Reflections and Advice on the AT-SAT


Likes tacos
Yesterday I took my AT-SAT out in Houston. Having gone through the barrage of aptitude tests in high school and having friends in college who've gone through the MCATs, LSATs, and others, I was surprised and sometimes frustrated by how little information there was available to prepare for the first test all new controllers need to take. Granted, it's not anywhere near as challenging as the aforementioned examples or the tests that come later, but it's the first step in a long process. Were it not for the Jetcareers forums and the study guide (Air Traffic Control Career Prep by Patrick Mattson, referred to hereafter as the Green Book), I would have had much to work with at all. Even still, both had their own issues -- the former is subject to a lot of speculation mixed in with fact, and the latter runs into a fair amount of typos, incorrect sample test questions, and poorly written software.

Anyway, with the goal in mind of helping those who will go after me, I thought it'd be wise to take down as many thoughts as I could during the breaks in my own AT-SAT, when it'd be easiest to remember details that I would have wanted to know about beforehand. Eventually I'll probably draw this and all of the other information I can gather together into a FAQ, but for the meantime, I thought I would post this up here.

So, without further introduction, here are my reflections and advice on the AT-SAT. I believe everything here is reasonably accurate, but I'm welcome to any suggestions on how to improve this or corrections on places that I've erred. Keep in mind that this is still just one person's opinions; your mileage may vary (and don't come knocking down my door if I was wrong somewhere and you felt like it resulted in you getting a bad score -- it was probably all of those planes you crashed in the Scenarios anyway).

EDIT: I've added in parts at the end of each sections to compare the test with the Green Book, since it's about the only resource out there for preparation. In pretty much every case, I don't pay attention to the stuff on the book's CD, since nearly all of the programs are broken and none are very well-made. The sample questions in the book are helpful, although they sometimes do not include a correct or unambiguous answer. Two sections, Scan and Scenarios, are compared with Jeremy Justice's online games, which are both helpful.

INTRO - Prologue, arriving, etc.
The AT-SATs for my application, PUBNAT3, were scheduled from Aug. 13-15 in different cities across the country. Living in the Austin area, I was scheduled to take mine in Houston; I know of others who took theirs in Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Seattle, to name a few. The AT-SAT is contracted out to Robinson Aviation, a company that also controls towers at many smaller airports across the country. You receive the initial invitation to take the AT-SAT on ASAP's main page some time after the application closes (about 2 months for me, others have waited far longer), upon which you call a number you are sent and sign up to take the test during one of the three days given.

You're told to show up at 7:45 in the morning, to wear comfortable clothes, and to bring two forms of ID, one with a photo. That's about it. I elected to go with jeans and t-shirt and was probably the least-dressed up person there; most people went business-casual. Keep in mind that Robinson has nothing to do with the interview process, so there's no need to impress here -- if you feel more comfortable dressing in a more business-like manner, go for it. I know that often worked for me during tests in college.

I arrived at about 7:35 at a Residence Inn. The test was set up in a small conference room, where 16 computers were set up -- monitors, mice and headphones hooked into laptops. Two people from Robinson were acting as proctors. They took my social security number and IDs, ran one through a scanner to have a copy of it, and asked me to pick one of several key rings that were laying face down on the table (no keys attached). The number on the other side was my computer. I suppose this is to ensure that nobody could complain that they were given a "bad" one. Both were friendly, and we made small talk for a few minutes before I went out to wait in the hall.

