When one is doing research on the career of air traffic control, inevitably the question becomes: what is the air traffic control exam like? How hard is it? How can a potential candidate prepare? There are many ways in which a potential air traffic control student can prepare himself (or herself) for the FAA Academy pre-application test. Those having prior experience in air traffic control are not, however, required to take the test. Those without prior experience, however, will have to prepare for a long and taxing 8 hour, computer-based test.

Air Traffic Control Test Components

IQ Test

One of the first components of the air traffic controller test is a simple IQ test. This part of the test will indicate whether or not the candidate possesses the reasoning skills and logically based thought processes that make the best air traffic controllers. Mathematical concepts as well as scientific theories will be tested. The air traffic control exam does not consist of only IQ test questions, though this is weighed heavily against the other components. Like any test, studying prior to the test does increase the ability of the test taker to make a better score.

Psychological Exam

This component of the test examines the candidate's ability to withstand emotional and ethical dilemmas such as might be experienced in certain situations in the control tower. Those with consistent answers indicating emotional stability score the highest on this portion of the test. These scores are examined in conjunction with other components to give the examiners a clear picture of the applicant's internal landscape.

Essential Knowlege Test

This component tests the candidate's knowledge of basic principles and guidelines in regard to air traffic control in the U.S. Situational questions are posed as well. Questions on radar use, symbols, and terminology round out the test.

Air traffic controller exams and exam guides abound on the internet. Any of them can, and will, help in one way or another. What makes a good study guide is one that offers questions that provide instruction and sample questions in all of the component areas. While the test is 8 hours long, preparation and focus will see the candidate doing well.