What You Need to Know About the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test

Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)

U.S. Air Force Airmen Salute the Captain of an F-15 Eagle


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If you have graduated college, you have likely taken either the ACT or the SAT (or both) while in high school. The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test is similar and can be considered as your "entrance exam" into the Air Force Officer professions. Learning how to take the test and apply the knowledge tested is going to be helpful in qualifying within the Air Force Officer ranks as well as receiving scholarships for college.

The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test is used to select college graduates for entry-level officer positions in the U.S. Air Force. It helps determine which military occupation would be the best fit. The tests are rigorous but designed to measure skills and aptitudes based on what the Air Force needs in its officer recruits. The test is also used to award scholarships to the United States Air Force (USAF) Reserve Officer Training Corps and to qualify applicants for officer commissioning through the ROTC and Officer Training School programs. The AFOQT also is used to qualify applicants for aircrew training as aircraft pilots, combat system operators (CSO), air battle managers (ABM), and remotely-piloted aircraft pilots. 

The 2019 revision of the AFOQT makes some changes. The complete AFOQT takes approximately five hours to administer and contains 550 test items that are divided into the following 12 subtests. The AFOQT’s subtests are the following:

  • Self-Description Inventory (40 minutes, 220 questions) - Not graded
  • Verbal Analogies 
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Situational Judgment Test
  • Arithmetic Reasoning 
  • Math Knowledge
  • Aviation Information 
  • Instrument Comprehension 
  • Table Reading 
  • Block Counting 
  • Word Knowledge 
  • General Science

 AFOQT composite scores are provided in these areas:

  • Pilot
  • Combat System Operators (CSO)
  • Air Battle Managers (ABM)
  • Academic Aptitude
  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • Situational Judgment

Subtests and Composite Scores on the AFOQT

Pilot Composite Score:  Used as part of the overall Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PSCM) score. Subtests included: Math Knowledge, Table Reading, Instrument Comprehension, Aviation Information.

Combat Systems Officer (CSO): This was formerly the Navigator-Technical composite. Subtests included: Word Knowledge, Math Knowledge, Table Reading, Block Counting.

Air Battle Manager (ABM): In addition to elements of the pilot composite, it includes the subtests for verbal aptitude and spatial ability. Subtests included: Verbal Analogies, Math Knowledge, Table Reading, Instrument Comprehension, Block Counting, Aviation Information.

Academic Aptitude: Includes the verbal and quantitative composites.

Verbal Composite: Verbal Analogies, Word Knowledge, Reading Comprehension.

The reading comprehension score contributes to the composite scores for Verbal and Academic Aptitude. It is based on being able to understand the content of officer Professional Military Education (PME) modeled on officer Professional Military Education materials.

Quantitative Composite: Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge.

Situational Judgement: It scores how you use judgment in interpersonal situations that an officer is likely to encounter. The instrument comprehension test was added to include graphics and modern instrumentation of Air Force aircraft. And the physical science subtest replaced the general science test. 

The total time required to take the test is almost five hours, with two breaks allowed.

All questions are multiple-choice with four or five possible answers. You are scored on the number of correct answers and not penalized for incorrect answers.

Passing Score on the AFOQT

The test does not have a pass or fail scores. The better you score, the better your chances are of being considered for officer candidacy. Each commission source determines what scores are needed to be selected or considered for their programs. To pass, applicants taking the AFOQT must score a minimum of 15 in Verbal and 10 in Quantitative. For aspiring pilot applicants, you must score a minimum of 25 in pilot, 10 in navigator, and possess a combined pilot-navigator score of 50.

Practice the AFOQT Now

Consider an Air Force Officer Qualifying Test Study Guide for this 5 hour test. Just like you likely learned how to take the SAT and the ACT, you need to also practice and learn some test taking strategies for the AFOQT if you want to score well enough to earn the job you want in the Air Force. Not just learning how to take the test in order to somewhat familiar with this near 5 hour challenge, but to be able to apply some of the knowledge that is specific to the Air Force Officer career.

Other Official Air Force Information about the AFOQT