Operational Psychology


ASTB-E Overview     

The Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) is used by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to select candidates for pilot and flight officer training programs. Portions of the test are also used by the Navy for selection into Officer Candidate School (OCS) for various officer communities.

ASTB-E Subtests

The entire test battery consists of 6 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)  
 Even though most examinees take the entire test battery, examinees seeking admittance to non-aviation officer programs also have the option of taking only the OAR portion of the test, which consists of the Math Skills Test, Reading Comprehension Test, and Mechanical Comprehension Test.
Each ASTB-E Subtest is designed to measure abilities that are essential to success in an aviation environment.
Math Skills Test - Measures the examinee's ability to:
  • Apply mathematical processes to solve equations
  • Understand basic concepts related to arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis
Reading Comprehension Test - Measures the examinee's ability to:
  • Extract information from text passages
  • Analyze written information and form logical conclusions
Mechanical Comprehension Test -Measures the examinee's ability to:
  • Perceive and understand the nature of physical relationships
  • Solve practical problems related to mechanical principles
Aviation and Nautical information Test - Measures the examinee's ability to:
  • Recall terminology and concepts relevant to Naval service and aviation
Naval Aviation Trait Facet Inventory – a personality questionnaire that measures:
  • Specific personality traits shown to predict success in aviation at various stages throughout an aviator’s career. The list of traits is proprietary and will not be released by NMOTC.
Performance Based Measures – A battery of processing speed, dexterity and divided-attention-driven tests measuring:
  • Spatial orientation aptitude
  • Dichotic listening aptitude
  • Ability to perform tracking tasks with a stick-and-throttle set
  • Ability to perform several of the aforementioned tasks at the same time


ASTB-E Scores

Examinees that take only the OAR portion will receive only one score, which is used to predict academic performance in Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS).

Examinees that take the entire test battery receive an additional 3 scores that are derived from combinations of the subtests, used for the selection of aviation and officer candidates:
ASTB Score Component What the Score Predicts Score Range
Academic Qualifications Rating (AQR) Academic performance in Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API) and primary phase ground school 1 to 9 stanine
Pilot Flight Aptitude Rating (PFAR) Primary flight performance for Student Naval Aviators (SNAs) 1 to 9 stanine
Flight Officer Aptitude Rating (FOFAR) Primary flight performance for Student Naval Flight Officers (SNFOs) 1 to 9 stanine
Officer Aptitude Rating (OAR) Academic performance in Naval Officer Candidate School (OCS) 20 to 80 in one point increments
Even though students that take the entire battery receive all four scores, each program utilizes different score components in the selection process. The following chart shows the ASTB score components that are utilized in the selection process for each program.



How Well Do Examinees Score on the Test?

Minimum requirements for each program differ according to program and service. The following chart shows the distribution of OAR scores for all examinees taking the ASTB in one year. Most examinees obtain scores between 40 and 60, while very few individuals obtain scores at the upper and lower extremes of the score range.

Examinee Distributions for OAR Scores in a typical year:

Decisions regarding aviation selection are based on the combination of two scores. Pilot selections are based on AQR and PFAR scores; Flight Officer selections are based on AQR and FOFAR scores. These scores are presented in stanines. The table below demonstrates the distribution of scores across stanines.
Stanine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Percentile Range 1-4% 4-11% 11-23% 23-40% 40-60% 60-77% 77-89% 89-96% 96-99%
Note on reading the table: An examinee who achieves a PFAR score in the sixth stanine has a PFAR score that falls in the 60th-77th percentile range.


3 Test Limit

Examinees are entitled to no more than three attempts at the current version of the OAR and/or ASTB-E to achieve qualifying scores.
Previous administrations of the ASTB forms no longer in use (i.e. ASTB Forms 1 through 5) do not count towards an individual’s 3 test attempts. All examinees are entitled to 3 attempts at ASTB Series E (ASTB-E).
If you already have ASTB Scores, they will remain valid unless you take the ASTB-E.

