AFCAT Selection – Detailed Process, Documents, Eligibility and More

India Air Force (IAF) conducts the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) selection process twice every year. This selection procedure is held for filling the vacancies of Group A Gazetted Officers in Flying Branch and Ground Duty (Technical and Non-Technical) Branches along with NCC Special Entry across India. To get selected in various posts of the Indian Air Force, candidates have to go through four distinct selection stages.

Based on the performance of the written AFCAT test and interview, candidates are selected for a medical test. Finally, a merit list is prepared to highlight the shortlisted candidates for appointment.

Talking about the written test stage, candidates will have to sit for the AFCAT and EKT exam. EKT or Engineering Knowledge Test aims to test the basic knowledge of an engineering graduate applying for technical entry through AFCAT. In case a candidate passes in AFCAT but fails in EKT, he/she will not be considered eligible for the technical branch in the AFSB interview.

In this article, candidates can find all the necessary details regarding the AFCAT selection process including important dates and selection stages.

AFCAT Selection – Important Dates

A majority of important AFCAT dates have been released, and IAF will announce the rest in due time. Candidates will find the important events associated with the AFCAT selection process and their respected dates in the table below:

AFCAT Selection and Exam Schedule 2022 (AFCAT 1)

Exam EventsImportant Dates
Release of short notification1st December 2021
Commencement of Application Form1st December 2021 (From 10 AM)
Dates for submission of online AFCAT applications30th December 2021
AFCAT 2022 Admit Card ReleaseJanuary/February 2022*
AFCAT 2022 Exam12th, 13th, 14th February 2022
AFCAT Result ReleaseMarch 2022*
Course CommencementJanuary 2022*

*Exact dates yet to be released

AFCAT Selection and Exam Schedule 2022 (AFCAT 2)

Exam Events (2022)Important Dates
Release of notificationJune 2022*
Dates for submission of online applicationsJune to July 2022*
AFCAT (2) 2022 Admit Card ReleaseAugust 2022*
AFCAT (2) 2022 ExamAugust 2022*
AFCAT Result ReleaseSeptember 2022*

*Exact dates yet to be released

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AFCAT Selection – Eligibility Criteria

Candidates who wish to apply for AFCAT have to fulfill the predetermined eligibility criteria to register and sit for the exam. 

AFCAT eligibility criteria includes 5 factors: 

  1. Nationality
  2. Age
  3. Marital Status
  4. Physical Standards
  5. Medical standards

NATIONALITY

As per AFCAT eligibility criteria, a candidate should be an Indian citizen (according to the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955). 

AGE

  1. The age limit for the aspiring candidates in Flying Branch through AFCAT and NCC Special Entry should be between 20 and 24 years as of 1st January 2023. This means that the candidate should be born between 2nd January 1999 and 1st January 2003 (both dates inclusive).
  2. There is a relaxation of 2 years (upper age limit) for candidates (Flying Branch through AFCAT and NCC Special Entry) holding a valid and current Pilot License issued by DGCA (India). Candidates should be born between 2nd January 1997 to 1st January 2003 (both dates inclusive).
  3. The age limit for the aspiring candidates in Ground Duty (Technical & Non-Technical) branch should be between 20 and 26 years as of 1st January 2023. This means that the candidate should be born between 2nd January 1997 and 1st January 2003 (both dates inclusive).

Age Criteria as per Marital Status

The marital eligibility criteria for aspiring AFCAT candidates are highlighted below:

Marital StatusAge Criteria
Unmarried Candidates20 -25 Years
Married CandidatesAbove 25 Years
Widows/Widowers/divorceesAbove 25 Years

Educational Qualification

Candidates applying for the AFCAT exam 2021 must have the minimum educational qualification from a recognized university board as indicated in the table below:

AFCAT Educational Qualifications for Different Posts

AFCAT PostEducational Qualification
Flying BranchMinimum 60% aggregate each in Physics & Mathematics in 10+2 

OR 

Minimum 60% aggregate in Section A & B examination of Aeronautical Society of India 

OR

Minimum 60% aggregate in B.Tech/B.E degree or equivalent 

OR

Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers (India) or equivalent.

Ground Duty (Technical) BranchAeronautical Engineer (Mechanical) {AE (M)}Minimum of 50% marks each in Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level besides a minimum of 4 years graduation/integrated post-graduation

degree in Engineering/Technology from recognized University

OR

Minimum 60% aggregate in Section A & B examination of Aeronautical Society of India or Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers (India) in the following disciplines:-

  • (aaa) Aerospace Engineering
  • (aab) Aeronautical Engineering
  • (aac) Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
  • (aad) Mechanical Engineering
  • (aae) Mechanical Engineering and Automation
  • (aaf) Mechanical Engineering (Production)
  • (aag) Mechanical Engineering (Repair and Maintenance)
  • (aah) Mechatronics
  • (aaj) Industrial Engineering
  • (aak) Manufacturing Engineering
  • (aal) Production and Industrial Engineering
  • (aam) Materials Science and Engineering
  • (aan) Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
  • (aao) Aerospace and Applied Mechanics
  • (aap) Automotive Engineering
  • (aaq) Robotics
  • (aar) Nanotechnology
  • (aas) Rubber Technology and Rubber Engineering
Aeronautical Engineer (Mechanical) {AE (L)}Minimum 50% aggregate each in Physics & Mathematics in 10+2 (minimum of 4 years graduation/integrated post-graduation qualification in Engineering/ Technology from recognized University)

