IAF Selection Process

The Air Force Selection Boards (AFSB) are located at Dehradun, Varanasi and Mysore. Applicant may receive a call letter from anyone of the AFSB’s. Our selection standards are very high and we apply them strictly; we make no apology for that. We are in the business of selecting the next generation of officers and aircrew for a high technology fighting Service, ready to defend India’s national interests. The men and women we select will be given lengthy and expensive training for a very demanding job. As an officer you are responsible not only for sophisticated equipment costing millions of rupees, but also for the well being – may be even lives – of others. Choosing the wrong person could be costly in more ways than one and we cannot take chances.


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It is not our policy to make you nervous, or to catch you out with tricky questions. The Interviews and tests, although formal, are not oppressive, because we need to know you as a person in the time available.Prepare yourself to the best of your ability before you attend the AFSB and, once there, immerse yourself fully into the tests and excises so that  you can be given full credit for the qualities and abilities you possess. Nearly all candidates enjoy their stay at the AFSBs. Whether or not you are selected, you would learn something great about yourself. Reception is organized by AFSB at a given time and date at railway station. you are escorted to the concerned AFSB and shown your accommodation etc. by Air Force representative. All the candidates messes are well furnished and possess excellent entertainment facilities.

Principles of Selection


The medical and educational standards for acceptance into the IAF are laid down objectively and we cannot depart from them. The aptitude tests are scientifically designed to produce numerical results identifying your acceptability for specific branches of the IAF. All the assessors have been specially trained in personnel selection. All these tests are designed to assess the present and potential level of the candidate in the following areas:

  • Utilization of practical intelligence for evolving solution to problems of moderate complexities.
  • Nature and extent of social adaptability in a group, co-operation and sense of responsibility.
  • Effectiveness as a member and as a leader in a group.
  • Dynamic qualities

Officer Like Qualities

Basically the selection procedure aims at assessing the candidates on qualities of Military Leadership i.e. Officer Like Qualities (QLSs). The assessment of each candidate is made independently by three different techniques, but they all focus  on the same OLQs on a ten point rating scale.

Testing Schedule


The testing is conducted in two phases and the schedule is normally for a period of five to six days depending upon the contingencies and will be as follows:


Flying Branch

Technical Branch


Ground Duty Branch

Day 1

Instrumental Battery / Pilot Aptitude Battery test Phase 1

Phase 1

Intelligence Test and Phase 1

Day 2

Phase 1 and Psychological Test

Psychological Test and Interview

Psychological Test & Interview

Day 3 & 4

Group Test and Interview

Group Test and Interview

Group Test and Interview

Day 5

Group Test and Interview



Day 6

Board Conference



Selecting System

The basic aim of selection is to ascertain the suitability of candidates for induction as officer into the defense service and has been evolved over a long period of time. The system evaluates the suitability of candidates by three independent tests i.e. Psychological test, Group tests and personal Interview based on the principle of ‘MANSA, VACHA, KARMANA’ All the techniques assess the same 15 QLQs and grade the candidates on a standard ten point rating scale.

Psychological Technique
In the psychological tests the projective techniques are employed, which is used widely all over for assessment. These are based  on the fact that what a candidate perceives and records on paper, is a projection of his own personility. The various tests which are administered under this technique are, Thematic Apperception Test, Word Association, Test, Situation Reaction Test and Self Description. A qualified psychologist interprets give various responses and a picture of assets and liabilities of a candidate is formed in terms of Officer Like Qualities.

In this technique probing is done into the unconscious aspects of your personality. The psychologist employs various tools in the form of written tests to administer a battery of Personality Tests. These are all “Time Stressed” tests to ensure spontaneity.

Group Testing
Group Testing is an observational technique. It  consists of a number of different group situations in which the candidates have the freedom to choose their own behavioral roles lay down their own priorities for action and engage themselves in collective group activities, interact freely and change their own and other’s behavior. The assessment is made on the basis of overall group effectiveness in relation to ones group and later transformed into similar OLQs as is done in psychological technique.

