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12-19-2008, 07:47 AM
I'm not sure if it's the fact that I had the worst 5 days of reserve this past week, or the fact that there is too much uncertainty in this job for me to be comfortable making it a career.

I am just wondering if anybody on here has considered air traffic control, and if you have either already taken the test, or are scheduled to take the test? I put in my application back in September, when I was at risk of being furloughed, and just set up a test date for early next month. Unless we find a way to get a national seniority list (hence some better security to actually make flying a career), I don't think I want to stick around even though it looks as if I may survive the current downturn. I figure now is the time to make a switch as I have only been with the company for a little over a year, and would not be giving up much seniority in case I decided ATC was not the job for me.

Sorry if this is hard to read, I'm sure my grammar is way off since I did not get back until after midnight last night after a 16 hour day.

Mod note: I fixed them for you. :) Signed, Mom

12-19-2008, 08:05 AM
Haha thanks for the fix, and sorry I didn't realize there was another thread on this only a few down the list. Haven't checked it yet, but I'm assuming I'll probably find the answers there.

12-19-2008, 03:19 PM
I took it. What would you like to know about it?

12-20-2008, 03:15 PM
I was wondering how long it actually took you to take it. I know the allow you 8 hours, but I was wondering if it actually takes that long. I was also wondering if you used the Air Traffic Control Career Prep (Green Book) to prepare for it. I picked that up a couple weeks ago to start studying for it, and I was wondering if those practice tests are pretty spot on as far as what to expect.

12-21-2008, 02:19 AM
I was wondering how long it actually took you to take it. I know the allow you 8 hours, but I was wondering if it actually takes that long. I was also wondering if you used the Air Traffic Control Career Prep (Green Book) to prepare for it. I picked that up a couple weeks ago to start studying for it, and I was wondering if those practice tests are pretty spot on as far as what to expect.

It took me bout 6 hours to complete the test. I took one break about ten minutes and about 30 minute lunch. Breaks and lunch are whenever you want to take them, at least at the site I took it. I also bought the green book and to be completely honest, it didn't prepare me as well as I thought it should have. To me the questions were much harder on the test and nothing divided by 60 to get feet per minute. You would think you could get it close and find the correct answer, wrong! A) 412 B) 413 C) 414 D) 415 kind of thing.

Letter factory is a really neat test but just pay close attention to the directions.

Scan test I also had a problem. Read the directions and already had an idea want to do. I kept crashing airplanes even though in the directions is said if aircraft F is landing at airport F you can fly them over the airport. You couldn't fly aircraft A directly over airport F but if its landing there you could. I tried it a few times and crashed everyone I did. Who knows! Don't make it neat either. Get them there in the most direct way you can and no need for that fancy base to final thing, land that thing fast. At the last minute slow them down.

Analogies were a little tricky as well. Some I could not find any relationship with at all. meaning, spelling, rhyming, nothing at all. That was at the end as well and I was ready to go. There is a personality questionnaire at very end.

Overall the test was a little harder than I thought I would be. I don't take test very well either so maybe that was the case. The "green" book will get your mind in the general area of where it needs to be, but know that the test is a little harder. I made a 77 which to me was very bad. Once I got that score I knew that I should start looking for some other career change. I applied to Public announcement 3 back in May I think and I did get an email about 3 weeks ago for my geo pref. I didn't send it in because of things have changed but I guess even with a crappy score you still can move through the process. I think me flying for the airlines might have helped out my overall score of going to the next step.

Hope it helps and good luck.

12-24-2008, 12:27 AM
I just took the test last Monday and scored 94.3%. I applied under PUBNAT5, but have also put in under PUBNAT6, and PUBNAT7.

The test only took me 4.5 hours (including the 30 min. I used for breaks). I decided not to waste my time with breaks because the test was much easier than I had expected after all of the practicing I did for the games. I went through math and dial reading so fast that my lunch would have been at like 10am, so I didn't see the point. You can use your time between sessions however you would like (as long as you complete it within the 8 hour maximum), but I wanted to just knock it out as quickly as I could.

The math is very straight forward and with enough practice, anyone can ace it.

Dial reading is a joke, especially for pilots. You shouldn't have any trouble here.

The Scan game is pretty easy once you adjust to the little differences between the real thing and the practice. Try to make sure that you keep your eyes moving in a circular path so that you don't get fixated on one part of the screen. As you pass the bottom of the screen each time, take a quick glance at the range so that you don't waste too much time looking at it. It's really pretty straight forward and there are plenty of practice rounds before they actually count.

Letter Factory was actually a lot of fun for me (again, much easier than practice). You don't have to drag the letters in the real thing. You simply click the conveyor and then the box. I was worried about not catching each of the defective letters because I would be overwhelmed, but you can actually handle the speed much easier on the real thing and I didn't miss a single Quality Control. Don't order boxes until there is just one box of any color left and don't move any boxes until it a letter requires you to do so.

The three questions that follow each portion of Letter Factory are the most challenging aspects of this game. Even though you'll try your best to pay attention, some you'll just have to guess on. It's not that big of a deal though. To give yourself the best shot at answering them correctly, as often as you can, answer these types of questions as you're playing:
1) which line is furthest up the conveyor?
2) what color letters do I need to fill the remaining boxes?
3) if all of the letters on the belts are correctly placed, what would be needed to complete each box?

