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The ASTB is primarily an aptitude test--it assesses math skills and aptitude, the ability to extract meaning from written material, familiarity with mechanical concepts and simple machines, and the ability to perform mental rotations to determine the orientation of aircraft in 3-dimensional space.
The ASTB also measures a test taker’s knowledge of aviation and nautical terminology, familiarity with aircraft components and function, knowledge of basic aerodynamic principles, and grasp of some flight rules and regulations. Performance on this part of the battery can be improved by study, and examinees with aviation and to a lesser extent, shipboard experience will typically do well. Both these concepts have proven to be excellent predictors of both training performance and success in training.
Examinees that walk in with some level of basic knowledge in these areas are more likely to succeed as aviators.
How do I know if I should take the entire ASTB or only the OAR portion?
A general guideline is that individuals who are applying for aviation programs should take the entire ASTB battery (Navy and Marine Corps pilot and flight officer programs and Coast Guard pilot programs). Individuals that are applying for other programs (Ex: Navy OCS) may only be required to take the OAR portion, but individuals should talk to their recruiters or program administrators for more information.
How well does the ASTB predict training performance and attrition?
ASTB scores are highly predictive of aviation training outcomes, such as grades that are obtained from tests during training in classroom settings (academic grades) and ratings that are derived from performance in aircraft (flight grades). The measure that is used to describe the test’s ability to predict flight grades and academic grades is called validity. The predictive validity of the AQR for the prediction of SNA (pilot) academic grades is r = .45 (p < .001), while the validity of the PFAR to predict SNA flight grades is r = .35 (p < .001). Validity coefficients range from 0 to 1 and the validity for both academic and flight grades compare favorably with selection testing standards.
Even though the prediction of these criteria is a valuable resource, one of the most important utilizations of the ASTB is its ability to predict attrition, which refers to a student’s probability of completing aviation training. Approximately 22% of pilots and 25% of flight officers attrite from aviation training each year, which have proven to be costly figures for the Navy and Marines because of the high costs associated with training each student. Therefore, it is estimated that the reduction in training attrition costs produced by ASTB screening saves the Navy and Marine Corps over 30 million dollars each year.
Can I take the ASTB on a computer? Will I have an advantage if I take the paper version of the test?
At some test sites, the ASTB is available in a web-based format called APEX.NET. The content on the computer-administered version of the test is identical to the paper-and-pencil version of the test. The web-based version of the ASTB allows for the administration of the exam anywhere in the world, but the system is operated on a secure server that is monitored and controlled by NOMI.
Even though some individuals feel more comfortable taking the paper version of the test, studies have found that there is virtually no difference in pass rates between the paper and computer versions of the test.
How can I find out my ASTB scores? Is there any way to find out my scores immediately?
The paper-and-pencil version of the ASTB must be sent to NOMI to be scored. Unlike previous forms of the test, scoring manuals were not issued to the fleet for ASTB Forms 3, 4, and 5 in order to protect test security. Therefore, recruiters and other test administrators are no longer able to provide unofficial scores for the test. In order to obtain scores for the test examinees or recruiters may call 850-452-2257. After hearing the message, press Option 3, then Option 5 to obtain scores. An official score letter will be generated that can be sent be faxed mailed, or e–mailed to a military or education address.
Immediate scores on these ASTB forms can be generated using the APEX.NET web-based platform for ASTB administration. Ask your recruiter for more information, or have him or her contact NOMI at 850-452-2257x1060.
What is the Biographical Inventory (BI) and why isn’t it used any longer?
The BI considers background experiences, such as extracurricular involvement in high school and college, relevant to success in the fast-paced and demanding aviation program. Although the BI was initially a powerful predictor of attrition, its ability to predict which students will complete aviation training has essentially declined to zero over a period of years.
What are the current ASTB minimum score requirements?
The minimum score requirements differ by program and service. Please refer to Program Authorizations 106 and 107, and MCO 1542.1I, or talk to your recruiter for specific information regarding the program to which you are applying.
How well do most examinees do on this test?
Please refer to the tables above which show score distributions for the OAR portion of the test as well as score combinations for the AQR and PFAR (pilots), and the AQR and FOFAR (flight officers).
Why were the old forms of the ASTB replaced? Are pass rates equivalent between the old (Forms 1 & 2) and new (Forms 3, 4, & 5) ASTB forms?
There are several reasons for the introduction of new forms of the ASTB. The first reason is that the last time that the last revision of the test occurred more than 10 years ago. Therefore, some of the questions had become outdated and needed to be updated. Also, widespread exposure of test questions on the Internet and in study guides made it necessary to update the ASTB to ensure its accuracy in predicting individuals that would be successful in aviation training.
Nationwide pass rates on the ASTB at both USN and USMC SNA & SNFO standards are virtually identical (+/– 3%) to pass rates on Forms 1 and 2.
Which tests make the greatest contribution to each score I received?
The formulas that are utilized to compute ASTB score components are proprietary information and will not be released by NOMI. The following general guidance is offered to assist examinees in preparing for an ASTB test or retest.
- Academic Qualifications Rating (AQR): This score is affected by performance on all subtests, but the strongest influence is made by the Math Skills Test.
- Pilot Flight Aptitude Rating (PFAR): This score is affected by performance on all subtests, but the greatest contribution is made by the Aviation & Nautical Info and Spatial Apperception Tests.
- Flight Officer Flight Aptitude Rating (FOFAR): This score is affected by performance on all subtests, but the strongest influence is made by the Math Skills Test.
- Officer Aptitude Rating (OAR): This score is affected by performance on the first three subtests, Math Skills, Reading Comprehension, and Mechanical Comprehension.
I heard there were some questions with no right answers on the ASTB. Is this just a rumor?
There were a few flawed items in one of the subtests released with the new ASTB forms in 2004.
NOMI caught these before any of the tests had been given, but several of the test booklets had already been mailed out to recruiters. Therefore, the flawed items were eliminated from the scoring key until updated forms were sent out. During the time period that the flawed items were in the field, examinee scores were calculated using fewer items so that examinee scores were not affected by the flawed items.
I have seen study guides for military aviation tests in bookstores. Would these guides help me study for the ASTB?
NOMI does not endorse any commercial study guides, but the guides might be helpful for examinees who want to acquire testing strategies, review and practice math principles and problems, familiarize themselves with military history and aviation terminology, and practice pacing on timed tests.
hey - i'm trying to pass the astb - i took it a month ago and got a 4/5/5 and have to pass it on the next try. PLEASE - i'm looking for help! i have an arco book, but any and all info would be appreciated.
Just wanted to say thanks for the info. I'm taking this thing next week and this site has done everything short of save my life. Hope I can help out somebody in the future like these posts have helped me.
Calling on all folks who have taken the ASTB. Big question of the day is this. Has anyone weak in math (ie. is good with practical stuff but not an equation master) still get respectable scores on the test. I have been out of school for almost 8 years and needless to say a little nervous.