Test and Interview PDF Print E-mail

Psychologist Test and Interview:

When you apply for a job as a pilot, it is likely that you will be tested by a psychologist and interviewed. The tests displayed below could represent a real scenario of what it might consist of. Similar descriptions have previously been published by the psychologist themselves in other medias, so there are no secrets or anything confidential written in this section.


Written tests:

The described tests are mentioned in no particularly order.


Raven progressive IQ test:

The IQ test is a normal Raven test, where 9 fields are shown with the 9th blank. Below are 8 choices, where only one fits the blank field. You have to find the pattern, the rule that makes it fit. The rules, or pattern, can go vertical, horizontal or diagonal.

A similar interactive test can be seen on IQtest.dk. It is developed by a member of mensa and its result is pretty valid for what your real IQ is.

You have 40 minutes to solve all assignments.

If you have tried the Raven test before with success, it should be fairly easy for you. If not, you will probably find yourself guessing and out of time in the end.


Rows of numbers:

This assignment is about finding the rules of what the last two numbers should be. For example: 2 – 4 – 8 – 16 – 32 - __ - __ . Here the rule is to multiply the previous with 2. This one was very easy. The further you go with the assignment, the more difficult they become, and some you will probably find impossible.

The assignment is time limited and you will probably not be able to finish them all.


Finish the sentence:

This assignment is fairly simple. A sheet of paper has about 20 sentences that only have a start. You have to finish each sentence. Don’t write a novel for each one, don’t think to long, write what pops in your head, what feels right.

The assignment is time limited and you should finish them all.


Mechanical reasoning:

About 60 assignments each contain a mechanic challenge like:

  • If one wheel turns this way, which way does the other one turn?
  • Who must pull the most? – 2 pictures with different pulley setups
  • What ball requires the most paint? The smooth one or the rippled one?

The assignment is time limited to 12 minutes or so and you will probably not be able to finish them all.


Short-term memory:

This test consists of 3 parts.

First part consist of 16 fields, each field has a picture, i.e. a car, a pair of glasses, a coffee can etc.. You have to memorize what they are and the order they are in. You have 1 minute.

Turning the page, you got 6 assignments to solve, which could be calculations and problem solving issues like:

  • Tom is 5 years younger than Donna, who is 21 years old, Brad is 2 years younger than Donna. If Brad’s son was born when Brad was 18 years old, how much older is Tom than Brad’s son?

You have 2 minutes for this.

Turning the page again, you got the same 16 figures as previous lined up, but in a random order. From your memory you now have to fill in the empty 16 fields, in the correct order, like if the car was number one and now are number seven, write seven in the first field.

The next two assignments are similarly the previous one, just with numbers and letters instead and with the twist that you will not see the numbers and letters again in random order. They truly have to be memorized for what they are after the 6-12 assignments.


  left-left left-right right-left right-right







The Up-Up-Left-Left-Right test:

This assignment is one of the stress-test.

You have the table as shown here in front of you and a red pen in your left hand and a blue pen in your right hand.

Each field has its own “name”. The top-left field is called Up-Up-Left-Left. The third field on the second row is called Up-Down-Right-Left. So when a field is being announced from the CD that you listen to, it mentions vertical first, then horizontal.

The last and 5th word, a Right or Left, tells you to mark the field you got to with the Blue (right) or Red (left) pen. The sheet of paper handed out does not have the names Up-Up, Left-Right etc. written on. It's blank, just with squares.

In the beginning it goes easy enough but ends up with a speed that you can only imagine. The speed in the end can best be described as ludicrous speed, like those American adds where all the terms and legal stuff of the add has to be mentioned within 2½ second.

There is no time limit, but the speed sets the pace and the assignment ends itself. You will most likely miss some and/or mark some wrong. The important thing is to continue on. If you miss one, continue on to the next one being announced. You have absolutely no time to think what it was in the end.


Instrument test 1:

You see a compass rose and an artificial horizon. Next to them are six different airplanes, where you have to imagine you look north into the paper. So if the airplanes' nose is to the right, it flies east. If you see it comes toward you turning left with nose down, it flies south, banking right and descending.

