The Airman Selection Test is the first real stage of the selection process (after the online application but that’s pretty straight forward).

The AST measures your ability to do the trade that you have applied for. You need to pass this to be eligible to continue the application for your chosen trade. 

Many people worry about the test and even more so about how to revise and what to revise. Some of the test is easy to prepare for but a large part of the test is measuring your natural ability. 

I failed my first attempt. The ‘technical’ trades such as Aircraft Technician, ICT Technician etc. all require quite high scores, and coupled with the time limit in which you have to achieve these high scores, it amounted to me failing my first attempt but subsequently passing the second. Therefore I feel this puts me in quite a good position where I can talk about my experience of the test and how best to prepare.

The structure of the test is as follows – 

  • Verbal Reasoning with 15 minutes to answer 20 questions
  • Numerical Reasoning Part 1 with 4 minutes to answer 12 questions
  • Numerical Reasoning Part 2 with 11 minutes to answer 15 questions
  • Work Rate with 4 minutes to answer 20 questions
  • Spatial Reasoning Part 1 with 4 minutes to answer 10 questions
  • Spatial Reasoning Part 2 with 3 minutes to answer 10 questions
  • Electrical Comprehension with 11 minutes to answer 21 questions
  • Mechanical Comprehension with 10 minutes to answer 20 questions
  • Memory Test Part 1 will comprise of 10 questions presented on film
  • Memory test Part 2 will also comprise of 10 questions presented on film

Please be advised, this list was correct as of February 2014, but may change in the future. 

As you can probably see, the time limits for most of these sections are extremely harsh. While it is very possible to revise for some of these sections and improve your chances, being against the clock will certainly be a bigger challenge in comparison to the complexity of the questions. The questions, however, become more difficult when you’re working your brain until the last possible second. You can feel yourself become more frantic as you realise how long ago it was that you began a particular section, and therefore you know how little time you’ve got left. If you get in the unfortunate situation of having little time left, but lots of questions left, it may not be a happy ending. I talk from experience here. On my first attempt, I messed up on the Electrical Comprehension section. I didn’t know the answer to a question and moved onto the next, but I didn’t miss out the question on the answer sheet, meaning about 8 of my answers were right, but in the wrong boxes, so they wouldn’t have counted. I tried to erase them, go back through the questions, and put the answers in the correct boxes, but ran out of time. I would have rather failed spectacularly rather than making a stupid mistake like that. 

I hope you’re now beginning to see how much the time limits can affect your performance. Basic maths questions, for example, will seem impossible and your brain will just stop working for a couple of seconds too long, and then you realise you have to push yourself beyond the realms of possibility to try and pull it back and get ahead of time. 

How to revise

This is by far the most common question I see people asking and I completely understand why people get stuck. Here is the only link you need to prepare you for the test –

Another useful wesbsite to practise mental maths is here –

The above website has time limits you can set for yourself, and also adjustable difficult settings, which is quite helpful!

All of the questions are GCSE-level based. The sections you can revise for the most are the Verbal (English), Numerical (Maths), Mechanical and Electrical sections. The parts that you cannot easily revise for are the Memory tests, Work Rate, and Spatial Reasoning. These are the sections which are most reliant on natural ability. You either have it or you don’t. 

Another good way to revise, is by practising Psychometric Tests (the proper name for the AST). Many of these will include the same sections as the AST. What you will also find when googling Psychometric Tests are certain websites which will sell you different types of tests. There is even a book on Amazon which is all about the RAF test. I do not believe these to be worth your money. You can do equally as well by just doing the free ones, and using other resources like GCSE Bitseize. 

Again, I’m going to come back to the time limit. You cannot prepare for this test fully if you have not incorporated the time limit in your preparation. I cannot stress this enough. Get your family/friends to write out 12 basic maths questions (decimal/fraction/percentage conversions, basic algebra, addition/multiplication/division of fractions etc.) Once you have these, set a stopwatch to 4 minutes and start. This will improve your mental maths. You can do similar things for all the sections that you can revise for my referring to the list above which states the amount of questions and the time you have to do them in.

