How much is your CAT preparation

Recruitment test for the German Armed Forces (CAT):
Practice tasks, process, online test

I had been thinking about joining the Bundeswehr for a long time. Finally, I went to a consultation and an information event and I quickly made up my mind to apply. Now I also knew what I wanted to do: Sergeant in the paratroopers.

But it took a while to apply. It was only after more than a month that I received an invitation to take part in the selection process, and it was several weeks before the exam date. At least enough time to prepare.

Day 1: arrival

Despite the traffic jam, I arrived in time to report and to receive the keys and folder. Then my luggage was quickly brought to the living room, and at 5:30 p.m. we all came together to say hello. We were quite a number of applicants for different careers. Before dinner we had to fill out a personal questionnaire, a number of questions in just 30 minutes. I had heard the examiners were building the one-on-one interview on that, so I tried to be honest and positive at the same time. Damn difficult in the shortness of time.

The dinner was delicious. We spent the evening relaxed in the lounge. The lights had to be off at 10 p.m. In the dark we talked for a while in the room. Perhaps that was a mistake, because the next morning I was very tired. On the other hand, because of the excitement, I couldn't have slept earlier anyway.

Day 2: A lot of waiting and a lot of excitement

On the second day of the selection process, the exams started at 7 a.m. Some started with the draft, I was supposed to go to the CAT test first.

Recruitment test

While I was still half asleep, I struggled to concentrate on the explanations. Fortunately, the adrenaline was noticeable during the first tasks. The CAT test took me over 3 hours. Others finished faster. In maths there were tasks like fractions, the rule of three and percentages, in German a few things about grammar and spelling. There were also a few questions about English, for example I had to complete sentences. The logic part was pretty detailed, with matrices, word analogies, and patterns. I also had to expect Chinese symbols.

The most important thing is not to get disturbed and to stay focused. You were even allowed to go to the toilet between the individual test parts. In between, other applicants kept coming in who had finished their stations and started the CAT test.

For this we had received the folders: in them were the stations that we had to complete. We didn't have to stay with the group, but simply went to the so-called control head from time to time. He looked at our folder and sent us to the next station. There it was then entered that we had completed it, and we were able to go back to the control head, which sent us to the next station ...

Medical examination, part 1

For me it went on after the CAT test at the doctor. First of all, there were a lot of "normal" examinations that took place one after the other in different rooms: eye test, hearing test, 3D eye test, urine test, measuring and weighing. In between we always had to wait in the waiting room. Everyone was very friendly, even though it was really busy. It wasn't going very quickly. When I only had the main inspection ahead of me, it suddenly said that we should go to lunch first.

Having lunch

So back to the steering head: Is that true? Response control head: Yes. So off to lunch, together with other applicants who had also been waiting for the doctor. We were all a little annoyed by the long wait. In addition, the rumor mill was seething, it was said that some had been retired: drug use, poor eyesight, obesity ...

Sports test

After lunch, the steering head did not send us back to the doctor as expected, but instead sent us to the sports test. Move quickly and over to the sports hall. The Bundeswehr sports test consists of a pendulum run, the Klimmhang and an ergometer test. In the pendulum run, you run a few times back and forth a short distance, and in between you have to lie on your stomach again and again. I had my problems there. It didn't go much better on the pull-up slope, most of the others could hold out longer than themselves. But then I was able to get it out a little with the ergometer.

Medical examination, part 2

Then I was allowed to continue the medical examination. After all the horror stories over lunch, I was pretty nervous. The doctor was friendly, but also a little strict. First of all, I gave him the documents that I was supposed to bring from the gynecologist. Then he looked to see if I was running and if my joints were working properly and so on. In between he asked me questions about my health and illnesses in my family and, a little bit hidden, about my alcohol consumption.

Measuring blood pressure in the Bundeswehr is almost a science. It is measured three times, with 20 squats in between. Then the shock: my pulse was too high, said the doctor. In the next sentence, however, the all-clear: something like that happens more often because of the excitement. I should just have the family doctor check again in a few days.

I was a bit insecure when the steering wheel told me that I would not have to go to a one-on-one interview until the next morning. Now I should just briefly go through my application documents with a non-commissioned officer in order to correct mistakes or add changes since the application.

Lecture in the evening

Afterwards there was dinner and afterwards a lecture by a sergeant. He explained the course of the basic training and how it can then continue in the various career paths. He also talked about his experiences and assignments abroad. Packed with anecdotes, the lecture was very exciting and interesting.

Day 3: final spurt

The next morning, of course, we had to get up early again! The interview was scheduled for today. Instead of a blouse and jeans - as during the last two days - I now put on black trousers and a blazer. At first I thought it might be a bit of an exaggeration. I don't usually walk around like that. But later I was sure it was the right decision. Confident appearance is much easier with “proper” clothing.

Psychological interview

After a quick breakfast, we went straight to the waiting room for the psychological test interviews. Some had to wait a long time, luckily I didn't: after about 20 minutes it was my turn. Two examiners sat across from me. I was glad that I had prepared myself well for the interview and that I had researched current Bundeswehr topics on the Internet. I think the most important thing is to appear authentic and emphasize positive qualities without pretending to be.

After the conversation, I should wait outside. After a few minutes that seemed like an eternity, I was called back inside. The examiners congratulated me, I was suitable for my desired assignment as a sergeant in the troop service!


Finally, the planner was waiting to introduce me to the possible positions. My target was the paratroopers, so I didn't have to think twice, even if I had to move relatively far away. So signed the preliminary contract right away!

The last station was at the BFD (vocational advancement service of the Bundeswehr). There they explained all sorts of things to me about further training opportunities during and after my service. Future music.

I had to quickly finish packing and tidy up my room and smell my lunch before driving home. This is how the exciting and exhausting, but also successful, recruitment test with the Bundeswehr ended.

At home, of course, I made an appointment with the family doctor straight away. Lo and behold: everything was ok with the pulse this time.