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officer test question?

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Registered User
hey guys,
I'm getting ready to take the officer test next week. I'm wondering how similar is the ARCO book to the actual test? Also, what kind
of questions is on the autobiographical test?
Is there anyway I can get an old exam? What good books are there about ships so I can pass the nautical section.

Dave Shutter

Registered User
I don't know how valid my advice is, I took the test but failed the math section. I aced the mechanical comprehension, verbal questions and general math but the damn algebra and geometry word problems just killed me. As for the arco comparison, the practice tests are structured just like the actual test, but I thought that most of the actual test questions were harder than the practice ones. Because of my failure on the math part I never got to the ATSB so I can't tell you about the biographical profile, only that I was told that there are really no wrong answers, they're looking for a type of personality. Questions will be like: Have you ever shot a deer; ever driven over a hundred miles an hour; etc. The advice given to me by my recruiter was to make myself sound aggresive and adventurous but still lawful and disciplined??? That's what I was told anyway. Arco also has a fantastic book that focus's on word problems that's been a huge help to me, if you also have trouble with those I recommend it. As for the nautical test, It's part of the ATSB and you can find practice tests and questions in the Arco military flight aptitude test study guide. B&N has all of these books.

Hope this helps

Best of luck!



Registered User
Set me straight about the test. From what I understand, the "Officer Selection" test and the "flight battery" are the same test. If you're interested in being a Naval aviator, you complete the additional sections of the test that pertain to that. Correct?

Dave Shutter

Registered User
I'm sorry if I was confusing. Here is how the test is structured to my experience and according to the study guides I have.

First you take an officer selection test comprised of two parts, (1) a math/verbal test, 37 items/35 min. and then (2) a mechanical comprehension test, 30 items/15 minutes. Then they give you a break while they grade it. This is the basic test which initially determines if you are qualified to be a navy oficer. If you pass then you go ahead and take the ASTB, if not you'll probably go home.

The ASTB is the aviation selection test battery, which is made up of Spacial Apperception, 35 items/10 min, time is a factor, you look at the picture of the plane and tell which way it's going. The (4)aviation/nautical information test, 30 items/15 min, basic info on planes and boats. And (5)The biographical interest test which is the personality test76 items, 20 min. You'll notice in the study books there are no real guides for the BI test, your basically on your own. The gradings they give you at the office are not official until they're sent to Pensacola NASC for official grading and registering. The grades are tallied to produce different scores which are used different ways, that would take me forever to type but you can look that all up in the Arco book on flight aptitude tests.

Again this is my experience at one recruiting station. Your station may test you differently although I don't see how, and of course the test may have been changed since I took it. Consider this gouge and take it with a grain of salt.

If you think all this is bad, look up the Air Force aviation test in the book: IT HAS SIXTEEN PARTS AND TAKES 3 1/2 HOURS, DOHH!!

Hope I helped, good luck!



Registered User
Thanks for clearing that up.
I have a couple more questions, if you don't mind. (I'm new here, so please forgive me if some of this stuff has been covered.)
Can you achieve a high enough score on the officer selection part to be considered for OCS, but not high enough to warrant taking the Aviation battery? Or is it just pass or fail?
Also, how many of the 37 and 30 must you get right to pass and/or warrant taking the ASTB?
Dave, are you going to take the test again? If so, what additional material(besides the ARCO book) are you going to study?
Out of curiosity, what was the atmosphere like during the test? Were there alot of people taking it? Can you use a calculator?
That's about all I can think of (for now, anway). Any other morsels of info about the test or preparation tips that anyone has are much appreciated.

Edited by - Bully on 9 May 2000

Dave Shutter

Registered User
Ask away.

If you score high enough to be an officer then you can take the aviation test, basically, the recruiters won't let you out of that place until you do. If you pass that then they'll really smell blood and probably want to do physicals, interviews, PRT test all right away...at this point you might want to grab the nearest broom and fight your way out of there! I hope your on the ground floor, if not then I quess you could jump from a window and aim for a garbage pile.

I'm kidding, but seriously, the atmosphere inside a recruiters office is frightenengly similiar to a car dealership, I've spent too much time in both! Just like salesman smell a sale, once a recruiter smells a quota notch (and if you pass the tests they will) the pressure is gonne be on you bigtime!! Make sure this is somthing you want to do and don't ever sign anything you don't completely understand! I don't know if they told you this yet, but to be an officer you have to join, upfront, for four years! If for some reason you don't complete flight scool you'll owe them the rest of that time in a field the Navy choses! If you get wings as a helo pilot you owe then six more years, and if you become a fixed wing pilot(jet or prop) you owe them eight! This may be a dumb question since your on this site, but are you interseted in being a pilot by the way?

As for the minimum score required...I can't recall exactly so I just made a call to my recruiter (a waste of time) asking about how many correct answers/points you need. He mumbled about his drawer being locked, interrogated me about coming back in to re-test, and finally said that: "a configured minimum score of forty" is required to qualify as an officer, and then you take the aviation part, and then they configure some other score. Sounds like he has no f@%$ing idea how it works, I get the feeling that I know more about it then he does, but I quess that's my problem. Call your recruiter and see if he can tell you.

