FAA Private Pilot
Prepare for the
The Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS) is a computerized psychomotor
test battery. It is used as a tool for the selection of United
States Air Force pilot candidates. TBAS scores are combined with
the candidate's Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT), and flying
hours to produce a Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) score. The
PCSM score measures a candidate's aptitude for pilot training - that
means a predictive measure of whether or not a person will do well
during Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). The TBAS score is just
one facet out of many that make up the "whole-person" concept that is
used to determine the PCSM score. In AFROTC, the Detachment
Commander factors in a slew of scores to rank pilot candidates who
eventually compete nationwide for AFROTC pilot
There are some "urban legends" out there that say playing certain video
games will help you prepare for the TBAS. The most sound advice
is: get a good night's sleep the night prior and eat breakfast before
taking the test. Clear your mind and be ready to concentrate on
the tasks at hand. No game is going to prepare you for the TBAS.
is a link to online TBAS Preparation Flash Cards. Join our
online discussion forums to find out
what others think of the TBAS.
You must complete the TBAS Candidate
and bring it with you on the day of the test. You should also
bring a valid form of ID, your Social Security card, your current
college transcript, and your logbook if you have any flying experience.
The TBAS test will test your concentration and ability to multitask.
If you experience some condition that is genuinely stressful, or if you
are too ill/tired to take the TBAS, you will need to reschedule for
another time. There is no penalty for rescheduling.
When you are ready to begin the test you will be seated at the TBAS
station and asked to enter the data from your completed Candidate
the TBAS for use in processing and tracking your test scores. The test
administrator will then read a standard instruction briefing to you.
Detailed instructions for each of the nine subtests will appear on the
computer screen. Take all the time you need to make sure you understand
these instructions. You will not be penalized for time spent on
Much like its predecessor, the BAT Test, the TBAS consists of ten
subtests that measure psychomotor skills and cognitive aptitude.
The test takes approximately 1 hour (most candidates finish the test in
about 30 minutes). After you have completed the test, the test
administrator will send the raw data to a central scoring facility.
Provided you have already taken the AFOQT, you should be able to check
your PCSM score via the AETC website
within 1-2 days after we receive your TBAS test. Please check with
your Test Control Officer (TCO) as to when they will send the TBAS test.
It is very important that you do not discuss the contents of the test
with anyone other than the test administrator. If you do discuss the
test with anyone else you will be held responsible for violating a legal
regulation, Air Force Instruction 36-2605, Air Force Military Personnel
Testing System. You will also be disqualified from consideration for Air
Force pilot training.
from Recent Test Takers
"Well, I got my TBAS score back last week and was hoping I would do
well enough to submit my package for the upcoming UFT active duty
board, but am pretty bummed that my PCSM is only a 52 with a 98
Pilot. Am planning to retake it as soon as the 180-day point rolls
around. Any of you guys have any words of advice, aside from logging
more flying hours and playing FPS with an inverted view? I
had trouble with MULTI-TASKING!
I just could not track the moving target with the joystick while
also trying to work the rudders. Maybe my hand-eye coordination is
just atrocious. I know all TBAS testing locations use the same
joystick but dang, the one I used was not very sensitive."
"I focused between the two parts you have to track. Keep "ball" you
have to track with the rudder in your peripheral, and let your hands
and brain do the rest. I started trying to anticipate its direction
change, but quickly realized that didn't work. It probably measures
reaction time more than if you can keep it in the container. Good
luck next time! "
"How exactly do you study for the spacial orientation ? Are there
any good resources online or anything?"
Take one set, and draw up and airplane flying over the four squares
at headings of 0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, and 315.
Take another sheet, draw about 12 sets of four squares with a N, S,
E or W next to them. This is your answer sheet. Mix up the first set
of cards and flip through them, marking the North, East, South or
West squares as indicated by the N/S/E/W on your answer sheet.
Repeat. You'll notice a pattern."
"Take your time and carefully read and reread all instructions
before beginning a section. There is no time limit here and, if I
remember correctly, you get a little sample before you take the
actual test. Study this, imagine what you are going to do, imagine
possible variations (particularly for the Directional Orientation
Test) and what your response will be, and mock test yourself (touch
but don't push buttons... particularly for the Emergency Scenario
"The control inputs during the actual TBAS Test are the HOTAS Cougar
(~300$) and CH-Rudder Pro USB (120$).
Cougar is a metal joystick and throttles combo and CH Rudder Pro is
a plastic rudder pedals with a weird feel to them due to pedals
being too close to each other and not enough feedback. Both are
sufficient to test reflexes."
Directional Orientation Test
Measures spatial orientation abilities: The participant must
determine a UAV’s position relative to a target. The test
simultaneously presents a "tracker map” which shows the location and
heading of the UAV; and a forward field of view, as seen through a
fixed, forward pointing camera of a UAV, which shows a single building
surrounded by four parking lots. The task is to click on the parking lot
that a computer generated voice instructs. There are 48 questions.
3-Digit and 5-Digit Listening Test
Participants are presented with auditory letters and numbers. They must
squeeze the trigger when they hear any of the three or five specified
numbers. The test lasts approximately three minutes.
Horizontal Tracking Test
Participants use rudder pedals to keep a box over an airplane as it
moves horizontally along the bottom of the screen. The airplane moves
at a constant speed and changes direction when it “hits” the side of the
screen or if a participant successfully targets it for multiple seconds.
The task lasts three minutes and the level of difficulty (speed of the
airplane) increases as the task progresses.
Airplane Tracking Test
Participants use the joystick to keep the gun sight on the airplane as
it moves at a constant rate. The airplane randomly changes direction
when it hits the side of the screen or if a participant successfully
targets it for multiple seconds.
Airplane and Horizontal Tracking Test
This test requires you to perform two previously tested tasks
simultaneously. First, you track an airplane moving along a horizontal
axis as you did in the Horizontal Tracking Test. Second, you track an
airplane moving in two dimensions as you did in the Airplane Tracking
Airplane Tracking, Horizontal Tracking, and 3 Digit and
5-Digit Listening Test
This test requires you to perform three previously tested tasks
simultaneously. First, you will track an airplane moving along a
horizontal axis as you did in the Horizontal Tracking Test. Second, you
will track an airplane moving in two dimensions as you did in the
Airplane Tracking Test. Third, you will respond when you hear any of the
three or five specified target numbers.
Emergency Scenario Test
Participants simultaneously perform the horizontal tracking task and the
airplane tracking task, they are presented with three emergency
scenarios (one at a time) which they must cancel out by typing a code
with the keyboard.
AFOQT Test Advice
would highly recommend the
ARCO book. There is one called
Officer Candidate Tests and another called
Military Flight Aptitude Tests I studied for about four
weeks and did a few full strictly timed practice tests and ended
up making a 98 on Pilot and 95 on Nav when I took the real one
last July. I found that many of the practice problems were more
difficult than those on the test. The book was a great asset to
my scores. Good luck!"
"Study advice: The
Military Flight Aptitude exam book is good for mazes, mechanical comp,
word knowledge etc. However study the
Officer Candidate Tests book, it is much better and more challenging in
the math and arithmetic knowledge sections (spelling is obviously not my
strength). Study to realistic times ONCE YOU HAVE mastered the
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