What is the Technical Selection Test?
The Technical Selection Test (TST) is part of a battery of tests that face potential army recruits. Alongside the Army Cognitive Test, which is taken by all applicants and tests your knowledge of and ability in number fluency, word rules, orientation, deductive reasoning, and error detection.
it is used for technical trades in several different branches of the Army, including:
- Royal Engineers
- Royal Signals
- Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- Royal Logistic Corps.
When you apply for a trade in the Army, you will be told what tests you need to take, and if the Technical Selection Test is part of it. This test is taken at the recruitment centre alongside the ACT, the medical and the fitness test - after which you will take part in a career discussion to decide on your next steps, based on the results of your varying assessments.
The TST is a maths test, with questions on the same level that you might find in a GCSE textbook. You will be able to use a basic calculator, a pen or pencil, and some scrap paper that you can use to help you work out the answers.
What is on the Technical Selection Test?
As the Technical Selection Test is designed to assess your mathematical abilities, you will be tested on different operations and the way you can use them to answer questions. The questions themselves are not too difficult, but you will need at least a GCSE-level knowledge of multiplication, addition, division, and subtraction as well as being comfortable working with percentages, ratios and geometry.
There are 55 questions on the test, and you have just 45 minutes to answer them.
There are 28 subjects on the test, some of which include:
- Whole number division
- Decimal addition, multiplication, subtraction and division
- Fraction addition, multiplication, subtraction and division
- Conversion of fractions and metric units
- Proportions and scale
- Simultaneous equations
- Graphical interpretation
The questions are usually multiple-choice, so if you do not know the answer you can use different methods to try and find the right option.
The Technical Selection Test (TST) is marked out of 55, with one mark per correct answer. This test is not negatively marked; so you will not be penalised for an incorrect answer - which means that if you can't get the correct answer quickly, it is worth taking a guess. You have more of a chance of a right answer with a guess than by not answering it at all.
The score you need to get into the Army depends on the technical trade you are applying for. The scores needed range from 19 - 30 out of 55. You are only in competition with yourself when it comes to any of the Army selection tests - the higher your score, the more likely it is that you will get into the trade you are most interested in.
However, if you do not achieve the score you need, you can retake the TST. You can only resit the test once, and there needs to be at least 28 days between each test. The results are valid for 24 months.
How to Prepare and Pass the Technical Selection Test
Part of the difficulty of any aptitude test is the pressure you feel when you take it. The results of the Technical Selection Test will determine what trade you can train for in the Army, and with so much riding on a good score, it is perfectly normal to be nervous.
However, with the right practice, you can help take some of the fear out of the test. Taking relevant practice tests will help you feel more familiar with the structure and layout of the assessment so when you get to the real thing it is not so nerve-wracking.
By practicing tests under exam conditions, you will become more comfortable with the whole process, which includes the time limit. When you practice, make sure that you set a timer if there isn't one on the test so that you can get an idea of how fast you need to answer.
Practice tests will also let you see if there are specific areas you need to improve on for success. It is perfectly normal for there to be specific mathematical ideas that you find more difficult - and the answers you get wrong in the practice tests will help you know what you need to revise.
Once you have taken a practice test and you know the areas where you might struggle, create a study plan.
If you know you are applying for one of the technical trades, you will have to take the Technical Selection Test, so get revising early on for the best results. Getting started earlier will ensure that you have enough time to revise properly and give yourself the best chance for success.
Look at the ways you might solve word problems, brush up on dealing with percentages, fractions and decimals and make sure you are comfortable with using a calculator to answer these questions too.
If you have a method to use, whether it is with a calculator or not, then getting the right answer is much easier - no matter how the question is framed.
As the Technical Selection Test is part of a whole day of testing, preparation will be key to your success.
Know what to expect by reading about all the tests, including the medical and fitness tests so you feel prepared.
As you get closer to the day, you need to try and make sure you get a good night's sleep, and that you eat healthily and stay hydrated. All these things will help you perform at your best through the aptitude tests, and give you the best chance for the career you want.
Read the questions
Although the test is timed, you do not want to rush through the assessment. Take your time to thoroughly understand what is being asked of you so that you do not miss out on easy points.
Time pressure will be eased if you are used to answering questions quickly and accurately, and if you really struggle then it is worth making your best guess - there are no penalty points for wrong answers, but you definitely won't get a mark if you miss the question completely.
Is the technical selection test hard?
The Technical Selection Test is an assessment that is based on mathematical knowledge at a GCSE level - so the content itself should not be too challenging.
However, this is an assessment to check that you have what it takes to be successful in certain technical trades, so it needs to have a certain level of difficulty. One of the main challenges with the TST is that it is taken under exam conditions, with a tight time frame - so you have to be able to work under pressure, much like you would if you were in the role.
With practice and revision of basic GCSE maths principles, you should be able to achieve the score you need for your preferred Army trade.
What is a good score on the technical selection test?
The scores on the Technical Selection Test range from 0 - 55, and the score you need to get the role you are looking for depends entirely on the trade - and the area you are looking to work in.
For example, one of the lowest score requirements is for a Driver/Operator role in the Royal Engineers, where you will need to score more than 19 to be considered.
One of the highest scores needed is to become an Ammunition Technician in the Royal Logistics Corps, where you will need to achieve a score of 30 or more.
The best way to ensure that you qualify for the trade you are interested in is to perform as well as you can in the assessment.
What military jobs require the technical selection test?
If you are applying for a technical role in most branches of the Army, you will be required to take a Technical Selection Test - if you are unsure, your Career Officer will let you know.
The Technical Selection Test is used for technical trades in:
- Royal Engineers
- Royal Signals
- Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- Royal Logistics Corps.
You can expect to face a TST if you are looking for a trade as an engineer, a carpenter, a mechanic, or if you want to work in design or with aircraft, for example.
Can I retake the technical selection test?
If you fail the Technical Selection Test, you can retake it - but only once, and you must wait 28 days from your last attempt.
You can also retake the test if you didn't fail, but did not achieve the score you needed for the trade you are interested in, as long as your Selection Officer agrees. Again, you may only retake once and you need to wait for 28 days.
The results of your TST are valid for 24 months.