Bottom line: you need to be an oficer to fly and to do that you have to pass the officer test, if you pass then you take the flight test. You may pass all these tests but remember, selection for flight school is competetive, just passing isn't good enough. My outlook is this: right now, all across the country, hundreds of graduates with science, engineering and math degrees are applying for a handful of student naval aviators slots, to be selected you have to look like a better candidate and that means high test scores(among other things).

Yes, I am planning to re-test. My study guides include: Arco officer candidate tests (which I broke down and bought) and the companion book: Military flight aptitude tests. Another Arco book is: How to solve algebra word problems (which the test has lots of) this book is great cuz I suck at that kind of math. Also I have books on boating, electronics, geometry and my flight manual from when I took flying lessons. If your good at math then all I would recommend are the two Arco books to familiarize yourself with the types of questions as well as the test.

As for the atmosphere of the test, well in all honesty I took it twice, and both times they're were only two other people there with me, but I've heard about there being twenty or more people, it all depends on your station and area I guess. It's like an SAT or entrance exam. They give you a #2 pencil, scrap paper, and then lecture for twenty minutes before letting you fill in all the little dots.

Pheew!! I hope this helps. Again, good luck!


Edited by - Dave Shutter on 9 May 2000

Dave Shutter

Registered User
No, you can't use a calculator either, or your own pencil, or your own paper. But the test sheet(the one with the dots)does have geometry formulas printed on the top!



The Grass is Greener!
Site Admin
On the topic of the ASTB in general, just some thoughts on when I took it.. I personally did not study for it, only glanced at the ARCO study guide for about 15 minutes prior to the exam (mainly looked at the spacial perception portion of the study guide).

I took the test at an NROTC Unit (Go Gators!), and there were roughly 10 of us taking the test. Obviously I did well on it, and got selected or I wouldn't be here writing this, but I don't think it is one of the most "arduous" tests you will ever go through. The only section that I was concerned with was the spatial perception portion, where you have to figure out which direction the plane in a picture is going. And in a very limited timeframe!

It seems that most of the discussion here is based on what the test is comprised of, take a look at the following:
Excerpt from: http://navyrotc.mit.edu/www/aviation/astb.stm

consists of 37 question containing sentence comprehension and math (simple algebraic equations, geometric relationships, and trigonometry). The time limit for this part is 35 minutes. Time management is a large factor here.

consists of 30 questions dealing with the principles of basic physics as employed in levers, gears, pulleys, simple machines, electrical circuits, as well as work, force and distance problems. The time limit for this part is 15 minutes.

consists of 35 questions testing the ability to determine an aircraft's attitude of relative position from several illustrations (pilot's eye view). The time limit is 10 minutes.

consists of 30 questions concerning aviation and nautical knowledge, showing an interest in Naval Aviation. The time limit is 15 minutes.

consists of 76 questions concerning background, hobbies and academic interests. The time limit is 20 minutes.

consists of 49 questions concerning background interests and experiences, rather than your specific aptitudes. The time limit is 15 minutes.

For further information, and some study material, look at the links I have accumulated for the ASTB on my links page, here: http://www.airwarriors.com/frameslinks.html#gouge

I trust this information will be useful, but remeber it is only one of the first hurdles to overcome to get into the Aviation Pipeline. And you have the benefit of taking it over again. Best advice I have, don't wait till the last possible term to take it and end of short changing yourself!


Civvy SNA Hopeful
And what happens if you don't do "well" in the biographical portion. Since you most likely didn't lie when you took it the first time, can you take it again to try and do "better" The first time I took it, they compared me to a pilot AND nfo, and those magical formulae told me I had a rating of 2. I mean, would I be disqualified from aviation based on that one section. I didn't miss hardly any on the other parts.

"Give me ambiguity or give me something else."

Dave Shutter

Registered User
John, Steve or Devin, the sixth part of the test is new to me, I've heard of the Aviation/nautival section but ever the "aviation interest" test. It says that it tests you on your "interests and experiences" and not your aptitude. So on a scale between the aviation/nautical test and the biographical tests, it sounds more like the bio test, another test that there are no right answers for! Do any of you remember what type of questions it consisted of? That material isn't in any of my study guides and I'm wondering what it's like.

Fly Navy!



Well-Known Member
Site Admin
The only Bio part of the test I am thinking about is the one on the ASTB. These questions are like the ones you were talking about Dave. Have you killed a deer, etc. It seems, just my opinion mind you, that the "older" prior-E guys would get lower Bio scores than the younger guys. This was assumed to be because of age. There were a couple of guys (remember Chris C. and Lonnie, John?) that ended up taking it approximately a bazillion times. Each time finding new ways to "improve" their life stories. Eventually they got the 3's they needed for pilot and both are winged today.

FYI, I took the test when I was 20 (I think...it was a while ago) and answered fairly truthfully. I ended up with a 6. Whatever that means. Don't forget that for the other two sections, you get two scores each. One for 'FO and one for pilot. Sometimes they are the same, sometimes they are different (mine were the same...don't know how).

Hope that helps. FYI, at our unit, there were only two test forms. I don't know how the recruiters work, but if you did take it more than two times, you were garunteed (sp?) to see some questions again. At least that's what I was told.

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