Following this advice may give you a fundamental basis on which to work on, but I do believe that a large part of it is down to the individual. I definitely didn’t have all this information at my disposal the first time I took the test and although I failed, I still qualified for almost every ground trade in the RAF and that in itself was something I was proud of. If you really want to do well, you don’t need me to tell you how to revise and prepare, because you’ll be doing it anyway. I’m just trying to point people in the right direction as I know that some worry more than others. 

Optimism and confidence will get you through it. There was no way on Earth that I was going to leave the AFCO as a failure twice. I said that to myself over and over, and it had a positive effect on my result. I passed the second time, when it would have been easy to fail if I had thought I was going to. 

Go in there, give it your all. If you fail, find out what you need to work on, work on it, go back and do what you need to do. 



94 thoughts on “AST

  1. What a great blog, I wish I’d found it sooner! I’m 49 and currently going through the process now. Passed my AST 1st time with the required grade for my trade but not everyone did on the day. I also attended an Int. Squadron open day (min requirement is 4 GCSE’s) and quite a few people were surprised when they failed the AST.

  2. Hi Ryan, I have my P2 Presentation coming up shortly and I was just wondering whether or not it’s advisable to wear smart clothing (I.e a suit). It may sound like I’m worrying over something small, but I don’t want to arrive looking out of place.


    • Sorry for the delayed reply Ben. Not sure when you had/have you presentation but I would say smart/casual as a minumum. I had my presentation straight after my AST resit and I went for smart/casual after going for a suit the first time and sweating to death! Try to make a good impression.

  3. Great insight – I too passed after my second attempt (applying for Reserves); however, they have informed me that I am due to be attested before the fitness and medical which I find odd.

    • The best ones pass second time around, obviously! Yes that is slightly odd, however I don’t know much about the Reserves process so it may differ slightly! Good luck with it all.

  4. Omg resiting as well for the same thing, thanks for these pages of your experiences ^^ hopefully i’ll pass with the required marks this time and also the interview. Is there any specific questions they ask you in the interview for people taking mechanical?

    • Good luck for the re-take!

      The interview isn’t different for different trades. However, they may expect you to know more about aircraft (what we’ve got, what they do, where they’re based) than a chef, for example.

  5. I wish to go into the Intelligence within the RAF. Will I still be required to do the Electrical and Mechanical Comprehension section of the selection test?

    • Yes. No matter which trade you go for, you have to complete all parts of the AST. Don’t be under the impression that you don’t need to try as hard in the areas you don’t think apply to you. That’s definitely the wrong attitude as all parts of the AST make up your total score.

  6. do you have to do all aspects of the selection test i.e electrical and mechanical components – even if you wouldnt necessarily be using them in your chosen career

  7. Many thanks for your reply. We are going into our local recruitment office this Friday so hoping to ask a few more questions. Fingers crossed

  8. Interest now registered. Havent put in application just yet as trying to get the run time sorted. Dont want to apply and not be ready for the run. That is the part that is causing concern about just now as dont know how long to allow (in terms of months) from submitting application to when the fitness test is) All exciting stuff though!

  9. Found out yesterday from the doctor that I dont have asthma as was previously diagnosed in 2014 so hopefully that will be a HUGE help with the application process. Dont want to submit my application yet though as I think things may happen quickly and I havent done any revision on my chosen career and my fitness still needs working on. Gonna wait until I finish Uni in June so I have loads of time to prepare.

  10. Hi, ryan

    I was wandering how long before the raf get in contact with you to do the ast. I have done my application and received an email stating that my next step is an information day and ast test. But they didn’t state a date or if I had to get in contact with them to book the ast.
    Also great blog

    • Hi Tom

      I suppose you’ve read the whole email but just make sure you haven’t missed anything. I just checked my emails from when I applied and my email stated that the AFCO would contact me regarding an AST date within 14 days. Mine were quite efficient and I got the email the next day.

