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DinaMight

Deciding to retake AFOQT

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Hi folks,

This is a repost from the ROTC lounge room.  

I'm currently starting my final year of college also seriously considering retaking my AFOQT to try and improve my PCSM.  AS of the moment, I am planning on commissioning FY18, but that may all change.  Hear me out.  I'm not really one to be tact so I'll just say this the best that I know how.  At the moment, I have an RPA slot and as glamorous as the future of this career looks, it's not something I think I want for myself.  That whole idea of flying in a box, disconnected from everything that has defined flying  for the past century is something I am still not sure about.  

As of right now, my PCSM is at a 59.  I've taken the TBAS twice and AFOQT once.  I know that taking the AFOQT and doing better on the pilot sections can help raise the PCSM score, but I also recognize that failing any section of the test means losing everything I've worked towards these past few years and throwing away a big career I've longed for since my youth.  

However,

if I retake the AFOQT, I can raise my PCSM and hopefully get picked up on the supplemental board for pilot.   Maybe it may happen even if I don't retake the AFOQT, but still, maybe it won't and really all I want to do is maximize the variables that I can control and one such variable is that AFOQT.  At least once I have done all I could can I have a peace of mind and say to myself that I gave it everything you know?  I recognize that getting a higher AFOQT does not necessarily secure my chances of getting a pilot slot, but it would also hurt to not take it and have this lingering thought in my head.  That "what-if" scenario, what if I had taken that AFOQT and done better?  

I've spoken to friends and my cadre about this and all are against this move simply because of what I can stand to lose, a commission in the USAF and a job for next few years.  My cadre specifically noted that as an RPA I stand a higher chance of getting upgraded to a pilot than a CSO (can anyone confirm this?) and as such, the best course of action for me is, and should be, to remain still and let it play out because you know sometimes the best course of action is do nothing.  What do you guys think?  I

If anyone has been or is in the same shoe, I'd very much like to hear your input on this.  Thank you.

  1. Should I retake it?  
  2. How much weight does the AFOQT pilot scores have on the PCSM?  
  3. If you've done better on the pilot section after your retake, how much did it affect your PCSM?
  4. Is RPA more likely to be upgraded to Pilot than CSO?

Here were my AFOQT scores:

  • Pilot: 75
  • Navigator: 68
  • Acad Aptitude: 46
  • Verbal: 34
  • Quantitative: 60

As for Flight hours, I had 22.

Anyways, any help really is appreciated.  Thanks guys.

Edited by DinaMight

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1. Probably - what are your current scores?

2. A lot

3. Pilot composite score went up 3 points, PCSM went up 2 points - see number 2

4. Not sure what you mean by upgraded - from what I understand if you're an RPA Pilot and you want to cross over to Pilot, you have to submit to the UPT board for current officers, which is arguably the most competitive route to getting to Pilot training 

 

If you want to be a Pilot, don't settle for anything else. Retake the AFOQT and crush it, and get some flying hours if you haven't already. I'm going the OTS route so I don't know the ROTC process and how heavily they weigh the PCSM in their selection, but it definitely can't hurt

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The thing is if I fail the AFOQT, I could potentially lose my commissioning in the AF.  Mind you, this is the second time I'm taking the AFOQT.  If I fail this, depending on my Commander, I will either be dropped from the program or have to push back my commissioning date which would then probably result in also being dropped from the ROTC program.  So yeah, no worries here.

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13 hours ago, DinaMight said:

The thing is if I fail the AFOQT, I could potentially lose my commissioning in the AF.  Mind you, this is the second time I'm taking the AFOQT.  If I fail this, depending on my Commander, I will either be dropped from the program or have to push back my commissioning date which would then probably result in also being dropped from the ROTC program.  So yeah, no worries here.

Again, I'm not sure on the ROTC process regarding how competitive it is but I've seen people get Pilot slots with scores similar to yours. Is there no way you can compete for a Pilot slot with those scores? Or have you already tried and got denied? 

