4 min read


Ryan Green
Ryan Green January 04, 2023

What is the RAF CBAT?

CBAT stands for 'computer based aptitude test'. You'll be notified by the Royal Air Force (RAF) if you are required to take this test rather than the AST during the selection process.

Designed to test innate skillsets and abilities, the test covers motor ability, short term memory, strategic task management, mental maths and much more. While most of these are skills that can be worked on but not necessarily revised, mental maths is one of the more challenging aspects of the test and is worth working with practice resources before the big day.

The test itself is taken at RAF Cranwell rather than your nearest test centre.

What is the Difference Between the RAF AST and CBAT?

The RAF CBAT (computer based aptitude test) and AST (airmen selection test) are the two different types of RAF application tests used in the recruitment process. You will only be required to take one.

Applicants for non-commissioned personnel would take the AST, whereas applicants for commissioned personnel, such as pilots and intelligence officers, would take the CBAT.

What is the Format of the RAF CBAT?

The number of sub-tests within the CBAT depends specifically on which role you're applying for. For example, if you're looking to become a pilot, the CBAT would include all of the relevant tests to assess the skills needed in this role. This could include the colours, letters, and numbers test, the sensory-motor apparatus test, the situational awareness test, and many more. You'll be given further detail by your RAF contact as to which tests you'll be taking.

All of the CBAT tests are taken on a computer and are designed to assess skills you'll need for your chosen career within the RAF.

How is the RAF CBAT Scored?

Unlike the AST, when you take the CBAT you are required to achieve an overall cut-off score, as well as a certain score for each section of the test (this ensures you have a well-rounded set of skills, rather than letting one skillset carry you to the cut-off).

Each area of aptitude that you're being tested on will also have a weighting, which indicates how important it is for the role you're applying for.

How Hard is the RAF CBAT?

As the RAF CBAT is designed for commissioned personnel such as pilots, the questions on the CBAT are much harder than on the AST. The test is challenging as it is designed to assess a range of different cognitive abilities that are each important for job and training success.

However, this does not mean it is impossible to pass, as with some focused preparation and understanding of the test, you can put yourself in a good position for success.

How to Pass the RAF CBAT

Practice — although the CBAT is more renowned for testing innate abilities such as motor skills, it is possible to practice tests to help you understand basic principles and to do your best on the day. There are lots of online resources and past tests to help you get ready for the one that really counts.

Find opportunities to prepare — lots of the basic principles you're being tested on are things you'll use in day-to-day life, so it's important to test yourself in practical ways to help better skills like hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

Read the instructions carefully — it sounds obvious, but it's important. Skim reading instructions can lead to misunderstandings that cost scores. Make sure you always take time to read through the instructions carefully before you start each section of the test.

Don't panic — it's unlikely you'll find the test easy, and there will certainly be areas that feel more challenging than others. The important thing is not to panic. If you've practised and prepared beforehand then you've given yourself the best possible chance of success in the application process and being offered a rewarding career. So, just take a deep breath and try your best.

Check out our full RAF DAA (formerly known as AST) and CBAT aptitude tests page here which includes free tests.

Ryan Green January 04, 2023

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