How Hard is the OAR Exam Really?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Do you want to pick a career in the US military? If yes, there are several exams to write and certificates to earn before finally getting admitted into the military academy. The OAR exam is one of such exams that you can choose to register as a full ATSB-E or just by itself. But it takes a lot of preparation to pass the test. Here’s a detailed article highlighting what the exam is about and how you can prepare to pass it.

What's the OAR Navy Exam Really Like?What’s the OAR Navy Exam Really Like?

The first question people often ask when they’re about to register for the OAR exam is, “what’s it like?” However, to understand what it’s really like, it’s important to explain what the exam is. The OAR Navy test is a subset of the Aviation Standard Battery Test Exam (ASBT-E). Suppose you don’t want to attend the complete aviation program; you can choose to apply for a separate program like the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.

The exam is a multiple-choice question format that measures your math ability, reading comprehension, and mechanical knowledge. You get about 90 minutes to 2 hours for the exam. The OAR exam comes in two formats, and you’d get to choose between the two formats (paper test and adaptive computer test) before the exam date.

Paper Test

Each section has a fixed number of questions you have to answer in 85 minutes. There are no penalties for incorrect answers, so we typically recommend taking a guess when you don’t know the correct answer to a question. Leaving a blank response will be marked as incorrect, so nothing stops you from taking a guess. In fact, when you take a guess, you may guess an answer correctly.

Computer Adaptive Test

The adaptive computer test is the most common format of the OAR navy test. The test is personalized to your abilities, so you will not struggle or spend too much time on a question. Here’s how the computer format works; if you answer a question correctly, the next question will be more challenging. But if you answer a question wrongly, the next question will be easier. It reliably measures the true abilities of low-ability and high-performing candidates to give every candidate a fair chance of passing. Secondly, if you select an answer on the computer, you cannot change it. So you have to be sure before you choose an answer.

Another pro tip; your score decreases if you answer a question wrongly, unlike in the paper-based test format where a wrong answer only means that you won’t get the score for that question. So the best way to answer questions in the computer adaptive tests is to avoid guessing and leave the question blank if you don’t know the answer. Also, there is a penalty if you don’t answer enough questions at the specified time. So prepare hard so you’ll be able to answer as many questions as possible.

What are the Different Sections of the OAR Exam?

What are the Different Sections of the OAR Exam?

The OAR navy test consists of three sections, and each section tests your ability in a given field. Usually, the sections are equally divided to test your math skills, reading comprehension, and mechanical knowledge. That said, let’s review the different sections and what they stand for.

Math Skills Test (MST)

The subtest area consists of 30 math questions that you’ll have to answer in 40 minutes. While preparing for this section of the exams, we recommend focusing your attention on the following topics:

  • Algebra, arithmetic operations, geometry, data analysis
  • Fractions, variables, exponents, and root s problems
  • Areas, angles, and perimeters of geometric shapes
  • Word problems like time, distance, and estimating probabilities

Reading Comprehension Test (RCT)

Reading comprehension will test your ability to read, understand, and draw logical conclusions. The section consists of 20 questions, and you’re expected to answer all questions within thirty minutes. Here are some of the exercises you’re expected to complete under this section.

  • You will read a passage and choose a logical response from a group of options.
  • From the passage, you will make inferences that translate to educated guesses.

Mechanical Comprehension Test (MCT)

The MCT section consists of 30 questions that you’ll have to finish within 15 minutes. The mechanical section will cover basic physics principles, and your understanding of 0-level high school physics should be enough to push you over the line. Some of the areas covered by the assessment are:

  • Your understanding of the basic principles of gases and liquids.
  • You will answer questions on the mechanism of engine performances, such as the principle of weight distribution, pulleys, and fulcrums.
  • You need knowledge of engine components and gears.
  • There are questions about electricity and machine operation.
  • It would be best if you also understood Velocity, pressure, and volume.

How is the Exam Scored?

How is the Exam Scored?

As we’ve discussed so far, the OAR exam is broadly divided into three sections; math, reading comprehension, and mechanical knowledge. Each section of the OAR test is scored using a point-based system. The total number of questions is 80, and each correct answer earns you a point. This means that the test is marked over 80, and the highest possible score from the exam is 80. However, since it is very difficult to get all answers correctly, candidates are generally encouraged to target getting as close to 80 as possible.

What is Considered a Passing Score for the OAR Exam?

What is Considered a Passing Score for the OAR Exam?

To pass the OAR exam, students must score a minimum of 35 points. However, most candidates score between 40-60 points. We generally advise candidates to aim as high as possible since admissions are very competitive. You may reach the passing score and still not get admitted if there are so many people with higher scores than you. Only about 10% of candidates score higher than 60 points.