OR 

Minimum 60% aggregate in Section A & B examination of Aeronautical Society of India or Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers (India) 

OR 

Graduate membership Examination of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers by actual studies or equivalent in the electronics related disciplines such as:

  • (aaa) Communication Engineering
  • (aab) Computer Engineering/Technology
  • (aac) Computer Engineering & Application
  • (aad) Computer Science and Engineering/Technology
  • (aae) Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • (aaf) Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • (aag) Electrical Engineering
  • (aah) Electronics Engineering/ Technology
  • (aaj) Electronics Science and Engineering
  • (aak) Electronics
  • (aal) Electronics and Communication Engineering
  • (aam) Electronics and Computer Science
  • (aan) Electronics and/or Telecommunication Engineering
  • (aao) Electronics and/or Telecommunication Engineering (Microwave)
  • (aap) Electronics and Computer Engineering
  • (aaq) Electronics Communication and Instrumentation Engineering
  • (aar) Electronics Instrument & Control
  • (aas) Electronics Instrument & Control Engineering
  • (aat) Instrumentation & Control Engineering
  • (aau) Instrument & Control Engineering
  • (aav) Information Technology
  • (aaw) Spacecraft Technology
  • (aax) Engineering Physics
  • (aay) Electric Power and Machinery Engineering
  • (aaz) Infotech Engineering
  • (aba) Cyber Security
NCC Special Entry (Flying Branch)Minimum 60% aggregate each in Physics & Mathematics in 10+2  

OR

Minimum 60% aggregate in 3 years graduation degree in any equivalent NCC Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ certificate acquired on or after 1st January 2017 (mandatory)

OR

Minimum 60% aggregate in Section A & B examination of Aeronautical Society of India or Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers

OR

Minimum 60% aggregate in B.Tech/ B.E or any other equivalent OR Minimum 60% aggregate in Section A & B examination of Aeronautical Society of India

Ground Duty (Non-Technical) BranchesAccountsMinimum 60% aggregate in 3 years B.Com degree or equivalent
Administration and LogisticsMinimum 60% aggregate in Section A & B examination of Aeronautical Society of India

OR 

Minimum 60% aggregate in 3 years graduation degree in any equivalent

Physical Standards

  1. All applicants must be mentally and physically fit.
  2. An exam will be conducted to examine the mental and physical health of the aspiring candidates

HEIGHT AND WEIGHT PARAMETERS

Candidates have to carefully check the minimum and maximum height (acceptable) from the table below.

Physical Requirement for Technical and Ground Duty Branch

PostMinimum Height
Ground Duty (Technical/ Non-technical) BranchWomenMen
157.5 cms.152 cms.

Note – Men and women from Lakshadweep will get a concession of 2 cms. in the minimum acceptable height. Gorkhas belonging to hills of North-Eastern region of India, Kumaon and Garhwal will also get a concession of 5 cms.

Physical Requirement for Flying Branch

PostLeg LengthMinimum HeightSitting HeightThigh Length
Flying BranchMaximum – 120 cms.162.5 cms.Maximum – 96 cms.Maximum – 64 cms.
Minimum – 99 cms.Minimum – 81.6 cms.

Note – No concession is provided for age and region.

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VISUAL PARAMETERS

For Ground Duty (Non-Technical) Branch

Sub BranchMaximum Limits of Refractive ErrorColour VisionVisual Acuity Errors
LogisticsHypermetropia: +3.5 D SphericalCP-IIICorrected visual acuity should be 6/6 in the better eye and 6/18 in the worse eye.

Wearing of Glasses will be compulsory.

Myopia: -3.50 D Spherical
Astigmatism: ± 2.50 D Cylindrical
AdministrationHypermetropia: +3.5 D SphericalCP-IICorrected visual acuity should be 6/6 in each eye
Myopia: -3.5 Spherical
Astigmatism: ± 2.50 D Cylindrical in any meridian
MeteorologyAstigmatism: ± 2.50 D Cylindrical in any meridianCP-IICorrected visual acuity should be 6/6 in the better eye and 6/18 in the worse eye.

Wearing of Glasses will be compulsory.

Myopia: -3.5 D Spherical
Hypermetropia: +3.5 D Spherical
Accounts and EducationHypermetropia: +3.5 D SphericalCP-IIICorrected visual acuity should be 6/6 in the better eye and 6/18 in the worse eye.

Wearing of Glasses will be compulsory.

Myopia: -3.50 D Spherical
Astigmatism: ± 2.50 D Cylindrical

For Ground Duty (Technical) Branch

Maximum Limits of Refractive ErrorColour VisionVisual Acuity Errors
Hypermetropia: +3.5 D SphericalCP-IICorrected visual acuity should be 6/9 in each eye. 

