Royal Navy

Prepare for the Royal Navy recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

Royal Navy Aptitude Tests

What is the Naval Service Recruiting Test (NSRT)?

The Naval Service Recruiting Test is part of the initial eligibility process that you must go through in order to prove your suitability for joining the Royal Navy. It is a set of psychometric tests, which assess your cognitive skills such as verbal and numerical dexterity, and your abstract reasoning.

Why the Royal Navy aptitude test is so important

In order to join any branch of the military, all hopeful candidates must be subjected to rigorous mental and physical testing to make sure that they have the capabilities required. The NSRT is one of the first tests that you will face during the hiring process, therefore it has a huge impact on whether or not you advance. It is highly important as it assesses your academic intelligence and interpersonal skills, which are all critical to being a successful naval officer.

Military jobs require specific psychological capabilities such as strong leadership, rapid and strategic decision making, performing under extreme pressure, and handling great responsibility. Therefore, the results of your psychometric testing will affect which types of jobs will be available to you, making it vital to do your best.

How is the Naval Service Recruiting Test structured?

The NSRT is 44 minutes long and has 120 questions. There are four sections, all of which have 30 questions, however the time allotments are not split equally:

After your test, you will be told whether you passed or failed on the day, and what the next stage looks like for you. If you did not score the required mark, you may be offered alternative roles or pathways, however if you do have to retake, you may have to wait up to a year for another opportunity.

Reasoning test

An abstract reasoning test is a psychometric test which assesses your critical thinking and judgement skills. It does this by testing how you process information, how well you recognise relationships, and if you can filter data by importance. Usually, abstract reasoning tests are in the form of diagrammatic reasoning, which means that you will be presented with shapes and asked to finish a sequence or spot errors in a pattern.

For more information on the Royal Navy Reasoning test, check out our full page.

Verbal ability test

Verbal ability tests are more complex than just grammar and spelling, they assess your understanding of vocabulary and relationships between words. Common questions will ask you to complete a sentence, usually by presenting you with antonyms, synonyms, and homophones, and asking you to choose the right word.

Click here to find out more about the Royal Navy Verbal Ability test.

Numeracy test

The numeracy test measures your dexterity with numerical information, including your speed and accuracy when making calculations. Some of the key skills you will be tested on include:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Ratios
  • Fractions
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Basic algebra

Want to know more about the Royal Navy Numeracy test? Click here for our full page.

Mechanical comprehension test

For the mechanical comprehension test you will have to show your understanding of basic mechanical concepts and physics. You will be given technical drawings of principles such as pulleys, gears, clockwork, and cars, and have to answer questions about how they work and how to solve problems.

Take a look at our full Royal Navy Mechanical Comprehension test page.

How is the Naval Service Recruiting Test scored?

All sections of the NSRT are scored solely by how many correct answers you get, therefore it is important for you to answer as many questions as possible.

Generally, a mark of 50% is considered a pass mark for many branches of the Navy, however it may differ depending on which career path you are considering. Some roles and areas have other specific requirements, but you should receive all of the information about your tests from your AFCO (Armed Forces Career Officer).

Tips for passing the Naval Service Recruiting Test

1. Find out as much information as possible beforehand. You should receive an information pack from your AFCO that details how your NSRT will be structured and what is expected of you in order to advance in the process. However, make sure to clarify any equipment specifics and ask any questions that you have in order to feel confident going into the test.

2. Practice in exam conditions. One of the most difficult aspects of the NSRT is the time limit, which is extremely restrictive, therefore getting used to it is hugely important. Performing well under pressure and showing you have strong decision making skills is all part of the psychometric testing, so practicing and being as prepared as possible will allow you to do your best.

3. Move on if stuck. The NSRT is marked on correct answers and there is no negative marking, therefore the Navy highly recommend taking the approach of answering as many questions as possible. If you get stuck on a question, do not let it throw off your timings - move on and let the problem ruminate, so if you have time to go back over the test at the end, you may find it easier to solve.

4. Revise basic concepts and skills. Although the NSRT is challenging, the verbal, numeracy, and mechanical concepts sections are all based on basic knowledge and skills, which are easy to forget but just as easy to sharpen up. Make sure you revise things such as your multiplication tables, basic laws of physics, and try doing exercises like crosswords to improve your vocabulary.


Is the Royal Navy recruitment test hard?

Generally, the questions are not too difficult, however they do require good knowledge of numeracy, language, and mechanical concepts of around GCSE level. For many people, the time restriction is the hardest part of the test, therefore, it is a good idea to revise and make sure that you are confident with the application of mathematics and physics formulae so you can work quickly and efficiently.

What is the pass mark for the Royal Navy recruitment test?

For most branches of the Navy, a mark of 50% is seen as sufficient for the lower tier pathways. However, for some areas this may be different, for example, if you are applying for Officer positions then a mark of around 75% on each section may be expected.

How long is the Naval Service Recruiting Test?

Overall the NSRT is 44 minutes long and broken into four sections:

What do I need to take the Naval Service Recruiting Test?

Typically, the NSRT is taken in person, meaning you will need to bring everything you require for sitting an in-person exam, e.g. pencils, reading glasses, etc. You are not allowed a calculator during this test, but make sure that you inform your AFCO of any accommodations you need.


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