How Do I Prepare for an Air Traffic Controller Test?

K. Kinsella
K. Kinsella
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

In many countries, someone wishing to become an air traffic controller must first pass an aptitude examination. This test is normally administered by an aviation regulatory authority agency and someone preparing to take the air traffic controller test must be familiar with industry rules and procedures. Furthermore, the examination typically includes questions that are designed to test the candidate’s intelligence quotient (IQ). Some people prepare for these exams by enrolling in air traffic controller training programs and by studying IQ tests.

Many companies and educational establishments sell books and training materials that include sample IQ questions. While an individual cannot dramatically raise his or her IQ level by studying these materials, many people believe that people can slightly raise their scores by familiarizing themselves with test materials. To pass the test an individual must achieve a certain score on the IQ component of the examination, so raising this particular score by a few points may be enough for someone to pass the test.

Air traffic controllers have to coordinate the movement of a large number of aircraft within a limited space. Controllers have to have a good grasp of both mathematics and physics to perform the calculations necessary to ensure that airplanes do not collide either while in the air or on the ground. Many people who take the air traffic controller examination are individuals who have completed mathematics or science related degree programs while other people take aerospace engineering degree programs that specifically prepare individuals to work in the airline industry. People who lack such academic credentials can prepare for the air traffic controller test by enrolling in short-term mathematics courses at community colleges. Some people also buy mathematics and physics textbooks and study the materials without involving a tutor or enrolling in a formal training class.

Many companies market training guides that prepare individuals to take the air traffic controller test. In some instances, these materials include textbooks, computer software programs and compact discs that contain recorded lectures. Additionally, the training guides also include regulatory information so that exam candidates can familiarize themselves with rules about landing procedures and safety issues. Some companies also arrange air traffic controller test preparation seminars at which licensed controllers or regulatory agents conduct seminars during which attendees learn about the kinds of topics that are likely to appear in the examination.

In some countries, the air traffic controller test also includes simulations during which candidates are tasked with managing fictitious aircraft. Private companies sometimes operate simulation machines that members of the public can pay to use. The simulations used in the machine may differ from the ones used in the actual exam but some people benefit from gaining some practical insight into the job before taking the exam.

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