Out of twenty people scheduled to take the test that day, only six showed up, including myself. I have no idea what happened to the others. We waited a bit past the 8:00 start time to see if anyone would show up late, and around 8:10 we filed in and sat at our computers. One of the proctors read a short statement from the FAA explaining that the test was done all on computers, to not try to Ctrl-Alt-Del our way into Windows, that the proctors could not help in any way other than to check if the equipment is malfunctioning, and that we would receive our results in 5-7 business days. Nearly all of the test would be done with the mouse or the number pad. All answers given were final, so once you selected one and hit the "Next" button, you were locked in -- if you wanted to skip a question on the tests where you were allowed to do so, you had to just leave it blank (if time is left at the end, the computer will return to skipped questions). Wrong answers don't count against you, so always take a guess rather than leaving something blank. We were told that we had 8 hours to take the test in total, including two 15-minute and one 45-minute break. If we left the room, the proctors had to record what time we left and what time we returned. And with that, we were told that we could start -- the official start time was 8:16 A.M., and we needed to finish by 4:16 P.M.

SECTION 1 - Dials
The first section of the test is Dials, which is one of the easiest parts. It begins with a brief explanation and practice round (each section lets you practice a few questions beforehand, by the way), which take about three minutes to go through. Once it begins, you are shown a screen with six (I think) dials simulating instruments in an aircraft: Altimeter, Voltmeter, VSI (Vertical Speed Indicator), Airspeed Indicator, Heading, and Fuel Ratio (a band with marks from 0.00 to 0.10). One dial also included two smaller indicators showing Fuel and Oil capacity. While all are based upon actual aircraft instruments, you do not need to be familiar with reading instruments to figure them out -- they are easy to understand and the questions aren't trying to trip you up.

There are 25 questions and 26 minutes given to answer them, which far more time than you'll need. Questions are one per panel and will be along the lines of "What is the current altitude?" or "What is the current heading?" Easy stuff.

Tips: Make sure that you count the hash marks correctly; not all instruments are marked in the same increments. Be aware of what the magnitudes are as well (thousands, hundreds, etc.). Remember that on the VSI, the top half is ascending and the bottom is descending. Also pay attention to positive and negative charges on the voltmeter.

Compared to the Green Book: The Green Book does not include the smaller sub-dials (Fuel and Oil Capacity), but is otherwise pretty similar. The questions included the book are about the same.

SECTION 2 - Applied Math
Applied Math immediately follows the Dials section and is more of a challenge. As with the other sections, it begins with directions and a few sample questions. Make sure to read the instructions carefully! Take the full amount of time given during the sample questions if you feel that you don't understand anything; it's the only part of the test where wrong answers won't count against you, so you're free to purposely answer wrong to see the computer's explanation if you'd like.

Once you get started, Applied Math is 25 questions. You're given 25 minutes to answer them. While I was able to finish with three minutes to spare, I've heard from others at Jetcareers who ran out of time with a couple of questions unanswered. Because the questions are more difficult here, this is a section where you'll want to take advantage of skipping the difficult ones to come back to later. Just leave the question unanswered and hit Next, they'll pop up again at the end.

Equations here are all math that you're supposed to be able to do in your head. You're not allowed to use anything to write with, so if you find it easier to keep track of numbers on your hands, do it -- don't worry about others seeing, they're all busy with their own tests. Generally, answers will round off to numbers ending in 5's or 0's for simplicity's sake, but that's not the case in a few of the harder ones.

Questions generally will ask you to determine things like how far an aircraft has traveled after a certain time given a listed speed, what altitude it will be at given a certain descent rate after so long, and so on. No conversions are necessary; all problems are given in knots and nautical miles. Occasionally extra information will be given which you won't use: for example, a question asking you to determine the speed of descent of a plane will tell you how far it is has travelled, which is irrelevant to your answer.

The only equation you need to remember is D = S * T , that is, Distance equals Speed times Time. So, in practice, if the question asks how far a plane traveling 250 knots has gone in two and a half hours, you'll be multiplying 250 by 2.5 to get the answer, which is 625 miles.

Tips: The instructions will explain the difference between true airspeed (what the plane's airspeed indicator -- its speedometer -- reads) and ground airspeed (true airspeed along with the effect of a headwind or tailwind). For example, a plane with a true airspeed of 250 knots flying into a headwind of 50 knots will have a ground airspeed of 225 knots. If a question does not specify what type of speed is being used, ALWAYS use ground airspeed. The third example demonstrates this. Pay attention!