      Make sure you have read everything and if you’re still not sure – ask. The people at the AFCO are usually very helpful so don’t be afraid to message them or call them as much as you need.

    • I have the scores as they were in 2014 but they sometimes change. Either way, what would you gain from knowing the scores? In my honest opinion, knowing the scores is just limiting yourself. If you knew what you needed, you’d be trying to figure out how many you could get wrong and still get away with it. With this mind set, you will fail every single time. You need to keep pushing yourself and telling yourself that every question is the difference between a pass and a fail. Only then will you pass with a good score. Any other technique will either scrape a pass by luck or you’ll fail. I’m sorry I haven’t gave you the information you were looking for but honestly, it would do more harm than good.

      Good luck for your AST!

  11. hello i was wondering if anyone knows of a web page or site that i can find out what scores are needed for each role ?, so i can be realistic when applying for a role? thank you

    • Yes there are most likely resources online which would give you that information but why would you want it? Being realistic is just applying for whatever role you want and trying as hard as you can to get a good enough score. Say for example you want to be an Aircraft Technician and it’s been your dream for years, would it really put you off if you found out that it requires one of the highest scores? That’s an unhealthy mindset to have. What happens when you’re at basic training and you find out one of your exams requires a really high pass mark, would you just leave? Even if you wanted to, you can’t.

      Knowing scores only does harm. Just choose what you’d like to do for a career and work as hard as you possibly can. It’s common sense. A chef isn’t going to need the kind of scores a Technician would need, but if the chef tried any less harder in the test, they’d be foolish.

      Good luck and apply for what you really want to do. You could be doing it for a long time!

  12. Hello,

    Great blog! Thank you for sharing this information. I was just wondering after you do your AST do the careers office discuss other areas that you could apply for based upon your strengths of the tests? Naturally I am committed to the role I applied for but I was just curious more than anything to see if they could highlight potential areas.

    • Hi Jess,

      In short, absolutely yes. You may score a lot higher than the requirement for your chosen trade. This then opens up a whole load more opportunities than you may have previously thought were available. In the same way that if your chosen trade requires a higher score, if you don’t get that score after a re-test, you can discuss changing to another trade which you may have qualified for.

  13. If you’ve failed the first time, say at maths, but have passed everything else, do you need to retake the whole test or just the part that you failed in?

    • You have to re sit the whole test and you can’t mix and match scores either. Say you only failed numerical reasoning on your first attempt but then only failed verbal reasoning on your second, you cant take scores from both tests to make you pass in everything. But you can take the highest score from either test if you do better in the first one for example.

  14. Hi, I’ve my second attempt at the AST next month and I’m absolutely nervous because I don’t want to fail a second time. Would you say that the second attempt was easier because of the questions but because you knew what you were doing the second time round??

    • Absolutely, yes. You already know the format of the test and what is expected of you in terms of time limits etc. The questions won’t be the same but they will follow the same principles. You’ll feel more pressure on your second attempt but coupled with not having first-time nerves, you should do much better.

  15. Hi there
    I’ve got my ast next week and wondering what to wear as I want to make a good impression but be comfy able too. The Afco said wear something comfy what did you wear? Also this blog has given me key info to!

    • Hi Joe,

      First attempt I wore a full suit, second attempt I just went smart casual. Jumper with comfortable shirt underneath, trousers and smart shoes. Always aim to give a good impression but you also want to be comfortable. Just don’t turn up in tracksuit bottoms/jeans/hoody or anything like that!

  16. Hi there
    Just another quick question about the ast will I need to take anything with me or is it supplied by the local AFCO
    Cheers for quick reply previously

  17. Hi there. I have just received my date for the AST which is on the 19th July at 8.30am. They have told me that I should allow up to 2pm on the day. Will they do an interview on the same day? It seems along time to allow. Excited……………………..but nervous!

    • Hi Jo. You definitely would have been notified in the email if your interview was the same day.

