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If I fail my aptitude testing, when can I reapply?

If you fail your psychometric aptitude testing at an Assessment Day, there is a 6 month stand down period before you can re-apply.

What do I need to take to the aptitude testing?

You're required to bring original copies of the following documents.

  • Photograph ID (if you do not have any, contact your Candidate Engagement Facilitator to discuss your options)
  • Birth certificate
  • Passport (if you have one)
  • Citizenship or proof of Permanent Residency (if held)
  • Driver’s license (if you have one)
  • Record of Achievement, such as NCEA qualifications or tertiary/educational qualifications. A breakdown of credits received is required rather than the certificate to show you have passed
  • NZDF biography form
  • If you are applying for an officer role, you are also required to bring a resume/curriculum vitae.

These will be checked and handed straight back to you. If you don't bring these original documents, it will slow down your application process.

How can I prepare for the aptitude testing?

Between now and the test session:

  • revise your school algebra and trigonometry
  • do word and number puzzles, and simple crosswords
  • practise lots of examples, but don’t use a calculator
  • when practicing, set yourself time limits. 

Immediately before the test session:

  • get plenty of sleep the night before
  • find out exactly where the test venue is and check what time you have to be there
  • give yourself plenty of time to get to the venue.

What does the aptitude testing entail?

The aptitude testing helps us determine your suitability for the trade preferences you selected in your application, and all other NZDF trades.

There are six paper tests for all applicants and an additional two paper tests for air crew applicants. The tests take up to 2.5 hours to complete at your nearest recruiting centre. You will be debriefed on your results at the end of the session.

See here for more detailed information and practice questions.

What level of education do I need to apply?

The minimum entry requirement for the NZDF is at least 10 credits at NCEA Level 1 in both English and Mathematics. However, some trades require a higher level of education. The minimum criteria for each trade can be found on the trade pages on this website.

What are the minimum fitness requirements to join the NZDF?

Navy, Army, and Air Force fitness requirements can be found here.

Please note these are the minimum fitness requirements for each service. If you want your application to be competitive we urge you to strive to perform well beyond these requirements.

What is the minimum age to join the NZDF?

Most careers in the NZDF require you to be 17 years old prior to your recruit course. Some careers in the NZDF have a higher age limit. You can register on this website at any age, but can only submit an application from the age of 16.5.

Can I join the NZDF if I have a criminal record?

The NZDF has a high dependence on trust, reliability, and use of technical equipment and weapons. For this reason, all applicants undergo a police check, and any convictions are assessed on the severity of the offence.

How long does the application process take?

The time between submitting your application and the first day of training typically takes 3 – 18 months. There are a number of reasons why your application may take longer to process. For example:

  • we may require you to undertake further medical testing with a specialist
  • you may take several attempts to pass the aptitude and fitness testing
  • you may miss out on the first intake you are eligible for. Some of our trades have a high number of applications and selection is highly competitive
  • you may have applied for a trade that we only recruit once per year, or once every two years.

These are just some of the reasons why your application may take longer to process. Your Candidate Engagement Facilitator can provide you with more information about your specific circumstances.

If applying from overseas, you will also have to wait for an NZ Residence Class visa.



What if I fail the aptitude testing for my desired trade?

You can attempt the aptitude testing twice only. If you fail one aptitude test, you will have to wait 6 months before sitting the test again (or you will be given the opportunity to progress with trade choices you do meet the criteria for).

This stand-down period gives you time to upskill in your weak areas. After 6 months, you will be invited to re-sit only the tests you previously failed. You don’t have to re-sit the test until you're ready. This second attempt is your final opportunity to pass the test/s.

If you don't pass we will be unable to proceed with your application for your trade preferences. However, you will be given other trade choices you do meet the criteria for. Do not feel in a rush to be re-tested.

What is Force Fit?

Free group physical training sessions in your area become available to you once you apply to join the NZDF. Force Fit sessions are organised once or twice a week by your nearest recruiting office, and are at a convenient time for most working people and students. These sessions are a great way for applicants of every fitness level to prepare for the entry level fitness test and basic training. It also allows you to meet other applicants from your home town that may be on your intake. Contact your Candidate Engagement Facilitator for more information about your local fitness sessions. Additionally, you can download the Force Fit app to get a personal training programme that is designed to prepare you for your entry level fitness test and basic training.

Do I need to provide any medical information with my application?

Yes, you need to provide as much relevant information as you can, so that our Military Doctors can make an informed decision about your medical fitness. In some cases, you may be asked to provide a report from your GP or a specialist. This is at your own cost.

Can I attend church while I am in the NZDF?

Yes. We have Army, Navy, and Air Force Chaplains at every base. Chaplains take an active interest in the welfare of all NZDF personnel, and our chapels cater for all religions. You are able to attend Sunday church services if you wish.

What will my day-to-day life in the NZDF be like?

One of the key things about life in the NZDF is that your job will vary and you will be doing many different things. The NZDF is also passionate about its members maintaining a sustainable work/life balance. Work hours are comparable to a normal 9-5 job. However, during initial training, field exercises, and on operation, you will be expected to work longer hours. NZDF regular force members are entitled to a generous 25 days annual leave per year.

Will joining the NZDF allow me to travel overseas?

Once you've completed your initial training courses, you could find yourself deployed overseas, either on a foreign exchange or on exercise or operation. This sometimes happens very shortly after training. Travel is an exciting part of being a member of the NZDF. Generally, joining the Navy gives you the highest chance of being deployed overseas and experiencing different cultures out of uniform.

What options are available to me for parental leave?

The NZDF is family friendly and offers generous leave policies to support working parents. If you are planning a family you can take parental leave. You may also be eligible to receive a return-to-work incentive payment, which is equivalent to six weeks salary and payable six months after you return from parental leave.

How much do personnel in each Service earn?

As you move through the ranks your salary will rise accordingly.

Army pay and benefit information can be found here.

Navy pay and benefit information can be found here

Air Force pay and benefit information can be found here.

Can I apply if I am not a New Zealand Citizen?

Eligibility requirements, including requirements around citizenship can be found here:

Eligibility requirements

Citizenship and security requirements

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