As mentioned earlier, skip the more difficult questions if you're spending very long on them. With 25 minutes, that's one minute per question -- if the easier ones are taking you more than 30 seconds, that may put you in a crunch with the harder ones, so don't spend too long double and triple-checking your answers.

Finally, if you're having a hard time with a question, especially one that isn't easy to divide or multiply in your head due to numbers that don't round well, take advantage of the process of elimination. For example, if an aircraft is traveling at 385 knots for 1 hour 15 minutes and you're asked to find how far it has traveled, try rounding up to 400. Any option given that is equal to or exceeds -that- distance (500 miles) is incorrect and can be eliminated. Elimination will help narrow down your choices.

Compared to the Green Book: Questions here were noticeably easier than those given in the book, which turned out to be good preparation for this part. If you're like me and haven't had to do much mental math lately, I would strongly suggest taking advantage of the book's sample questions (and possible even the CD - gasp) to freshen your mind up a little.

SECTION 3 - Scan
Scan was the first of the three "games" given in the AT-SAT. After the instructions, you're given a long seven-minute practice period, which is enough to be comfortable with how things work.

In Scan, you're presented with a radar screen that will show a number of airplane contacts (anywhere from 3 to 8 at any given time). They will fly slowly at various speeds across the screen, usually staying visible for about 5-7 seconds. Each contact will have two numbers. On the top is an identification, which is a number followed by two letters. On the bottom are three numbers, ranging from 100 to 900 in increments of ten, which represent an altitude (if I remember correctly; whatever it represents is irrelevant to what you'll be doing).

At the bottom of the screen is a range of numbers listed; for example, 140-360. Any contact outside of this range needs to be eliminated from the scope by typing in the identification number (no letter) into the 10-key number pad on the side of the keyboard. Be sure that the Number Lock is turned on! In this example, 140 and 360 are inside the range. Once you enter a number, the corresponding contact will turn red and disappear after a few moments. If you mistakenly enter the wrong number, use the Delete key (-not- Backspace) to correct it; entering a false contact will count against you. Keep in mind that it's one keystroke per number -- as obvious at the sounds, in the practice section I kept forgetting to delete both numbers.

Every so once in a while -- from around 30 to 60 seconds -- the range at the bottom will change without warning. This is the only real challenge to the test, so you'll need to keep an eye on the range. The actual test lasts 15 minutes and rarely feels very stressful; the only difficult moments are when a range changes and the computer tosses on a few extra contacts at the same time. These pass pretty quickly, so keep cool and you'll do fine.

Tips: Don't spend too long focusing on individual contacts. Move your eyes around the screen in a pattern -- making a circle, scanning left to right, or whatever works for you, so long as you're keeping your eyes moving to watch for new contacts. It may help to repeat the range to yourself in your head.

I found it helpful to look down briefly at the range after every contact. That way I was aware of whether it had changed and could react more quickly. Think of it in the same way that you'll look down at your speed briefly in your car while driving -- little glances. ...or at least that's how I drive.

If you're not familiar with using a 10-key pad, practice a little bit beforehand. Because the numbers are lined up different than a phone -- with 1-3 on the bottom and 7-9 on top -- it's easy to mess up if you're not used to it.

Compared to Jeremy Justice's version: The online version of Scan is pretty good practice. The changes to the range on the AT-SAT are more infrequent and there are typically less contacts on the screen, so if you're comfortable with doing it online, you'll do well here.

Compared to the Green Book: The Green Book version of Scan is pretty much broken, even with the update. Don't bother using it. Really.

SECTION 4 - Angles
The Angles section is the last before your first break. Here the question will take one of two formats: in the first, you will be given one angle with four choices of how many degrees the angle forms, in the second, you will be given a number and four angle pictures to choose from.

