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ASTB-E Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ASTB?

The Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) is the primary test used by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard in the selection of officer aviation program applicants. The newest version of the ASTB is series E, and features several technical advances over previous versions of the test.


What subtests are included in the ASTB-E?

The ASTB-E is made up of seven subtests. Three of those subtests comprise the Officer Aptitude Rating (OAR), which is used for certain non-aviation officer programs. The table below graphically explains the breakdown of tests present within the ASTB-E.
ASTB-E Subtests
Math Skills Test (MST) OAR ASTB-E
Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)
Mechanical Comprehension Test (MCT)
Aviation and Nautical Information Test (ANIT)
Naval Aviation Trait Facet Inventory (NATFI)
Performance Based Measures Battery (PBM)

What does the ASTB-E measure?

The ASTB-E assesses multiple aptitudes and personal characteristics across multiple cognitive abilities- math skills and aptitude, the ability to extract meaning from written material, and familiarity with mechanical concepts and simple machines. The ASTB-E also features questions that assess an individual’s knowledge of aviation and nautical terminology, familiarity with aircraft components and function, knowledge of basic aerodynamic principles, and a grasp of basic flight rules and regulations. Performance on these parts of the battery can be improved by study, and examinees with aviation and shipboard experience will typically do well.
The ASTB-E now includes the Performance Based Measures (PBM) Battery, which assesses the examinee’s ability to think in three dimensions, physical dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and ability to divide attention among different tasks.
In addition, the ASTB-E also includes an assessment of personality traits relevant to success in aviation, and the Naval Aviation Trait Facet Inventory (NATFI).
All components of the ASTB-E have proven to be excellent predictors of training performance. That is, examinees entering the flight program with high levels of cognitive aptitude and psychomotor ability, background knowledge of aviation and nautical concepts, and who have certain personal characteristics are more likely to both achieve higher grades in aviation training and successfully complete the aviation training program.

How long does the ASTB-E take to administer?

Total time required to take the ASTB-E may vary from individual to individual. Time to complete the ASTB-E can take anywhere from 2 hours up to 3 hours and 15 minutes. The OAR can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to complete the OAR in APEX.

I have seen study guides for military aviation tests in bookstores. Would these guides help me study for the ASTB-E?

NMOTC does not officially endorse any commercial study guides. There are several resources which may 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. Examinees should make every effort to prepare on all dimensions on which they will be tested.

Where is the nearest ASTB-E testing location?

There are over 250 registered locations worldwide that can administer the ASTB-E. Locations that commonly administer the ASTB-E include:
  • Naval Officer Recruiting Stations
  • NROTC units at many major universities
  • Marine Corps Officer Selection Offices (OSO’s)
  • Military Institutes
You will need to schedule to take the ASTB-E at the location at which you intend to test. If your local office does not administer the ASTB-E, contact our office and we will attempt to provide the nearest testing location.

Is the ASTB-E offered in any language other than English?

No, the ASTB-E is administered in English only.

How much does it cost to take the ASTB-E?

There is no cost to take the ASTB-E.

Can I use a calculator on the test?

No, the math problems on the exam are designed to be completed without the use of a calculator, but relevant formulas are provided. Each examinee is provided scrap paper to compute problems.

What should I bring with me on the day of the test?

You will need to bring some form of photo identification (i.e., driver's license, military ID card, passport) and verification of your social security number (i.e., social security card).
Electronic devices (e.g., smart phones, watches with calculators, cameras, etc.) are not permitted in the testing room. Examinees must stow these items in their automobiles or leave them with the exam proctor before proceeding into the testing room.
In addition, personal belongings (e.g., book bags) should not be brought into the testing room. Paper and pencils will be supplied for you at the testing facility.

How do I know if I should take the entire ASTB-E or only the OAR portion?

Individuals applying for aviation programs should take the entire ASTB-E battery. Individuals applying for other programs (e.g., 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-E predict training performance and attrition?

ASTB-E 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).
An important outcome predicted by the ASTB-E is training attrition. Approximately 15-20% of naval flight students attrite from aviation training each year, which incurs steep losses for the naval services due to the high costs associated with training each student. The training attrition avoidance yielded by the ASTB-E has been estimated to save the Navy and Marine Corps upwards of $52 million per year.
The broad range of dimensions assessed by the ASTB-E provides a multi-faceted estimation of how well an individual is likely to perform in the aviation training environment.

