One of the followers of my blog wrote up this really great overview of his/her experience with the AFOQT and TBAS. Here it is:
“My Scores: P: 96 N: 97 AA: 91 V:88 Q: 86 ABM: 97 CSO: 97 PCSM: 64 Flight Hours: 0
This was my study experience for the AFOQT and TBAS tests.
First and foremost, you need to go to this page and make sure you are studying for the correct test: http://access.afpc.af.mil/pcsmdmz/AFOQTPrepMaterials.html. I printed everything out from this website and put it in a three-ring binder. That includes the very important table reading chart, test bank, and key. The website also has a PowerPoint that includes everything that will be on the test and practice tests.
When I started studying, they had just changed from version S to version T of the test. All of the books that were out there were written for version S. If I hadn’t had gone to the above website, I would have studied for the incorrect test. With that said, I did buy a book to study from. I used Barron’s: https://amzn.com/B00PJ4NDAG. This was a great resource to learn about the basics of aviation and also gave me a few practice tests to try out. There may be something out for version T now, but I’m not sure.
The key to getting a good score on the AFOQT is practice, practice, practice. When I went into my test, I knew exactly what to expect, and there were no surprises at all. Also, there may be questions that you don’t know the answer for. Don’t get caught up in them, because you have very little time. The following was how I studied and practiced for each section. Keep in mind that I took the test a year ago, so I may not remember everything I did to study, but I do remember the key elements.
Verbal Analogies 19 Seconds per question: I read from Barron’s book to study for this test. It’s pretty much a test of your vocabulary. Really, the only way to get good at vocabulary is to read and expand your vocabulary. With that said, the PowerPoint from the Air Force also tells you exactly what type of analogies there will be, and what to look for. There is a practice test in the book and in the PowerPoint.
Arithmetic Reasoning 1 minute per question: There is no way to get around being good at math, you either have it or you don’t. If it’s been a while since you took a math class, like it was for me, the practice tests are even more important. There are tests in the book, and one in the PowerPoint.
Word Knowledge 12 seconds per question: Again, this is a test to measure your vocabulary. Look at the PowerPoint for more info on examples and a practice test.
Math Knowledge just under 1 minute per question: Same as the arithmetic test, know your math and do the practice tests in the book and in the PowerPoint.
Reading Comprehension 7 ½ minutes per passage: Really no way to study for this. In the test, read carefully and deliberately both the passage and the questions. It’s not hard, just pay attention.
Situation Judgement: Also no way to study for this test. It’s all about you and your ability to make judgement calls. Read carefully, and be smart with your answers.
Self-Description Inventory 11 seconds per question: It’s a personality test about you. Be honest, and don’t get caught up in a question, as you have lots of questions in very little time to do it in.
Physical Science 30 seconds per question: Like math, you either know your science or you don’t. This was my weakest subject, and the Air Force provides very little study material, and not a full practice test. I think I just read about the topic in the Barron’s book (though it’s different since it’s about version S), looked online for test prep suggestions (I don’t have much for you, sorry), and watched a bunch of YouTube videos on the different parts of science.
Table Reading 10 seconds per question: Since I wanted to be a pilot, this was the test that I practiced the most for. I suggest the same for you. This test is hard, and you have to be well practiced to finish it. In fact, they don’t expect you to finish it. There are 40 questions, and I finished 39. To practice this, print out the Table, the questions (“Reading Items”), the answer key, and (very important) a bubble sheet that you yourself find online. When I first started practicing, I would just circle the answers on the answer sheet. One day I decided to fill in bubbles on a bubble sheet and learned that it takes almost as long to fill in the bubble than it does to find the answer. It was very eye opening to me, as I was nowhere fast enough. The other thing that takes just as long is keeping tabs on what question you are on. The “Reading Items” page is full of lots of numbers, and it’s really easy to lose your place. For the test you are not allowed to use a straight edge on the chart itself; however, I read a suggestion from someone to use a piece of scratch paper on the “Reading Items” sheet to keep yourself on the correct line. I didn’t have a piece of scratch paper during this part of the test, so I used the chart itself to keep me on the correct line so I wouldn’t lose my place. Whatever you do, practice this test at least 10 times with a bubble sheet, and go in with a plan. Last, make sure you are filling in the correct bubble. I accidentally skipped a number on the bubble sheet, but luckily caught it after a couple of questions, and was able to fix it quickly. But, that cost me the 40th question.
Instrument Comprehension 12 seconds per question: I used the PowerPoint and the book to study for this. I took the full length tests in the book. You have 12 seconds per question, so don’t panic and visually think of what direction the aircraft would be flying. Think of it as you are standing pointed north. The compass is telling you what direction the aircraft is flying, and the artificial horizon is the one that’s in the aircraft. Take the tests in the book, it’ll help a lot.
Block Counting 9 seconds per question: This is a very visual test. It was also the only one that I found that the actual test was harder than the practices that I did. I suggest doing as many practice tests as you can. As you count the blocks, touch each block with your pencil so you don’t miss one.
Aviation Information 24 seconds per question: If Physical Science was my weakest category, this was even worse before I started studying. The book really helped a lot getting the basics down. Also, there were several YouTube videos that I watched that taught the basics. Between the two, I did well. Take the practice tests in the book.
You can’t really “study” for the TBAS like you can the AFOQT, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances of getting better. The info provided about the TBAS test is here: http://access.afpc.af.mil/pcsmdmz/TBASInfo.html.
Play Video Games with an inverted axis: Everyone says this, but it may not make sense to you. Many people aren’t used to how flight sticks work. On a video game, if they push on the stick they expect that they screen/crosshairs will move up. This is exactly opposite of what you want. If you push on the stick, you want the screen/crosshairs to go down. If you pull on the stick, you want the screen/crosshairs to go up. This is vital! And it’s not enough to do it a few times, it needs to be muscle memory where you don’t even have to think about it. The target that you are supposed to be following will be going everywhere, and you don’t have any time to think, you must just react. So, now you have a legitimate excuse to tell your significant other that you NEED to play some video games, and a lot of them.
Direction Orientation Test: There are flash cards for these, print them double sided, cut them out, study them in with every spare moment that you have, and make them second nature. The faster you answer correctly, the better your score. I’d click the answer before the computer finished loading each question, which resulted in my answering the question in 0.001 seconds for each question. That helps your score a lot.
Multi-Tasking Test: I’m not going to lie; this is a hard test. But, I had a lot of fun with this one. A couple pointers. First, with the memorization part, make the letters into a word. They aren’t going to show all of the letters that they put up. So if you make the letters into a word, then it’s much easier to remember the other couple random letters. For example: the example on the webpage is “WRBDVEZM.” Looking at it for a few seconds I see “BED, DMV, REM, EZ (easy)” and a random W. If I can remember these couple of words and a “W” then when they pop up to test me I can answer correctly. The math isn’t hard, just remember that it’s there. With the guage, let it get to the yellow before you click it to reset it. At first I would click it as soon as it started moving. But, then I noticed that the more it moved the more points I received. Just don’t let it get to the red.
Remember to have fun! I hope this helps, good luck everyone!”
Here is the link to the TBAS flashcards. Thank you anonymous follower for this great information! You know who you are.