This section is fairly easy. You may find it helpful to count from the 45, 90, and 180 degree markers -- remember, 180 degrees is a straight line, 90 is a right angle, and 45 is half of 90. Angles has 30 questions to solve in 10 minutes. Despite the short time, it's not hard to do.

Take the break. Really. Take it. You'll be glad you did when you start the next section, and getting some fresh air well help clear your head.

Tips: Not much to say here. If you're disoriented by an angle that's off-centered a bit, tilting your head may help. At least it'll make you look funny to the other people in the room.

Compared to the Green Book: The book's practice questions are helpful to familiarize yourself with this section, but the choices offered are often too close -- you may be given a question with a choice of either 50 degrees or 60 degrees, for example, which is somewhat unreasonable. Also, at least one question did not provide a correct choice.

(continued next post)


Likes tacos
SECTION 5 - Letter Factory
As mentioned earlier, make sure to take the break before this section, which is demanding. Letter Factory is the most complex part of the test due to the extensive directions and demanding questions. You're given plenty of practice before beginning the scored part, however.

On Letter Factory, you're shown four vertical conveyor belts. Each belt will produce a letter, A, B, C or D, in one of three colors, orange, green or purple. A letter will appear at random at the top of the belt and move towards the bottom. Belt speeds vary, so one may move much more quickly or slowly than the others. Once a letter has passed by the Availability Line -- a white line marked on each belt that may vary in how high or low it is placed -- it may be placed into a box.

Boxes are initially placed on the right of the screen in three stacks of three (again, in orange, green and purple). When a letter appears at the top of a belt, a box of the same color must be made available to place the letter in. This is done by clicking on the appropriate colored box at the right, which will move it automatically to one of five spaces below the belts. Each box can only hold one of each letter; once it is filled with one of each, it will disappear. A new box should -only- be selected if necessary; if an orange A appears, for example, when there is already an orange box at the bottom with space for an A, you should not try to add a new one (as it not let you do so and will deduct from your score). A box should be added as soon as you notice the need for it, as the score is partially based upon how quickly this is done.

Letters must always be placed into the box that is closest to being full. For example, if a green A appears and two green boxes are available, one with B-C-D already filled and one with only D filled, the A should go into the first box. Letters may only be placed after passing the availability line (they will flash to indicate that they can be moved). Clicking on a letter is sufficient to move it; dragging is unnecessary (and won't work anyway).

When the box supply on the right of the screen is down to one box, new ones must be ordered by clicking a button marked Order Boxes. Failing to do so and selecting the last box available is a score deduction (although the computer will order new ones for you automatically).

Occasionally, a letter other than A through D will appear on a belt. When this happens, you must click a button marked Quality Control on the left, which will remove the offending letter. This must be done before the letter reaches the availability line or a deduction will occur.

Sound confusing? It can be, but that's mostly because this is a textual description of a graphical game. The instructions move you into the test comfortably, and by the time you move into the scoring part, the "game" part of Letter Factory is actually not too difficult to keep up with. Unfortunately, there is not online version to practice with and the Green Book's version is broken, so you'll have to learn as you go along.

What makes Letter Factory difficult, though, are the Situational Awareness questions. At any given point -- usually either about 10 seconds into it or after a minute or so of work -- the screen will go blank and be replaced with four questions based upon the game. These require you to remember what the game looked like previously. Questions vary, but will include things such as "Which belt has the highest availability line?", "Which color box was the last one you selected? ", "Which letter caused you to place the last box?", "How many of letter _ were above the availability lines?" and "If all of the letters on the belts were placed into boxes, which boxes would remain?"

The questions are demanding and require you to split your concentration between moving boxes and letters and remembering where everything is. As Letter Factory goes on you'll become more familiar with what questions will be asked, but you'll often find that you'll need to guess at a few questions. Don't allow frustration to make it worse for you -- this section of the test is to see how you'll react when presented with several sources of information under pressure -- keep cool, realize that you'll inevitably miss some of them, and remember what you can.

