus. This mental break was crucial, since the test was 2+ hours. During the PBM I did the exact same thing. I took time between each section, reading the instructions carefully. Make sure you do that since if you don’t know the procedures well enough it will affect your score. Before dichotic listening I really made sure my headphones were on the right way. There will be a practice section before the real scored section for each of the PBM tests. I took a 30 sec break between the practice section and real deal section to regroup, stand up, stretch, etc. And for the UAV section, everyone says that response time matters more. However, my responses were around 1-2 seconds during my first attempt and I got a lot more wrong. During the second attempt I responded in 3+ seconds on some but I only got 1 wrong, and I scored much higher on the PFAR. There is no rush. Your score matters, not how quickly you did it. Remember to breathe and stretch between sections. Remember to breathe during sections and relax.

Putting too much pressure on myself.
Often I put a lot of pressure on myself to get a perfect score, max the PFT, etc. but this will work against you in the ASTB. The first time I took it I felt I had something to prove to the OSOs, that I needed to get a 9/9/9 80 or else. I know the competitive nature of the pilot selection process so that wound me up more.

However, after the first attempt I sat down with my OSO to discuss ground contract options, in case the ASTB just wasn’t going to work out. It turned out that there were a lot of ground MOS’s that I would love to take, so the ASTB was not a do or die test for me. Going into the second attempt, I just made sure to do my best and to work smartly. To stay present. I honestly didn’t expect to pass going in, but I wanted to give it a try anyways to not miss any opportunities.

Being relaxed helped me perform much better - especially on the PBM. In fact, I started to have fun with the PBM when we moved to the emergency procedures section.
For the PBM I got familiar with vertical tracking but wasn't as good with the joystick. I remember struggling a ton with it, so for the vertical tracking + aircraft tracking and vertical tracking + aircraft tracking + dichotic listening test I concentrated on getting the vertical tracking and listening only. So win some lose some- they say you need to do everything, but just focus on what you can get. I'm pretty sure I neglected the joystick by the end.

Fixating too much on the ASTB and school and letting my fitness take the backseat.
Normally it’s alright to put fitness on the back burner for regular school finals, but it’s not that way with the ASTB. I am a USMC candidate so my PFT is crucial to my selection. I studied hardcore for the first attempt and mistakenly stopped running and got a sh*t run time.

This time around, I designated some hours of the to ASTB review, but other than that, I didn’t think of the ASTB at all. I also stepped up my running - I was running at least 30 mins every day with a lot of speed work. I did at least 25-30 miles a week, just putting in the volume. I love weightlifting, but I knew I should get good at running.

I would pack my running shoes in my backpack wherever I went. I’d leave my backpack in my locked TA office and go for a run in the middle of the school day. I’d run right after doing a practice test for the ASTB. Ended up running a 19:50 on a 3 mile to a 20:36 5k, even while studying for the ASTB and midterms.

So here’s the summary:
  • First attempt: anxious, overcaffeinated, too much negative pressure, fixated and desperate, tested hard.
  • Second attempt: motivated but positive, well rounded studying and life, well-rested and moderately caffeinated, knew I had options, not rushed, tested smart.
I think needing to take the test twice was a blessing in disguise, since I was familiar with the testing environment and format.

I’ll put in any additional tips if you guys want!
What in particular did you utilize to study form this feed. I am close to finishing up my degree and currently hold a 3.94 but am getting nervous about taking this test. Thank you in advance for your help.
 
I

I'm only an applicant so take this for what its worth, but based on what I've read, you need to get a higher ASTB to be more competitive. You must be pretty smart to get a decent GPA in computer science, so just study and retake the test. You don't want to be submitting a minimum score like those 4s. The test really isnt hard, just treat it like a job and study alot. I can send you a ton of info that I used to get a good score in only a week or two. let me know!
Can you send me some useful info as well? I've been skimming through this thread for almost 2 hours.. I would really appreciate it!

My email is Tlso93@hotmail.com

Thanks!
 