If you study the right way for at least a month there's no reason you shouldn't be able to improve your scores the 2nd time around now that you know what to expect from the test. I had the same fear as you that I would fail the AFOQT the second time around and when I left the testing room I thought I failed the math portion. It turns out that I improved every composite score, doubled my quant score and bumped my PCSM in the process - I'm now waiting on a class date for OTS/UPT. 

What I'm trying to say is that realistically the AFOQT is a hard test to fail so I really wouldn't worry about that especially since you already passed once. Don't let fear of failure keep you from shooting for your goal - just prepare the right way leading up to the test, put the work in and you'll be fine. 

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With your current scores, I don't see any need to sweat failing the retake. You're 19 percentile points above the Verbal minimum and 50 above the Quantitative minimum. I don't think I've ever read about anyone doing worse on their retake.

I don't think you'd necessarily have a better shot at going RPA to Pilot than CSO to Pilot. In either case you would be applying for the Active Duty rated board, which as others have said, is probably the most competitive of all methods. Your AFSC would probably only play into your selection chances if it were critically undermanned.

Edited by mb1685

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I'm also interested in his question about retaking the AFOQT and seeing a change in the PCSM, do other people have data points for original AFOQT-PCSM scores and secondary AFOQT-PCSM scores?

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6 hours ago, afguy123 said:

I'm also interested in his question about retaking the AFOQT and seeing a change in the PCSM, do other people have data points for original AFOQT-PCSM scores and secondary AFOQT-PCSM scores?

Dude - retaking the AFOQT is free.  After taking the first one, you have an idea of what every section looks like, what the pace feels like, and how the day goes from very early morning until end - how you should eat/sleep and stuff to feel your best and do your best.  Study some more for the sections you want to do better on, review the stuff you feel good about just for good measure, schedule a second one, and go succeed.  I guarantee you'll do better.  Nobody can tell you exactly how much better you do - that's up to you anyways.  

As far as PCSM goes, AFOQT scores are only one part of the equation.  

For example, flying yourself into the next score jump (i.e. 81-100 hours if you're at 72 or something) will likely raise your PCSM by 2 or 3 points.  Maybe go fly a different airplane with a different instructor so you can add it to your resume.   Granted, this takes some money. I flew with a C-17 reservist that I met from visiting nearby units that was a CFII - it probably wasn't a huge addition to my resume but I got a letter of rec out of it after a summer of flying.  Maybe go get a tailwheel endorsement if you meet somebody at your FBO.  

Little things like that won't impress people per se, but at least they're talking points that may help when you're bullshitting at a guard/reserve unit that you're rushing, and they count as hours toward your PCSM.

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I think I got off track.  But my point was that if you retake it you'll 99% have a better score if you worked at it after taking your first one.

 

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On 9/14/2017 at 12:32 PM, afguy123 said:

I'm also interested in his question about retaking the AFOQT and seeing a change in the PCSM, do other people have data points for original AFOQT-PCSM scores and secondary AFOQT-PCSM scores?

In my experience, the AFOQT pilot composite weighed very heavily on my PCSM. I took the AFOQT the first time in 2014, got terrible scores, and an abysmal PCSM. I retook the test a couple of weeks ago and did great, nearly doubled my pilot score. The increase in my PCSM was huge, although still not great, the change was significant. Here are the numbers:

  • 2014 AFOQT pilot: 48
  • 2014 PCSM: 14 - 0 flight hours

After the retake:

  • Current AFOQT pilot: 92
  • Current PCSM: 47; (67 with 27 flight hours)

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Sorry, wasn't trying to insinuate that it should be a no-brainer to retake it, nor that it's a decision to be taken lightly, or seriously.  I suppose trying to uncover the model behind the scoring with some scores would be insightful for those trying to weigh a decision on retaking the test.  That was impulsive and I apologize.

1 hour ago, vipermaverickk said:

After the retake:

  • Current AFOQT pilot: 92
  • Current PCSM: 47; (67 with 27 flight hours)

Congrats! You've gotta be pleased with that.  

  • Like 1

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4 hours ago, afguy123 said:

Thank you for this data point. This is really helpful. Do you might telling me what the 201+ hours category of flight hours was before/now? 

Not at all. My speculative PCSM back in 2014, with 201+ hours was 56. The new speculative score in that same bracket is now 87.

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