Letter Factory's scored portion is a long 45 minutes, but is followed by a 45 minute lunch break. Enjoy it -- you're through one of the hardest parts of the AT-SAT and only have a few sections left.

Tips: Take full advantage of the practice rounds to get used to each incremental part that you're being introduced to. Mess up a time or two on purpose if you'd like; that way you'll see how the computer will point it out to you when you drop the ball.

When it comes to remembering the questions, don't try to cram in every single detail -- unless you have a photographic memory, you won't be able to. Take advantage of the times when you're waiting on the letters to move down the belts to take in what you can. Any time that you're not clicking, think to yourself: "What letters are needed to complete this color? What about this one? Which availability line is highest?"

The questions will either come very early on -- after about ten to fifteen seconds -- or after a minute or more into it. When the belts are -very- full, with several letters coming at once, you won't see any questions, so focus on having everything set up properly instead of memorizing the situation at these moments.

Finally, get into the habit of ordering boxes as soon as you're down to one. If you're going for a box and see two left, make it a one-two sequence of placing the box and ordering new ones. Don't interrupt it to go after a letter -- you may forget and get a deduction.

Finally, make sure to check sure that a letter is correct before ordering a box for it! Incorrect letters are still colored, so don't be fooled into ordering a box when you don't actually need one.

Compared to the Green Book: I couldn't get the Letter Factory to work at all on one computer. On the other, it wasn't worth the effort -- it didn't run very well and differed significantly from the AT-SAT version. Don't bother using it, even for familiarity's sake, as it may get you to expect the AT-SAT version to work in a way that it doesn't.

SECTION 5: Air Traffic Scenarios
Following the lunch break, you'll start the most enjoyable part of the AT-SAT: the Air Traffic Scenarios. It is also the only section making use of the headset. In these, you will be looking at a simulation of a radar screen which shows a sector, represented by a large square. In the middle of each side of the sector is an exit point, labeled from A to D. In the upper right and lower left corners are two runways, labeled e and f (in lowercase, for clarity). Planes should only be landed in one direction on each runway, which is indicated by two labeled arrows on the upper right of the screen, outside of the square.

At any given moment, you will have a number of planes (typically 2-5; only two or three times did it get at high as 6-7), represented by an arrow pointing in the direction that the plane is moving in. Next the the plane is a letter, a number, and another letter. The first letter indicates the planes speed, and will be either F, M or S for fast, medium and slow. The number indicates altitude and will be from 1 to 4. The second letter shows the destination of each plane, corresponding with the six possible destinations in the sector. Two give two examples, a plane marked F3B is moving fast, is at altitude level 3, and needs to pass through exit B; M2f is moving at medium speed, is at altitude level 2, and needs to land at the f runway.

Planes are controlled by clicking on the arrow -- not the letter/number combination -- and selecting one of the controls, which are on the right side of the screen. Only one control may be issued at a time, so if a plane needs multiple changes, it must be re-selected each time. When a plane has been selected, it will turn yellow and -must- receive a command before another plane can be selected (although issuing the same command that a plane is already following is fine). The screen will update every seven seconds; planes are motionless between those times.

From time to time, a new plane will appear at random somewhere within your section. New planes appear first in grey, and once they are clicked upon, they will turn white. After the next update, they will then turn green and are controllable.

On the first command given to a plane, it will respond "Roger," followed by a confirmation of the direction given. Subsequent commands are only acknowledged "Roger". Feedback is also subtitled on the bottom right of the screen. Occasionally a plane will misunderstand an order and do something different -- for example, head in a direction other than the one you just issued. This will -only- happen directly after giving an order, so a plane will not suddenly wander off into another direction unannounced. When this happens, just re-issue the command. This only happened three times or so for me, so it's not a major concern.