Retest Policy

The ASTB-E administered online via APEX is delivered in computer-adaptive format, presenting a different combination of items to the examinee on each administration. After three attempts at the ASTB-E, the examinee will be ineligible for ASTB testing. An ASTB-E retest can be administered only after 30 full calendar days have elapsed between the date of completion of the first full ASTB administration (once all 6 components have been completed) and the start date of the retest. These test interval requirements cannot be waived, so it is important that examinees are aware of these requirements and the amount of time that has passed between administrations.
Examinees who have taken the entire ASTB-E and are being retested must take the entire battery again even though they may be satisfied with their performance on parts of it (i.e. test scores may not be mixed-and-matched from separate ASTB attempts). If you are unsure of your retest date or which form numbers you previously took, please talk to your recruiter.

Illegal Testing

An illegal test occurs if an examinee intentionally takes a test under a false name and/or Social Security Number. Scores can be invalidated and the illegal test will still be counted against the individual's 3 time test limit.


ASTB-E Study Materials

The most frequently requested information about the ASTB-E is what types of questions are on the test and whether study materials are available. The following section is designed to address these issues and prepare individuals for the types of information that they will see on the exam, but in no way is it meant to be an exhaustive study guide. The section includes an overview of the questions found in each subtest, links to documents that will help individuals prepare for the exam, and sample questions for each subtest.

The ASTB subtests contain the following types of items


Math Skills Test (MST)

The math skills assessed by the ASTB subtests include arithmetic and algebra, with some geometry. The assessments include both equations and word problems. Some items require solving for variables, others are time and distance problems, and some require the estimation of simple probabilities. Skills assessed include basic arithmetic operations, solving for variables, fractions, roots, exponents, and the calculation of angles, areas, and perimeters of geometric shapes.

Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)

Reading comprehension items require ASTB examinees to extract meaning from text passages. Each item requires the examinee to determine which of the response options can be inferred from the passage itself. It is very important for examinees to remember that incorrect response options may still appear to be ‘true,’ but only one answer to each item can be derived solely from the information in the passage.

Mechanical Comprehension Test (MCT)

Items contained within the mechanical comprehension portion of the ASTB include topics that would typically be found in an introductory high school physics course and the application of these topics to a variety of situations. The questions in this portion of the test gauge examinees’ knowledge of principles related to gases and liquids, and their understanding of the ways in which these properties affect pressure, volume, and velocity. The subtest also includes questions that relate to the components and performance of engines, principles of electricity, gears, weight distribution, and the operation of simple machines, such as pulleys and fulcrums.

Aviation & Nautical Information Test (ANIT)

The ANIT assesses an examinee's familiarity with aviation history, nautical terminology and procedures, and aviation-related concepts such as aircraft components, aerodynamic principles, and flight rules and regulations. Of all the ASTB subtests, ANIT scores are the most easily improved by study because it is largely a test of knowledge, rather than aptitude. Examinees can prepare for this subtest by reviewing general reference materials, such as encyclopedias, FAA and civilian aviation books, and handbooks and manuals that provide an overview of basic piloting, navigation, and seamanship. In addition to these sources, some examinees have used commercially available study guides.

Naval Aviation Trait Facet Inventory (NATFI)

This section of the ASTB requires examinees to respond to a series of paired statements that describe how they may feel, think, or act.
Examinees see the following types of statement pairs, presented one pair at a time:
A. I perform slightly less effectively when things become difficult.
B. I sometimes run late for appointments.
A. I would readily invest my time and energy if someone were relying on me.
B. I accomplish more at work than do most other people.
The Examinee’s task is to select the one statement from each pair that best describes him or her. There is no need to study for this subtest. Examinees should simply respond honestly to each statement pairing. Note that by endorsing statements on this assessment, examinees are not acknowledging or stating that they would ever willingly engage in the behavior described in these statements. This is intended to be a test of choices that are difficult to make.
Performance Based Measures Battery (PBM)
This battery features several components in which examinees are required to solve directional orientation problems, complete listening tasks, and perform tracking tasks using a stick-and-throttle set. Examinees wishing to prepare for this subtest may find it useful to solve practice mental rotation problems, as well as practice with flight simulator software.

Where can I find additional material information about the

For additional questions about the ASTB-E, please see the ASTB-E FAQ 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 usn.pensacola.navmedoptractrpns.list.nmotc-astb@mail.mil.
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