I did mine in November. I was very nervous about it, as I've always been terrible at math. However I studied hard for about a month prior to the test and ended up acing it. (Apparently
) Like Karona said, the CFAT isn't "easy or hard" - it varies for everyone. I can't comment on the spatial ability as that's never been a problem for me and I found it quite easy, but I have some tips for the other sections.
- Like others have said, you don't have to solve the whole problem, just do ENOUGH to be able to narrow down the right answer. It's not high school, the HOW doesn't matter so long as it's done. If the answers are very different, then this becomes even easier to do.
- Time-wise, I found it faster than any other test I'd taken (HS and first year of uni). If you're calm enough and don't get panicked (see below), this won't be a problem. Try and evaluate the problem by seeing if it can be done in your head or by educated guesswork before writing your own formula. If you don't know an answer, leave it and come back to it. But, as others have said, make sure not to leave ANY answer blank.
- According to the CFAT guide I was emailed, when in doubt, your gut instinct is right 60% of the time, so consider going with that if you're stuck. However, there are ways of narrowing it down without doing any math (don't rely on this though). With answer options where 2 are very similar, one of those 2 will most likely be correct. When there are two answers that are completely the opposite, again, one of those 2 will likely be correct as well. (There are 4 options if I remember correctly). There are other examples of similar strategies in the CFAT study guide provided with your application package. Again, do NOT rely on this tactic as a first resort.
- There are all kinds of books and sites and services that'll do a great job of helping you prepare for the math portion - I used Khan Academy and found it very helpful. (Yes it's free and no I'm not being paid to say this). For 4 weeks before the CFAT, I went through everything from the simplest addition to the longest division lessons. Repetition helps immensely: you want to get to the point where an area formula or long division problem comes automatically. https://www.khanacademy.org/
- For the verbal skills, I think that no matter how large your vocabulary is you may have trouble with one or two. But try and look at the different parts of the word and break it down to its roots.
- This has been said before over and over I know, but the most important thing is to relax. (Easier said than done of course). I always stress and overthink everything, but I knew that anxiety can quickly ruin any test so I treated the issue like any other problem - I researched it. Try deep breathing exercises, and compartmentalizing - focusing on one challenge at a time - and look at things with a positive attitude. Again, being sleep-deprived and anxious and fidgety will sink you faster than anything. I'd been stressing about the CFAT for around 5 years since I decided I wanted to join the CAF but a few weeks of proper studying and relaxation techniques helped immensely.
- Visualization. It sounds new-agey, but all kinds of sports psychologists and the like recommend it. Try and walk yourself through every action on the day of the CFAT, from getting out of bed to sitting down at the computer to answering your last question. If you've already "done" it in your head, it'll be easier to write the test without worrying about the small details of your day.
- Also, don't be the jackass who forgets to turn in your phone. An angry CFRC staff member won't help you stay calm
Aside from that, all I can say is good luck! Stay calm, study hard, and get it done.