I was in my office last year when I got the message from a friend of mine that AFCAT (Air Force Common Aptitude Test) written results are out and my roll number is showing in the list of candidates who have cleared the written exam. I’d cleared this exam before also but I was never that much excited about the results. I was waiting for the results from many weeks.
Though clearing this exam is easy, I’d cleared it with only marginal difference in all my previous attempts. I was not satisfied scoring just 20-30 marks extra from cut off. I’d never followed any planned approach for my preparation and that was the main reason I was not able to score 200+ marks in AFCAT in previous attempts. But this time I was pretty optimistic that I will fetch good marks. This time I’d planned my preparation strategy and also followed it very strictly. It worked for me.
Here, I will share with you how I prepared for AFCAT and scored 255 out of 300 marks in it. I’m sure this preparation plan will work for you also.
First thing I decided was what I need to study and what I not. Since I’d appeared in this exam before also, I was well aware about the syllabus.
For those who are not much aware about AFCAT, let me give you a short description of it. AFCAT is a written exam conducted by Indian Air Force twice a year for the selection of officers into different branches. This exam is basically divided into two parts: 1) General Part for all the candidates, 2) EKT for those who have opted for engineering branch.
AFCAT syllabus (general) is divided into four sections:
General Awareness – History, Sports, Geography, Environment, Civics, Basic Science, Defence, Art, Culture, Current Affairs, Politics etc.
Verbal Ability in English – Comprehension, Error Detection, Sentence Completion, Synonyms, Antonyms and Testing of Vocabulary.
Numerical Ability – Decimal Fraction, Simplification, Average, Profit & loss, Percentage, Ratio & Proportion and Simple interest.
Reasoning and Military Aptitude Test – Verbal Skills and Spatial Ability.
I decided to discover the key areas where I need to work more. Without practicing it would not have been easy for me to know where exactly I’m lacking. I purchased AFCAT Previous Years Solved Papers and Practice Sets from Amazon to practice more and more number of question papers.
In first 3-4 question papers, I faced some difficulty in solving some questions based on quantitative aptitude and spatial reasoning. I was also not able to answer most of questions on history and some synonyms-antonyms. The book helped me a lot and gave me a clear overview of the questions and my weak concepts.
After that I made a detailed preparation plan. I gave main focus on preparing for vocabulary (antonyms & synonyms), current affairs, reasoning and quantitative aptitude.
How I improved my vocabulary for AFCAT?
I’ve reading newspaper actively from last few years. It has really improved my vocabulary part. However, I still felt there was scope of further improvement. For this I decided to learn 20 new words daily.
As per the suggestion of one of my friends, I ordered Word Power Made Easy book by Norman Lewis. I found this book has been trusted by millions and all the reviews were really positive.
Note: To build your vocabulary, don’t rely only on books. You need to implement your learning in your daily life and that’s on you how you do it.
If you are an active internet user then you can refer vocabulary.com for the same purpose.
I followed my rule of learning 20 new words daily and it really helped me not only in AFCAT, also in my daily life.
How did I prepare for Current Affairs?
It was the most interesting part from the entire AFCAT preparation. As I was already a regular reader of newspaper, it didn’t take much time in revising the current affairs for last six months. When I was done with last 6 months current affairs, I further read major headlines of last 12 months.
As I said before, it is important to know what not to study. I’d analysed previous year question papers from AFCAT Previous Years Solved Papers and Practice Sets and observed that certain categories were never covered in AFCAT e.g banking, core political issues, initiatives taken by state government etc. I refrained from such topics and prepared accordingly.
How I prepared for reasoning part?
To be very honest I didn’t find any relevant book for AFCAT level reasoning as it is quite different from that of other competitive exams. I was already having RS Aggarwal’s Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning book but I didn’t refer that.
Instead, I preferred to go through the AFCAT previous year and practice question papers. I solved the questions multiple times. I feel that reasoning can’t be acquired and learnt. It can only be explored. I might be wrong here but solving question papers was sufficient for me to prepare for AFCAT reasoning part.
How I prepared for Quantitative Aptitude questions for AFCAT?
After analyzing more than 10 different AFCAT question papers sets, I found there is a fixed format of questions based on Quantitative Aptitude. Questions on speed & distance, work & time, ratio & proportion and few more.
I decided to practice more and more questions from these topics. One book that really helped me in this is Quantitative Aptitude for Competitive Examinations by Dr. R.S. Aggarwal. This is really a masterpiece. This is the book because of which I was able to clear many other exams also.
I solved almost all the questions on relevant topics.
AFCAT is not only a test of knowledge, but also of speed. I’d practiced a lot to enhance my speed. This is the reason I was able to attempt all the questions in AFCAT.
It is not only about what you are preparing, it is more about how you are preparing.
Don’t just limit yourself around the cut-offs.
Let’s me know if there is any specific section of AFCAT that keeps on bothering you? I’ll help you in framing the plan.