Not sure if this is thread worthy but I figured my experience could be of help to some others. Ill first start by saying I had no aviation experience other than being in a sim a few times. I knew from researching this forum that this test was gonna be tough. I had about 3-4 months to prepare and I studied about an hour or so a day. The two study guides I primarily focused on were the accepted inc book and one just called the sift study guide. I'll link them at the bottom. These two books were very helpful I learned them inside and out. On top of these books I also read through the FAA manual and reread the important chapters multiple times.
Simple Drawings- Be sure not to double click!! That got me in trouble a few times. The time pauses when switching to another question. Look over the study guides for this but don't spend too much time studying for this.
Hidden Figures-They weren't as convoluted as I was expecting them to be but were tough regardless. I had a decent amount of practice going in but it wasn't of much help. Only got through 27 of them and I guessed on a handful.
Army Aviation Information-This was the second easiest section on the test, those study guides and the FAA manual will adequately prepare you for this for the most part. There were a few airframe specific questions on Army helicopters and their roles. Mostly aerodynamic questions.
Spatial Apperception-This was the easiest section on the test. You are given plenty of time to finish and the concepts are simple to understand if you read over them once or twice in the study guides you'll be fine.
Reading comprehension-This was the toughest reading comprehension test I've ever taken. It was only about a paragraph per question but all of the answer choices were hard to choose from. It does give you plenty of time though.
Math Skills- I did well on the asvab math sections but this was another animal. I thought it would start off easy and get harder as I answered more questions right. But right of the bat it was pretty tough questions. This is where I lost most of my points. I was cut off 18 minutes into the section. Make sure you study distance/rate problems and work problems they gave me a lot of trouble. As far as geometry they provide most of your important formulas but know how to use them. I have heard a lot of good things about Khan Academy. Dont be like me and rest on your laurels since you did good on the asvab, the sift is much harder.
Mechanical Comprehension-Both the study guides provided me adequate information to do well on this sub-test. Easier than I expected.
I ended up with a 62 which I'm satisfied with. I really wanted a 65+ but my math really held me back. This test can be studied for, it takes a lot of preparation though because of how broad it is. Here are the two study guides I used:
I always tell people the hardest part of the test was hidden figures and the math portion. Hidden figures: you're either good at it or not, I'm not. Math: I wish i could remember specifically what I struggled with, but it was much harder than I anticipated.
side note: mechanical comprehension was super easy
The bigger question is how each section is weighted... which we don't really know. Also, apparently on HF (I'm not great at it, only made it through 25-26, but I don't think I got more than a couple wrong at most) you aren't supposed to guess, as they look at your accuracy in addition to how many you get through. The math was pretty tough, but it wasn't crazy. I probably lost a few points because I completely forgot what a log was.
The mechanical comprehension was mostly easy, but I got some curve-ball questions about some particle accelerator type thing. I have a science degree and I had NO idea what was going on haha. The trend seems to be the harder the test felt, the "better" you are doing. I felt like crap finishing the test as I was completely in the dark at the end of the math and mechanical sections, and I did pretty well (75).
I took the SIFT test recently (4/15/2019) and I am happy to say I passed with a 62. I am paying it forward by sharing my experiences studying and all the tools used during the process.
I hope that the previous posts on this topic as well as this post can serve you well on your journey to taking (and passing) the SIFT.
There were questions before starting that asked if I played video games or flight simulators growing up and if I played a lot of video games now, even asked what systems. I said I didn’t play any and moved on.
The test worked as advertised in the study guide. Emphasis on accuracy followed by speed. I timed myself in the study guide practice tests as well as the Trivium practice test to prepare. I got through 89 of the pictures and I know I missed around 4 due to double clicking. Find a rhythm to click once and pause.
I didn’t have an understanding, until the test, that the shapes within the drawings do not rotate. The shape in the figure will always be as presented as it is in the answer column. Like the Simple Drawings, time yourself with the study guides and the do the Trivium test too.
This section I was the most worried about because I was starting from zero previous knowledge and it covers a lot of material. The study guides provided great overviews for this part, however, I think the best tool was the FAA Handbook - which the study guides pulled from. I made flashcard from the answers I got wrong in the practice tests and used some from the Quizlet site below. Some of the answers I knew not from the tests or cards but just from reading through the latter sections of the FAA Handbook. The youtube channel “Helicopter Lessons in 10 Minutes or Less” was a big help here too in grasping some of the concepts.
Some specific question topics I remember from the test:
-slip vs skid
-safety questions “I’m ready” checklist
-tandem rotor direction
-Night Operations - myopia
-Pedals, Cyclic, Collective, and Throttle functions
-few army helicopter questions; Kiowa responsibilities, Blackhawk responsibilities
Pretty straightforward. The only differences from the study guides to the test were:
-the plane used in the diagram: F-16 in the study guides and a T-6 on the test.
-the roll angles in some of the diagrams were more exaggerated than in the study guide, the concepts were the same though
There was plenty of time to work out each question and this section allowed you to bookmark questions and go back.
Pretty standard section here. The people outside my room were loud which made it hard to focus during this section. I took a pair of headphones in the room and wore them for a while, which helped a great deal.
A few of the other posts said this was the hardest section. I agree with that, this section seemed harder than the math on the ASVAB. The good thing here is that there are a lot more resources to practice beforehand. Many of the math topics you can google to get practice tests. You are provided the equations for the geometry questions; I didn’t get many geometry questions though. My math test had a majority of the questions dealing with probability, speed/work, and reducing algebraic equations.
Specific math topics I remember:
- a lot of questions with probability: if you roll a dice, the probability that numbers add up to 3?
- Averages with test scores, the 4th score was 20 points more than the average of the first 3, what do they need to get on the 5th and 6th scores to average blah blah blah.
-speed and time; two runners running at a different speed and distance from the finish. Difference between finishers times
-draining and filling faucets
-gears and gears with straps
-distance from fulcrum with weight on the opposite side
-conceptual questions with kinetic and potential energy
-weight on the moon vs earth
Took about 3 months to study for this, started right after the ASVAB. I devoted about 6 hours during the week to it and around 8 hours on the weekends to it. I have a hard time studying in my home so I found a few spots I liked from coffee shops to the office at my job. A list of the study guides I used is posted below. I bought two study guides because I wanted to see if there was a difference in how the material was presented and taught. I think either can serve you well.
I started the test pretty early in the morning at MEPS, right around 0630. I ate a lite breakfast cause I didn’t want to have to got the bathroom or anything during the test. Everybody is different, but give your nutrition and rest a thought before and during the test. It’s all part of the preparation. Take a deep breath before each section, stand up, stretch, do what you have to do to relax and or have your mind sharp.
I just want to share a bit about my background and give my thoughts on the SIFT.
I am a six almost seven year ex active duty NCO. I ETS’d in June of 2014 and since them I have been working in the west Texas oilfields. Like many others in any aviation field it has been my dream to become an Aviator for as long as I can remember. Four months ago I began the WOFT process.
Today I took the SIFT and let me tell you it was no easy task for me. I do not by any means consider myself of average intelligence when it comes to anything technical or hands on. Although throughout my life I have always been a terrible test taker and unfortunately I let my anxiety get the best of me. Now I will get to the meat and potatoes…
Test Date: 17 April 2019
SIMPLE DRAWINGS: I didn’t really focus too much on this because it’s a no brainer. What I will say is that the shapes that are in all of the practice exams available are not there. So don’t get comfortable with the shapes in the practice tests and expect them to be the same used on test day. Completed 96-100 with 4-5 wrong just because I was rushing. Ran out of time.
HIDDEN FIGURES: HOLY HELL. Hidden figures was a portion of the test that I felt very confident about. Again I will say… DO NOT trust the practice pictures you see in the books or online. I was totally caught off guard by the pictures on the test. They were very very difficult for me. But in the study guides I used the shapes jumped out at me. I completed 20-50 with an estimated 3-6 wrong. Ran out of time.
AVIATION INFORMATION: This portion felt like it went well for me. I read the FAA Helicopter manual and touched on the Army’s Fundamentals of Flight (TC 3-04.4). Things to know (Just what I can remember)…. Slip, coning, flapping, translating tendency, dissymmetry of lift, gyroscopic precession, night myopia, basic flight controls, US Rotorcraft nomenclature and so on… Get on YouTube and check out Helicopter Lessons in 10 Minutes or less (https://www.youtube....53JD8yEQ/videos). Jacob helped me to really understand quickly. Had plenty of time to go back to the four flagged questions and re-work them. Completed all questions with probably 4-6 wrong… just a guess.
SPACIAL APPERCEPTION: Super easy for a flight simulator kid who has some Cessna 172 time. It was very straight forward. The only things I will say is that there were no rocks, only land and sea. Also on some of the pictures it was difficult to tell if the airplane was flying towards or away from you. It was almost like some of the images were photocopied a million times before they scanned them into the test. Completed the entire section with 3 minutes to spare. 100% correct.
READING COMPREHENSION: All I will say about this section is that you have so much time. I reread every passage twice, made my decision, and still had time to go back to the beginning and check work. There will be questions that seem to have multiple answers. I will not estimate this because it was very hard to judge.
MATH SKILLS: Math has always been my worst subject. This section really hurt me. Know how to evaluate and simplify algebraic expressions, negative exponents, area, volume, probability, and sequencing of numbers. I did 19 questions and I think I only correctly answered maybe 20%. The math just kicked my ass. I had plenty of time. That is without question. As far as formulas… there was a list on the right of the screen the entire time with about 10 or so formulas. I only used one for finding the circumference from the radius.
MECHANICAL COMP: Simple stuff. Pulleys, simple machines, joules, fluid flow, and gravity. Just use an ASVAB study guide for this portion and you will be fine. Time wasn’t an issue as this section ended before the time did. Maybe 10-20 questions. I’m not sure.
That being said, DO NOT RUSH THE PROCESS like I did. I would kill to have another month or two to study. I am very disappointed in myself. I went in cocky and got knocked on my ass. I will disclose my score. It’s mine and I have to own it. I earned a 40. Take your time studying and don’t take the test if you do not feel 100 % ready.
As for me I am going to continue on with the process and hope for some luck and a miracle.