What Is the Royal Air Force (RAF) Recruitment Process?
The Royal Air Force is a branch of the British Army. They are a prestigious service with high standards for their recruits. The recruitment process can take up to six months and it examines nearly every aspect of the candidate’s mental capacity, fitness, health, and background. The RAF highly recommends that the candidate prepares themselves for the recruitment process as it is considered to be very difficult. The stages of the RAF’s recruitment process include the following:
- Aptitude Test
- Selection Interview
- Health Assessment
- Fitness Test
- Pre-Recruit Training
The application is the RAF’s first impression of the candidate. This stage is very thorough, and the applicant must provide their medical history and be willing to undergo a background check. Overall, the application takes about an hour to complete. The candidate must also provide information on their work experience, education, and some general background on themselves.
RAF Aptitude Test
The Royal Air Force test, also known as the AST, is an aptitude assessment administered to candidates interested in aerospace and air traffic positions within the armed forces. This test must be taken in-person at an AFCO (Armed Forces Career Office) and is usually proctored by an assessor.
The RAF test is a part of the selection process for the air force. The results indicate to the recruiters which position and role are best suited for the candidate.
The Royal Air Force test consists of one-hundred and forty-eight questions that cover seven topics. Each section is designed to assess different subjects that are necessary for an air force job. These sections include:
- Electrical Comprehension
Candidates will have eleven minutes to finish this section of the RAF test. There are twenty-one total questions concerning high-school-level physics. The questions discuss basic concepts surrounding electricity and physics.
- Mechanical Reasoning
The mechanical reasoning section is similar to the electrical comprehension section. The questions are multiple-choice and sometimes accompanied by diagrams illustrating mechanical principles. The subjects of the mechanical reasoning section include motion, levers, pulleys, and gears. There is a total of twenty questions in this section with a ten-minute time limit.
The memory section has two of its own sub-sections. The first part consists of a series of letters that the test taker is asked to memorise. After a few seconds, the letters disappear, and the candidate must choose the identical sequence. There are ten questions in the first part. The second part is also ten questions but includes matrices rather than letters. These matrices are presented one after the other with a coloured square in one of the matrices. After all of the matrices are off the screen, a handful of grids will appear. One of these grids accurately combines the patterns depicted in the previous matrices.
- Numerical Reasoning Skills
The numerical skills section has a total time limit of fifteen minutes. Similar to the memory section, there are two parts to the numerical skills section. The first part evaluates the test taker’s data interpretation abilities. Each question is partnered with graphs, tables, and figure which the candidate must analyse and apply to the multiple-choice questions. The data interpretation sub-section has fifteen questions. The next sub-section is basic mathematical skills. The questions probe at the candidate’s proficiency with the four basic operations (subtraction, addition, division, multiplication) and the candidate’s ability to calculate a resolution quickly and accurately. There are twelve questions in the second part of the Royal Air Force test.
- Spatial Reasoning
The spatial reasoning section is also split into two parts that make up a total of twenty questions. The first part appraises the test taker’s capacity to understand 2D orientation. The candidate will be presented with a series of random objects that, when combined, make a complete shape. The second part is similar, but with 3D shapes. During this three-minute sub-section, the candidate will view a handful of shapes from a variety of perspectives. Then, they must choose from a series of options which of the choices illustrate the same shape, but from a different point of view. It is important that the test taker’s answer is not a different shape.
- Verbal Reasoning
The verbal reasoning section is a fifteen-minute section with multiple-choice questions. This section involves the use of brief passages. These passages will discuss a random topic followed by a handful of questions. There are twenty total questions. The results of the verbal reasoning section inform the Royal Air Force of the candidate’s ability to understand and follow written instructions.
- Work Rate
The work rate section is four minutes long with twenty questions. During this section, candidates will read a letter, number, or shape code. The candidate must find an alternative code that accomplishes the same objective as the initial code.
RAF Selection Interview
The Royal Air Force selection interview is the recruiter’s first chance to get to know the candidate. The questions revolve around the service, challenges of the RAF, the candidate’s expectations, and the candidate’s background. The interviewer will talk about the RAF’s purpose, core values, and standards. Some common interview questions for the Royal Air Force include:
- What is the role of the RAF?
- Why are you interested in the RAF?
- What are some current RAF deployment operations?
- Where are the RAF’s UK bases? Overseas bases?
- What are some qualities needed to serve the RAF?
- Describe a time when you exhibited teamwork.
- Name different types of aircraft both fixed-wing and rotary.
The health assessment is to ensure that the candidate does not have a condition that could affect their performance or success within the Royal Air Force. The RAF conducts these assessments and a drug test before the fitness test. Candidates can find a list of the medical conditions that will exclude them from employment with the RAF here.
The requirements and standards that have to be met to pass the fitness test vary depending on the role the candidate has applied for and the candidate’s age. There will be a number of exercises that must be completed during the exam. These exercises include:
- 4 KM Run
The pre-recruit training is a three-day event full of physical exams, aptitude tests, and brief interviews. The physical exams include more of the previous test with a bleep test, shuttles, and push-ups and sit-ups test. The candidate may also have to take a series of functional exams, but they can be exempt if they bring proof of their GSCE certificate. The functional exams are simply basic literacy and numeracy.
During day two, the candidate will take a typing skills assessment, a verbal reasoning test, and a spelling test. There is also a functional skills test which is a fill-in-the-blank and timed math test. After the testing, there is a medical briefing where candidates are evaluated, and some are given immunisations.
The last day is a series of briefings and room checks to ensure that the candidate is neat and can pass inspections during basic training. For those who have not completed their Functional Skills English test, they will complete that on day three. Candidates will leave PRTC a little past noon.
The final interview is the candidate’s last chance to impress the recruiters before a formal offer is made. The final interview mirrors the selection interview. The questions mostly concern the candidate’s expectations, interests, and personality. There are also a handful of questions about the service including their values and standards. The candidate should review this information prior to the interview.