Speed distance and time tests

Speed distance time tests are used most commonly during selection processes for the Armed Forces and the Aviation industry.

It makes perfect sense that a pilot should be capable of knowing how long it will take him to fly a certain distance along with and at what speed.

The same applies for officer’s in the Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. They must be able to calculate accurately how long it will take their soldiers to travel a set distance.


In order to be competent in the use of speed distance time tests you must aim for both accuracy and agility.

The first thing you should be fully conversant with is the 12 times table.

We also recommend that you learn and absorb the following patterns. These will help you to answer the questions faster.

  • There are 2 periods of 30 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 3 periods of 20 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 4 periods of 15 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 5 periods of 12 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 6 periods of 10 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 10 periods of 6 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 12 periods of 5 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 15 periods of 4 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 20 periods of 3 minutes in an hour;
  • There are 30 periods of 2 minutes in an hour;
  • At 60mph, you travel one mile, every minute.

How to calculate speed, distance and time

When calculating speed, distance and time questions there are three variables to consider: speed, distance and time. Two of these variables will always be known.

The most effective way to solve these equations is to use the following formulas:


  • The triangular diagram is a perfect aid for helping you to memorise the formula.
  • If you place your thumb over the variable you are trying to discover, you will then see the equation required.
  • For example, if we wanted to obtain the time, placing my thumb on T would show that we would need to divide Distance by Speed.
  • When answering questions on speed distance time you may find it helpful by starting off writing down the diagram of the triangle at the top.

Calculating Speed

Let us provide you with a sample speed distance time question to work through.

calculating the speed


What speed covers 30 miles in 2 hours and 30 minutes?

Step 1: We know that the formula required to calculate speed = distance/time.

Step 2: First of all, we must change the time into minutes. If the question was already in minutes, then we would leave it: 2 hours 30 minutes = 150 minutes

Step 3: Speed = 30/150

Step 4: We must now cancel down the fraction until the denominator (the bottom half of the fraction) can be multiplied easily into 60 (minutes).

Speed = 30/150

Speed = 1/5

Step 5: We now need to multiply the denominator (the bottom fraction), until it fits into 60. In this example, the outcome would be 12 – as 5 fits in 60, 12 times.

Therefore, speed = 1 x 12 (5 goes into 60 twelve times)

 ANSWER: Speed = 12 mph

The following 100+ page workbook contains 400 sample Speed Distance Time questions to help you prepare for your tests.

Order now