Candidates will have to wear glasses when advised.

Myopia: -3.50 D Spherical
Astigmatism: ± 2.50 D Cylindrical

For Flying Branch

Minimum distant vision 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other correctable to 6/6 only for HypermetropiaColour vision CP-1
Hypermetropia : +2.0 D Spherical
Manifest Myopia: Nil
Retinoscopic Myopia: – 0.5 in any meridian permitted
Astigmatism : +0.75 D Cylindrical (with + 2.0 D Maximum)
Handheld StereoscopeAll of BSV Grades
Cover test for distant and nearLatent divergence/convergence recovery – rapid and complete.
Maddox Rod TestAt 33 cmsEso – 6 prism D
Hyper -1 prism D
1 Hypo -1 prism D
Exo -16 prism D
At 6 metersExo -6 prism D
Eso- 6 prism D
Hyper -1 prism D
Hypo -1 prism D
Convergenceup to 10 cm
Binocular VisionApplicants must have a good binocular vision (fusion and stereopsis with good amplitude and depth).

Note – Candidates wearing spectacles regularly are not eligible for flying branch.

Medical Standards for Flying Branch

The aspiring candidates should not have gone through any operation or injury from the past few years and he must not have any disease. The medical scenarios that can lead to rejection are:

  1. Non-articular rheum Unilateral /bilateralism ( e.g., lesions of the rotator cuff, tennis elbow, recurrent lumbago, etc.).
  2. Loss of cervical lordosis when associated with clinically restricted movements of the cervical spine.
  3. Rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders
  4. Osteoarthrosis, Spondylosis and Degenerative joint disease
  5. Granulomatous Disease of the spine
  6. Compression fracture of vertebra
  7. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) disorders including SLE, Polymyositis, and Vasculitis.
  8. Arthritis / Spondylosis
  9. Ankylosing Spondylitis
  10. Scheuermann’s Disease (Adolescent Kyphosis)
  11. Unilateral/bilateral cervical ribs with demonstrable neurological or circulatory deficit
  12. Spondylolisthesis / Spondylolysis
  13. Any other abnormality as so considered by the specialist

AFCAT Selection Stages 2021

IAF conducts the Specialist Officer recruitment process in 4 important stages:

  1. Online Written Examination (AFCAT and EKT)
  2. AFSB (Air Force Selection Board) Testing
  3. Medical Examinations
  4. Preparing All India Merit List and Final Allotment
  1. Online Examination

AFCAT recruitment is based on both merit and qualification of the candidates. Online exam is the first step of the AFCAT exam selection procedure. 

  1. There are two phases under this online AFCAT selection stage – AFCAT and EKT 
  2. AFCAT examination consists of Objective Type Questions (MCQ)
  3. In case of EKT, the questions asked are also in MCQ format. 
  4. 300 questions are asked in the AFCAT exam. The total time assigned to complete the AFCAT exam is 120 minutes. Regarding EKT, 150 questions are asked in the EKT exam, which candidates have to complete in 45 minutes. Candidates qualifying for this exam will be shortlisted to appear for the AFSB interview.  
  5. Every correct answer will be awarded 3 marks whereas 1 mark will be deducted for negative marking.
  6. Cut off marks for all the categories of candidates will be different.
StagesSections coveredQuestions AskedMaximum MarksTime limit
AFCATGeneral Awareness

Verbal Ability in English

Numerical Ability 

Reasoning and Military Aptitude Test

100 questions300 marks120 minutes
EKTMechanical

Computer Science 

Electrical & Electronics

50 Questions150 marks45 minutes

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  1. AFSB Interview

The Air Force Selection Board is located at Dehradun, Varanasi, Gandhinagar, and Mysuru. AFSB interview round is divided into three stages:

Stage 1 – In this stage, candidates have to go through 2 tests:

  • OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating) 
  • PPDT (Picture Perception and Discussion Test)

Candidates qualifying for the Stage I screening test shall be subjected to eligibility check and document verification for the branches they have applied to.

Stage 2 – It comprises Psychological test, Group Test, and Interview.

  • Group Tests are interactive indoor and outdoor activities that are a combination of mental and physical work.
  • Psychological Tests are written tests that are conducted by a Psychologist.
  • The interview involves a personal conversation with an Interviewing Officer.

Stage 3 – This test is mainly for Flying Branch. The test is known as the CPSS or Computerised Pilot Selection System. This is once in a lifetime test. Those who fail in this test are not eligible for Flying Training at all.

AFCAT Selection – FAQs

How many phases are there in AFCAT selection 2021?

There are 4 phases/stages in AFCAT selection process

  1. Online Written Examination
  2. AFSB Interview
  3. Medical examination
  4. Final Allotment

What are the educational eligibility criteria for various posts under AFCAT selection 2022?

The basic education criteria to register for the AFCAT selection is passing 10+2 with at least 60% marks. Candidates will find the eligibility criteria provided briefly in the article above.

Can final year students apply for the AFCAT exam 2020?

Yes. Final year UG students studying from a recognized university can apply for AFCAT (1) 2021.

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