      The AST can last a while depending on how they do it. The test itself is about 90 minutes long and sometimes you can be waiting up to an hour for results. After results, they sometimes do the presentation for those who were successful.

  18. Sorry – another question. One of the forms they have given me to take along to the AST is to do with the medical. I am unsure what to do as nearly 4 years ago the doctor wrongly diagnosed me with Asthma. In January this year I was re-tested and the doctor has said that I never had it!!! So, my question is, on the form when they ask if I have ever had asthma, what do I put????

    • I’m not able to tell you exactly what you should put but it seems logical that if the re-test stated you have never had asthma, then you don’t need to tick the box. However, please call your local AFCO or message the RAF recruitment page on FB or Twitter to find out for sure! Hopefully it’s good news.

  19. Just wanted to say that today I passed the AST and they have asked me to come back on the 3rd August for my interview. There were 4 of us today, 3 chaps and myself. I believe 3 passed and 1 didnt. Without your advise and guidance I wouldnt have got through so thankyou. xx

    • Jo, that is fantastic news! Massive congratulations and good luck for the next step. The interview is more down to you. The pressure can ease a little bit now but just make sure maximum effort goes into the interview. Know everything you need to and a little bit more.

      As you say, this blog is purely guidance. Your success is down to your own hard work so you can be proud of your achievement and focus on smashing the next step!

  20. Thank you. Certainly glad that bit is out of the way! Once I have done the interview I can look forward to my two week holiday.

  21. How many questions in each section did u manage to do in the time limit? Is it also true that u loose points for every wrong answer? I heard that every wrong answer is a minus as opposed to just being wrong and not added to ur total.

    • Hi Elijah,

      It varies for everybody. The work rate is probably the toughest section in terms of how many questions you have in a short space of time. I’d say it’s usual to answer 75%-100% of questions in all sections. Very rarely will someone answer all questions in all sections. The test isn’t really designed for that. It’s more about accuracy.

      As for negative marking, I’m pretty sure that isn’t how the AST works. I distinctly remember being told by one of the recruiters at the AFCO to just scribble down guesses if time was running out or you weren’t sure. I’m confident they wouldn’t have given that advice if marks were taken off for wrong answers!

  22. Great post. I am so petrified about the AST first attempt I done at home and it wasn’t so good. Hoping I magically gain some luck when I sit it.

    • It’s designed to be that way. It’s generally testing your ability to work under pressure – not testing your intelligence so much (although that’s a factor). It’s common to fail first time but very common to pass second time. It’s not something I’d lose sleep over if I were you. Use the first go as a familiarisation. Obviously try your best and give it everything you’ve got, but if it doesn’t quite go as planned, it’s almost certan you will improve second time around. The stress of being in an unknown situation and being under so much pressure is too overwhelming for a lot of people but it’s absolutely achievable to pass first time and that is what you should be aiming for.

      I’ve met a lot of people in the RAF over the last 2 years and you look at some of them and wonder how they hell they passed it. If they did it, I’m pretty sure anyone is capable with a little work.

      All the best!

  23. Hi, I have to say this is a great blog. just a few questions, I have my AST test on Tuesday and i’m starting to worry, would you say the questions are like the ones on the mock test on the raf website? also what is the test scored out of? many thanks

    • Don’t worry about the AST. It’s daunting yes and natural instinct is to worry but the one thing that will make you fail more than anything else is worrying too much!

      So the sample on the RAF website is a really great tool. I didn’t have it at my disposal when I sat the test and I think I definitely would have been disadvantaged because of it. Make use of it. The questions are very accurate, however, I’ve always maintained that it’s not the questions that you’re gong to find difficult. Your dream job isn’t at stake when you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home practising a test on a laptop or tablet or whatever.

      The questions are very alike, but the conditions obviously are not. However, the fact that you can at least practise some of these tests will (I think) make a huge difference when you sit the real test. I think the one thing that scares people the most is unfamiliarity and the fear of the unknown. Now you have tests to practise at home, a sizeable chunk of that fear is taken a way which can only be a good thing.

