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Assessment Process for the Integrated ATPL at CAE Oxford

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

When it came time for me to apply to flight schools, I had only ever had one interview before in my life. That was a scholarship interview to a boarding school in 2013. The thought of applying to be a pilot at one of the top schools at seventeen years old, with such little interview experience, seemed like a really a scary thing.


Something I am often asked is how I prepared for the assessment process. I have decided to write this post about the different stages of application at CAE and what I personally did to prepare for them.


Please keep in mind that I applied in 2018, and things may have changed since then. These are just my personal experiences and I hope that they can help - but my preparation methods may not suit everyone 😊


I attended Pilot Careers Live Heathrow on the 4th of November 2017. This was my first real introduction to CAE. After this event I decided to book myself onto CAE's Pilot Career Day on the 24th of February 2018, where I also booked to do a mock skills test. I found this extremely useful as it gave me an insight as to what I should expect on the day of my assessment.


After this day - I decided that CAE was the academy that I wanted to study at. I submitted my initial application to CAE on the 14th of March 2018. This is what is known as Stage one, and I was actually invited to the next stage of assessment the following day.


Stage 1: The initial application and screening process


I submitted my online application, as mentioned on the 14th of March 2018. This application consisted of creating an online profile where I submitted Biodata such as my date of birth, my home address etc, my medical information, and whether or not I obtained a class one medical (at the time when I applied you did not need one before applying - I am not sure what the current requirements are), my aviation experience, my qualifications and my documentation. For the documents section I uploaded my photo ID, my Class One Medical, my criminal record check, my CV and a photo of my LogBook.


Once I had passed this screening process I was invited to Stage 2.


Stage 2: a computer based assessment - ADAPT.


When I got the email inviting me to stage two of the assessment, I felt nervous. It was becoming real now. When I applied, the fee for stage two was £150 and I was sent an email from CAE all about the process. This email included what documents to bring on the day, what would be included in the ADAPT test and all sorts on information on accommodation, parking, arrival times and the dress code.

Before attending Stage two, I was required to complete an online personality questionnaire. The only thing I would recommend for this is honestly just be yourself. If you answer one thing during this questionnaire that isn't completely true, then they may realise this during your interview - so just answer truthfully.

Stage two consists of, along with other things, a maths and physics test. I would say that the questions were secondary school level. The maths focused on speed, distance and time calculations and the physics on forces, acceleration and energy. I actually purchased the CAE Essential maths and physics bundle to prepare for these tests. I believe the cost is £38.98 and it is available at:



I would say that this bundle was more detailed than the assessment itself, but it really helped me to feel prepared.


There is also a free mental maths bundle available.


Stage 2 also consists of a multitude of computer tests. Details of these were all provided in the email that CAE sent me before my assessment date.

From my memory of the day, I was tested on several things that I will now outline.


FAST test - this is basically a test of multi-tasking. You are asked to fly an aircraft while carrying out other tasks at the same time. It is performed using a joystick and tests your ability to work under pressure. I remember the first time I did this and I honestly thought wow, that did not go to plan. There was a lot going on. Then straight away after, you are asked to attempt it again. The second time went much better. I believe that you are tested on how you adapt - and whether you improved on your first attempt.


Fixed wing - during this test you are asked to fly an aircraft using the joystick. Again I believe this tests your ability to adapt and listen to commands.


Coordination test - using the joystick you have to try and keep the ball in the centre. It tests your hand eye coordination.


Cognitive test - this is basically a test to assess your memory involving different shapes and patterns.


In my experience, Stage 2 was the most difficult to prepare for. I really had no idea what to expect. Like I said, I attended a mock skills day at CAE which was really useful but aside from that, I also purchased a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick to practice using, as I had never played video games or anything like that before.

You can order one on amazon from the link I have attached to the left.

(This is an affiliate link. If you purchase through this link, I get a small commission and you don't have any additional costs. Thank you for your support!)






I used the software SkyTest and I may be wrong in thinking this, but I think that this software is actually aimed more at the L3 assessmet, but I still found it useful.


I would really recommend checking out this website, as it provides details on the ADAPT test:


You can find examples of the ADAPT test at



You can also purchase practice adapt tests on this site:


I completed my Stage 2 assessment on the 28th of June 2018. I found out on the 3rd of July that I had passed. This felt like the longest 5 days of my life 😂



Stage 3: The group exercise and Personal Interview


For stage 3, I remember feeling so close, yet so far. I had only ever done one interview in my life, and I had never done a group exercise. I remember doing some research online and coming across the company Airline Prep. They ran an assessment day preparation course. The prices on the website range from £249 upwards. This may seem like a lot of money to spend, but I had absolutely no experience at this kind of thing, and to me it was worth it to go into the interview for my dream career feeling prepared.

The course, in my opinion, was fantastic. We were given the opportunity to practice group exercises, and work on our interview skills - so for me, it was exactly what I needed.


Group exercise

During this exercise you have to work as a team, and you are given the opportunity to demonstrate your communication and leadership skills, your decision making abilities and your workload management.

Airline Prep taught me a really useful acronym that can also be found on the CAA's website called TDODAR - https://www.caa.co.uk/Safety-initiatives-and-resources/Safety-projects/Monitoring-matters/Best-practice-in-pilot-monitoring/


Time - how long do you have

Diagnosis - what's the purpose / goal

Options - discuss what options are available

Decide - make some decisions

Allocate / Assign - who should do what job

Review - review the decisions


I cannot comment as to how the CAE Group exercise is conducted as I was not required to do one when I applied.


Interview

The interview is your time to show the school who you are and why you want to be a pilot. Before this stage, the school actually sent an extremely informative email with what to expect - so that really helps to prepare.


The interview essentially has two parts - one part is the personal / competency based part, and the other is based on your knowledge of the course, the industry and then some simple aviation related questions.


During the personal part of the interview I was asked to describe a time that I demonstrated a certain attribute. These attributes tend to include leadership skills, teamwork, decision making, customer service skills, communication, flexibility etc.; all of the necessary skills a pilot must possess.


A really useful acronym to use is STAR


Situation / Task

Actions

Result


I again have airline prep to thank for helping me understand this interview technique.


I'll now run through an example. I'm not saying this is the best example but I hope it helps to explain.


"Give an example of when you have taken a risk".

Instead of just stating that risk - you really need to show off what you took from it and how you handled it.


Situation - going to boarding school when I was 13 years old on a sport and academic scholarship, leaving my family & friends behind. I had to make a quick decision

Actions - I made a pros and cons list and I discussed it with my parents. Although I was leaving lots behind, the scholarship offered lots of potential. The cons were all emotional ties and I tried to keep emotions out of the decision and remain objective - whilst understanding that emotions should be considered.

Result - I got fantastic grades at the school and won various different races in my swimming


You can then put this into an interview styled answer.


Throughout the interview you also really need to demonstrate your motivation for the role. I'd recommend knowing the First Officer roles and responsibilities, being aware of current situations in the aviation industry and knowing about the programme you are applying for.


It is also useful to have a basic knowledge of aviation such as how a wing generates lift, how a jet engine works, what fly-by-wire is and what is a glass cockpit.


I had my Stage 3 interview on the 12 of September 2018, and I believe the cost was £175. On the 18th I found out that I had passed and my journey at CAE began.


Good luck to everyone who has an assessment coming up - I hope that this post has been helpful 😊✈️




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