Motivations for IAS preparation

Recruitment test railway:
Practice tasks, process, online test

I applied to various companies for training as a railway worker in operations service - or, in short, as a train driver. My first selection process was at Deutsche Bahn / DB Fernverkehr.


The application was completely online. I had to answer a few questions and upload my resume and several documents. I then received an invitation link for the online test relatively quickly.

Online test

The online test was carried out by another company. I was able to log in with the link and then had two weeks to complete the entire recruitment test. You could pause the test in between and continue it later, but not repeat any tasks. Since it's been a while, I don't remember exactly the individual tasks, so just a rough overview:

The online test was divided into several thematic blocks. Sometimes it was also about speed. One part contained many personal questions, I had to state to what extent certain statements apply to me. Then there was one Math part with the rule of three, percentage calculation and similar tasks. Fortunately, you can use a calculator. Also Technical issues got it. Then a Reaction test: You had to choose the second largest number from several numbers very quickly. That was pretty difficult. And Text comprehension, so read short texts and answer questions about them. There were always two statements and I had to choose which of the two can be derived from the text or whether both are correct or neither.

job interview

I had passed the online test first. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on being invited to an interview for sure. Because the railway can reject you anyway. I had to wait about two weeks before I finally got a call. I was asked a few questions about the job of a train driver, everything was relatively relaxed. I think they just wanted to see if I was really motivated. After about ten minutes, we made an appointment for the interview.

Before the interview, I was very excited. I got dressed properly and went there very early. Fortunately, I was greeted very friendly, so my nervousness has subsided a little. I was asked questions about my motivation and my résumé so far, and also about what I already know about Deutsche Bahn and the training. The hardest part I found a few questions about technical problems. I've heard that the online test sometimes retests, but I didn't.

Proficiency test IAS

In any case, the interview went well, and so I received an invitation to take an aptitude test at the IAS. Having heard here and there that the IAS exam should be much more difficult than the online test, I was a little worried. Later it turned out that maybe I had given a few thoughts too much. But you shouldn't underestimate the whole thing.

Before the appointment, I had a bit of a cold. I actually thought that I would be fit again by exam day. But since I still had a cold, fortunately my parents persuaded me the evening before to postpone the IAS exam, which then worked out without any problems.

Medical exam

The aptitude test at the IAS began for me with the medical test. I had to give a urine sample and have blood drawn. You will also be sent information beforehand and then have to sign, among other things, that you are allowed to take blood and bring it with you, signed. I also had to do an eye test and a hearing test and an EKG. None of that was a problem for me. Then there was the conversation with the doctor. He talked to me about my health and asked me whether I would take medication, smoke, or have any illnesses. He also listened to me and did balance exercises with me. I had to stand up and keep my balance with my eyes closed and step on the spot and all.

Psychological aptitude test

The psychological test that followed took place mostly on the computer, only the first tasks were on paper. Overall, the test was very long and exhausting. Before that, I had received the tip that the headphones should be turned up very loud, and that helped me a lot. So I was able to block out the noises of the other participants well. It also helps with the dovertest.


First came a memory test. There were several categories with terms on one sheet, for example professions, vehicles, countries, food ... After two minutes to memorize, we then had to answer questions about them.

In the next test, we had to remember symbols that were always assigned in pairs. They were very strange and different from familiar symbols, so it was difficult to memorize them. Then individual symbols were queried and we had to use multiple choice to select which one of the symbols presented was.

Multitasking test

Then came the famous multitasking test that I was really scared of. Logos were drawn on our worksheet. We had to look for them on another sheet of paper with 140 logos and write the respective number on the worksheet. All logos were black and white and quite small and therefore looked very similar. At the same time, we also had to pay attention to a sound recording that read out words and numbers, for example “Boat 306, House 409, Bread 208”. Whenever the word contains an “au”, you have to write the corresponding number on the worksheet.

Reaction test, dovertest

Then it went on on the computer. First came a reaction test with a black circle that keeps turning white. As soon as it turns white, you have to press a button. If you stare at this circle for a long time, it becomes very strange over time.

Then the dovertest: five colors, two pedals and a high and a low tone. Depending on what lights up or what tone sounds, you have to quickly press a certain key / pedal. This is where I really panicked. In any case, the tip to turn the sound up helped me. And in between, when I was completely confused, I just took a short “break”. Then I could get back on normally without lagging behind the whole time and constantly pressing the wrong keys too late.

Then came a test with lots of small white dots spread out on the screen. Again and again new points are added and others disappear. When four points form a square, you have to press a key quickly. In order to be able to see the whole screen, it is best to lean far back. My eyes went very dry because I hardly blinked the whole time. The points get more and more over time, at some point you had no chance to recognize anything.

Logic and self-assessment

Next came a logic test. The logic tasks were structured in a similar way to matrix tasks, you had to add missing elements.

Then you had to assess yourself. I had to state whether different words apply to me or not. Some words are very similar, so be careful not to give contradicting statements.

If you just failed tasks, you can do them again. The psychologist told me to do the test with the white dots again. Of course, I got a lot more excited right away. But first I had a break so that I could return to my seat more relaxed. And after all, not much was missing the first time. In fact, I was able to improve my performance the second time around. I don't know exactly what it was, but somehow I was more attentive and was more able to keep track of the whole screen.

Psychological conversation

When I finished, the psychologist came back and said that this time I had passed, if only just barely. We then went straight to the psychological conversation. She asked me questions similar to the ones that came up in the test: whether I am responsible and enjoy working in a team and so on. She also asked me why I want to be a train driver, whether I know negative aspects of the job, what I have done in my life so far. So it wasn't much different from a normal job interview. The psychologist was very nice and fair. Sometimes she tried to lure me out of the reserve or to challenge me a bit, but she didn't ask really nasty questions. In the end she told me that I would be suitable.

However, of course, the laboratory results from the blood and urine tests still had to come, which takes about a week. I was told that the results would then be sent to DB and that I would get an answer from there. But then it took a lot longer than I expected. When, after two and a half weeks, I still hadn't heard anything, I called to inquire, but was only told that they would get back to me as soon as possible. In fact, a few days later I was accepted for the apprenticeship!