      The test is scored weird and I’ve never actually taken time to sit down or ask anyone how it’s all worked out (it’s more complicated than just adding up numbers). You have a stanine (specific skills) score, and a group score. You get a stanine score of each section (Verbal reasoning, Numerical, Work Rate etc) and then you get an overall group score (Group A, B, C and D).

      Stanines are scored out of 9. So let’s use an example and say you get the following –

      Verbal Reasoning – 6
      Numerical Reasoning – 6
      Work rate – 5
      Electrical Comprehension – 6
      Mechanical Comprehension – 7
      Spatial Reasoning – 6.

      Group A – 62
      Group B – 62
      Group C – 64
      Group D – 67

      Now, a trade like Aircraft Technician might say you need a certain score in Verbal, Numerical, Electrical and Mechanical. This would make sense because it’s a job that requires good communication, mathematical skills, and obviously knowledge of electrical and mechanical principles. Therefore, it’s not saying you need a specific score in work rate or spatial reasoning. So you can just slack these off right? Absolutely not. Although you don’t require a specific score in Work rate & Spatial Reasoning, they still get factored into your group score.

      Aircraft Technician asks for a group D score to be above a certain amount, and work rate and spatial reasoning WILL affect your group D score. Maybe not much, but enough to make you fail. So although you might think some sections are completely irrelevant for some trades (Why would admin need good mechanical comprehension?) they still get factored into group scores which means you still need to score high enough in the specific scores so they don’t drag down your group.

      I understand this might be a bit confusing and it took me a while to get my head around it but hopefully this explanation might help a few people. In short, get good marks in all sections so your group score doesn’t get affected.

      All the best!

  24. Hi,

    I have commented 2 weeks ago but it seems you can’t see my commented.

    First, thank you very much, your blog really helpful for my prepare.

    I just have some questions hopefully you can help me with.

    1. I have applied for HR ( Human Rescuers) and still waiting for answer for selection test, so how long does it normally take to hear back? it been a month for me.
    2. English is not my first language and I don’t speak it very well, so it is big matter and negative effect for my application? if no are there going to be short course to help me improving my language?
    3. IF I fail in the interview will they give me another chance and take me to next stage (OASC) or no?
    4. IF I fail, can I applied again or I have to wait for a year?
    5. Can you please tell me your timeline from applying to Halton, I want to know what I should focus in first and how nearly time I have between each stage.
    6. How many branch they take every year?

    Again thank you for your blog

    • Apologies for that. It must have gotten lost somewhere!

      1. I believe the timescale they used to give was up to 6 weeks. But people seem to be scared about calling the AFCO and asking questions like these. Don’t be! It shows your keen, and you’ll get the info you need.

      2. It shouldn’t be. Have you been a UK citizen for the last 5 years? That’s the only thing that would preclude entry. You’ll do English as well as Maths and ICT at Halton any way.

      3. You mention OASC but then you also mention Halton in a later question. Have you applied for officer or airman/woman? Officers go to OASC, airmen don’t. Airmen go to Halton, officers don’t.

      4. Time scales vary between airmen and officer.

      5. For me it was 11 months. Fitness is a good thing to focus on right from the start and make sure you have all the relevant info to smash the interviews.

      6. Unfortunately that information isn’t really available to the public. Sorry!

      • Never mind and thank for reply.

        1. yeah I called them 3 times but always they say “we still haven’t get your application form please wait more longer”.

        3. Well, I applied for Human Rescuers Regular full time, but I am not sure how to consider it as airman or officer but at the website say
        “Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire.”
        So it is airman right?
        and I don’t have to discus 10 topics at my interview right.?

        Your answers really helped me a lot, thank you.

      • Hi,

        Never mind and thank for reply.

        1. yeah I called them 3 times but always they say “we still haven’t get your application form please wait more longer”. It have been over 6 weeks now, should I reapply again?

