What is the ASTB?

The Aviation-Selection Test Battery is used by the U.S. NavyMarine Corps, and Coast Guard as one criterion used in making selection determinations for officer aviation program applicants. The most recent complete revision of the ASTB was completed by the Naval Operational Medicine Institute (NOMI) in cooperation with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey in 1992.


The ASTB is used by the Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to select candidates for the Navy and Marine Corps pilot and flight officer programs. Portions of the test are also used by the Navy for selection into Officer Candidate School (OCS).


The ASTB is administered at Navy Recruiting Districts (NRDs), NROTC units, Marine Corps Officer Selection Offices (OSOs), and at numerous other permanent custody sites. The test isadministered in a paper format, but at many sites it can be administered on a computer through a web based system called APEX.NET. There are three versions of the test—Form 3, Form 4, and Form 5. Each version of the test contains different questions, but all three versions have the same format, subtests, and number of questions. The complete test battery requires approximately 2½ hours to administer.

The current version of the ASTB was constructed and validated to predict both performance and attrition through the primary phases of aviation training for Student Naval Aviators (SNAs) and Student Naval Flight Officers (SNFOs). The entire test battery consists of 6 subtests:

  • Math Skills Test (MST), 30 items, 25 min – The math skills assessed by the Math Skills subtest include arithmetic and algebra, with some geometry. The assessments include both equations and word problems. Some items require solving for variables, others are time and distance problems, and some require the estimation of simple probabilities. Skills assessed include basic arithmetic operationssolving for variablesfractionsrootsexponentiation, and the calculation of anglesarea, and perimeter of geometric shapes.
  • Reading Skills Test (RST), 27 items, 25 min – Reading comprehension items require ASTB examinees to extract meaning from text passages. Each item requires the examinee to determine which of the response options can be inferred from the passage itself. This is pretty straightforward, although it is very important that examinees remember that incorrect response options may still appear to be ‘true’ – only one answer to each item can be derived solely from the information in the passage.
  • Mechanical Comprehension Test (MCT), 30 items, 15 min – Items contained within the mechanical comprehension portion of the ASTB include topics that would typically be found in an introductory high school physics course and the application of these topics within a variety of situations. The questions in this portion of the test gauge examinees’ knowledge of principles related to gases and liquids, and their understanding of the ways in which these properties affect pressurevolume, and velocity. The subtest also includes questions that relate to the components and performance of engines, principles of electricity, gears, weight distribution, and the operation of simple machines, such as pulleys and fulcrums.
  • Spatial Apperception Test (SAT), 25 items, 10 min – These items evaluate an examinee’s ability to match external and internal views of an aircraft based on visual cues regarding its direction and orientation relative to the ground. Each item consists of a view from inside the cockpit, which the examinee must match to one of five external views. These items capture the ability to visualize the orientation of objects in three- dimensional space.
  • Aviation and Nautical Information Test (ANIT), 30 items, 15 min – This section subtest assesses an examinee’s familiarity with aviation history, nautical terminology and procedures, and aviation related concepts such as aircraft components, aerodynamic principles, and flight rules and regulations. Of all the ASTB subtests, ANI scores are the most easily improved by study because it is largely a test of knowledge, rather than aptitude. Examinees can prepare for this subtest by reviewing general reference materials, such as encyclopedias, FAA and civilian aviation books, and handbooks and manuals that provide an overview of basic piloting, navigation, and seamanship. In addition to these sources, some examinees have used commercially available study guides. Even though NOMI does not endorse a particular study guide, books that are designed to prepare individuals for military aptitude flight tests and officer candidate tests often provide a good introduction to aviation and nautical related subjects.
  • Aviation Supplemental Test (AST), 34 items, 25 min (may be less than 34; actual number of items depends on the form given) – the final subtest of the ASTB, it will typically contain a variety of items that are similar in format and content to the items in the preceding subtests.
  • Need more information?  http://www.delawaremarineofficer.com/index.php?page=astb-prep

4 comments on “What is the ASTB?

  1. […] test battery and then take an additional physical in Pensacola, FL.  Last week I took my Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) and passed with a perfect score!  Some of the recruiters had never seen a perfect score before, so […]

  2. Kyra says:

    I am trying to help a friend prepare for the ASTB as part of his Navy OCS package. If your time permits, please provide specifics on what study materials you found most effective and where you obtained or procured them. The individual is applying for a non-flying commission, but the ASTB is still required and the test itself is a source of anxiety.

    Any additional intel would be tremendously appreciated. Thank you so much! Good luck on your journey, and have fun in P-Cola.

  3. Paddy says:

    Hi Kyra,

    This book helped me a ton! I would encourage going through all the material that applies to the Navy and USMC tests in there twice. Most of all, don’t sweat it. I had to study for my college finals and take them the *same week* as the ASTB. And I got a perfect score on the ASTB and finished each section with plenty of time.

    This is a military test, so you can know what it’ll be like going in. No excuse not to be prepared!


  4. Dave says:

    That’s a great list of categories, however, the Navy is now using a 7 category version and has somewhat augmented a couple of those. Also, another critical point to this test is the scoring mechanism and what exactly constitutes a passing grade (for those looking to become navy pilots over being an NF0).

    You can find out the updated version of the ASTB-E here:

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