How To become an raf officer
RAF officers are undoubtedly some of the most highly trained and highly respected personnel of the Armed Forces.
With such a role comes a tremendous amount of responsibility and therefore the selection process is designed to get the best people for the job.
Learn how to become an RAF officer with this definitive online resource that is packed full of insider tips and advice.
The RAF OFFICER SELECTION PROCESS
One of the first stages of the selection process involves a filter interview which will be held at the Armed Forces Careers Office. This interview will assess your desire to become an officer in the RAF and also explore your leadership, managerial and overall potential to join the Royal Air Force in this type of role. Check out your closest RAF Recruitment Centre for more.
Those applicants who successfully pass the filter interview and preliminary checks will spend up to four days at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) which takes place at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. The OASC is divided up in to two parts as follows:
PART 1 OASC
The first part of RAF OASC is the requirement to sit different aptitude tests. Your chosen careers will determine the types of tests you will have to undertake. The more technical the role, the harder and more complex the tests will be.
In addition to aptitude testing, you will also be required to undergo a medical examination, pass a fitness test and an interview. Only candidates who successfully complete all elements of Part 1 can progress to the second part of the selection process.
PART 2 OASC
Part 2 comprises five situational exercises as follows:
- Discussion exercise
- Group Planning exercise
- Individual Problem exercise
- Leaderless exercise
- Command Situation exercise
All of the exercises, with the exception of the Individual Problem, require candidates to work in syndicates of five or six.
About The Aptitude Tests For RAF Officer Selection
The aptitude tests are perhaps the most difficult part of the selection process, and success in them will guarantee you have the opportunity to demonstrate your full potential. Here’s a brief description of the type of tests you will be required to undergo at RAF Officer OASC.
This test is designed to assess your hand and eye coordination. If you are applying to join the RAF as a pilot, then you will need to score well in this assessment.
- During the test you are required to move a dot (which you control via a control stick) over a number of other circles. The circles themselves descend from the top of the screen, continuing downwards in a ‘snake like’ fashion.
- You will have the facility to practice this test before the real one commences. This practice session will allow you to familiarise yourself with the controls.
- To score maximum marks it is suggested you take the path which has the most descending circles and try and be as accurate as possible placing your dot over them.
- A steady hand is vital so avoid coffee and alcohol in the build up to the OASC.
TOP TIPS: Try playing computer games in the build up to the OASC as this will allow you to improve your hand/eye coordination.
The Psychomotor B test will also assess a candidate’s hand and eye coordination.
- At the commencement of the test a cross and a red dot will appear. Your task is to keep the dot as close to the centre of the cross as possible.
- As you can imagine, a steady hand is imperative during this test. Just like Psychomotor A, you will use a control stick in order to move the red dot up and down. You will also be required to use your feet to move the dot from left to right.
- Moving the control stick from left to right has no effect on the red dot.
Once again you will be permitted to carry out a practice run in order to get used to the weight and feel of the hand and foot controls.
TOP TIPS: As before, try playing computer games in the build up to the OASC, as this will allow you to improve your hand/eye coordination.
Digital recall is used to assess your memory. A series of digits will appear on a computer screen for a period of 5 seconds. You must study the digits intently for the 5 seconds as it will be your task to re-enter the digits, in the correct order, once they disappear. The number of digits that will appear, and consequently you have to remember, will gradually increase up to 15.
- You are advised to remember as many digits as possible, rather than trying to remember all 15.
- For example, if a row of 15 digits appear on the screen, focus on remembering the first 10 as opposed to the entire sequence.
During the second part of this test you will be required to memorise how many different ‘types’ of each number appear on the screen. For example, the number sequence 55686254351 may appear for a 5 second period. Once the 5 seconds is up, the screen will go blank and it is your job to answer a specific question, such as – How many number 5s were in the sequence.
TOP TIPS: A good tip for the Digital Recall is to practice by remembering telephone numbers and car registration plates.
This test assesses your ability to understand and interpret numerical information as well as performing simple mathematical calculations. You will be presented with tables of numerical information. It is your task to analyse the information and data before answering a series of questions. There will be 4 tables and 16 questions in total.
TOP TIPS: use online numerical reasoning practice tests.
In this test you are presented with multiple screenshots containing 7 to 9 short passages of test. You are given approximately 3 minutes reading time to take in all the information available. You are then asked several questions which you will have to combine with information from multiple passages to answer. The interface allows you to view two passages on the screen at once, one in the upper part of the screen in a red box and another in the lower part of screen in a green box.
Detailed instructions are provided – make sure that you thoroughly read the information in the short passages.
TOP TIPS: Practice by using online verbal reasoning practice tests.
This test comes in two separate parts. During the first part of the test you will be provided with a sheet of laminated paper which includes a table of data. There will be rows of -25 to 25 and columns of -15 to 15.
- You are then provided with row coordinates and column coordinates. You will then be required to find the value which is contained within a particular square before inputting the information into a computer.
- For example row -21, column 6, may have a value of 18, therefore you would input 18 into the computer screen.
- Part two is slightly different to Part 1 in the fact that you are provided with more information.
- On the other side of the laminated paper are four tables, each table provides information on speed, altitude, angle, drift and ground speed.
- Using these tables you will be expected to cross reference data to find a value. You will have to interpret whichever tables are relevant to answer the question asked.
This test involves general maths questions with the primary focus on speed/distance and time (SDT) calculations. To prepare for these you need to revise quick mental maths and simple algebra.
During the vigilance you will be assessed against your ‘awareness’. You will be presented with a 9×9 grid which has a number of stars/asterisks spread across it.
The requirement of this test is to cancel each star/asterisk by entering the correct coordinates into the computer.
NOTE: As soon as you enter the coordinates they cannot be altered. As well as the stars/asterisks, every 5-15 seconds a red arrow appears in a grid. The red arrow is a priority task which must be cancelled out before you can continue with the stars/asterisks. To cancel out the red arrow, you just need to enter the coordinates into the computer. You will then be able to continue dealing with the remaining asterisks.
TOP TIPS: don’t try and cross out asterisks all over the grid, concentrate on a few rows.
This assesses your ability to multi-task.
I. Red, yellow and green diamonds move from the left into coloured bands (red, green, yellow left-right). When they reach the coloured band you must ‘cancel’ them using the coloured buttons. This only works when the diamond is completely within the band, if even a tip is out, it will not register. Wrong or surplus keys used here lose 1 point, correct keys gain 1 point.
II. Simple mathematical problems appear at the bottom of the screen, involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of numbers 1-12, 15 and 20.
Each correct answer gives 1 point, wrong answers lose 1 point.
III. Every 15-20 seconds, 5-9 alphanumeric digits appear at the top for a few seconds. 12 seconds later, four similar options are presented at each corner of the screen; you must select the option which appeared previously using A/B/C/D.
- The main part of the screen has a flight plan (map) with 5-8 turning points and distances. At the side of this part of the screen is three coloured buttons.
- Each button opens 2 to 3 tables which show the aircraft’s speed against weight load and fuel consumption against speed (units are measured in miles per minute or miles per gallon, and equations are given).
- You are given two minutes to study the tables and maps. After this time questions will appear (5 or 10 per section) in which you have 1 minute to answer the question.
The questions usually specify a route of two legs, perhaps carrying a certain weight and with winds increasing/decreasing the speed of the aircraft. The numbers do not always divide exactly, so estimation and rounding are essential. Later sections involve more than one possible aircraft. Questions include finding arrival time, departure time, fuel consumed, fuel left, perhaps with new distances/times/fuel. Points are given for close estimates.
- In this test you are presented with an artificial horizon showing attitude and bank (markers at 30 and 60 degrees), and a compass showing direction. You are given five possible aircraft attitudes (they are red arrow hawks).
- The objective is to select the aircraft attitude that reflects the instruments. North is represented by the aircraft going away from you, South by the aircraft coming towards you, East by the aircraft pointing right, West by the aircraft pointing left.
- There are 25 questions, which progressively become more difficult.
TOP TIPS: imagine you are in the aircraft (how would the aircraft and instruments look), learn flight instruments and what they do (flight simulators may help in this instance) military flight aptitude books have similar examples of this kind of test.
As in Instrument Comprehension A, you are given an artificial horizon with a compass. This time an altimeter, air speed indicator and turn/slip indicator also appear. In this test there are five descriptions of aircraft for you to choose from. Descriptions are roughly as follows: Aircraft travelling WSW at 270kts, nose up, ascending through 1,500ft in sharp bank to the left. You must select which description most closely matches the aircraft’s instruments presented in front of you.
This test is in two parts; the first using letters, the second using symbols. A grid of letters or symbols is given, starting at an approximate size of 3×4 squares. You are given a letter or symbol to locate in the grid, and when you have found it you must enter its 2-digit grid location, using the numeric keypad. Every few answers, the grid size increases. This is a speed test, and it helps if you can use the numeric keypad on a keyboard without looking at it.
To begin with a red spitfire enters a 3D projection and performs manoeuvres including left/right (yaws) and nose-up/down. Each manoeuvre is assigned a key on your keyboard. You must follow the spitfire through its manoeuvres, having 2 seconds to press the relevant key for the movement the aircraft is making. You are given a short practise session, in which the key inputs are registered. As the test advances more spitfires enter the screen and sometimes swap colours. You must always follow the red spitfire.
TOP TIPS: imagine you are the pilot and input the actions as if you were him/her. For example if the aircraft is coming towards and moves to the right of the screen the aircraft is actually turning left.
This test uses the same screen format as the spatial reasoning test. During the test there are six different coloured spitfires performing manoeuvres whilst flying in and out of the screen area. You are then asked questions about the positions/manoeuvres that were performed, with 4 possible colours of aircraft to choose from.
- Which aircraft performed a complete loop?
- Which aircraft was flying in the opposite direction to the BLUE aircraft at the end of the simulation?
- Which was the first aircraft to enter the screen area?
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