        3. Well, I applied for Human Rescuers Regular full time, but I am not sure how to consider it as airman or officer but at the website say
        “Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire.”
        So it is airman right?
        and I don’t have to discus 10 topics at my interview right.?

        Your answers really helped me a lot, thank you.

      • If they are telling you to wait, then just wait it out for a little while. That’s the way it is sometimes.

        You have applied for airman, yes. You will not have to discuss 10 topics at your interview.

  25. Hello Ryan, great blog

    I really hope you’re able to assist me.

    I was hoping to join as a Firefighter but I require GCSEs in Maths and English at grade C. I only have Ds.

    If i applied for a different role for example as a Regiment Gunner and then during my AST I do very well. Could a high score be enough for me to be considered as a Firefighter. As that is the only role i really want and see myself doing.

    I was a Fire fighter part time for 4 and half years which is really upsetting when the RAF say it isn’t enough

    Thankyou for your time mate.


    • Unfortunately the AST results do not alleviate the need for the GCSE results requirements. Your options are either re-sit the GCSE’s you need or accept a role that you’re qualified for. Sorry!

  26. Hi, I am wanting to join up as an aircraft technician, I already have a level 3 NVQ extended diploma in aeronautical engineering, do you think this will better my chances of getting the role besides the ast score? Also my maths is a bit shabby since gaining that qualification what’s the best websites to use to brush up for my ast ?

    • That’s actually quite a unique situation to be in. Currently, we go through phase 2 at Cosford and then we do about 18 months on a squadron. NVQ Level 2 is completed when you get to your squadron and you do some mechanical/avionic work. You then return to Cosford to complete phase 3 and once you get back out on a squadron again, you usually complete your NVQ Level 3 in about 18 months.

      I’m not sure if you know that the way aircraft technicians are trained is changing later this year. Basically, AMM’s will not exist any more. Instead, you will come to Cosford for phase 2 and that will be an 18 month course, after which you will go to a squadron as a qualified technician.

      My advice is to call up the AFCO and ask about your NVQ if you haven’t already. Personally it seems a bit pointless doing all that work for something you already have, but obviously that’s your choice entirely. If the AFCO/Recruitment aren’t sure, let me know. I’m at Cosford currently and I could find someone to ask for you.

      As for the maths, the websites I mentioned in this post are still as useful today as they were back then. It’s nothing too difficult but worth brushing up on.

      • Thank you for your insight, I have contacted the recruitment team and am currently waiting for an email to do the online test, I have a friend who is an aircraft technician who I went to college with and he told me about the training course changing which is why the job slot is not open to apply yet. If you could get in touch with someone about my qualifications that would be brilliant thank you and I have been brushing up on my maths although I find it hard to learn from the internet for some strange reason, but thanks again for shedding some light on this for me it means a great deal

  27. Got my test this coming week for logistics supply role I heard don’t need a very high score but regardless will give it my best shot and hope for the best!

    • All the best, but change the attitude! Be optimistic. Go in there believing you need the highest score you can get. It may open up other opportunities that you hadn’t even considered.

  28. Hi Ryan,

    I had a meeting today at the careers office about joinging up. They explained everything that I needed and wanted to know, but I just get a little worried regarding any sort of tests especially when it comes down the Math as it’s not one of my strongest subjects. Regarding the AST what sort of questions do they ask? I’ve seen in a lot of comments that the question are at GCSE levels? Is this correct still?

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Glad to hear you’re interested in joining. Having a chat and asking questions is always a good start!

      First of all, don’t worry. Before I joined, maths was not a strong point of mine either. 3 years later, I actually enjoy it and am 100% more confident than I was when I joined up. I even joined up to do a trade which relies quite heavily on maths and have done some pretty advanced stuff throughout training. I never would have thought I’d be able to do it but if I can then I’m pretty sure others can too.

      So as far as the maths on the AST goes, I would say you’re looking at lower end GCSE level. It’s definitely nothing too complicated. I have said it time and time again but I absolutely still believe that generic websites like GCSE bitesize will get you through. If you didn’t do great at GCSE – don’t panic – I didn’t and I didn’t struggle with the maths at all. In fact, I’d said it was one of the easier sections. It’ll help if you are good with quick mental maths calculations.

