Monday, September 29, 2014


Officer AFOQT Test, Studying for the AFOQT, Taking the AFOQT to Commission as an Officer

At 0600 (zero six hundred, also 6:00 am, for the civilians here—which is most of you) on Wednesday, August 20th, I walked up the concrete steps of the Boise MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station), mentally preparing for a very big test that could hold a lot of impact for my future—I was about to take the AFOQT! This is the test that all future officer candidates must take to qualify for a coveted commissioned position (hence Air Force Officer Qualifying Test). Four hours later, I walked out of the glass doors with tense shoulders, a coffee in my hand, and the broadest smile on my face—I had done it!

Now before you begin to ask me the, "Why didn't you just commission when you joined because you already have a college degree?" bit, I'll just say straight-up that the Air Guard does it differently. Unless you're a doctor or a lawyer, you pretty much have to go in as enlisted and then go for a commission afterward—regardless of having a degree or not (I have a B.S. in Health Education & Promotion). So that's why I joined as enlisted. And to be honest, I didn't think I'd ever want to be an officer—I was (and still am) totally happy being a member of the enlisted force. But things change, you know? And if things do change and I decide the officer route is the way I'd like to go—at least the test is out of the way.

So, the AFOQT. It's a beast. Truly. It's like a souped-up version of the ASVAB (the test you take to join the military, which is very similar to an SAT/ACT type test), but harder, longer and requiring much, much quicker responses. I had to go to work after finishing the AFOQT and my brain was like, "Work... cannot... paper... typing... what?" for the rest of the day. Here's the test's 470-question (yes, 470!) breakdown:
  1. Verbal Analogies: 25 questions - 8 minutes
  2. Arithmetic Reasoning: 25 questions - 29 minutes
  3. Word Knowledge: 25 questions - 5 minutes
  4. Math Knowledge: 25 questions - 22 minutes
  5. Instrument Comprehension: 20 questions - 6 minutes
  6. Block Counting: 20 questions - 3 minutes
    • 10 minute break
  7. Table Reading: 40 questions - 7 minutes
  8. Aviation Information: 20 questions - 8 minutes
  9. Rotated Blocks: 15 questions - 13 minutes
  10. General Science: 20 questions - 10 minutes
  11. Hidden Figures: 15 questions - 8 minutes
  12. Self Description Inventory: 220 questions - 40 minutes
To say that this test has very short time limits is quite the understatement. I was able get through most of the sections without too much trouble, but the Block Counting & Table Reading? You've got to be kidding! Those ones go way too fast. It's safe to say I guessed on a quarter of those sections as I furiously scribbled in the last few bubbles before the time ran out. And then there's the personal description inventory—which is essentially a personality test—and that one was totally easy to finish on time; it only took me 20 minutes.

Overall, the test was alright. Some sections surprised me (like Word Knowledge—it was easier than I thought it would be) and others totally blew my mind (Block Counting—I'm so bad at it!). I am glad I studied a bit before taking it by taking a few practice tests and reading the Barron's Officer Candidate School Test book. I wouldn't recommend going in cold turkey. You only get two chances to take the AFOQT, and being prepared is the way to go.

As far as my scores go, I did just fine. I didn't measure up to my ASVAB score (which was a 96), but my scores are high enough to qualify me for any officer position I could apply for. I have been told that most officer candidates bring quantitative scores that range anywhere from the 30's to the 60's to the table—and mine were considerably higher than that, so I'm very pleased. I have no plans to take the test again to try to improve my score. I passed and ended up with an above-average and competitive score, so it's all good! In fact, I'm just glad it's over!

So the next steps? Hurry up and wait—since I'm not quite sure this is the avenue I'd like to pursue, I'm in no rush to make any huge decisions. In addition, in the Air Guard, you can't commission until a job opens up, and then you have to apply for it along with everyone else and their cousin who are going after it with hungry, hungry eyes. Most officer positions at our base are the traditional type, so I could still maintain my civilian job at the hospital and then just be an officer one weekend a month with the Air Guard. Sounds like a win/win to me! Not only would commissioning be a huge honor, but it would also be an amazing career path that could lead to many doors being opened in the future. Plus, with babies coming along someday, this could bring a wonderful opportunity to be able to, well, have more choices about which direction we'd like to go with jobs/income/etc. when that time finally comes.

So that's life at the moment. It's stinkin' awesome! No big plans, no big changes. We're just waiting, planning, dreaming—and loving every minute!

PS / / This post isn't intended to be a tell-all or study guide for the AFOQT. If you'd like an awesome breakdown of the AFOQT and tips on how to take it from a military blogger who I admire and look to for all my questions, check out Aim High Erin.


Aunie said...

That test sounds - INTENSE. And intense is a KIND word.

And it's good to get it out of the way now - You are leaving your options open. Such a SMART COOKIE!!!!

Darn - no I want a cookie. hehehe.

Happy Monday.

Aunie said...

Haha, it was intense, to say the least. Yep, options open. You never know when the timing might be right on something!

And cookies... yum. Now I want one! You stinker!

Aunie said...

Way to go, AR! Proud of you!

Aunie said...

Thanks, girl :) You're kind of my biggest supporter these days and I just LOVE you for it :) Stay awesome, won't ya?

Aunie said...

Woohoo! Congrats on taking that step. There's honor in service in all forms, enlisted or officer. Whichever one you choose, you'll be able to do great things. I still think the biggest value we contribute in the first few years of being officers is being able to hold back the wave of bureaucracy so that the enlisted can do their jobs! We don't start affecting policy until later on!

Aunie said...

Great point!! I hope I can help out with that if it ever happens :)

Aunie said...

You're amazing!

Aunie said...

Your support is always appreciated. Thanks Colleen!

Aunie said...

You're awesome!

Aunie said...

Thanks Aunt Linda!! One day at a time :)