What is the AFOQT test?
The Air Force Officers Qualification Test (AFOQT) is an entry examination for the United States Air Force, designed to measure the essential skills, aptitudes and knowledge required of a serving officer.
A timed, multiple-choice assessment, the AFOQT is split into several subtests covering areas such as technical competence, language comprehension, mathematical skills and spatial awareness.
Anyone wishing to join the United States Air Force as an officer must sit this exam and will typically do so in their sophomore year of university through a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.
In passing the AFOQT, you prove you have what it takes to succeed in this high-stakes, high-responsibility profession.
How is the AFOQT formatted?
The AFOQT is split into 12 subtests in total, each with a set number of questions and a time limit for completion.
|Subject||Number of questions||Time limit|
|Self-description Inventory||220||40 minutes|
|Verbal Analogies||25||8 minutes|
|Arithmetic Reasoning||25||29 minutes|
|Word Knowledge||25||5 minutes|
|Math Knowledge||25||22 minutes|
|Reading Comprehension||25||38 minutes|
|Situational Judgement||50||35 minutes|
|Physical Science||20||10 minutes|
|Aviation Information||20||8 minutes|
|Instrument Comprehension||20||6 minutes|
|Table Reading||40||7 minutes|
|Block Counting||20||4.5 minutes|
These subtests and the skills they measure are outlined below.
AFOQT: Self-description Inventory
Time limit: 40 minutes
The self-description inventory subtest is a measure of your personality. Things like your working styles, social preferences, attitudes and values will be assessed as you rank a series of statements from strongly agree to strongly disagree.
There are no 'correct' answers in this subtest, nor is it scored. Rather, it is designed to determine how well suited your personality is for the profession, and how much satisfaction you would find in a serving officer role.
AFOQT: Verbal Analogies
Time limit: 8 minutes
This subtest focuses on language skills, more specifically, your knowledge of word function and how different groups of words relate to each other.
In each question, you'll be given an incomplete analogy, for example, "herd is to cow as flock is to…" You'll need to pick one word from multiple options that completes the analogy with the same word relationship.
You'll need to pay close attention to context and look out for any words that may have double meanings.
AFOQT: Arithmetic Reasoning
Time limit: 29 minutes
As the name suggests, this subtest is all about general arithmetic. Here you'll need to apply knowledge of things like percentages, fractions and ratios, perform cost calculations, and solve equations relating to volume, distance and speed.
Questions are typically presented as word problems with five possible answers for each.
AFOQT: Word Knowledge
Time limit: 5 minutes
This quickfire subtest looks at your vocabulary and your knowledge of word definitions. For each of the 25 questions, you'll be given a keyword and must choose one of several additional words that most closely matches its meaning.
Some of the questions posed will be relatively straightforward, whilst others will contain word sets of a more complex nature.
AFOQT: Math Knowledge
Time limit: 22 minutes
Whilst the arithmetic reasoning subtest focuses on general arithmetic used in a real-world context, the math knowledge subtest delves into geometry and algebra.
Questions presented here typically involve mathematical equations using percentages, factors and fractions, though you will also encounter some word problems.
AFOQT: Reading Comprehension
Time limit: 38 minutes
This subtest is the AFOQT equivalent of a verbal reasoning test, assessing your ability to interpret and draw conclusions from written information that is new to you.
You'll be presented with a passage of text that will be quite complex in nature, which you'll need to read carefully before answering a series of multiple-choice questions relating to it.
These questions will ask you to identify assumptions, inferences and facts from a given passage, as well as pinpoint key themes and takeaways.
AFOQT: Situational Judgement
Time limit: 35 minutes
A situational judgement test assesses your response to a range of relevant hypothetical scenarios - in the case of the AFOQT, scenarios you'd likely encounter as a serving officer in the United States Air Force.
For each situation given, you'll also be given five potential courses of action. You must choose which of these you see as being most effective and which as least.
AFOQT: Physical Science
Time limit: 10 minutes
In the AFOQT physical science subtest, you'll be challenged on your knowledge of scientific concepts and their application, primarily across the disciplines of physics and chemistry.
Questions are given as incomplete statements which you must complete by choosing the correct response from multiple choice options.
To achieve a high score in this section you'll need a strong grasp of physics as well as foundational knowledge of chemistry, biology and scientific terminology.
AFOQT: Aviation Information
Time limit: 8 minutes
Many sections of the AFOQT do not require any pre-existing knowledge. This is not the case however for the aviation information subtest, which looks at your technical understanding.
Questions follow a similar format as those in other sections, with an incomplete statement you must finish by choosing one of four options.
Topics you can expect to be covered in this subtest include aeroplane mechanics and instrumentation, runway standards, flight physics and flight control surfaces.
AFOQT: Instrument Comprehension
Time limit: 6 minutes
This subtest is a little different. Instead of word-based problems, it uses visuals to assess your ability to determine flight paths and positions through accurate instrument readings.
For each question, you'll see two dials, one representing a compass and one representing an artificial horizon. You'll also see four images of a plane in different flight positions.
You'll need to take readings from the dials for direction, climb or dive and banking to determine which image accurately represents the plane's flight position.
AFOQT: Table Reading
Time limit: 7 minutes
This subtest measures your ability to draw accurate data from tables, and to do so at speed. Each table shown appears as a grid, with X values in columns and Y values in rows.
Each question gives you X and Y values, which you'll use to locate the correct block in the table and note the number that appears within it.
It's a simple exercise in theory, but the strict time limit and high number of questions make the table reading section a challenging test of focus, speed and accuracy.
AFOQT: Block Counting
Time limit: 4.5 minutes
The shortest of the AFOQT subtests, this section is a measure of spatial reasoning, that is, your ability to mentally manipulate 2D and 3D visuals.
All 20 questions follow the same format. You'll see a 3D image of a pile of blocks, some of which will be numbered. You'll then be asked to locate one of these numbered blocks and determine how many of the surrounding blocks are touching it.
Again, the time limit in which you'll need to complete as many questions as possible makes this subtest particularly tricky.
All in all, you can expect to spend around five hours sitting the AFOQT, with time in each subtest for instructions and one short break included.
Top Tips To Pass The AFOQT
1. Practice aptitude tests
The AFOQT is basically a series of short aptitude tests combined into one comprehensive skills assessment. The nature of aptitude tests means they do not require any specific knowledge, but rather measure your natural abilities.
This does not mean however that you cannot prepare for them. You can, and should, take plenty of practice aptitude tests in preparation for your AFOQT. In doing so, you'll familiarise yourself with their format, learn to work under the pressure of a time constraint, and improve your abilities in key areas like verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning.
2. Be well-rested
Five hours is a long time to work under test conditions, particularly with the AFOQT, where each subtest requires high levels of concentration and attention to detail.
To perform well you need to be alert, focused and in a positive state of mind, so get plenty of quality rest in the run-up to your assessment day. Partake in anything that lowers your stress levels, like sport or mindfulness activities, eat well and keep hydrated.
3. Don't panic
This may be easier said than done but with the AFOQT it's important not to panic. The time limits of each subtest are in place to test how well you perform under pressure, so do your best to stay calm.
If you do get stuck on a particular question - and feel panic creeping in as a result - take a deep breath, make your best guess and move on. You will not be marked down for an incorrect answer so it's always worth having a go.
4. Read the instructions
With 12 subtests to work through in succession bar one short break, you'll be switching your focus from one task to the next at speed. To ensure you know exactly what each task involves be sure to read the instructions carefully at the start of each subtest.