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Cracking the AFCAT: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) is a gateway to joining the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a commissioned officer in Flying, Ground Duty (Technical), and Ground Duty (Non-Technical) branches. Cracking this exam requires a blend of strategic planning, dedicated study, and physical fitness. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you ace the AFCAT.

Step 1: Understand the Exam Pattern and Syllabus

Exam Pattern:

The AFCAT is a 2-hour online test consisting of 100 questions, each carrying 3 marks. The total marks are 300, with a negative marking of 1 mark for each wrong answer. The sections include:

  1. General Awareness
  2. Verbal Ability in English
  3. Numerical Ability
  4. Reasoning and Military Aptitude Test


General Awareness:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Civics
  • Politics
  • Current Affairs
  • Environment
  • Basic Science
  • Defense-related topics

Verbal Ability in English:

  • Comprehension
  • Error Detection
  • Sentence Completion/Filling in of correct word
  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Vocabulary

Numerical Ability:

  • Decimal and Fraction
  • Simplification
  • Average
  • Percentage
  • Ratio and Proportion
  • Simple Interest
  • Profit and Loss
  • Time and Distance

Reasoning and Military Aptitude:

  • Verbal Skills
  • Spatial Ability

Step 2: Create a Study Plan

A well-structured study plan is crucial. Allocate specific times for each subject and stick to your schedule. Here’s a sample plan:

  • Monday to Friday: Focus on one section each day.
    • Monday: General Awareness
    • Tuesday: Verbal Ability
    • Wednesday: Numerical Ability
    • Thursday: Reasoning
    • Friday: Revision and Practice Tests
  • Saturday and Sunday: Take full-length mock tests to simulate exam conditions and review your performance.

Step 3: Gather Study Materials

Quality study materials can make a significant difference. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Books:
    • For General Awareness: Lucent’s General Knowledge
    • For English: Wren and Martin’s High School English Grammar and Composition
    • For Numerical Ability: RS Aggarwal’s Quantitative Aptitude
    • For Reasoning: RS Aggarwal’s A Modern Approach to Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning
  • Online Resources:
    • Websites offering free quizzes and mock tests
    • YouTube channels for conceptual videos
    • AFCAT-specific apps for practice

Step 4: Practice Regularly

Regular practice is key to success in AFCAT. Here are some tips:

  • Daily Practice: Solve at least 20-30 questions from different sections daily.
  • Mock Tests: Take full-length mock tests every weekend to build stamina and improve time management.
  • Previous Year Papers: Solve previous years’ question papers to understand the exam pattern and frequently asked questions.

Step 5: Improve Time Management

Time management can be a game-changer. During your preparation and while taking mock tests, time yourself strictly. Here’s how:

  • Section-wise Timing: Allocate specific time limits to each section during your practice.
  • Practice Speed Reading: For the Verbal Ability section, practice reading passages quickly while retaining comprehension.
  • Shortcut Techniques: Learn and practice shortcut techniques for numerical problems to save time during the exam.

Step 6: Stay Updated with Current Affairs

Current Affairs form a crucial part of the General Awareness section. Stay updated by:

  • Reading newspapers daily
  • Following credible news websites and apps
  • Watching news summaries and analysis on YouTube

Step 7: Focus on Physical Fitness

If you clear the written exam, you will be called for the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB) interview, which includes physical fitness tests. Ensure you:

  • Exercise Regularly: Include running, push-ups, sit-ups, and other endurance-building exercises in your routine.
  • Eat Healthy: Maintain a balanced diet to stay fit and healthy.
  • Get Adequate Rest: Ensure you get enough sleep and rest, especially as the exam date approaches.

Step 8: Stay Motivated and Confident

Preparation can be daunting, but staying motivated and confident is essential. Surround yourself with positive influences, take breaks when needed, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Cracking the AFCAT requires a mix of strategic planning, dedicated study, and physical fitness. By following this step-by-step guide, you can enhance your preparation and improve your chances of success. Remember, consistency and perseverance are key. Best of luck on your journey to joining the Indian Air Force!

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