The application process

The application process

There were a few letters.. and many many sometimes anxious weeks in between them and the various test phases. The whole application process, from the application I sent in to the acceptance letter, took eight months. Consider that as eight months of suspense.

In the first phase applicants were chosen based on applications which you sent in after registering online. In the application you provided basic information, grades (math, Finnish, English) and work experience, and filled out a health questionnaire. You also included a hand-written page about yourself. The paper sheet has no lines so practise your handwriting! A visit to a doctor and a basic physical examination was required at this point. With certain conditions you had to send in a medical history. I personally had to gather documents about my LASIK surgery and have a checkup at an ophthalmologist.

The first letter came three weeks after the application period ended. 1246 applicants had registered online, 1048 sent in an application and 507 passed the first round. To be honest I was not worried at this point. I have great grades from school, I also have a Master’s degree and I had passed this phase the previous time. But of course a smile appeared on my face after I opened the letter. The first test day was awaiting in less than two weeks.

The first test day was a half-day consisting of  timed aptitude tests. The tests included math and verbal problems, matrix reasoning as well as spatial reasoning in the form of the dice test, (in)famous amongst all Finnish pilot wanna-bes. The dice test sheet was filled with pictures of dice, some of which had empty sides. Your task was to figure out which way the dice are facing and fill out the empty sides. Finally, once you had pencilled your answers to a few hundred statements determining your character (Do you ever feel like you are being watched? Have you ever had an out-of-body experience? Would you rather work as a pilot or a researcher?), you were free to go home.

The second letter arrived in three weeks. Again, I was not worried, but I guess you never know until the fat lady sings. Anyway, the next test day was in two weeks, in the end of November 2011. About half of the 507 applicants were still in the game.

The second test day was a full day filled with computer-based testing. The day started with a multitasking test where you handled four tasks at the same time. During the day you got to use your memory a lot, handle joysticks, stare at a moving dot for half an hour, do some more matrix and spatial reasoning, AND answer a few hundred statements determining your character. After that you filled out some forms with personal information and wrote an essay about yourself. It was a long day, but I enjoyed it quite much, like I did the previous time.

So here I was, at the point where my journey ended the previous time. Waiting for the invitation for the interview. The letter came about a month later just before Christmas. I was anxious. I opened the letter and read the line “You have been chosen…” I have rarely felt that kind of joy and relief. The interview was to be held in three weeks in January 2012. I knew I had to ace this.

The interviews were held for three applicants at a time. It was nice to meet fellow applicants at this point. We were all chasing the same dream and you only wished the best for the others too. There were two interviews, one with a psychologist and one with four pilots. An hour was reserved for each. I had my interview with the psychologist first. If you have ever been interviewed by a psychologist you know not to expect too much reaction from them. At first I was presented a few situational problems and I had to explain what I would do. After that it was pretty much a basic interview about yourself, your motives and your goals. I felt I was able to communicate everything I wanted to and the interview felt a success. Next up were the pilots. They were four nice gentlemen. They sat behind a desk across from me. You might think it was an intimidating situation, but it was a very relaxed session. Again we discussed my motives and goals and myself, why I wanted to become a pilot and pretty much everything. Actually nearly an hour and a half passed. The other guys wondered what took me so long. I felt pretty good after I left.

Six long weeks after the interviews came the next letter. It was a pleasant letter. I had now passed all the test phases. Next up was the thorough medical examination.  It was to be in mid-March, in four weeks. But I felt good at this point. I had qualified. Now I just had to pass the medical. I was so proud of myself.

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18 responses to “The application process

  1. Did you practice before the tests in any way the first time you applied? How about the second time? Did you prepare yourself for the interviews? :)

    I know that some people study technology for example or have a degree in that when they apply. In what subject do you have a master’s degree?

    • I did some Math in my head before the tests, because it had been so long since I had done that and I knew I would have to do some simple Math quickly in the tests. Just a little exercise for the brain. :) That’s pretty much it. For the interview I was prepared to talk about myself, who I am, what I have done and what my goals are and things like that. I think the point of the interview is to find out whether you are the right kind of person(ality) and what is your level of motivation. And somehow you have to convey that to them. Like in any interview it’s good to be prepared to talk about yourself keeping the objective of the interview in mind. It might not be that easy in a situation like that unless you’ve thought about what you are going to say beforehand. I would give the same advice for the interview with the psychologist.

      I have a Master’s degree in Food Economics, Marketing as my major. I have worked in sales and marketing jobs and currently am an entrepreneur in advertising. So no techie here. Pure business. :)

  2. Hi, I’m applying for SIO in the 2013 Haku. Next up is the interviews. Could you tell a little bit more about the interview with the psychologist. Especially what kind of situational problems there might be? A situational problem in a cockpit perhaps? Also what were they emphasizing/looking for in the answers?
    Thank you very much! Your blog has been of great help!

