To become an airline pilot you have to undergo many different tests. These include psychometric tests, verbal reasoning tests, mechanical comprehension, psycho-motor and technical. Nearly all Airline pilots will be tested on these psychometric and aptitude tests at some point during the selection process with an airline company.

Some airlines that use psychometric tests require potential pilots to undertake assessments:

  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Oxford Aviation
  • CTC Wings
  • Dragonair
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Copa Airlines


Preparation for these tests and your assessment is essential. You should look on the website for each of the different commercial airlines to find out their exact assessment routine and familiarise yourself with it. Very common tests that many commercial airline’s use are ability tests, situational judgement tests and personality questionnaires.

Ability Tests

These timed tests are designed to test the candidate’s different skill levels that are required for the role. Most of the questions are multiple-choice and include numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and other aptitude tests. Example tests may include the Bearings test.

Situational Judgement Tests

These tests are designed to test a candidate’s ability to choose the correct course of action in a scenario. You are expected to answer these truthfully and as quickly as possible.

Personality Questionnaries

The purpose of the personality tests are to get an insight into the candidates behavioural tendencies. These tests are often conducted online and before your face-to-face assessment. There are no right or wrong answers to these tests. It is up to the specific airline how they sift out potential candidates from this test.

The airline pilot tests make up a big part of the airline pilot selection process and are essential to progress onto the airline pilot’s interview. You will most likely be invited to attend a day at the commercial airline’s recruitment/assessment centre to take the tests if your initial application is successful.

Once you have successfully obtained an EASA Part-FCL Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in the UK under the governing body of the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) you can apply with commercial airlines to become an airline pilot.

Before you have obtained your CPL, tests such as the Bearings Test can be very beneficial for a pilot’s preparation as it helps the pilot hone their spatial orientation skills, attentiveness and stress tolerance. This is also why similar tests based on the bearings test are often used in the selection process with commercial airlines.


The bearings test (sometimes known as the Bearings Determination Test) is compliant with many of the essential standards, skills and abilities during the screening process at flight schools and commercial airlines. Getting practice using the bearings test prior to applying for a job in aviation can considerably boost your chances of success as an applicant.

The Bearings Test itself uses a simple multiple-choice approach where the candidate is presented with various static images of a planes cock-pit instruments. Below these instruments the candidate is presented with a beacon and 4 different planes. The candidate has to determine which of the 4 planes matches that of what the instruments show in relation to the beacon.

Along with the instruments in the Bearings Test includes radar screens, VOR/ADF beacons. This makes the test perfect to assess a candidates spatial orientation skills or to train yourself to improve your orientation skills.


The Bearings Test will improve your:

  • Stress Tolerance
  • Attentiveness
  • Spatial Orientation Skills
  • Preparation for Airline Pilot Psychometric Tests.

Key skills such as spatial awareness – the ability to understand where you are in physical space is essential for any pilot. The Bearings test achieves a high quality assessment of a pilots spatial awareness by presenting them with 3 different instruments, a beacon and a top view of 4 different planes. The candidate must then decide which aeroplane matches the instruments – testing their spatial awareness. The different instruments that the candidate is presented with are:

  • A directional indicator
  • Horizon indicator to determine whether the plane is banking
  • ADF (Automatic Direction Finder)