21 Things You Need to Know Before You Take The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) | Updated 2019
1) What is the AFOQT?
The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) is a multiple choice standardized exam designed to test candidates on a range of topics from mathematical and verbal skills to spatial rotation and aviation aptitudes. The test is divided into 12 subtests, each of which is timed. The AFOQT takes approximately five hours to complete with time for breaks and instruction included.
For more detailed AFOQT subtest specific information have a look at AFOQT Study Guide Central.
2) Who needs to take the AFOQT?
A majority of the candidates seeking a commission in the United States Air Force will have to take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test.
If you have a professional license in law, ministry, and/or medicine and wish to join the United States Air Force as an officer (and utilize said license), you do not need to take the AFOQT.
All other officer candidates will need to take the test.
3) Where do I take the test?
Where you take the AFOQT will relate to your current civilian and/or military status. If you have completed your undergraduate studies and wish to join the Air Force as an officer (via Air Force Officer Training School), contact your local Air Force Officer Recruiter to schedule your AFOQT (you will most likely test at the closest military entry processing station (MEPS)).
Note: In most locations nationwide, the Air Force employs separate recruiters for enlisted and officer personnel. Do not be discouraged if it takes you a few attempts to actually connect with an Air Force Officer Recruiter – there are a lot of you and not many of them.
If you are currently an active duty Air Force service member, contact your base education office. You may be able to take the AFOQT on base. If this is not an option and/or information is limited, you can always reach out to an officer recruiter in your area. Active duty service members from other branches should also contact their local Air Force Officer Recruiter for further AFOQT scheduling information. It may be possible to take your test on Post/Station/etc. via proctor.
AFROTC students and cadets at the Air Force Academy typically take the AFOQT during their sophomore & junior years, respectively. If you’re an AFROTC student or AFA cadet and do not know when/where you will take the AFOQT, stop reading right now and go find out!
4) How do I schedule my test?
You will need to coordinate with your recruiter, military education point of contact or AFROTC for information regarding upcoming Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) dates. The number of test dates scheduled may vary depending upon your location. So, don’t wait until the last minute to register!
5) How long is the AFOQT?
You have exactly 3 hours and 36 minutes to answer all of the questions on the AFOQT. Actual test time is closer to 5 hours with scheduled breaks and instruction included.
6) How many questions are on the AFOQT?
The AFOQT contains 550 questions. The ‘Self-Description Inventory,’ often referred to as the AFOQT personality test, is the largest of the 12 subtests with 240 items. The good news is you don’t need to study for this portion of the test – official Air Force AFOQT guidance states there are no ‘right or wrong’ answers. You’ll be provided with a series of statements (e.g., ‘I enjoy attending large social gatherings’) and asked to respond how strongly you agree/disagree utilizing a 5-point scale.
The remaining 310 questions are divided unevenly amongst 11 subtests:
Verbal Analogies (25 questions | 8 minutes)
Arithmetic Reasoning (25 questions | 29 minutes)
Word Knowledge (25 questions | 5 minutes)
Math Knowledge (25 questions | 22 minutes)
Reading Comprehension (25 questions | 38 minutes)
Situational Judgment (50 questions | 35 minutes)
Physical Science (20 questions | 10 minutes)
Aviation Information (20 questions | 8 minutes)
Instrument Comprehension (25 questions | 8 minutes)
Block Counting (30 questions | 4.5 minutes)
Table Reading (40 questions | 7 minutes)
Check out Study Guide Central for a more detailed look at each subtest with sample AFOQT questions.
7) How long does it take to receive my scores after I take the AFOQT?
You can check your AFOQT scores online 8-10 business days after you take the test.
Note: If you are unable to view the AFPC webpage, contact your testing center for further guidance.
8) What are the minimum required AFOQT scores?
All aspiring United States Air Force Officers (rated and non-rated) must attain the following minimum AFOQT scores:
Verbal Composite: 15
Quantitative Composite: 10
Candidates hoping to secure a rated Air Force Officer career slot must attain the following minimum scores in addition to the verbal/quantitative minimums:
Pilot (to include Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)):
Verbal Composite: 15
Quantitative Composite: 10
Pilot Composite: 25
CSO/Navigator Composite: 10
Combat Systems Officer (CSO)/Navigator:
Verbal Composite: 15
Quantitative Composite: 10
Pilot Composite: 10
CSO/Navigator Composite: 25
Air Battle Manager (ABM):
Verbal Composite: 15
Quantitative Composite: 10
ABM Composite: 25
Note: These are the Minimum Required Scores. Competitive average scores are often much higher and vary according to your selection cohort. Check out the Air Force ROTC Reddit thread for a ‘best & worst’ AFOQT score pulse check (do keep in mind you’re reading information posted by unknown people from the internet).
