Letter Factory - Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test

Letter Factory - Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test

Letter Factory - Air Traffic Standardized Aptitude Test

As mentioned earlier, make sure to take the break before this section, which is taxing. Letter Factory is the most complex part of the test due to the extensive directions and demanding questions. You're given plenty of practice before beginning the scored part, however.

On Letter Factory, you're shown four vertical conveyor belts. Each belt will produce a letter, A, B, C or D, in one of three colors, orange, green or purple. A letter will appear at random at the top of the belt and move towards the bottom. Belt speeds vary, so one may move much more quickly or slowly than the others. Once a letter has passed by the Availability Line -- a white line marked on each belt that may vary in how high or low it is placed -- it may be placed into a box.

Boxes are initially placed on the right of the screen in three stacks of three (again, in orange, green and purple). When a letter appears at the top of a belt, a box of the same color must be made available to place the letter in. This is done by clicking on the appropriate colored box at the right, which will move it automatically to one of five spaces below the belts. Each box can only hold one of each letter; once it is filled with one of each, it will disappear. A new box should -only- be selected if necessary; if an orange A appears, for example, when there is already an orange box at the bottom with space for an A, you should not try to add a new one (as it not let you do so and will deduct from your score). A box should be added as soon as you notice the need for it, as the score is partially based upon how quickly this is done.

Letters must always be placed into the box that is closest to being full. For example, if a green A appears and two green boxes are available, one with B-C-D already filled and one with only D filled, the A should go into the first box. Letters may only be placed after passing the availability line (they will flash to indicate that they can be moved). Clicking on a letter is sufficient to move it; dragging is unnecessary (and won't work anyway).

When the box supply on the right of the screen is down to one box, new ones must be ordered by clicking a button marked Order Boxes. Failing to do so and selecting the last box available is a score deduction (although the computer will order new ones for you automatically).

Occasionally, a letter other than A through D will appear on a belt. When this happens, you must click a button marked Quality Control on the left, which will remove the offending letter. This must be done before the letter reaches the availability line or a deduction will occur.

Sound confusing? It can be, but that's mostly because this is a textual description of a graphical game. The instructions ease you into the test comfortably through several practice rounds, and by the time you move into the scored section, the "game" part of Letter Factory is actually not too difficult to keep up with. Unfortunately, there is not online version to practice with and the Green Book's version is broken, so you'll have to learn as you go along.

What makes Letter Factory difficult, though, are the Situational Awareness questions. At any given point -- usually either about 10 seconds into it or after a minute or so of work -- the screen will go blank and be replaced with four questions based upon the game. These require you to remember what the game looked like previously. Questions vary, but will include things such as "Which belt has the highest availability line?", "Which color box was the last one you selected? ", "Which letter caused you to place the last box?", "How many of letter _ were above the availability lines?" and "If all of the letters on the belts were placed into boxes, which boxes would remain?"

Reflections and Advice on the AT-SAT

The questions are demanding and require you to split your concentration between moving boxes and letters and remembering where everything is. As Letter Factory goes on you'll become more familiar with what questions will be asked, but you'll often find that you'll need to guess at a few questions. Don't allow frustration to make it worse for you -- this section of the test is to see how you'll react when presented with several sources of information under pressure -- keep cool, realize that you'll inevitably miss some of them, and remember what you can.

Letter Factory's scored portion is a long 45 minutes, but is followed by a 45 minute lunch break. Enjoy it -- you're through one of the hardest parts of the AT-SAT and only have a few sections left.

Tips: Take full advantage of the practice rounds to get used to each incremental part that you're being introduced to. Mess up a time or two on purpose if you'd like; that way you'll see how the computer will point it out to you when you drop the ball.

When it comes to remembering the questions, don't try to cram in every single detail -- unless you have a photographic memory, you won't be able to. Take advantage of the times when you're waiting on the letters to move down the belts to take in what you can. Any time that you're not clicking, think to yourself: "What letters are needed to complete this color? What about this one? Which availability line is highest?"

The questions will either come very early on -- after about ten to fifteen seconds -- or after a minute or more into it. When the belts are -very- full, with several letters coming at once, you won't see any questions, so focus on having everything set up properly instead of memorizing the situation at these moments.

Finally, get into the habit of ordering boxes as soon as you're down to one. If you're going for a box and see two left, make it a one-two sequence of placing the box and ordering new ones. Don't interrupt it to go after a letter -- you may forget and get a deduction.

Finally, make sure to check sure that a letter is correct before ordering a box for it! Incorrect letters are still colored, so don't be fooled into ordering a box when you don't actually need one.

Compared to the Green Book: I couldn't get the Letter Factory to work at all on one computer. On another, it wasn't worth the effort -- it didn't run very well and differed significantly from the AT-SAT version. Don't bother using it, even for familiarity's sake, as it may get you to expect the AT-SAT version to work in a way that it doesn't.
Written by Rosstafari