The Air Force Common Admission Test, or AFCAT, is held for non-technical candidates by the Indian Air Force. Generally, the test is conducted in August and February every year to select the Class-I Officers for flying as well as ground duties involving both technical and non-technical skilled professionals.
The exam is conducted online with objective multiple-type questions. The AFCAT written test is conducted in English only. It mainly covers four sections: Numerical Ability and Military Aptitude Test, Reasoning, General Awareness and Verbal Ability.
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The Air Force Common Admission Test is held for two hours which involves a total of 100 questions, and these questions carry a weightage of around 300 marks. If you are a candidate opting for Ground duty, you must appear for the Engineer knowledge test or EKT exam.
As per the Indian Air Force notice, the AFCAT exam dates were from 25th – 27th August 2023. The AFCAT eligibility criteria are strict and must be thoroughly followed for successful admission. IAF holds the right to cancel the candidatures if they do not fulfil the AFCAT selection criteria even after the written exam or AFSB Testing or after verification.
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The basic AFCAT eligibility includes the candidate being an Indian citizen per the Indian Citizenship Act 1955. The following are the essential criteria for this course:
- Age: It needs to be 20 to 24 years old as of 01 July 2024 or at the time of starting the course for the Flying Branch through AFCAT and NCC Special Entry. The upper age limit for candidates with a current Commercial Pilot License issued by DGCA (India) is 26 years. In case of ground duty, 20 to 26 years as on 01 July 2024 is required.
- Marital Status: Candidates under 25 must not be married before or during the course. Widows and divorcees are not eligible and in case one gets married during the course, he will be expelled from the service and might need to refund all the expenses done for him by the government.
- Gender: Men and women.
- Educational Qualifications: The candidate must pass with a minimum of 50% marks each in Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level for the flying branch. He also needs to have passed graduation with a minimum of 60% marks for the three-year degree course (minimum) or BE/B Tech degree course from a recognized University. The candidates who have already cleared Section A & B examination of Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from any reputed and recognized university with a minimum of 60% marks are also eligible. The AFCAT 2023 Eligibility differs for technical and non-technical ground duty positions. For the ground duty technical branch, candidates need to score at least 50% marks each in Maths and Physics at 10+2 level along with a minimum of four years degree graduation in Engineering/ Technology from any recognized university. The candidates from general courses with three-year graduation are eligible for the non-technical ground duty.
- Physical Standards: Proper assessment of fractures or old injuries done and conditions like spine and nerve injuries, craniofacial deformities, keloids, etc. might be unfit for the selection process. A proper, thorough medical checkup is required to be completely eligible for the AFCAT 2023 Selection Criteria. For flying and ground duty branches, a minimum of 152 cm height for males and 148 cm for females.
Also, if the candidate has failed the Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS) or is a suspended flight cadet from flying training at the Air Force Academy, he will not be eligible for the AFCAT Selection Process 2023.
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AFCAT Application Process
The complete AFCAT process is divided into three parts online. First, you need to register and fill out the application form. Upload the required documents and pay the application fee online. Once you have updated all your personal information, you can appear for the written exam.
- Registration Process: The candidates need to register online at https://careerindianairforce.cdac.in or https://afcat.cdac.in and their Aadhaar Card is necessary to register with the Indian Air Force successfully. Once done, you must complete the application form with all required credentials and professional/academic and personal information.
- Application Fee: The AFCAT online application fee is to be paid only after completing the online application as mentioned above. Choose the ‘Make Payment’ step available on the main menu of your application for the payment. The exam fee payment requires no cash or demand draft or cheque. You can pay using the online portals or credit/debit cards. The fees for General, SC, ST, OBC, etc are INR 250/-. It is free for the Special Applicants (NCC).
- Document Upload: Once you have paid, you must provide specific documents like a photograph, signature, educational certificates, identity proof, caste certificate if applicable, and medical records. Ensure to upload these documents maintaining the strict specifications given by the Indian Air Force.
- Selection of Exam Centers: You must also select the exam centre as per your availability for the written test.
Once the process is complete, the candidates can amend their personal and academic information within the application form and save the details for final submission. To check the status of the current AFCAT application form, visit their official website and use your credentials to get the necessary updates.
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AFCAT Selection Procedure
The AFCAT selection process comprises three phases, and each must be successfully cleared to secure the desired position within the departments. The candidates must select from the Flying Branch (Pilot), Ground Duty Non-Technical (Administration, Logistics) and Ground Duty Technical (Electrical, Mechanical) branches.
Generally, the selection procedure will involve an online examination. One must appear for an interview after the online assessment, which the Air Force Selection Board conducts. The interview invitation is only sent to the candidates who have passed the AFCAT exam successfully.
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To appear in this interview, one must submit a thorough medical examination. Following this procedure, the IAF will prepare a merit list for the candidates; therefore, they will be trained at the Air Force Academy.
The AFCAT selection process comprises the
- AFCAT Written Exam: The computer-based exam is divided into four sections, which are Numerical Ability and Reasoning, General Awareness, Verbal Ability in English, and the Military Aptitude Test. It consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, which are worth 300 points. The question paper must be written in English.
- AFSB Interview: The Indian Air Force prepares a list of the selected candidates who have met the AFCAT cutoff marks in the online written test. The ones applying for the NCC Special Entry and Meteorology Branch are called for AFSB testing. Also, another stage of AFSB interview occurs for 4-5 days.
- Medical Test: Candidates need to pass the medical examination, which assesses their physical as well as mental well-being for the applied position.
- Final Merit List: The final merit list is prepared based on the scores obtained in the AFCAT online test, interview, medical exam performance, etc.
AFCAT is undoubtedly one of the most highly competitive exams that require sheer passion, dedication, consistency and hard work to secure your desired position. To prepare for this exam, one must be clear about the AFCAT exam pattern and how to apply for AFCAT 2023. Along with that, it is vital to understand the marking scheme and AFCAT syllabus 2023 to gain success.
From mastering the critical concepts of English to Mathematics, one should be dedicated to securing the highest marks in all the subjects required for the written test. Also, time management will remain a crucial aspect of AFCAT preparation. Schedule your entire journey beforehand while you divide equal attention to all the subjects.
Start by referring to the AFCAT previous year papers to gain insights about the exams and how to get the highest scores. Along with that, keep revising all the concepts and topics that you have already finished previously. Remember that one needs to upgrade their mock test skills along with time management. Stay updated with the current affairs topics. Remember to take good care of your health. You do not want to skip any preparation due to illness.
Overall, remember that it is just a competitive exam that can be mastered with time and practice, which also comes with failures sometimes. So, never lose hope, as you have the skills to score high in the AFCAT exam with a positive attitude and practice.