Making a career in the Indian Air Force is a dream harboured by millions of young men and women in the country. To don the blue uniform is a matter of pride and honour for young nationalists. A career in the Air Force literally means that the sky’s the limit! The skies are waiting for you to leave your mark and legacy for posterity. There are opportunities galore in the Indian Air Force and it’s the right time to turn your dream into reality. If you’re thinking of making your way into the country’s prestigious Air Force Training Academy, applying for the AFCAT exam is the perfect way to start.
What is the AFCAT exam?
The acronym stands for the Air Force Common Admission Test. It is a test through which the IAF recruits for various posts in the flying branch as well as the technical and non-technical ground duty branch. Candidates who are selected through AFCAT join the IAF as a commissioned officer. You have the opportunity to join as a Flight Lieutenant in the IAF and be a proud wearer of the IAF insignia.
Understanding the criteria to be eligible for AFCAT
To join the IAF, candidates should fulfil certain eligibility criteria. It is important in order to select the best candidates for our defence forces.
1. Educational Qualification
- Flying Branch: 60% marks in Maths and Physics in Class 12th. In addition, the candidates must have a graduation degree in any subject; or BE or B.Tech degree; or should have passed Sections A and B of the AMIE or the Aeronautical Society of India with a minimum of 60% marks
- Ground Duty Branch (Technical): This branch has two important posts – Electronics Aeronautical Engineer and Mechanical Engineer. The educational criteria to qualify for these posts are similar to those mentioned above. In addition, a candidate applying for the post of Electronics Aeronautical Engineer can also have a degree obtained from the Graduate Membership Examination of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers of India with a minimum of 60% marks in the specified subjects.
- Ground Duty Branch (Non-Technical): There are five major posts in this branch. These are – Administration, Education, Branch for Weapon Systems, Administration and Logistics, Accounts, and Meteorology. All these posts have similar educational requirements. You can read more about these criteria on the IAF website.
2. Gender and Age
- Flying branch: 20-24 years old
- Ground Duty Branch: 20-26 years old
3. Physical Parameters
- Height: For men, the minimum height criteria is 162.5 cm (5’4”); for women, it is 152 cm (5’0”).
- Weight: Weight should be aligned with height as per the BMI.
- Vision: The minimum vision for +/- 3.5 for ground duty. Candidates suffering from colour blindness would be ineligible.
- Fitness: Candidates should be physically fit. Activities like push-ups and running are important to pass the medical test.
4. Mental Fitness
Candidates should be of sound mind to be eligible for AFCAT.
5. Marital Status
Candidates who are under 25 should be unmarried.
Recruitment Process through AFCAT
Candidates have to go through the following stages to clear the AFCAT exam.
- Written Test: The candidates have to sit for an objective test consisting of questions on English, numerical ability, general awareness, and reasoning. The test is of 2 hours duration. Candidates applying for the technical ground duty post would have to take an additional test called the EKT or Engineering Knowledge Test.
- AFSB Interview: The candidates who are able to clear the written test would then get a call letter to appear for an interview conducted by the Air Force Selection Board or the AFSB. In this interview, candidates are screened to identify officer-like qualities and have to go through a series of tests like a picture perception test, intelligence rating test etc.
- Medical Test: Those candidates selected after the AFSB interview have to undergo a medical test in which they have to prove their physical and mental fitness. The medical test criteria is set by the board and is revealed to the candidates at the venue.
- Final Selection: After the above-mentioned stages are complete, the final merit list is prepared. This list is prepared based on the candidate’s score in the AFCAT written test, and his performance in the Interview and Medical Test.
One important thing to note here is the fact that the IAF recruits officers in the flying branch only for a short service commission role. Women are offered an SSC employment contract in all three branches.
How to prepare for AFCAT?
If you think you have what it takes to join the IAF and clear this prestigious exam, you need to prepare accordingly. The preparation should be divided into three stages – for the written test, for the interview, and for the medical test.
- Written Test Preparation: For this stage, you have to practise a lot of tests. Try to improve your speed in numerical tests and reasoning. If your English is weak, read and practise a lot of grammatical exercises and comprehension passages.
- Interview Preparation: The interview preparation needs a different strategy. You should know as much about the organisation i.e. the IAF as possible. You also need to practise writing short stories for the picture perception test and do some confidence-building exercises.
- Physical Preparation: It is important to maintain good physical fitness during the preparation phase. Try to incorporate running and bodyweight exercises in your physical routine. Yoga and pranayama are also beneficial exercises.
For More insights into this exam, you can visit detailed blog on AFCAT Exam.
It’s the dream of several young men and women to join the IAF and clearing the AFCAT could be your stepping stone to an illustrious defence career. Make sure you read about the exam and fulfil all the eligibility criteria. Prepare for the exam earnestly and success will be yours.