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Aptitude testing

Aptitude Testing

After submitting your application, a Candidate Engagement Facilitator (CEF) will invite you to complete your aptitude testing either through remote proctoring or in person at your nearest recruiting office. Aptitude tests are an important part of the application process and provide us with some specific information about how you might perform in a particular job.

The purpose of testing

Like many employers the NZDF uses aptitude tests in its selection procedures. The NZDF has been doing so since World War II when it began using aptitude tests to select aircrew.  

Aptitude tests provide reliable and objective information about an individual’s ability to perform under training and on the job. They help the NZDF to identify the candidates who are most likely to succeed in training and early career.

What are aptitude tests?

Our aptitude tests are different to the tests you have done at school. Rather than assessing what a person knows, they assess a person’s ability to do certain things compared to others (e.g.  solving unfamiliar problems). These assessments are conducted under strict time constraints that allow candidates to be compared against one another.

Preparing for Aptitude Testing

What aptitude tests will you complete?

You will be asked to complete two aptitude tests. The first test is made up of numerical reasoning, deductive reasoning, and inductive reasoning questions that provides an indication of your General Mental Ability. The second test is a Mechanical Comprehension test designed to measure your ability to understand mechanical concepts. Each of these test types is described further in the Test Description Section.

How much preparation should you do?

It’s entirely up to each person how much preparation and study they complete prior to sitting the aptitude tests. We recommend that you engage in at least some preparation before you take the tests to give yourself the best chance to succeed.

How should you prepare?

There are many things you can do to prepare for aptitude testing. We recommend that you:

  • Make sure you understand what kind of tests you will be taking (detailed below)
  • Practice solving problems similar to the ones in the test. Being familiar with the type and structure of the questions will ensure you know what you need to do during the test. 
  • Practice solving problems under test conditions (e.g. time constraints & pressure). Doing so may help to reduce some of the pressure that comes with timed testing.
  • Practice strategies that help you to keep calm under pressure. Staying relaxed and calm should improve your ability to demonstrate your true ability.
  • Prepare an appropriate space to complete testing and practice in it. Set-up a space that is quiet, comfortable, and free from distractions or interruptions. Set yourself up away from distracting noises (like the TV), set your phone to airplane mode (so you can still use it as a calculator), ensure the lighting and temperature are right for you, and make sure you have a good quality internet connection and a place to plug your computer in (the tests cannot be done on a phone or tablet). Don’t underestimate the impact that interruptions, distractions, or discomfort can have on your test results!

Download our comprehensive aptitude testing preparation guide here


Deductive Reasoning

What will I be asked?


Deductive Reasoning tests are designed to measure your ability to draw logical conclusions based on information you are provided, to identify strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and to complete scenarios using incomplete information.

Inductive Reasoning

What will I be asked?


An inductive reasoning tests measures abilities that are important in solving problems. They may also be referred to as abstract reasoning tests or diagrammatic style tests. These tests measure the ability to work flexibly with unfamiliar information and find solutions. They assess your ability to identify underlying patterns in information and predict outcomes using that information.

Mechanical Comprehension

What will I be asked? 


Mechanical comprehension tests are designed to assess your ability to understand mechanical concepts. Answering some of these questions will require an understanding of mechanical principles such as leverage, weight and balance, rotation of shapes, gears and pulleys, fluid hydraulics, volume, temperature and pressure.

Numerical Ability

What will I be asked?  


The questions you will be asked are designed to measure your ability to solve problems involving numerical data. Doing so will require you to interpret data that is presented in charts, graphs, and tables and to use mathematical concepts to solve problems.   


Answering some questions will require you to be able to compute solutions accurately using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Some questions may require you to understand percentages, fractions, decimals, proportions, basic geometry and basic probability. Developing your skills in these areas may improve your ability to answer the questions in the numerical reasoning part of the assessment. Exactly what you should practice, or how will depend on your current level of numerical ability and preferred learning style.

Example Questions and Practice Tests

Example questions can be found below. These are only intended to give you a general idea of the type of questions you will be asked.

Once you have reviewed the question types, complete the practice tests before completing the real test. Practice tests can be found here.

These tests will simulate the types of questions you will be asked with the added pressure of answering questions under time constraints. NOTE you are required to create a login to access the tests, and can only complete each test once.

Not all of the tests on the practice site will be relevant to the tests you will undergo. The tests that are most similar to the real assessment are the:

  • General Ability Test (Standard Multiple-Choice), and
  • Mechanical Comprehension Test

We strongly recommend that you attempt both these tests before the real assessment.

You may also like to attempt the:

  • Numerical Reasoning (Standard Multiple Choice)
  • Inductive Reasoning (Standard Multiple Choice)
  • Deductive Reasoning (Standard Multiple Choice)

These tests are different from the real assessment in that they assess one ability at a time. They can be a good way to practice answering numerical, inductive, and deductive questions. Keep in mind that the real assessment will be a mixture of numerical, deductive, and inductive questions just like in the General Ability practice test listed above.

What else can you do?

Some applicants find it useful to complete practice tests found elsewhere on the internet. Please be aware that the questions found elsewhere may not be similar to what you will receive in NZDF selection tests. That is why we only specifically recommend the tests at the practice site. These will be the most similar to those in the actual assessment.

If you do search elsewhere for practice tests, you should know that some websites require payment for practice tests. It is up to each candidate as to whether they are willing to purchase practice material.


There is a limit to the number of times you can attempt the aptitude testing. If you fail on your first attempt you will have to wait 3 months before sitting the test again. If you fail on your second attempt you will have to wait 12 months before sitting your third and final attempt. 

This stand-down period allows you time to personally upskill in the areas that you are weak at. If you are focusing on academic study to upskill your knowledge, talk to your Candidate Engagement Facilitator to see what is best for you.

The third attempt is your final opportunity to pass the assessment. If you do not pass, we will be unable to proceed with your application. Take the time to upskill yourself in the areas that you are weak in.

Note: The NZDF allows a maximum of three attempts at its entry-level aptitude tests. This limit applies regardless of the entry-level tests attempted. For example, a candidate who has completed the old handwritten tests once before would only be able to attempt the new Aptitude Tests an additional 2 times.


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