    • Hi Chris, yes I think they all were situations in the cockpit, what would you do type of questions. To be honest I don’t really remember those questions very well anymore. I think they were five. Rest of the interview was more basic interview stuff. It’s hard to say what they are looking for in the answers for the situational problems, because you get no feedback from the psychologist in there. I know everyone says just be yourself, but it’s really the best advice I too can give. They are looking for certain type of people and I think they do it well. Be prepared to express your motivation and yourself and good luck! And thank you for reading. I’m really glad if I can be of help. :)

  3. Hi. I found your blog by accident and it’s very very meaningful for me because I am thinking about becoming a pilot. This has been my dream for a long time. If you don’t mind may I ask how old you are when you started applying? I am 27 years old now and I am not sure I am young enough to start. And I read that the tuition fee is very expensive ? Do you get loan from some banks and is it easy ? Are you Finnish by born ? Is fluent Finnish required because I do not very fluently speak Finnish. Thank you so much

    • Hi Alex, thanks for reading! I’m somewhat older than you. At 27 you have no worries. My classmates’ ages range from 22-38. Average age is probably close to 30. The cost of training is usually quite high, but luckily for us at the FINAA it’s just under 13 k. I personally didn’t take a loan. I am Finnish and good command of Finnish is required to apply to Finnish Aviation Academy. Good luck with you dream! :)

      • Hi Niina. Thanks a lot for your reply. Yes I will try to speak fluently Finnish. May I ask that after 2.5 years at FINAA, will you have enough requirements to work for airlines such as Finnair, Blue1, etc as airline professional pilot or do you have to study more certificates or get more flight hours and experiences ? Thank you.

  4. Moi Niina,

    Ensinäkin blogisi on mahtavaa! Olen lukenut kyllä paljon blogia, mutta täältä olen oppinutkin paljon uutta asiaa. Minä hain 2013 haussa, mutta tipuin kirjallisen koen jälkeen. Oli ehkä minun vikani kun jätin materiaalin lukemisen viikon varalle :D Syy siihen on se, että luulin pääseväni suoraan esivalintakokeisiin. Kun itse olen asunut Suomessa 6 vuotta ja en ole käynyt lukiota Suomessa niin oli varmaan ilmailuopiston kannalta vaikea päättää minusta. Kutsuivat ainakin 64 joukkoon kirjalliseen kokeeseen :D

    Aion hakea 2015 haussa, mutta mietin vähän sitä, että kannattaako oikeasti 28 vuotiaana :) Anyway, kuulemma toi noppatesti on aika karsivaa? Olen itse vähän yrtittänyt saada selville, että minkäläinen se on ja kyllä sain jonkun näkösen esikuvan siitä. Mitäs toi sanasuhde tehtävä? Onko tossa ensimmäisessa osassa noppa, matikka, sanasuhde, kuvio ja persoonallisuus?

    • Moikka Eren! Kiitos, kiva että tykkäät lukea! Ensinnäkin, hae ihmeessä uudestaan. Meidän kurssin ikähaitari oli opintojen alkaessa 21-36 vuotta. Keski-ikä on varmaan siinä juuri 30 alapuolella.

      Noppatestissä on kuvia nopista, joissa osa nopan sivuista on tyhjiä ja tehtävänä on päätellä mitä niissä pitäisi olla. Tehtäviä on aika monta, joten hyvää hahmotuskykyä tarvitaan. Ensimmäisessä osioissa on tosiaan nuo testit, jotka mainitsitkin. Sanasuhde-testissä on tehtäviä, joissa kysytään synonyymejä, vastakohtia yms.

      Tsemppiä hakuun ja onnea! :)

      • Kiitos paljon tiedosta Niina :) Kyllä tämä oli kannustavaa!

        Jatkan lukemista blogisi ;)

  5. Heippa hei! Huomaan, että et ole saanut pitkään kommentteja tähän otsikkoon, mutta täältä tulee!

    Olen viikon sisällä jättämässä kirjallisen hakemuksen ilmailuopistoon. Jäljellä on enää ‘Kerro itsestäsi’-osio, josta haluaisin kysyä pientä neuvoa! :)

    Eli, osaatko kertoa mitä he siinä hakee? Monet varmaan aloittaa “Olen x-vuotias mies/nainen ja asun (esim.) Helsingissä.” Minusta tuollainen aloitus on todella tylsä ja ei SIO todellakaan tarvitse semmoisia ‘Kerro itsestäsi’-tietoja… Tässä osiossa ei ole muuta ohjeita, kuin että pitää kertoa itsestään. Voiko siinä olla piilossa jokin toinenkin kysymys, niin kuin työhakemus tyyliin (esim. “Miksi juuri SINÄ sopisit tähän työhön[kouluun]?) Toivottovasti ymmärrät mitä haen kysymykselläni!

    Luulen, että tämä alkuosio on minulle elintärkeä karsinnoissa, koska huomasin, että aloitusvuosi-ikä on todella korkea ja minä olen vasta 19-vuotias, joka on tällä kesällä valmistunut lukiosta. Tosin sain kiitettävät arvosanat, eli fiilis on ihan hyvä nyt jo heti alussa! Kiitos jo etukäteen!

    • Moikka Toby! En osaa sanoa mitä osiossa erityisesti haetaan. Idea kai on, että kerrot itsestäsi mitä haluat ja katsot tarpeelliseksi kertoa hakiessasi koulutukseen. Tämähän on perinteisesti työhaastatteluidenkin vaikein kysymys. Kannattaa opetella vastaamaan siihen. ;) Tsemppiä!

  6. Hellou, Toby täällä taas!

    Sain eilen sähköpostiin kutsun suoraan esivalintakokeisiin, yay! :)

    Kysysmys; Ovatko psykologiset testit, kysymykset yms. englannin- vai suomenkielellä?

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