Obviously, crashing two planes into each other will affect your score negatively (and will result in an exploding sound which you can hear across the room, even with the headsets... you'll know when your neighbor screwed up). Procedural errors will also count negatively. These include flying over an airport without landing a plane and failing to maintain 5 miles of separation laterally between planes or the edges of the sector (as indicated by a scale shown on the right side). When you commit a procedural error, the plane(s) in question will be marked in red. In maintaining separation between planes, separate altitudes is considered acceptable -- take advantage of this, as keeping all planes at the same level will result in overcrowding and several errors.

Planes headed through one of the four exits must be moving fast and at altitude level 4. Planes landing must be moving slow and at altitude level 1. Failure to do either of these is considered a procedural error, although planes will be marked in red to demonstrate this.

After the practice section, the Scenario is split into four scored parts -- the first four last for 900 seconds each, and the last for 1500 seconds. Following each section, you will be taken to a screen that gives a partial evaluation of your performance. While this doesn't show your actual score, the information can be helpful in figuring out how to improve your performance. You are shown how many planes crashed, how many procedural errors you committed, how many planes (out of the total) were taken to the correct destination, an efficiency score, a composite of how many seconds it took you to move planes to their destination (contrasted with an "ideal" time), and how long it took you to receive handoffs. It is not made clear if the latter parts were also included in the score. It is also unclear how efficiency is determined; in my own test, I was rated at efficiencies in the 90's for the first three sections and 100% for the last one, although I wasn't sure how I had performed differently in each (I had no procedural errors or crashes in any, and my time scores seemed consistent).

Following this section will be the final 15 minute break. While the last two sections aren't as demanding, I would still advise taking it to clear your head. Your call, hotshot.

Tips: Be aware of the need to keep planes separated to avoid procedural errors. Using altitudes wisely will help to do this. Planes that are exiting the sector should -always- be at level 3 or 4, planes that are landing should -always- be at 1 or 2. I used 1 and 4 as the "approach" altitudes for planes that were just about ready to leave/land, and 2 and 3 as "holding pattern" altitudes when necessary. Keep in mind that the lateral separation isn't a concern when planes are at different altitudes and take advantage of it; I frequently had planes flying over and under each other without any problem.

You'll need to balance keeping things as efficient and quick as possible with not running them into each other. Planes should be moving at the Fast speed as often as possible. However, if you have three planes approaching a runway together, don't be afraid to bump one down to Medium or Slow to maintain a safe distance. Just remember to speed it back up afterwards -- if planes are still in the air when the scenario ends, they are counted as failing to reach their destination. The computer will not give you a plane if there is not enough time to land/exit it.

Finally, keep a healthy distance from both the airport and sector edges. Look in advance where a plane will be flying -- if a plane headed to an exit is on a course that will take it over an airport, change its direction early in case you're not able to get to it quickly later.

Comparison to Jeremy Justice's version: The online version of Scenarios was a -huge- help. If you do well online, you'll do well on the AT-SAT. The AT-SAT Scenario updates much more slowly (7 seconds as opposed to 1) and tends to have fewer planes on the screen at any given time. Also, the runway landing direction will not change as it does online. Planes do tend to move further at higher speed on the AT-SAT, though, so if you're flying a plane in for a landing at high speed, be sure to slow it down earlier than you're used to or you'll commit a procedural error. Runway widths tend to be more forgiving on the AT-SAT than they were online as well.

Compared to the Green Book: Don't bother with the Green Book version, as the online one is much more similar and well-made. And free.

SECTION 6: Analogies
I found the Analogies section frustrating. Whereas every other part of the AT-SAT has a clear purpose in determining how well a potential controller will perform, this one didn't seem to relate and felt very ambiguous in its answers.

