ADAPT Test – The Airline Pilot Selection Process

You’ll surely be faced with the ADAPT Test during an airline selection process when you are a pilot looking for a job. It may seem daunting at first, but there’s no need to worry, because we are about to break down the process and give you all the important details so you will know exactly what to expect during your test.

You’ve most likely heard of the Compass Test, right? In case you need a quick refresher, it’s a computer-based program that aims to gauge your personality, as well as test your knowledge in several key areas including ATPL knowledge, flying skills (theoretical), verbal reasoning and a few others. Tons of aspiring pilots have completed this test in the past, during the airline selection process. Of course, some passed this test, and many others unfortunately did not.

However, the questions from the Compass test have made their way around the Internet, meaning that the answers are easily accessible to potential test-takers. If you know where to look, you’ll pass with ease, and if you haven’t looked up the questions, you’re at a huge disadvantage.

Airlines eventually realized this, so now they have opted to have candidates complete the ADAPT test instead. Here’s all you need to know about the ADAPT Test what the kinds of questions you can count on encountering.

Not unlike the Compass Test, the Advanced ADAPT Test is a computer-based assessment platform. It includes four key elements, which will be described in detail below.

Advanced Cognitive Test

This is the first section of the ADAPT Test. As the name suggests, this test, which is aimed at higher-level candidates, tests your cognitive abilities in areas such as short-term memory, speed and accuracy of perception, and spatial reasoning/awareness.

What does that all mean? Basically during this part of the airline selection process, you will be completing timed tests, in which you will be asked to do some mathematical calculations which may include utilising the basic laws of physics or completing a sequence of numbers. Also, it’s really important that you know basic calculations in your head, like square roots, multiplication tables, and simple formulas, so that you don’t waste time doing extra steps. Did you see our Math For Pilots Course or Physics For Pilots Course for example? Completing those will give you a major head start!

Math & Physics for pilots


This stage of the ADAPT Test is all about multitasking and learning how to improve performance throughout the duration of the test itself. This stage combines cognitive, physical, and situational aspects and wraps them all into a very time-limited test.

This part of the test will likely induce a bit of stress, but it will help immensely to be prepared. You’ll be answering questions extremely quickly. For example, you may be shown a picture for just a few seconds, then you will be immediately asked to recall specific information which was displayed in the photo. You will only have a few seconds to read and answer the questions as well.

Let’s say you were shown a picture of an airplane cockpit. The questions will ask you about things such as the amount of fuel which was displayed, the order of several instruments, or the color of an object that was shown. Later, you will be shown some very bright pictures, and you will have to choose which option best fits the original picture you saw.

You also fly around a bit, and you are asked to recall information about a variety of things, including the types of obstacles (airport, factory, etc.) you encountered, what instructions ATC gave you at a specific moment in time, the number of towers you saw along the way, what the aircraft’s cockpit looked like, or other aircraft you noticed.

At the same time, you will also be completing basic intelligence tests and trying to avoid any obstacles. During this phase, you will not get a break between tasks, so make sure you take the extra shot of espresso in your coffee on the day of the test! Remember, this test is all about time management; If you don’t know an answer, choose one and move on. Any answer is better than no answer.

Aviation Knowledge Test

This part of the ADAPT Test focuses solely on aviation knowledge areas like Principles of Flight, Navigation, Meteorology and Air Law. You’ll have one hour to complete a total of fifty questions, so you have plenty of time on this section, since you should be able to answer most questions instantly. Most airline selection processes contain ATPL knowledge tests, but this one is one of the hardest I’ve seen.

Below, you can find a list of questions which are quite similar to those you will be asked during this phase of the ADAPT Test. To use this list most effectively, it is recommended that you practice, look up the answers prior to your assessment date, and make sure you know them well. If you feel like you need further preparation, check out this book!

  • What is the total length of 45 degrees Latitude?
  • What is Vth?
  • Calculate compass heading with variation/deviation
  • What is a DME-Z?
  • How many hpa at 5000′?
  • Which one is the most accurate (Glonass/VNAV/GNASS)?
  • Motor systems in the human body (what happens automatically)
  • Nausea in Inner Ear/Tube of Eustachius
  • What does the Airspeed indicator show when your pitot tube is blocked?
  • What does the Airspeed indicator show when your static port and pitot tube is blocked?
  • QNH/QFE questions regarding field elevation and altitude
  • DME, how does it work?
  • What is NOT an NDB error?
  • How many inches in nm?
  • What does a Rhumbline look like on a Mercator chart/polar stereo graphic chart?
  • Calculate the distance according to the departure formula and the scale on the chart
  • Flashing red/green on taxi and in flight: what does it mean?
  • Download on tail when cg is forward of cp?
  • Point of no return/equal time
  • Monsoon/Bora
  • Skywaves at a high frequency, increase/decrease with wave length
  • Another word for courteous?
  • Most accurate point on Mercator chart and polar stereo graphic
  • What is the exact height of the tropopause?
  • How does an altimeter work?
  • Gyroscope assemblies/vertical/horizontal gyro
  • What are your actions when hyperventilating?
  • What are ISA conditions?
  • How many accidents are caused by pilot error?
  • Communication failure, what do you do and in which order?
  • Refraction/Attenuation at different heights/high frequency
  • Take off sequence V speeds (Vmu/Vlof/Vmca etc)
  • 35′ height from toda/todr/asda?
  • 15 degree turn Vstall is 60 kt, how many knots in a 45 degree turn?
  • What is metabolism?
  • Reciprocating engine is climbing, what happens with drag/speed?
  • What is a permeable band?
  • SSR, what/where is the interrogator and transmitter?

Coordination Assessment

Most airline selection processes contain a coordination assessment. This final section of the ADAPT Test tests the dexterity and hand-eye coordination of a candidate. During this section, you will be using a joystick to try and keep a ball in the center of a target circle while the ball attempts to drift away from the circle. This part is easy, you just have to show that you can act quickly.

The day before you are due to sit this assessment, you will most likely be given a link to access the Advanced Personality Questionnaire. Even though you will get some personality-related questions during the main test, this questionnaire will give more insight into who you are as a person – your values, what motivates you, your attitudes, and behavioural characteristics. This questionnaire also focuses on a few traits which are critical in aviation, such as Authority Gradient and values relating to safety.

…and that’s what you can expect before and during your ADAPT Test! We hope this article was helpful for you! If you have additional knowledge to share, please leave us a comment.

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