This seems like a good place to post a link where you can read about Tom, author of this blog post + guy who created AFOQTGuide.com & AFOQTAcademy.com.
9) What is a composite score and why are they important?
The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test composite scores are comprised of various combinations of your subtest scores. For example, the Pilot Composite Score is derived from your scores on the Math Knowledge, Table Reading, Instrument Comprehension & Aviation Information Subtests.
The Air Force Personnel Center website states that composite scores are provided in seven areas:
Combat Systems Officer/Navigator
Air Battle Manager
However, upon completion of the AFOQT, you will receive five composite scores. ABM & Situational Judgment scores are not provided to test-takers.
For a detailed breakdown of each composite score, take a look at the official AFOQT Information Pamphlet provided by the Air Force.
Once you know which composite scores correlate with your desired career field, utilize the AFOQT Prep in Six Weeks framework to customize your study regimen.
10) If I’m unhappy with my AFOQT scores, can I retake the test?
Yes. You can take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test twice. But, you must wait at least 150 days between tests. In rare instances it may be possible to take the test a third time, but a waiver is required.
11) What are the basic requirements to become an officer in the United States Air Force?
Air Force Officer candidates must be United States citizens, have a bachelor’s degree, and be between 18 and 39 years of age.
Air Force Officer candidates pursuing a specialty career (in qualifying healthcare, legal & ministry fields) must be United States citizens, have a career-relevant degree and/or post graduate degree, and be between 18 and 48 years of age.
12) Will my AFOQT Scores ever expire?
At the time of this writing your AFOQT ‘Form T’ test scores do not have an expiration date. If you took the former ‘S Version’ of the AFOQT, your scores are no longer valid and you will need to take the new (Form T) test.
Note: Current requirements stipulate Air Force Officer candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and be between 18 and 39 years of age. This does not apply to individuals pursuing specialty careers – they are not required to take the AFOQT.
13) The AFOQT is a multiple-choice test, is there a penalty for guessing?
Absolutely not. There is no penalty for guessing. You’re actually penalized for not guessing in that you’re guaranteed to get the question wrong if you don’t bubble in a response.
Note: The AFOQT is served up in old-fashioned standardized test style. Paper-based, scantron bubble sheet & number 2 pencil.
14) Know the ‘Form T’ (i.e., most recent) test format.
If your AFOQT study materials include ‘Hidden Figures’ and/or ‘Rotated Blocks’ Subtest information: DISREGARD. These subtests are not on the ‘Form T’ version of the AFOQT.
The Situational Judgment & Reading Comprehension Subtests have replaced the aforementioned subtests. The General Science Subtest has also been switched out in favor of the Physical Science Subtest. Have a look at AFOQT Guide’s Study Guide Central for a comprehensive breakdown of all AFOQT Subtests.
15) What is the difference between a rated and non-rated Air Force Officer career?
Rated Air Force Officer career fields are flight-related: Pilot (to include Remote Piloted Aircraft (RPA)), Combat Systems Officers (CSO), and Air Battle Managers (ABM).
Non-rated Air Force Officer careers consist of all non-flight/non-specialty fields (e.g., civil engineering, logistics, services).
16) Time Constraint Training = Free Test Day Confidence.
In addition to having a solid understanding of the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test content, conditioning yourself for test day time constraints is likely the greatest advantage you can give yourself.
How much time do you have to complete the Arithmetic Reasoning Subtest? How about Table Reading? Aviation Information? Okay, you get the idea.
Get your AFOQT study regimen organized today and give yourself permission to wake up on test day anxiety-free!
Also, keep the test format (pencil, paper & scantron sheet) in mind as you prepare. Bubbling takes precious time. If you really want to separate yourself from the pack, order a few scantron sheets to go with your AFOQT practice tests for a truly authentic test day experience.
17) Write it Down!
Want to boost your test day memory recall? Write. It. Down. Make note of important concepts and anything you struggle to remember as you prepare for the AFOQT. Compile a running list of questions and try to answer them without assistance a few hours after a study session. This mimics the testing environment and gives you a clear picture of what you have retained (or not).
Skeptical? Take a look at this study on effective studying (how meta!).