Is the OAR Test Hard?

Is the OAR Test Hard?

The OAR navy test can be pretty challenging, but how hard is the OAR really? It seems even more complex when you consider that you cannot enter the test hall with a calculator. However, this does not mean the questions will be too hard to pass. Depending on your strengths and abilities, different exam parts may be more challenging for you and other parts easier. You just need to pay better attention to preparation. If you prepare better, approach the exams with a clear mind, and follow all instructions, you should be able to easily pass the exams.

How do I Prepare for the OAR Exam?

How do I Prepare for the OAR Exam?

Remember we talked about adequate preparation? But how much preparation is adequate preparation? It makes sense to start preparing early. Preparation may seem difficult at first, but you’d find that everything will become easier and better with time. We will share proven tips and techniques for the OAR exam prep to guide you to the top 10 percentile of test-takers and improve your chances of gaining admission.

Use OAR Study Guides

Using study guides in your OAR exam prep will improve your readiness and strengthen the cognitive skills you need for the exam. There are a lot of free or paid study guides that will help you develop the core skills you need for each of the test sections. Using an OAR study guide has the following advantages.

It gives you comprehensive details on all three subsections of the OAR navy test. Most study guides are stocked with all the information you’ll need for the exams, including definitions, formulas, and questions. You’d also be able to practice reading to improve your understanding ability before the exam date.

You get video tutorials, practice questions, and quizzes on each subtest section.

Practice a Lot of Past OAR Navy Test Questions

Taking a practice test will help you narrow your focus and learn more about your weaknesses and strengths. You will be able to familiarize yourself with the setting of the OAR navy test questions. The more familiar you get, the easier it will be to answer questions correctly and in good time. Remember to ensure that the practice tests you choose are explicitly tailored to the OAR navy exams. There are so many of them online. You just need to be sure you’re looking in the right direction. Studying past tests and exams is an excellent way to recognize the patterns of previous exams and prepare mentally.

Create a Study Plan

It’s very helpful to start preparations as early as possible. But starting early doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll cover everything. You could also be reading tons of information that is not useful. This is where study plans come into play. Before starting, create a comprehensive study plan that plays on your strength. Make sure that the study plan focuses more on developing your weak areas.

There are two easy ways to learn. Firstly, create your notes while studying. When you prepare notes in your own words and understanding, you are actively involved in the studying process. It will be easier to remember what you study. Secondly, flashcards are a great way to learn. You can create flashcards of mathematical and mechanical formulas to help you remember them.

Set Time Limits

The OAR navy exam has a time limit. When studying, it is essential to time yourself accordingly to help you prepare adequately for the test. Math, reading comprehension, and mechanical knowledge have time limits of 40 minutes, 30 minutes, and 15 minutes respectively. You should set the same time limit for each section when taking a practice test.

Setting a timer will help you discover when to increase your problem-solving speed, even though you are good at a skill. Mimicking the OAR navy test conditions will help you tackle the pressure and anxiety that comes with the exam.

Focus on your Areas of Difficulty

Practice tests  are designed to help you learn your areas of strength and weaknesses. It is almost pointless to continue re-learning and focusing on your strengths. You can now improve your performance by throwing a bigger weight on improving your problematic areas. Doing so will increase your core cognitive abilities and help you become more confident when sitting for the test.

Note that it can become easy to lose motivation and concentration when studying areas of difficulty. So, remember to space yourself out by taking breaks after learning a challenging topic. It helps your brain pause, recall, and reflect on a problem.

Do Not be Afraid to Fail

The fear of failing a test often creates a psychological condition that significantly increases stress and test-related anxiety. Being afraid when taking an exam can block your thinking process and focus, making you perform poorly on the test even when you prepare adequately. The OAR navy test prep tips shared here are enough to help you pass. You can take the exams up to 3 times if you fail, and there is only a 31-day wait period between tests. Therefore, don’t worry too much about passing the exams. Just focus your energy on preparing better and doing the right thing.

Wrapping Things Up: How Hard is the OAR Exam Really?

Let’s face the fact – the OAR exam is pretty challenging. It’s even worse because the questions are adaptive, and each correct answer leaves you with a harder next question. But the good news is that you can pass the exams if you pay attention to adequate preparation. The preparatory tips reviewed in this article will help you get physically and psychologically ready for the exams. If you’re a game lover, you can also try to play online math games to practice algebra and vocabulary development.

There are so many resources available online to also help you. You just have to find one that suits your reading style. Finally, getting a reading buddy or an accountability partner can really help you prepare better for the exams.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

Perhaps you have exams coming up and you’re considering studying with your friends but aren’t sure how to kick things off. Crafting the ultimate study group involves making sure that the time you spend together...

Read More