I posted earlier about taking the ASTB for the second time. I was lucky enough to nail this test on my third and final time. My first set of scores were a 37, 4,7,4. I took the test a second time with a 40, 4,5,4. Taking the test a final time I was able to score 45, 6,8,6. Huge shoutout to CHOPS_avn for the help. I will tell you guys I am not the best person at math. I recommend giving it a go for a third if you are on the edge. It was a huge gamble on my part but I wanted to apply for pilot really bad.
MATH
I used Learning Express Officer candidate book, Barron's flight guide, and 2018 ASTB guide. I can not stress enough these books are inadequate for anyone with math struggles. The file of 114 math questions was absolutely essential. I know for a shadow of a doubt that doing these problems over and over again helped me get better scores. I can not stress enough, doing these problems will help you. The ASTB personal study guide and the gouges were really helpful.
Reading
Questions were straightforward, many had questions that 2-3 of the answers made no sense or little words went against the paragraph. Fairly simple and straightforward.
Mechanical
I used a few items to study for this section. My main studying came from the ASTB Mechanical flashcards. They helped out a lot and the bulk of my questions came from this.
https://www.proprofs.com/flashcards/story.php?title=astb-mechanical-comprehension-test
I will recommend another book that people have not read. My major was aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle. This book I am attaching below covers math as well, Physic's/Mechanical, and electrical theory. A lot of mechanical questions that are on the ASTB came from this book. Covering, the formulas for work, newtons laws, mechanical advantage, leverage, and other principles. The book has a huge section of the electrical theory that you can draw from. I had a question like, what registers ohms? This book should help below.
ANIT
I am a pilot so this stuff came really easy to me. Study the Gleim pilots guide to help give you a base or use the gouges. I had similar questions on this test.
UAV
Honestly, pilot came back into play again. I did fairly well from my flying on a regular basis. The UAV videos helped some but this stuff came naturally to me. My bulk of missed answers came from the questions where you were coming from the northwest and headed southeast for example. For some reason, the arrow pointing northwest or northeast was easy for me but I struggled on the arrow pointing southeast or southwest. Flight simulators can help a lot with this. It's kind of like looking at a runway.
PBM
I won't go into detail because a lot of people have done this already. My best recommendation for you all is, using a flight sim. If you can spare the expense ACE COMBAT 6 FIRES of LIBERATION on XBOX 360. I purchased the game years ago and play it religiously. XBOX 360 has a joystick and throttle that you can buy for ACE COMBAT 6. Just google ACE COMBAT 6 joystick and throttle. From someone that got an 8 on PBM, buy a stick and throttle. From personal experience, I did not have the stick and throttle for my ACE COMBAT video game on my previous two attempts. Believe me, using that stick and throttle for a combat simulator such as ACE COMBAT made my reaction time much quicker and inverted controls were natural to me. I constantly went for gun kills instead of missile kills which helped me track targets better. Gun kills used a targeting reticle and it paid off. There was a complete difference in my skills going from a XBOX controller to the Joystick. It was a complete game changer and worth the expense.
Listening test was really just reactions and honestly being a pilot helped. Constantly listening for numbers from atc regarding the tail number and others was the edge for me.
Emergency Scenarios
Right down the scenarios like everyone says. I wrote down in huge letters each scenario. I wrote the direction and area of the throttles in large letters. On each scenario, I included the task, control, percentage and direction of control for the percentage. Writing down in large letters almost filling up the page helped tremendously.
My OAR score is the only thing I worry about but I am really satisfied with my ASTB scores especially pilot. I am applying for the February pilot, well see how it goes. If there's any questions regarding pilot items I am happy to help for the test. That is my area of expertise and degree lol. Good luck to everyone else applying.


I take it again for the 3rd time on 28 Jan. Your post has given me hope! Lol. Thanks for the gouge!
 

papacarter

College Student - Aspiring Naval Aviator
Took it yesterday and got 52 6/7/7. The math very easy for me but the mechanical portion kicked my ass. I forgot so much of that stuff from when I took physics. Reading was good, not great. The ASTB portion was kind of easy for me. I just reviewed some pages of a study guide and memorized the UAV maps that everyone posts.

Computer and Electrical Engineering
GPA 3.36
52 6/7/7
Applying for 1.) SNA, 2.) EDO, 3.) NFO
 
First off, big thanks to everyone who's taken the time to post tips and info in here.

Took it recently and scored a 47 5/7/6...my recruiter seemed happy that I passed, but I was honestly pretty disappointed in myself. I feel like I put too much effort into studying for the aviation portion, and neglected the OAR material.

I know the only person who can make the decision to retake it is me...but I'd like some input on whether it's worth retaking it or not. I meet the standards for Marines, however i'm not sure that the OAR portion will be competitive for the board selection.

Shooting for SNA
Prior service Marine
GPA: 3.5
Major: Accounting
PFT: 264
 
First off, big thanks to everyone who's taken the time to post tips and info in here.

Took it recently and scored a 47 5/7/6...my recruiter seemed happy that I passed, but I was honestly pretty disappointed in myself. I feel like I put too much effort into studying for the aviation portion, and neglected the OAR material.

I know the only person who can make the decision to retake it is me...but I'd like some input on whether it's worth retaking it or not. I meet the standards for Marines, however i'm not sure that the OAR portion will be competitive for the board selection.

Shooting for SNA
Prior service Marine
GPA: 3.5
Major: Accounting
PFT: 264
If it is the Marines that you are gunning for, from what I have heard, they don't give a %*&# about the OAR. Only the x/x/x scores. I've been told that your target scores should be a 6/6/6...so w/ the scores u have I'd say ur in. Just double check and make sure w/ your Marine OSO if your scores are good. To give u a reference frame, my roommate got a 6/6/5 (I believe) and got a air contract recently. So, your looking great! However, he has a Marine PFT of about a 278. Your PT scores also look good so I'd say you are in!
 
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