Some of the ASTB-E subtests are now administered in computer adaptive testing (CAT) format. What does this mean?

The MST, RCT, MCT, ANIT, and NATFI are administered in computer adaptive format on the ASTB-E online via a system called APEX. Computer adaptive testing means that the test adapts to the examinee as they answer questions. Test items presented are based on the examinee’s performance on previous items. Correct responses are typically followed by more difficult items, and incorrect responses are typically followed by items of a lesser difficulty.
This serves to increase the accuracy of test scores, reduce the length of each test, and enhance test security as virtually no two tests are alike. It is important to note that the adaptive nature of these tests prevents examinees from skipping items, or revisiting or changing previous answers on these subtests.

What if I don’t answer all of the questions on the test before time expires?

ASTB-E Strategy: Work Quickly but Don’t Guess. Due to the nature of CATs, the number and difficulty of questions presented to different examinees may vary. Scores generated by examinees who fail to complete a sufficient number of items on any ASTB-E adaptive subtest before time expires may have a penalty applied to their scores. Therefore, examinees are expected to work as briskly as possible without losing accuracy. The score penalty will be higher in relation to more unanswered questions. This penalty will never be applied to scores on adaptive subtests that automatically terminate before time has expired.
On the adaptive subtests, examinees are advised against randomly guessing as time is about to expire. The current time limits for each subtest have been established to allow as many examinees as possible to finish the test without time expiring. If an examinee has worked diligently and quickly on a given subtest, random guessing will, in most cases, be more detrimental to scores than the penalty received for not completing the entire test.

If no two tests are alike, how can individuals be compared?

Each adaptive test is generated from an item library featuring several hundred potential items for each subtest. These questions are all scaled based on difficulty level and how much diagnostic value each has. This information is taken into account when final scores on each subtest are calculated. This in turn facilitates psychometrically equivalent scoring comparisons between individuals who may have taken entirely different sets of items.

How can I find out my ASTB-E scores? Is there any way to find out my scores immediately?

Individuals will receive immediate scores on the ASTB-E as soon as all 6 subtests are complete. If they are taking the OAR through APEX, scores will be generated upon completion.
Scores can be requested by sending an e-mail to Please ensure all requests include the individual’s full name and last four of their social security number, as well as the address or e-mail address where they would like to receive the score letter.

What are the current ASTB-E minimum score requirements?

The minimum score requirements differ by program and service. Please refer to Navy Personnel Command (NPC) Program Authorizations 106 and 107, Marine Corps Order (MCO) 1542.1I, or talk to your recruiter for specific information regarding the program to which you are applying.

What if I scored higher the last time I took the test?

The scores received on your most recent test attempt will count as your scores-of-record and replace all existing scores- regardless of the version taken. This is true even if some or all of your scores were higher on a previous attempt.

Why were the old forms of the ASTB replaced?

There are several reasons for the introduction of new ASTB-E. The primary reason is that the inclusion of the new subtests gives the ASTB-E even more predictive power than previous versions of the test had, yielding even more accuracy in selecting aviation candidates likely to perform well in training.

Why are there additional subtests on the ASTB-E?

Each subtest on the ASTB-E is a useful predictor of training outcomes, but no one subtest tells us enough information about an aviation candidate’s ability on its own. In addition, the new portions of the ASTB-E (NATFI and PBM) assess facets of performance not currently measured by cognitive abilities and aviation knowledge testing, providing incremental validity over the previous version of the ASTB-E. By including additional subtests that measure different constructs shown to predict success in aviation training, NMOTC can account for the more variance in training outcomes and help ensure that aviation programs make more efficient and accurate selection decisions. The figure below demonstrates how each ASTB-E component predicts additional, unique amounts of training performance not assessed by other portions of the test (not to scale).

Which subtests make the greatest contribution to my overall score?

The formulas that are utilized to compute final ASTB-E score components are proprietary information and will not be released by NMOTC. These formulas are compensatory, meaning that poor performance on a given subtest may often be offset by high performance on another. Examinees are encouraged, however, to perform as well as possible on all subtests.

Where can I find additional information about the ASTB-E?

For additional information about the ASTB-E, please see the  ASTB-E Overview Page.  
Point of Contact Information
For any additional questions about the ASTB-E, please contact the NMOTC Operational Psychology Department at 850-452-2379 or 850-452-2435. Department hours are 07:30AM to 4:00PM CST Mon-Fri. You may email your questions to

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