So the assignment is to choose the right plane looking at the information from the compass rose and the artificial horizon. Some of the assignments have answers that look similarly, so look carefully.

The assignment is limited to 12 minutes for 60 assignments or so and you will probably not be able to finish them all.


Instrument test 2:

This test is about reading values on different instruments, like voltmeter, fuel flow, altitude, speed indicator etc.. Each assignment consists of about 5 questions, reading different instruments. There are a total of about 60 questions (not assignments).

The assignment is limited to 12 minutes or so and you will probably not be able to finish them all.

What I understood in general for these written tests is that you should show a balance of the number of completed assignments and accuracy.




Interview with psychologist:

It’s a conversation about you as a person, your background, your family, childhood, any specific scenarios and episodes you have been in and how you managed them and so on.

Basically be yourself and most important, BE HONEST; don’t think of what he/she may want to hear, because whatever you might think is wrong. He wants to hear about you, not some personality you invent. Be sure that he/she has the experience to figure out if you are not honest.

A good idea is to think about your past before the interview, what happened and why, and so on.

What they look for are things like:

  • Your communication skills
  • Your honesty
  • Consistence in what you tell
  • Your motivation and interest
  • Are you straight forward or reluctant
  • Your knowledge about your own person
  • Your empathy
  • Your psychological stability.


Tapping test paper illustration

The Tapping test:

The tapping test is done under supervision of the psychologist after the interview and is the second stress-test.

You are handed a large piece of paper with something similar as the figure here.

As the figure to the right shows, there are numerous small circles connected with each other and each track has the same amount of circles. You have a pencil in each hand, starting at the bottom circles. At the rhythm of the psychologist tapping with his/her pencil on the table, you move each pencil to the next circle it’s connected to, one at the time.

When you reach the top, you go down again and so on until the psychologist stops the test.

It’s most likely not if, but when your movements are incorrect and your pencils do not meet at the top at the same time, you will have to continue to tap at the top circle with the one that reach first until the other pencil comes to the same end and then continue down again together.

During the tapping the psychologist will ask you questions, such as:

  • Different calculations, like 8x6, 12x13, 96/3 etc.
  • Spelling assignments (also backwards), like COPENHAGEN backwards
  • Giving you a heading, a turn in degrees and asking you what heading you are on now, like heading 96º, turning left 138º, what is your new heading?
  • Giving you a landing time and a time enroute. What time did you takeoff?

During the test, the speed of the tapping will increase and the assignments become more difficult.

What I understood what they are looking for, is your ability to do something with your hands precise enough while thinking of something you listen to (imagine if flying is the tapping and assignments is broadcast from air traffic controllers), your simultaneous capacity and stress tolerance, and how you respond to it.

If, or when, you get into trouble like tapping more and more outside the circles or your hands slips down the pencils and block your view of the circles, especially where a part of the track becomes very tingled in with each other, problem solve it, do not just continue in your current bad situation. And most important, DO NOT STOP TAPPING!!! – And continue solving the assignments, even if your tapping becomes very difficult, keep pushing yourself.

There is no actual score in this tapping test; it’s an evaluation from the psychologist point of view.


Company Interview:

You could experience an interview with a company representative(s), such as a Chief Pilot and/or a Human Resource Advisor.

Such an interview could consist of a more working manner and general knowledge conversation, like the following:

  • Your good and poor qualities
  • Goals
  • What is your best career wise achievement to date
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years
  • What do you know about the company (types of operations, aircraft types, bases etc.)
  • Who do you know in the company (if you mention you know some people working here)
  • What can you bring as a person to this company

They could ask you to explain a theoretical subject, like from Principle of Flight:

  • What happens aerodynamically from a hover to 60kts.
  • What is blade flapping
  • What is phase lag
  • Explain the Bell 206 rotorsystem (if you have flown it)


- I wish you the best of luck smiley


NB: If you understand Danish, Swedish or Norwegian, I can recommend that you become a member of the Scandinavian helicopter forum, helicrew.com - where you can read the entire article that describes this process of selecting pilots from a Norwegian psychologist, who is specialized in selecting pilots like for the offshore business.

Sources: FLYNYTT Nr. 4 – 2005, my own and others experiences.