      Expect some decimal addition/subtraction (eg. 0.71 + 2.73), subtraction of fractions (eg 5/6 – 2/3), decimal/fraction conversion and simple formulae questions. I’d recommend checking out the practice AST on the RAF website. It’s been over 3 years since I took the AST but some of those questions instantly looked familiar to me – so it’s a great place to start just so you get a good idea of what to expect.

      Hope it all goes well and if you have any other questions then feel free to ask as many as you want.

      • Hi Ryan,

        Yeah I’m thinking about going in as a PTI so I’m looking forward to starting the whole journey!

        I’ve seen in a few of your comments about the BBC bitsize website I used that whilst I was actually doing my GCSEs and found it really useful! I do have a C in math at GCSE so I think it might be a case of refreshing everything as I haven’t really needed to use anything since I’ve left school!

        I’ve also downloaded brain training apps as the person at the careers office said they are beneficial, do you think they would be worth while?

      • You’ll be off to Cosford then after Halton. I’m here currently as a technician trainee and we get the trainee PTIs taking our PT sessions quite regularly!

        I’ve no doubt you’ll be fine if you just have a quick refresher on the basics. Some people have been out of school 10+ years and haven’t used maths since and they can do it.

        Brain training apps are always good. Anything that can get you thinking quickly and accurately will be of great benefit.

  29. I’ve just done a practise paper on the RAF website, considering I’ve never done one before and have never answered questions like that ever before I got half right so I feel like that’s a good start (for me anyway haha) . I feel a little better now about it that I’ve done that and kind of know what to expect with a little practise and some refreshing I think I’ll be ok (I don’t want to jinx it).

    • Definitely a good start! It’s no more difficult than that – there’s just more questions. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  30. HI, I am just about to sit my second attempt at the AST and I was wondering how you revised the electrical and mechanical parts?. This is the only bit which I am struggling to revise for. I understand that you used BBC Bitesize but I was mainly wondering which areas of the website did you use?

    • I struggled with the electrical parts too, but it’s actually not so bad when you break it down. It’s mainly just fundamental principles of each. So for electrical principles, you really want to be looking at circuits. Parallel and series circuits definitely come up, so make sure you understand the differences. Potential difference also comes up, so understand what it is, what it can also be called and how to work out basic questions. AC and DC current is quite popular, so again know the differences between them. Certain electrical components are definitely worth knowing. Resistors, capacitors, cells, batteries (a battery is just two or more cells put together).

      I find mechanical comprehension to be far easier than electrical. Once you understand the very basic principles, it can be applied to many problems. Gears, levers and pulleys are fundamental to a lot of the problems you will encounter. Understanding how mechanical advantage is achieved with all of these basic systems is important. The second link below is really good for explaining all of these, but if you are still struggling, there are thousands of websites and videos which demonstrate their operation. Keep searching until you find one that explains it in a way you understand. You’ll get there eventually. Other mechanical principles that are useful to know will be pressures and weight.

      Here are some useful links for mechanical and electrical revision:
      GCSE Bitesize Electircal revision and tests

      Really good link outlining both Mechanical and Electrical principles with some test questions

      If you have any questions whatsoever then please comment here again. If you’d rather email then that’s fine too. I can definitely help with the mechanical side of things as that’s my job so I’d like to think I know enough to help!

      • Thanks for the links. I was wondering if the second link alone will give me all the information I need for the mechanical section or would I need to understand anything else.

  31. I passed my AST a few days ago but am unsure what to do now, I was told to ring back when I have a decision on which role I want to undertake though I was given no telephone number.

    Should I email or wait longer to see if they call me?

    Thanks in advance.

  32. Is the retake any easier. Saw that it’s a different coloured book (yellow) when I went for first test and the retakes left room when it was the memory for some reason?

