I had quite frequently visited this site for information/advice on prepping for the CFAT and I promised myself, pending that I would pass for the officer cut-off, that I would provide advice to any newcomers who are anxious or nervous about how to study for the examination. I myself was part of that group.
Unlucky for me, I did not score high enough on the CFAT my first time around. That was back six years ago when I just began university. Honestly, I did not study/prep much for the exam and I really did not comprehend what sort of material to study. At that time I had not taken a math course since grade 11, so my practice in the realms of mathematics was almost non-existent. Additionally my spatial ability needed major refining. I went in, ill prepared, and did not score high enough for the officer cut off. The first section went great, but the spatial and mathematics portions not so much. Mostly it was due to my spatial ability.
After the test, I was majorly bummed and decided to finish my university education. Years later after graduating from my program and working a permanent job in the government (in a related field to trades I am applying for) I decided to, once again, pursue the CF. I applied for DEO in a few different fields and I am presently involved in the application progress.
Based on reading countless posts on this website, there are some individuals who that believe that you cannot, yes - cannot, increase your spatial ability by studying / prepping. Over and over I heard the line "either you have it or you don't", which was a little daunting. However, this was not the case for myself. I prepped and prepped. I studied hard and used almost every resource available to me (yes, some cost money - but if you really want something go for it no matter what cost). Despite being nervous on the test day, it all paid off and I made it past the officer cut off. I drastically improved in those two sections.
While I cannot say for sure whether I will get into the CF via the DEO option, I wanted to post some info for applicants to utilize (without divulging the contents of the test)
1) Find at your local bookstore Government/Police/Military examination prep books. These really do help in terms of the mathematics and the spatial sections. Can be a little pricey.
2) Find website sites (free and pay for service) where you have access to practice / mock military - police style aptitude tests. These really help, and learning how to complete the problems under a time crunch is important.
3) Practice aptitude tests with spatial sections. These really helped me to look at cube folding in a different light. There are numerous apps with different spatial styles to practice.
4) Understand the practice CFAT exam (provided by the CF), but realize that the actual test problems are much more difficult – especially the spatial portion. It’ not about how to solve a problem (mathematics) but understanding how to solve a problem under a severe time crunch. (Look forward and then look back at the difficult questions).
I realize that many will say “no need to study or to prep. It’s a test to measure your aptitude at the time of application.” However, if you are struggling with any aspect of the test it would not hurt to study and study. After all if this is a career you want, really go for it and strive for the best.
Don’t make the same mistake as me my first time around. If math/spatial problems are not easy for you reach out and make use of the resources out there.