Intro and background on the FAA's Biographical Assessment for aspiring Air Traffic Controllers
The Biographical Assessment (BA) is a personality test that the FAA uses in an attempt to predict which applicants for its air traffic control positions will be best suited for the job. The assessment was formerly known as the Biographical Questionnaire (BQ or Bio Q).
The Biographical Assessment has been somewhat controversial, with many observers and participants questioning its validity. The FAA has made concessions by exempting certain groups of people with specific qualifications from the assessment. However, it remains a necessary part of the process for the majority of applicants to the all-sources hiring announcements.
Who Must Participate
If you are applying to an all-sources hiring announcement as a Pool 2 applicant without special qualifications (AKA "off the street"), you will be required to pass the biographical assessment in order to continue in the hiring process. Applicants in Pool 1 (eligible veterans and those who have completed a Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) program) are eligible to skip the assessment.
Content and Scoring
The Biographical Assessment consists of 114 multiple-choice questions. The questions explore your personality traits and your approach to work. Topics include:
- Approaches to decision making
- Handling pressure, risk, and uncertainty
- Reactions to criticism, mistakes, and setbacks
- Teamwork and communication styles and preferences
- Efficiency, accuracy, and prioritization
- Confidence and initiative
- Responsibility and reliability
- Learning styles and technological aptitude
- Et cetera
The test is administered as part of the initial online application process. After you submit your application on USAJobs, you will be forwarded the FAA employment website (AVIATOR). There, you will complete a few additional components of the application and you will be prompted to take the Biographical Assessment.
It is not publicly disclosed how the BA is scored. It is reasonable to assume that the assessment selects for certain characteristics that are persistent and valuable in air traffic controllers, such as: efficient decision making, poise under pressure, perseverance, and reliable teamwork.
Applicants will not receive an individual score and specific scores are not significant beyond pass/fail. The only indication that you have passed will be an eventual invitation to take the AT-SA aptitude test.