    • It’s not any easier, but you will have seen the format before so it will seem easier. I believe you leave the room for the memory test as the retakes have to sit a different version.

  33. Hi really like your blog and great detail

    Any chance you could help me please
    I am looking to transfer over to the raf
    From the army ave been In 9 years

    Clearly somethings will be waived
    But not the AST

    The trades am looking to go for are



    Raf regiment

    I have the ast practice book but some of them really do throw me off that’s for sure I want to get this smashed first time round and am hungry to get in the raf.

    • I’m not entirely sure what your question is?

      We had a girl on our intake who had done 8/9 years in the Army. She did fairly well as you can imagine so I’ve no doubt you’ll do fine.

      • Some of the questions are pretty nails

        Like mechanical comprehension and nurmecial reasoning and spatial reasoning

        Am practicing either way I just don’t want to have to do it again that’s all

        What’s the best topics To look at ? Clearly some of the questions are GCSE based

  34. Hi Ryan
    Firstly this blog has been an absolute life line, and has already answered so many of my questions!
    There are a couple more though which I’m still unsure of:
    1. How long did your application process take from applying through to starting basic training?
    2. What would be the maximum running distance that is done during basic training? Currently I can run the fitness test requirement but much longer would be difficult for me without more training!

    Any response would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance.

    • My process started in January and I started basic training at the end of November. This varies for everyone, however. Certain trades have different waiting times and these are always changing. Medical issues slow people down the most. If you get through the medical with no delays, you stand a good chance of getting through it fairly quickly.

      I think the maximum we ran during basic training was about 4-5 Miles. I distinctly remember two runs. One of them was about 4 miles around the woodland trails behind Halton camp. Another one was another few miles and this was a timed cross country event. Don’t worry too much about these though. They aren’t that strict about running too much. You’re only ever expected to give your best effort and as long as you’re trying, nobody will have an issue with it. Obviously it’s always best to train as much as you can beforehand but don’t overdo it and cause an injury because you’ll struggle even more.

      All the best!

  35. Hi, passed my test which is good. Do you have to complete any more booklet type tests (going in as a gunner), What i mean is, will there be any more mechanical or any kind of writing tests when you start phase 1 training.

    • Phase 1 training at RAF Halton does consist of some theory exams which will take place throughout the course. They won’t be maths/english tests however, as you will just be completing exams for the subjects you cover at training. These include, but aren’t limited to, general service knowledge, first aid, force protection etc.

  36. Hello Ryan. I have a few questions.
    1. Do you have any useful links to revise Spatial Reasoning?
    2. Do the Electrical and Mechanical Comprehension questions require a lot of knowledge or is it just basic stuff from GCSE

    Any response would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks in advance

  37. This question isn’t about AST, but I’m filling in my application and have come across the question “Language capability” next to a yes or no box, I’m unsure if its asking me if I speak other languages or if English is my first language. Is this me being a little bit dumb?

    • Hi Lexi,

      No such thing as a stupid question! There does seem to be a bit of ambiguity with that question. Personally, I’d take into consideration that there is a residency requirement to apply and therefore speaking English is a basic eligibility requirement. However, don’t be afraid to call the AFCO or just give them an email to get the correct answer. They have heard it all before and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about asking!

      Good luck

  38. hi am struggling with some of the spatial reasoning tests mechanical comprehension and reasoning but the work rate memory ect is pretty mucch bang on the maths side as well some the questions are crazy

    am only transferring to be a driver or supplier or mover

    done 9 years in the army so far not sure what score i need but i really wanna do well to get in

    any tips

    • Hi Jess,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. Have you had your AST yet? I can give you some tips and advice but hopefully you won’t need it if you have already passed the test!

  39. Great blog fella , really good.
    I failed my first ast , n have re-sit in 4 weeks. If I am not ready can I postpone this for say 3 months?
    Rob Mc

    • Hi Rob, sorry for the delayed reply. Hope you got the answer you needed and all the best for the AST whenever you have the resit!

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