The Flight School Assessment
So you’ve booked yourself an assessment? Congratulations, its the first step in realizing your dream! For the most part, all the major fight schools in the UK and Europe will all be looking for the same things – Motivation and Ability.
They do this in different ways, but with the larger flight schools, this is commonly done on an “assessment day” which aims to test all your motivation and natural ability. So how do they do this? The assessment days commonly involve 3 or 4 distinct segments: The interview, the team exercise, the computer assessment and occasionally the sim check.
The interview: The interview gives a chance for you to show off some of your ability, however, this is mainly time for your motivation to shine through. The interview will typically be split into two sections – the motivation section and the competency section. There are commonly two interviewers and they will ask a section each whilst the other makes notes. The motivation section is exactly what it says – why do you want to be a pilot and do you have the motivation to get you through the next 18 months of hard work and into the right-hand set of an airliner? They will also be probing you here for knowledge of the flight school, the industry and the airline if you’re going for a sponsored scheme – so do your research, there’s nothing worse than not knowing the basics!
The competency-based section is slightly different – the interviewer will be asking you for examples of when you have behaved in certain ways and shown desirable attributes – Leadership, good teamwork, good communication, the list goes on. How do you answer these questions?
What they are looking for is really to be told a story, set the scene, explain what happened, your actions and how they had a positive impact. When you’re preparing these answers for your interview to remember one thing – the interviewer will have been sitting through this same interview several times that day and possibly hundreds of times in the past weeks, so make your answers interesting and memorable – preferable for the right reasons!
Prepare yourself for this section giving yourself a handful of good examples where you have displayed desirable attributes, you will find that some stories can be tweaked to cover several different questions – perfect. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will wing it on the day because you’ve got some examples in your head, you won’t, the interview is all about preparation and it really shows. Write them out, edit them, read them to yourself then get someone to interview you – its unbelievable how much harder it is to get it all out right when you’re put on the spot, but if you get the preparation in, it will really show.
The team exercise: As a pilot 99.9% of the time you will find yourself working alongside someone else, therefore good teamwork skills are essential. The team exercise is your chance to show off these skills and show you work well with others.
Lots of people go into this part of the assessment thinking they need to dominate the task and take the lead – this couldn’t be more wrong. Taking over the exercise will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons, the task is a team exercise, not an individual one. So what are the assessors looking for?
Including everyone – is there someone who is being quiet and not getting their opinion or view across in the task, bring them in and ask them what they think. Clarifying ideas – getting others to expand and build on their ideas. Encourage others – be positive, and encourage ideas rather than putting down ones you don’t agree with. Original ideas – the assessors will want to see you playing your part in the exercise. Delegating tasks – sometimes the exercise requires several tasks to be achieved at the same time or in a short space of time, locating these tasks effectively and sensibly is important. Lots of people also worry about failing to complete the exercise, don’t worry, its how you work as a team they are interested in.
The Computer Assessment: If you are reading this then I’m sure you have done your research – there are practice versions of almost all the latest computer aptitude tests used by the big flight schools available online, some of which may require a fee. Are they worth it? In my opinion, yes, they are. The aptitude tests are designed so you shouldn’t really be able to “practice” them – you either have the skills to do well in them or you don’t. I agree totally, however, I believe that having seen something similar and had a go on the practice software gives you a noticeable advantage over someone who hasn’t – you’ve seen it before. This is going to help you go into it feeling more relaxed and confident as you know exactly what to expect.
The Sim Check: The sim check is primarily used to confirm and verify the findings of the computer-based testing – a more practical application of capacity, hand to eye coordination, ability to learn new skills and many other things. As the computer-based testing is becoming more and more reliable and accurate, the sim check is becoming less and less common – sim time is often short and extremely valuable so why use it up if its not absolutely necessary? If you do go for a sim check, don’t panic, they’re not expecting miracles here! No previous experience required as its all very basic – its actually great fun!
If you want any guidance or more in-depth information on any of the above or any flight school-specific questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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