I just got back from Columbus where I took the ASTB exam. I was surprised to find out that I was required to take all the sections of the ASTB, not just the OAR. So if before I have stated that IW only takes OAR, I was wrong.
My testing was scheduled for 11am in Columbus, two hours away. I also had to stop by home (Mason, which is on the way to Columbus from Cincinnati) to pick up two more letters of recommendation. I got an early start because of all the snow that fell last night, just to be safe.
I ended up getting into Columbus around 10:15am. I drove past the base to make sure I knew exactly where to go, then went to a Target across the street to use the facilities and browse. I actually ended up getting some Christmas shopping done! When 10:35ish rolled around I checked out and went over to the base. They had me pull around to the visitor station where all I had to do was show my driver’s license to get a temporary parking pass to the base. Soon I was on my way to building 10, section 13.
Luckily I found a close parking spot and got inside, out of the cold. I met up with my processor, Jean, who took me back to her area and got me situated with the computer testing system. She was extremely friendly and very helpful. Even with the guards in the Visitor Station poking fun at me cause I was going Navy and not Marines, it was a very welcoming environment.
I had to leave my cell phone at her desk, but was able to bring my bottle of water into the testing room with me. There I was supplied with lots of scrap paper, a number of pencils with pencil sharpener, and the computer. The computer program was very straightforward and instructions were clear. If you are going to be taking the ASTB, I wouldn’t worry at all about having a difficult time with the medium of the test.
I started with the Math. The problems were rather simple, only a few times did I really have to think twice about how to do something. But what I did quickly realize is that time is precious. They don’t give you that much time to do these problems. Generally you have between 30 seconds and a minute for each question in each section. Of course you can speed through some and take your time on others. There was also a nice flag button that if I wanted to mark a question so I could remember to revisit it, I was able to do that. I didn’t budget my time completely right, so I didn’t get to look at the last two math problems all too closely. But I marked answers just as a guess. Can’t hurt, eh?
Next was the reading section. This section was probably my most challenging. I had a difficult time reading quickly and then answering the questions. I would always read it quickly, read the answers, go back and skim the passage again. If I were to do this section again, I would suggest that you skim the paragraph for keywords, read the answers, then go back and read the paragraph. If you have a great memory though, you can probably just read and answer in that linear fashion.
Mechanics was a breeze. I had to scrounge the back of my brain for electricity related answers though. If you take this section, just review some freshman physics notes and you should be fine.
The other three sections were quite fun. Luckily I have had flying experience and I know a bit about aviation. I didn’t look over any practice exams for these sections previously because I didn’t realize I had to take them. One section is nautical/aviation knowledge, another is spatial recognition (which was my favorite), and the other was kind of a mix of everything done already. In the spatial recognition, they give you a picture from the cockpit view, then 5 other drawings of plane orientation. You select which plane matches the cockpit view. I would look at the cockpit view then imagine myself seeing that back in my Beechcraft Skipper. Although, I don’t think that plane could have taken some of the dives the drawing showed.
After about 3 hours of testing with a 15 minute break between the first and last three sections, I was done. Being on the computer it automatically calculated my scores. I was a bit nervous as it took 20 seconds to calculate…
65 on the OAR 7’s on the rest
I am very happy with the scores. The people I was working with at the base were very excited for my scores as well.
“You completely tore apart that test…” ~My recruiter
So what’s next? Well my recruiter wants me to talk to a guy who an Information Warfare Officer right now, just to chat for a bit. I also have a few more transcripts I need sent in/SAT scores. And I’ll have to go do my physical fitness test.
After taking the test, I had to watch a 20 minute video on OCS which was actually nice to see video. I think they show it so you can see that, yes, people will be yelling at you… it won’t be a walk through the park.
Hmm… trying to think if there is anything else I want to add about the ASTB. I guess if you are in preparation for taking the ASTB, search and go through as many practice exams as you can. I found that the actual test questions were exactly like the practice exams I looked at.