18) What is the TBAS test, does it have anything to do with the AFOQT?
The Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS) is a computer-based test designed to measure psychomotor learning (i.e., physical skills such as movement, dexterity, use of precision instruments, etc.), spatial ability & multi-tasking competency. Over the course of the 75 minute test, you will utilize a joystick, rudder pedals & headphones to complete the required tasks. United States Air Force pilot and and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) candidates are required to pass the test prior to selection.
The Air Force is terse and tight-lipped when it comes to the contents of the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS). The following disclaimer is provided in no uncertain terms via the Air Force Personnel Center TBAS Info webpage:
‘It is very important that you do not discuss the contents of the test with anyone other than the test administrator. If you do discuss the test with anyone else you will be held responsible for violating a legal regulation, Air Force Instruction 36-2605, Air Force Military Personnel Testing System. You will also be disqualified from consideration for Air Force pilot training.’
Here’s what we do know about the test: it consists five subtests, each of which is described in limited detail via the Air Force Personnel website. Here’s a quick rundown for you:
Directional Orientation Subtest
Designed to measure your spatial orientation abilities – objective is to determine unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) positioning relative to a target. There are 48 questions.
Horizontal Tracking Subtest
Rudder pedals are utilized to keep a box over an airplane silhouette as said silhouette moves horizontally across the bottom of a screen. The airplane moves at a constant speed and changes direction when it runs out of screen (i.e., ‘hits the side of the screen) and/or is targeted successfully for multiple seconds. The task lasts for three minutes; degree of difficulty (speed of the airplane) increases in kind.
Airplane Tracking Subtest
A joystick is utilized to keep a gun sight on a moving airplane silhouette maneuvering at a constant rate. The silhouette changes direction when it ‘bumps’ the edge of the screen and/or is targeted successfully for several seconds.
Airplane & Horizontal Tracking Subtest
A combination of subtests two and three. First, you track an airplane silhouette moving along a horizontal axis. Second, you track an airplane moving in two dimensions.
This subtest requires you to perform four cognitive tasks simultaneously during multiple trials. Memorization, arithmetic, visual monitoring, and listening are the required tasks. You are able to practice each task individually prior to the multi-tasking portion. For the memorization task you will be presented with a written code of letters to memorize. After a delay you will be asked to identify whether a particular letter was included in the code. You will be asked to perform arithmetic computations for the arithmetic task – hopefully no surprises here. The visual monitoring task requires you to keep an eye on a gauge to determine when said gauge needs to be reset. You will periodically be instructed to change the channel (4 possible channels) via auditory command for your designated call sign.
As you’ve likely gathered by now – the TBAS and the AFOQT are separate tests that all pilot and RPA candidates must pass in order to become eligible for selection. These two tests combined with your logged flight hours are utilized to calculate your Pilot Candidate Selection Method Score (PCSM).
Note: For more in-depth TBAS information visit the Bogidope website – it’s run by a group of military and civilian pilots. Tons of useful ‘how-to-become-a-pilot’ info here.
19) What is a PCSM score?
The Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) score is comprised of your AFOQT Pilot Composite score, TBAS score and the number of flight hours you have logged to date. Possible PCSM scores range from 1-99, however, the Air Force scoring algorithm (i.e., how each variable is weighted) is confidential.
Note: PCSM scores are only required for rated applicants as said selection method is meant to gauge aviation aptitude (turns out the explanation was in the acronym the whole time!).
20) Can flight hours boost my AFOQT score?
No. Accumulating flight hours will not improve your Air Force Officer Qualifying Test score. But, your logged flight hours are an important component of your Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) score.
Approximately 4-5 points are added to your PCSM score upon accumulation of logged flight hours at each of the following levels:
Assuming you had logged 202 flight hours and were awarded a maximum of 5 points for each level, you could expect to boost your overall PCSM score by 45 points. However, your returns do diminish as you accumulate more hours. If you score well on the TBAS and AFOQT, it may not be worth it from time and/or monetary standpoint to attain 100+ hours.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth Pilot Candidate Selection Method score explanation, head over to Bogidope.com – they have you covered.
21) Where can I go to get my AFOQT prep started?
You, my friend, have come to the right place.
AFOQT Guide’s Study Guide Central: Comprehensive AFOQT Subtest Review
AFOQT Guide’s Practice Test Page: Download a free AFOQT Practice Test (scroll to center of the webpage)
AFOQT Academy Colonel Package: The maximum amount of AFOQT practice test questions your money can buy – in PDF and online format!