European Space Agency Astronaut Example Test Questions

ESA have published a set of example psychological tests to familiarise people with the 2nd phase of the Astronaut applications. Apart from it being interesting doing astronaut testing, it’s actually a lot of fun too. I even had my 7 year old daughter doing “astronaut maths” with me! 😉

The English questions are pretty straight forward for a native English speaker, typical questions involve picking the correct word to complete a sentence e.g.

“Peter has gone to the station, ….. he?”

  1. hasn’t
  2. isn’t
  3. didn’t
  4. doesn’t

Having said that I was a little surprised to only get 61 out of 64 correct. There was one question that I failed to answer in the allotted time (yes it’s a timed test) but the quiz doesn’t give you the answers or tell you which questions you got wrong, so 2 were a mystery.

The maths test was right up my street however and really enjoyable. One thing that wasn’t clear was whether a calculator or paper and pad were allowed, as I assumed they were not. Typical questions were things like:

All points within an area have the same distance to a straight line. Which shape results?

  1. Sphere
  2. Cylinder
  3. Dice
  4. Octahedron

Tee hee, I loved that one. Other questions:

A fast train takes 9 hours at a speed of 72 km/h. How long would the train take if it went 8 km/h faster?

This is a pretty simple fractions question, made slightly more complicated because the fraction is the wrong way round, if that makes any sense?

At Frankfurt airport a passenger wants to get from Terminal A to Terminal B. On foot it would take him 3 minutes, on the conveyor belt 2 minutes. How long would it take him if he walks on the conveyor belt?

Hoho this question really had me going. I know it’s another simple fractions question but for some reason the shapes in my head didn’t quite fit together so I had to resort to doing it the long hand way. I assumed an arbitrary distance and simply did the maths.

A student takes 15 seconds for a 100m sprint. How long does he take if he runs 2 km/h faster due to a following wind?

This was the toughest question to do in my head by far. It took a while to crunch the numbers, but it’s doable.

My result: 20 out of 20 correct, sweet! 😀

The concentration test was fun too. Basically you’re shown a load of triangles with a variety of orientations, colours and dots. E.g a red triangle, pointing up, with 3 dots. You are then given a couple of rules to follow and then shown 2 triangle sequentially in turn and asked which of the 2 rules apply (or none). The trick is that you not only have to memorise the rules, but also the triangle seen on the previous screen. I guess it sounds more complicated that it is, try it, it’s fun. And I got them all right, which is always nice.

The memory test is a lot tougher though. You are shown a series of shapes and associated 2 digit numbers in pairs. E.g a red circle and the number 34. Then you are shown the shape and asked to remember the number, simple right? No.

First you are shown 8 pairs, so 16 pieces of information in total, before being shown the first shape to remember the number for. Then for each question, you are given 2 more shape / number pairs to remember. This is all timed.

Note the human mind is normally only able to remember 5-8 items of information in its short term memory, so this is an exceptionally tough test, well I think so anyway. That’s probably reflected in my less than glowing score, which I won’t embarrass myself by sharing. Needless to say, this area needs some work.

The perception test was the easiest by far. You are shown 9 dials with numbers from 1 to 8. Each is either black or white, and round or square. You are told to concentrate on only 1 kind of dial and remember the numbers. The trick comes from the fact you only have about 2 seconds to correctly identify the dials and remember the numbers, in the right order of course. I got 40 out of 40 of course.

The last test is a Technics test which basically means a mix of simple engineering type questions, e.g. electrical circuits and mechanics. One question for example is:

What is a lightning conductor usually made of?

Slightly frustratingly I only managed 75% (15 out of 20) which is rather annoying really as I consider general engineering knowledge to be a forte of mine.  Either way, all the tests were a load of fun and if this is what I’ve got to look forward to for a possible 2nd round, it’s going to be a blast.  Come on ESA, where’s my invite?  😉

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • welshtroll 16 July 2008, 9:15 am

    Sounded fun, I want a go lol

    The memory test is a terrible one and thye do simple versions of those when testing for dyslexia. I think the shapes would have thrown me.

    Good job thought Col.

    Good luck on getting into the 2nd round.

  • Colin McNulty 18 July 2008, 9:19 am

    Hi WT, yeah that memory test was horrid.

  • rebecca 26 October 2010, 10:36 pm

    How can I get a form.

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