The AT Scenarios game is so much easier than all of the practice games out there. If you can become relatively good at the practice, the test is actually boring. The data blocks refresh every 7 seconds, rather than one second. The only thing that caught me on this test was that I was too efficient by sending aircraft diagonally towards the exit and inadvertently clipped a millimeter off of the 5 mile buffer that you must maintain between the edge of the airspace. Efficiency is the big key on this section so try to think ahead and don't let yourself get fixated on one aircraft either. Again, the circular eye movement will help you stay on top of things.

The analogies were about what I expected, but I didn't know about the letter pattern type of questions. For example, apple:help as tent:internet. Internet would be the correct choice because apPLE is reversed in hELP, just as TENt is reversed in interNET. The shape type questions are pretty simple, but I could see how it could be hard to remember what the patterns were since you only get to look at one portion of the screen at a time. Just be sure to take your time and focus on certain parts of the shapesso that you can eliminate the wrong answers and arrive at the correct one.

The personality questions are pretty generic, but just answer them honestly. They can actually weed people out if they know you're trying to answer how you think they want you to answer.
For example, they asked:
I have never broken a promise.

This statement:
A. Strongly relates to me.
B. Somewhat relates to me.
C. Somewhat doesn't relate to me.
D. Strongly doesn't relate to me.

I answered D because who seriously could answer anything else? If you act like you've never broken a promise, I'm sure they can see right through that. Again, just answer honestly.

I know a lot of people can struggle with the test, but scoring 85% or higher pretty much guarantees that you'll move on to the next step. Any aviation experience will certainly be another notch on your best considering they are taking anyone right now.

Although I used the CD that accompanies the green book, this free site provides you with great practice for the AT Scenarios and Scan games. // games (

Good luck!

AF driver
12-27-2008, 06:08 PM
Slightly off the subject.

Can you apply to be a controller without a college degree in aviation? Actually I have not finished my degree, but have 7 years of commercial flying. Would I be a candidate to get into the training program if I passed this test? Thanks in advance.

12-27-2008, 10:33 PM
Slightly off the subject.

Can you apply to be a controller without a college degree in aviation? Actually I have not finished my degree, but have 7 years of commercial flying. Would I be a candidate to get into the training program if I passed this test? Thanks in advance.

they are currently taking people off the street with no aviation background whatsoever... as long as you have at least a combined total of 3 years of full time work experience or 4 years of college (each semester counts for about a third of a year), you're qualified to take the test. the minimum age to get hired is 30 though, by the way.if you meet all of that, I would certainly apply... worst case scenario is you give up two days over the next year to give yourself options. you can always deny any offers.

AF driver
12-28-2008, 07:04 PM
Does anyone know how long after you apply, you get a call to take the test if you are selected? I need to get a prep book and prepare. Should I hold off on applying until I am getting nearer to being able to take the test. Or should I apply ASAP? Thanks

12-30-2008, 03:13 PM
I had five months between application and test date. Will probably be a year and a half between application and training date (fingers crossed). Don't let an opening pass you by because it doesn't cost you anything to throw your name in the hat.

You have to apply through the FAA's ASAP site found here:

You'll be looking for a posting that will include PUBNAT8. They are usually only open for around a week so be sure to check often.

12-31-2008, 05:45 AM
I haven't checked on this until recently. Thanks for the responses guys. I take the test next week in BWI, so we'll see how it goes.

01-04-2009, 11:52 AM
Hello All...
I'm currently a controller. I was hired back in 2003 and I can tell you that most things haven't changed much. Things with the FAA take a LONG time to be completed. I graduated college in May, and wasn't even called about the job until September. It takes a great deal of patients to wait for, but I personally believe it is well worth the wait. Those of you interested in a career change should also consider this. There is a VERY limited chance you will be placed in the facility of your choosing. New Hires are placed wherever the need is greatest. PLAN TO MOVE, and be aware that you may not get much notice. I received about two weeks notice. They gave me my location to report to, and the date and time to report. Their flexibility is almost NIL as your placement and training is coordinated with a class going to that same facility. All that being said...the job security it pretty solid. The pay is very good, depending on the facility you are sent to. We are currently under what the agency calls a "contract" but what we as controllers know as "imposed work rules". Hopefully that will change shortly. Anyone interested in more info, I will do my best to help.

01-06-2009, 07:25 PM
Just finished the test in BWI today. Not sure how I did yet, but for those of you planning on taking it in the future, I would not bother spending much time on the green test prep book. The actual test is so much different, it's almost more of a hindrance then a help. Maybe review the math portion a few times to get your mind accustomed to doing quick math in your head. Not all that difficult, but it would have been a lot nicer with some paper and a pencil.

Anyway, I'm curious as to what time frame I should be looking at to hear from them going this route as opposed to going through an ATCTI school. I've heard anything from 9 months to 1 1/2 years for an interview.

AF driver
01-12-2009, 07:01 AM
Anyone know how often they open the application for off the street hiring. It looks like the only applications open right now are for military experienced controllers

01-13-2009, 07:07 PM
I applied back in July or so when I was miserable at my job (which is not in aviation) and was looking for a change. I finally was contacted about taking the exam in December, but by that time I decided that I was not interested in taking the exam anymore because what I really want to do is fly, not be a controller.

Sometimes the applications are only open to experienced controllers, but just keep checking every day and you'll find one that is open to the public.

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