Basic Series

Group Discussion : The candidates will be seated in their numerical order in a circle and will be asked to choose one of the two given subjects for discussion After the chosen subject has been discussed sufficiently, a fresh subject will be offered to give the silent members more change to participate, or to revive the interest of the group when the first subject has not progressed satisfactorily or to get further data from group based on previous discussion. The total time for this task excluding briefing is about 45 minutes.

Group Planning Exercise : Candidates will be given a saturation on a model. The GTO will explain the model and describe the situation. A copy of the narrative explaining the situation will also be given to each candidate. The candidates will then be given five minutes to read their copy of the narrative. Thereafter copy of the narrative will be withdrawn. Then ten minutes will be given to candidates to work out and record their independent plan on a paper provided for this purpose. After this, the group will be required to discuss the problem and work out a group solution and plan action within a specific time of 20 minutes.

Progressive Group Talk : This consists of four obstacles of progressively increasing difficulty, the last task requiring functional ability of a fairly high order. The total time for this task will be about 45 minutes excluding briefing.

Confirmatory Series

Half Group Task : This task will be conducted after the Basic Series. The group will be divided into two halves. Both the half-groups will be given the same task lasting for a period of about 15 minutes. Half-Group Task will be conducted even if the full group consists of only six candidates.

Notes :

  • No task of the Confirmatory Series will be done before the completion of Basic Series.
  • GTOs are at liberty to conduct the remaining tasks of the Confirmatory Series in any order they like except for lecturette which Preferably be conducted on the first day.

Lecturette: Each candidate will be given a choice of four subjects out of which he will select one. He will be given 03 minutes for preparation and about 03 minutes to speak on the selected subject to the rest of the group.

Individual Obstacles : This task consists of ten obstacles differing in their nature and difficulty levels. Candidates will be briefed together but the task will be administered individually and each candidate will be given 03 minutes to complete the obstacles. No candidate will be allowed to watch the performance of other candidates.

Command Task : Each candidate will be assigned a task and given command over at least two and maximum of any unspecified number of candidates whom he selects as his subordinates. About 15 minutes will be allotted to each candidate to complete this task. The candidates of the group will not be allowed to watch the performance of other candidates of the group. It is to be ensured that the same command task is not assigned to other candidates for the same group.

Final Group Task : This is the last task of the group testing procedure. The maximum time for this will be approximately 40 minutes.

Interview Technique

Yet another observational technique used in current selection procedure is Interview. It consists of establishing an effective two way communication process between the interviewer and the candidate. The interviewing Officer tries to estimate a candidate’s potential for growth mainly through careful probing into the past developmental history and assess the candidate in the OLQs similar to the other two techniques.

The Interview forms a very important part of the selection process. The duration could vary from 30 – 45 minutes. A sound understanding of current events, both national and international cannot be acquired overnight hence on is expected to be in touch with such events on a regular basis. It is important that potential officers should be able to demonstrate an understanding of events that are of current military economic, social and political concern.

Board Conference :

The conference is held on the last and final day. During the conference all the assessors are present and the candidates are called in one by one. This is done basically to take a final look at the candidate before deciding his result. After the conference is over the result is announced. The recommended candidates are held back for a few hours to complete some formalities.

In Nut Shell :

As an IAF officer, you are expected to play many parts. On the purely professional level, you must have the mental and physical aptitudes for the branch you have chosen. Furthermore, you must be capable of showing firmness with consideration for others – leadership is not just ordering people around. You must be able to think on your feet. you will have to stand to stress; it is part of life in any fighting service. If this sounds a demanding list, remember that you are applying for a demanding job. We have high standards and are thought in applying them. We have to, as other people’s life may depend on your leadership skills.

For Details Contact :

Publicity Cell, Air Headquarters,

‘DISHA “Motilal Nehuru Marg, New Delhi – 110011

Phone : 23010231 Extn: 7080

Telefax : 011-23017918

Website :

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