What is the ADF YOU General Ability Test?
Once you have submitted your online application to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) you will be invited to an ADF ‘Your Opportunities Unlimited’ (YOU) Session, which may be held virtually or in person at your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre. The ADF General Ability Test is an aptitude test that forms part of this programme of activities.
The test will assess your general reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving ability and will include numerical data, sequences, word meanings and classifications, (de)coding tasks and questions involving shapes and patterns. The wide range of questions aim to identify your strengths, in order to determine which service or position(s) will be best suited to your abilities.
If you do not achieve the score needed to be considered for your preferred role, but still wish to serve in the ADF, you will be able to speak to your defence recruiter about your options. The chances are you will be able to find an alternative capacity across the navy, army or air force that offers an equally diverse and rewarding career within the ADF. If you still wish to retake the test, you will need to wait a minimum of 12 months. You can apply to join the ADF on up to a maximum of three occasions.
Note that if you are an Officer Entry, Pilot and Navigator/Observer, Air Traffic Control and Air Defence (Fighter Control) Officer, General Entry (Non-Officer), Technical and Other Trades or Other Specialist Occupations applicant, you will be required to sit additional assessments alongside the General Ability Test.
The Format of the General Ability Test
The General Ability Test is made up of three sections: numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning.
This test is multiple choice and will be taken under timed conditions. In order to achieve a high score – and therefore have the greatest range of opportunities available to you - you will need to work quickly and accurately through the questions.
Pace is of particular importance, as you will be required to answer a total of 75 questions in a 30-minute period.
The test may be administered on the computer, or in pencil and paper format. Either way, the content of the test will be the same. The questions will be of varying difficulties, ranging from straightforward to complex.
The numerical reasoning section of the General Ability Test assesses your ability to manipulate numerical data to solve problems. It will contain questions involving basic arithmetic, number sequences, fractions, decimals, percentages and algebra.
The questions will be multiple choice and you will be required to select one correct answer from the options provided. Use of a calculator is not permitted.
The verbal reasoning section of the General Ability test aims to ascertain a candidate’s analytical ability when it comes to words, their relationships, and meanings.
The questions are short in length, consisting of problems involving word analogies and word meanings (which require a solid grasp of synonyms and antonyms).
There are also word code questions where candidates are given an example word and the code that represents it, along with a second word code. Using the template code, candidates are required to select the word that the second code represents from the multiple-choice options.
You are not permitted to use a dictionary for this section of the test.
The General Ability Test also contains an abstract reasoning section to assess your logic, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Abstract reasoning is very similar to diagrammatic or logical reasoning. The questions will involve a series of shapes, or more complex figures involving shapes, symbols and colours.
You will be required to use the diagram(s) given to deduce the rules governing the pattern and identify the next object in the series. There will be four multiple choice options from which to make your selection.
How is the General Ability Test Scored?
The General Ability Test is scored based on the number of questions you answer correctly within the time limit. It is not negatively marked, so you will not lose points for incorrect answers. It is, therefore, worthwhile making your best guess if you find yourself stuck on a question.
The time you take to complete the test does not contribute toward your score, but a fast pace is crucial in order to answer all 75 questions within the 30-minute time limit. The more questions you answer, the greater chance you have of securing the score you need.
As there are a total of 75 questions, your raw score will be out of 75. Results may also contain percentile scores that take into account how well you scored relative to the rest of your cohort as well as relative to past intakes in your chosen field.
The ADF does not release their benchmarks for acceptance into different roles, so there are no exact scores to aim for. The higher you score, however, the more opportunities will be open to you.
Top Tips to Pass the General Ability Test
1. Read the instructions and questions carefully
The instructions will come at the start of the test. Read these carefully, taking note of any differences between the sections. Take the opportunity to accustom yourself, answering any practice questions provided.
Although a rapid pace is needed, taking time to read each question is vital. Assuming what a question is asking, will lead to selecting an incorrect answer – reasoning tests are designed to require acute attention to detail. Aim to work with less haste and more calm, controlled speed to ensure accuracy.
2. Practice answering similar questions
In order to prepare for the General Ability Test, practise answering numerical, verbal and abstract reasoning questions. There are 28 mixed example questions in the ADF’s Guide to Aptitude Testing and many more can be found online. Military Aptitude Tests offers a free ADF YOU Session test, and has a library of tests to help you build your skills and confidence. Answering practise problems will help you to become accustomed to the style and content of the questions, increasing your chances of success on the test. Prepare comprehensively, giving yourself enough time in the weeks leading up to the test.
3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
When answering practise questions, make sure you review the papers carefully and pay attention to where your skills lie. It is important to focus upon strengthening your weaker areas, so they don’t detrimentally impact your score on the day of the test. Also, do not assume that, simply because you have a mathematical or linguistic mind, you will not need to prepare for those question types. Reasoning questions are rather unique in terms of their style and ask, so dedicate time to gain a familiarity with all types.
4. Take the test in a suitable environment
To improve your chances of achieving a high score, complete the test in a quiet environment that is free from distractions. To avoid any technical issues, it is sensible to check your internet connection and update your browser before the test.
It is also important that you are well-rested as, to concretely display you have the qualities the ADF seeks, you will need quick mental reactions.
Check out our full ADF YOU Session assessment page here that include free tests.