The analogies are split into two parts: 30 word analogies and 16 picture analogies. You are given 49 minutes to complete the entire section and, depending on how much time you spend trying to figure them out, may use all of it. In both types, you are presented with three boxes on the screen, with two on the top and a large one on the bottom. You can only view the contents of a box when the mouse is hovered over it. Consequently, you may only view one of the three parts at a time. It is unclear to me why this section was designed this way.

The word analogies will come in one of three parts. The first is similar to those used in the SAT, which depend on meaning relationships: Hot - Cold / Soft - ____. The second type is based upon relationships in letters and spelling, for example, the relation between Salad and Classic is the s-a-l found in SALad (which is backwards as l-a-s in cLASsic). The third type is based upon similar sounds, although not necessarily rhyming. In this case, the relation between cactus and aspirin is the "A" sound in the first syllable in each. You are not told which of these three the analogy will use, and in some cases, it may use more than one. In these cases, you are to pick the one based upon relationship in meaning.

As confusing as that probably sounds in explanation, it is worse in practice. I found that often, answers did not seem to fit in very well at all. You will likely need to guess on at least a few of these. Do your best to think creatively and look at things from different angles.

The image analogies are easier and not terribly complex. Most involve things such as rotations and switching elements within an image. Unfortunately, this test does not permit skipping difficult questions, so be sure to leave some time to figure these out if you have a harder time with spatial reasoning.

Tips: There are some image analogies available online that are good practice if you're not used to this type of thing (later I may track down a link or two to add in here). As for the word analogies, I'm hard-pressed to suggest a way to prepare. Be prepared to think out of the box and to go at each question in different ways.

Compared to the Green Book: I found the Green Book's take on these questions easier than the actual AT-SAT. It'll help you prepare a bit, but mostly for the first type of word analogies.

SECTION 7: Personality
The final section is a 135 question personality profile. You are given 40 minutes to complete this, although I couldn't imagine someone needing that full amount. Answers are number 1 to 5, with a 1 indicating that you strongly agree with the statement and 5 indicating that you strongly disagree.

As with most personality profiles, it isn't difficult to know what kind of answers are desired here. The instructions warn that the computer will be able to determine inconsistency in answers, but anyone answering honestly won't have any problems. Questions were primarily concerned with how you react under pressure, how well you work when faced with multiple sources of information, how well you can focus in a distracting environment, and how well you socially relate to others.

I've heard plenty of anecdotal suggestions that this part is not scored in the test, but neither the proctors nor the instructions said this. Of course, it's doubtful that a personality test would figure into the actual percentile score given, but it's clear that your answers here will be considered.

...and that's it! You'll finish feeling tired, but on the whole, I enjoyed the experience. As mentioned earlier, you're told that you will receive your score in 5-7 business days, though it has taken people anywhere between a day to two weeks. You will be notified on the ASAP main page, so keep checking online.

I hope this has helped some people out. Again, I'm open to suggestions on how to improve this or things that people would like to know about which I've left out. Just drop me a line.


Well-Known Member
Great job. This should be very helpful to people who haven't taken it yet.
Maybe a sticky and a lock? After this post, I don't see why another ATSAT thread should ever need to be started.


Likes tacos
HOLY SMOKES... how long did that take you to write?
Longer than I expected, ha. I was counting down the minutes until someone came up with a graphic making fun of it -- I knew you wouldn't disappoint, heh. I had the Olympics to keep me distracted.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Hope it helps.


New Member
Great post; very accurate to the test and environment. Mods, please sticky.

Just a few extras, if you don't mind my input:

For anyone testing in Holtsville, NY, please note that the hotel is not the OLD Radisson (now "Marriott", changed in the last few months) next to Computer Associates on the L.I.E., but the other one a few exits down. They are less than 5 miles or so of one another, but still, you don't want to risk being late. I nearly had a stroke after I made that mistake, but luckily, still waited for a good 20-30 minutes in the lobby before the test began. Two people did not even bother to show up at all. There were 16 of us, 4 women, 12 men.
Just a heads up, they did not let us keep water or juice bottles near us, and one woman even took the pen I had brought for paper-signing.

