Personal Difficulty: Medium / Hard
Result: Fail (2014) | Pass (2015)
At both selections my group went first in the Maths test. You are led to the assessment room which resembles a driving theory test room. A computer will be displaying your name on the screen. You are given a briefing, pen and paper and then allowed to crack on with the test. The Maths test is electronic, consists of 15 multiple choice G.C.S.E. level questions with workings out to be completed on the paper provided. No calculators are permitted.
Despite being G.C.S.E. level this was the area of the assessment I was dreading as I'd never been amazing at Maths in school. Being 20 at the time of my first Dibden visit in 2014 it had been a couple of years since I'd really focussed on mental methods and quick written calculations as let's be honest, we're so dependent on the calculator now. It was safe to say I had forgotten quite a bit and this later led to me failing Dibden at my first attempt.
In not wanting to fail again I ensured I revised Maths techniques as frequently as I could. In searching YouTube I came across a chap called Arthur Benjamin. His mental math was ridiculously fast and was something I wanted to aspire to be like. Thankfully he plugged his book in the video and I would highly recommend it as a way to improve your mental maths skills (See Tip Two). I also made use of PilotAptitudeTest.com which provided a bank of practice questions for a small fee - certainly worthy of investment. Having now passed the assessment I would say that the Medium and Hard level questions of PilotAptitudeTest.com were representative of those you will face. If you can pass 15/15 on Hard over and over again then you should be fine.
Sample questions may look like these:
If 1GBP is 1.20EUR and 1EUR is 1.50AUD, how many GBP can you get for 35AUD?
An aircraft requires a fuel uplift of 8700kg. How many US gallons is that at 3.2kg/gal?
Having passed the Maths test on my second attempt I wouldn't say the questions are overly difficult. What I would say though is they often require multiple calculations in order to work out the answer, i.e. currency conversion over 3 currencies. You may therefore require knowledge of quick methodology in order to answer within the timescale provided. The book 'Secrets of Mental Math' by Arthur Benjamin is a great read and truly makes you question why you ever calculated things in the way you did prior to reading. You won't need to read all of this book as some of it is beyond G.C.S.E. mental maths. You can buy find this book on Amazon UK by clicking the button below.
When I spent more time practicing multiple choice examples it became clear that you could simply workout only the first and/or second digit of the answer in order to eliminate all incorrect answers. Doing this will shave valuable seconds from your test time and see you improve.
Result: Pass (2014) | Pass (2015)
Once the Maths test had finished it was then time to commence the Pilot Aptitude Test, or PILAPT test. I have to say I was feeling very nervous about this one as the first time around I had no idea what to expect and went in blind but I was pleasantly surprised to hear I passed the PILAPT component both years. The tests seemed to go on forever and it's safe to say I felt mentally exhausted afterwards. Nevertheless, prior to each test detailed instructions were given and on some tests you even had the opportunity to practice.
As passing selection means so much to you it is likely you will put pressure on yourself and therefore feel quite stressed. The instructions before each PILAPT test weren't timed and I felt this provided a vital opportunity to take a few deep breaths, wipe the sweat from my palms and ensure I totally understood what was being asked of me in each test component.
PILAPT® is a scientifically validated series of tests for assessing people’s aptitude for flying. Each test assesses a specific aptitude shown to predict performance in flight training. When tracking cadets through their first 134 hours of training, those scoring in the top 30% on the PILAPT® tests were shown to be more than twice as likely to succeed in training first-time when compared to the lowest 30% of scores. It is therefore possible to identify those with the highest success profiles.
PILAPT Base - 50 Minutes
Capacity - 15 Minutes
This test is the mother of all tests as you have to focus on three separate tasks all at the same time!
PILAPT claim you are unable to prepare for their actual tests and that may be true but in my case I found that a variety of online resources and paid-for software at least helped prepare me for what to expect. One such tool was pretty much identical to those used at Dibden Manor. Here's two you would benefit from: