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Air Traffic Controller (ATSA) Personality Test: What to Expect & How to Prepare

The ATSA personality test is an untimed section that appears toward the end of the long and challenging Air Traffic Controller Test.

Like other personality tests, many overlook it by saying that you can’t prepare for it and that you just need to be honest.

However, since this section is used for screening purposes and you compete against other candidates, you can’t take that chance and risk your final score.

So, this guide will show you everything you need to know about this subtest to ensure you pass it with a high score.

What to Expect on the Air Traffic Controller Personality Test?

The ATSA personality test consists of 108 questions and takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete, although it’s untimed. The questions are divided into blocks of three statements each, where you must choose which statement is most like you and which is least like you.

Myths and Misconceptions About Personality Tests That You Should Ignore

Here are three myths about personality tests that you should ignore since following them might hurt your chances of passing this subtest.

You Can’t Study for Personality Tests

Many swear you can’t or shouldn’t practice for personality tests. However, since this section of the ATSA is used for screening purposes, you should prepare for it so that you eliminate the element of surprise and learn what answers would better reflect your positive traits.

Additionally, by preparing beforehand, you’ll understand the reasoning behind the questions, what they are trying to gauge, or their intention. This way, you won’t just choose answers on the fly, even if they seem intentionally basic or innocent.

You Just Need to Be Honest

While being honest is important, and you shouldn’t lie on your test, it’s not the only thing that matters. To score high on this test, you should try to emphasize relevant strengths and avoid emphasizing strengths that aren’t related to the position you’re seeking.

Also, it’s always helpful to believe that you possess these characteristics and are the best fit for the job, even if you currently don’t have all of them. Finally, remember that no one is born an Air Traffic Controller, and you’ll improve your skills as you progress through the training.

There Aren’t Right or Wrong Answers

Recruiters use these personality questions to select the best candidates for a particular job and disqualify applicants who don’t match the required criteria.

This means there are definitely right and wrong answers related to specific job criteria in this section.

But what responses should you choose to provide a correct answer?

When you answer, you must think about your work behavior rather than
your general behavior. And more importantly, you have to know what characteristics are required for your position and answer accordingly.

For example, Air Traffic Controllers are known for staying organized, remaining calm, and keeping up with high-pressure situations. They must have the temperament and self-control to handle difficult or stressful situations, which are very common on the job.

Air Traffic Controller Personality Test Examples

Each question consists of a block of three statements. First, read the statements, and try to think if you identify with them in a workplace. Then, for each question, allocate one statement to ‘Most like me’ and one to ‘Least like me,’ thus leaving one statement to ‘Neutral.’

I choose not to be insulted by critiques
I relish in contests
I persist with projects

Most Like Me

Recommended Statement: I persist with projects

The ability to persist with projects to keep scope, people, and schedules on track can make or break the delivery of goods, services, and tasks. A conscientious approach to project completion is thus a very desirable candidate quality to highlight.


Recommended Statement: I choose not to be insulted by critiques

The tough-minded individual is astute and discerning. He/she has a strong, austere quality that makes for firmness of purpose and solidness of commitment. He/she is not vulnerable to the critiques of others. Tough-minded people develop a mental capacity that allows them to adapt easily during adversity, including insults and bending instead of breaking. These are a powerful set of traits to display in a selection activity.

Least Like Me

Recommended Statement: I relish in contests

While competition can motivate employees to work their hardest and bring out their best performance, it can also negatively affect individual employees and teams. It is thus advisable to keep scores on this dimension moderate.

I communicate openly when I believe people are incorrect
I prefer to be able to do what I wish
I contemplate the time ahead

Most Like Me

Recommended Statement: I contemplate the time ahead

Recognizing that our current mindset and skillset may not remain relevant for a long period in the rapidly changing culture of the contemporary business world. One certainty about the future of work is that roles, as we know them now, will change exponentially. For employers, it’s about recruiting agile, flexible staff and comfortable with mobility. Being a forward-thinking employee is thus a valuable asset to showcase.


Recommended Statement: I communicate openly when I believe people are incorrect

Being outspoken is a quality to be cautious with: A capacity to confidently share important messages is balanced by a strong capacity to listen and at times, refrain from comment. Therefore, building a moderate score on this dimension is desirable.

Least Like Me

Recommended Statement: I prefer to be able to do what I wish

Preferring to always go your own way does not suggest the universally sought flexibility in the contemporary environment.

Accurate Prep Materials for the ATSA Personality Test (and the Rest of the Sections)

We recommend using realistic practice material that simulates the actual test to ensure you pass this section of the ATSA and the other six sections.

(For example, ATC radar simulations, memory games, logical reasoning questions, and more.)

We recently reviewed the most accurate and comprehensive ATSA test prep. Check the detailed review here or head straight to the test prep site to start practicing instantly.

Looking for other personality test questions? Check the free personality practice tests on this page.