Step 3 of 4

Application process

To start with you must attend an initial interview or presentation. Then you must pass several tests and interviews.

These include:

  • Recruitment test
  • Initial Officer Candidate Interview
  • Medical and eye test
  • Pre joining fitness test
  • The Flight Aptitude Test
  • Admiralty Interview Board
  • Security and Reference Check

For the full list of medical criteria, download our Eligibility and Guidance Notes (PDF).


You have to meet certain height criteria:

For all Royal Navy jobs you need to be at least 151.5cm tall. 

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Tests and interviews you must pass

Recruitment test


This tests your academic ability. There are four separate parts to it which you have to it which you have to complete within a limited time. These measure:

  • General reasoning
  • Verbal ability
  • Numeracy
  • Mechanical comprehension

We suggest trying some mock tests using our booklet. Download booklet (PDF)

Initial Officer Candidate Interview


This interview immediately follows the Recruitment test for officer candidates.  It is a chance for you to meet your Area Careers Liaison Officer (ACLO), a chance for the ACLO to make an initial assessment of your suitability and an opportunity for you to ask questions and be guided through the application process.  There is a set of documentation that you must submit in advance, which will be discussed during the interview.

Medical & eye tests


To become a Aircrew Officer Pilot, you’ll first have to pass a medical exam and eye test to show you’re fit and healthy.                                             

You will also have to pass an eyesight test since good vision is critical in the Royal Navy. You will be reading maps and charts , monitoring radars, and working on complex equipment.

You will need to have your medical and eye tests done by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors but don’t worry, they’re based all around the country so there should be one near you. You can find out exactly what we’re looking for during the medical and eye test by viewing the medical criteria page.

Pre Joining Fitness Test


The Pre Joining Fitness involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill at a fitness centre near you. Below are the times you’ll need to meet according to your age and sex.

Royal Navy Pre Joining Fitness Test
Age Men Women
15 - 24 11 mins 09 secs 13 mins 10 secs
25 - 29 11 mins 33 secs 13 mins 37 secs
30 - 34 11 mins 58 secs 14 mins 05 secs
35 - 39 12 mins 23 secs 14 mins 33 secs


The Flight Aptitude Test


You will attend the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire, where candidates for aircrew in all 3 services are assessed for their flight aptitude.  An initial briefing will cover the tasks set for you and the standards you are expected to achieve.  You'll then complete a set of aptitude tests on a PC.  Skills we will test include multi-tasking, hand-eye coordination, rapid mental arithmetic, verbal reasoning and more.  Once the results are available, you will be told whether you have passed in your required area and advised how to progress with your application.

Admiralty Interview Board


The Admiralty Interview Board (AIB) takes place over two days at HMS Sultan in Hampshire and will test you both mentally and physically.

Before you arrive for the AIB you will receive a biographical questionnaire. It’s important that you complete it as fully and as accurately as you can and hand it in when you arrive at HMS Sultan.

AIB day one

During your first full day, you’ll need to do the following: 

  • A 20-minute verbal test designed to demonstrate your general reasoning and ability with words
  • A 13-minute non-verbal reasoning test, again measuring your reasoning power, but this time without the emphasis on verbal skills
  • A 25-minute numerical test covering numerical fluency, reasoning and statistics
  • A 15-minute speed and accuracy test, measuring your concentration and mental agility
  • A 15-minute spatial orientation test, involving directions, relative positions and movement
  • A short general service knowledge test to provide the Board with an indication of your research into the Royal Navy


You will also need to choose one of four topics and write an essay within 45 minutes. This will help us assess your written communication skills.

Fitness assessment

To test your fitness you will need to do a multi-stage fitness test (commonly known as the ‘bleep test’). There is no pass or fail with this but your performance will be graded so you need to give it your all. We will send you some preparation guidelines before you come but it’s a good idea to start doing regular exercise as early as possible.

AIB day two

The second day of the AIB includes a practical leadership task, a planning exercise and a competency interview. You’ll find out if you have passed by the end of the day. If you’re successful you will have to stay on and undergo a medical examination.

Practical leadership task

Working within a team in the gym, you will have to solve a practical problem, put a plan into action and respond to difficulties as they come up. The task is designed to test your teamwork and leadership ability, your verbal powers of communication, your resilience and strength of character.

Planning exercise

You’ll get a written brief containing the details of a fictional scenario. You will have 15 minutes to study the information. We’ll then introduce a problem into the scenario setting, and you’ll have 15 minutes to discuss possible solutions with your group and reach an agreed plan. You will then present this to the Board as a group. We will question each person in your group to examine everyone’s grasp of the situation, before you individually present your final solution to the problem.

Competency interview

This involves a 30-minute interview about things you have done throughout your life. To prepare for this you should think about times when you have been a leader, organised something, been in a team and shown courage.

We will ask you why you want to join the Royal Navy, your understanding of your chosen specialisation and your hopes and ambitions. You will also need to demonstrate a wider knowledge about the Royal Navy beyond what is available in leaflets.

AIB results

You will know whether you have passed that same afternoon. If you’ve made it through you will need to stay on a little longer to undergo a medical examination.

Be aware, that passing the AIB doesn’t guarantee your entry into training. Everyone is placed in order of merit. The final selection will depend on the number of vacancies available at the time and the number of successful candidates who reach the required medical and educational standards.  Whether you pass or not, most people enjoy their visit to the AIB and go away having learned something about themselves in the process.

Download AIB Details (PDF)

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