There also was an FAA representative (from the Hiring dept.) present at mine, to monitor the testing and answer questions. He was very kind and always took the time to speak with us on breaks. The folks from Robinson were also surprisingly friendly, and shook our hands and congratulated us when we finished. I felt like an Olympian.

I'll second the original poster's recommendation of taking breaks when offered. I took all of them, except for the last one (between scenarios/analogies) and I still was done by around 1-something (4:45P was our max. finish time). A little fresh air, and a walk did wonders, nevermind some french fries after those awareness questions.

I'd also like to add to please do your neighbors a favor and keep your volume level on your headset at a low level during the Scenarios portion. Though it did not distract me too much, I could easily see how it could to others. Some of my test-mates were jumping like epileptics at every crash. This could prove VERY embarrassing...


New Member
I'd also like to add to please do your neighbors a favor and keep your volume level on your headset at a low level during the Scenarios portion. Though it did not distract me too much, I could easily see how it could to others. Some of my test-mates were jumping like epileptics at every crash. This could prove VERY embarrassing...
No way! I loved hearing crashes all over the room, made me feel much better about how I was doing!


Well-Known Member
For example, a plane with a true airspeed of 250 knots flying into a headwind of 50 knots will have a ground airspeed of 225 knots.
(for the sake of argument, ill assume said headwind is direct). if you have a TAS (true airspeed) of 250, with a 50 knot headwind, this means you will have a ground speed of 200, not 225.


Likes tacos
(for the sake of argument, ill assume said headwind is direct). if you have a TAS (true airspeed) of 250, with a 50 knot headwind, this means you will have a ground speed of 200, not 225.
Oops. Thanks for the correction. Must've written that while paying closer attention to the Olympics than what I was writing. I'll fix it.

And yes, as far as the AT-SAT is concerned, all head and tailwinds are direct and completely uniform throughout a flight.

EDIT: ...erm, seems that you can't edit a post after a certain period, so I guess it's stuck that way for the time being. I'll drop a line to Doug or a mod to see if they can fix it.

Tony Montero

New Member
No way! I loved hearing crashes all over the room, made me feel much better about how I was doing!
Yeah, it was great for me too up until I got the sudden urge to laugh out loud at the person next to me. He looked like he was about to cry, with all the planes he was crashing.


New Member
lol, I don't even remember hearing anyone crashing planes. I was just thinking how fast I could take the test and get out of there. Did anyone else think in there head when a plane crashed that it was a "calculated loss"?


Well-Known Member
There was someone sitting behind me that must have crashed half the planes he got in one scenario. I think I only crashed one out of all three scenarios and that one ran into the edge of the departure gate. Ah well...I still got a well qualified score. I'm pretty sure it was the analogies that kept me from scoring higher as I felt I did pretty well elsewhere.


Likes tacos
There was someone sitting behind me that must have crashed half the planes he got in one scenario. I think I only crashed one out of all three scenarios and that one ran into the edge of the departure gate. Ah well...I still got a well qualified score. I'm pretty sure it was the analogies that kept me from scoring higher as I felt I did pretty well elsewhere.
I know what you mean. I ended up with a 93, and the Analogies was the only part I know that I didn't do so well at (save for a few of the initial pop-up questions during Letter Factory, but that's a given). I don't know if I was more frustrated by how poorly created those questions were or by the thought that out of everything on the AT-SAT, Analogies was the only part that seemed to have no discernible relation to predicting ATC performance.

...yeah, I'm still bitter about it, heh. It didn't help that while I was taking it, some guy was riding a lawnmower back and forth next to my window. VRRRROOOOOMMMMMMM


New Member
Thank you for all the great info on this page. This is my first post here but I have been reading other posts for the last few weeks. I’m taking the test in OKC on the 22nd and the information here is just what I was looking for.

Thanks to all the contributors