Exam Corner

ISSB Test For PMA Long Course and Graduate Course | Pakistan Army

I am writing this post on the basis of my three times experiences with ISSB. I have been through the ISSB test twice for 35th & 36th Graduate Course; once for the Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC) for the Pakistan Army Education Corps.

This writeup will explain all the nitty-gritty of the ISSB test for the PMA Long Course and Graduate Course.

Basically, the ISSB test is the same for both (PMA Long Course & Graduate Course) courses. Even for DSSC, ISSB is usually the same.

Unfortunately, I have been thrice not recommended by ISSB Gujranwala. Anyways, that’s another story.

ISSB Test Experience | Five Days of ISSB

After the submission of your ISSB forms, within 2 months or probably more than two months, you will be called for ISSB through a call letter. You can also check the status of your call on the ISSB website.

Be assured that you are carrying the ISSB call letter and the required documents with you on the reporting day.

In all my attempts, I was asked to be at the ISSB center from 12 PM to 02 PM. But every time the bus actually came to pick us (the candidates) up between 3 – 5 pm.

After your luggage is thoroughly checked, you will be taken to the ISSB center on the bus. Once again, your luggage would be checked there.

In my 3 attempts, only once ISSB had entertained us with tea and biscuits at Mess on arrival before the commencement of the formal proceedings.

1st Day of ISSB Test| The Arrival Day

Well, on the first day, all the candidates will be directed to the ISSB hall after reaching the center. It would mark the beginning of a never-ending procedure of form filling, docs submission, photo-session, etc. On this day, ISSB will also allot you a chest number.

It would be a little tiresome to go through this process given that you have been through a long journey. This whole process usually takes 3 – 4 hours. Then, at Isha, you will be free and be sent to your barrack. Meanwhile, you will also be provided with an evening meal.

That was all about the 1stday. Sleep well and be prepared for the next day.

ISSB 2nd Day | Psychological Tests

On the next day, the ISSB staff will wake you up well before or with the call for Fajar prayer. Here, your day starts now…

You would dress up formally and go to the Mess for breakfast. After that, the candidates will be directed to the ISSB Hall once again for the psychological tests.

The psychological tests will include; Picture Stories, Word Association Tests, Pointer Stories, and Writing about your strengths and weaknesses, among other things.

After this phase, once again you will be through intelligence (verbal, non-verbal, and reasoning questions) that will be easier than the one you had passed in your initial tests.

Well, I am unable to recall the minute details of the tests as it’s all related to my far past.

Around 12 PM, you will be done with your second-day tests and be freed for the rest of the day.

The Third Day of ISSB Test | GTO Day

Once again, you will wake up early morning and start your day with prayer and breakfast. After getting ready, you will again gather at the ISSB Hall.

The Group Testing Officers (GTOs) will arrive at the hall and will call your chest number. After that, they will divide the candidates into groups of 8, 9, or 11 depending upon the total number of candidates. However, in the new groups, your chest number will be different.

GTO tests are broadly categorized into Indoor & Outdoor Tasks.

  • Indoor Tasks

The indoor tasks consist of group discussion, a lecturette session, and group planning.

For group discussion, the GTO will assign a topic and everyone will take part and present the ideas on the topic.

During this task, you must listen to others attentively, speak with patience and corroborate your arguments with some facts.

During the lecturette session, GTO will assign a different topic to each candidate. Each candidate will be given 2 minutes to think about the topic. Then, he will have to speak for 2 minutes on the topic.

In group planning, you will be given some instructions before defining the problem on a map that your group will be asked to plan out.

Remember! Listen to the instructions carefully and follow them during the Group Planning session.

For example, the GTO will instruct you not to touch the glass or don’t cross this line. Make sure you follow them during planning. Usually, candidates do not succeed in making a plan. So, don’t worry about that!

After the completion of the indoor tasks, the outdoor tasks will start.

  • Outdoor Tasks

For outdoor tasks, you must wear a white PT-Kit. Pardon me if I am somehow misleading; but on that day, the outdoor tasks would consist of half and progressive group tasks.

In the half group tasks and progressive group tasks, GTO will assign the group a task of taking a few objects containing a rope, drum, bamboo, planks, etc from the starting line to the finishing line.

For that, you must make a good plan, share it with group fellows, and execute the plan. Listen to the GTO’s instructions carefully and act accordingly.

Remember! During the indoor and outdoor tasks, if need be, call your group fellows by their chest numbers. Avoid calling their names or using words like ‘yar’, ‘abay’, ‘oye’ etc. Also, don’t yell or shout at anyone. Be humble and caring.

During the outdoor tasks, GTO will define some areas as ‘inbound for you and your luggage’, some as ‘inbound not for you but only for your luggage’, and some as ‘out of bound for both’.

‘Inbound for you and luggage’ means you can use the area for yourself as well as your luggage.

‘Inbound for luggage’ only means you can’t touch the areas, but only with the help of your luggage, either by standing on your luggage, etc.

Outbound areas are strictly not allowed.


The inbound areas for you and your luggage will be wholly white in color. Area inbound for only luggage will have patches of red and yellow colors. Outbound areas will be red in color.

Else, the whole ground will be out-of-bound for everyone.

After the outdoor tasks of that day, you will have an interview with the Deputy President in the afternoon.

The deputy president will ask some quick mental math questions, like calculating the percentage, speed, price, etc.

That is all for the third day.

The 4th Day of ISSB Test| Remaining Outdoor tasks, Command Tasks, Individual Obstacles, Interviews

On the 4th day, you will again wear the kits and reach the hall where there will be some instructions communicated to you about the tasks of the day via LCD installed in the hall.

On the day, the remaining outdoor tasks will be carried out. These would include, specifically, command tasks and full group tasks.

During the Command Tasks, everyone in your group will be appointed as a group leader one by one. The GTO will first briefly interview the group leader. Afterward, he will give the candidate some instructions about the task and the area.

It would be the responsibility of the leader to explain the details of the task and the (inbound and outbound) area to the subordinates (his group members).

The team will perform under the leadership of the group leader. Hence, the leadership qualities of the candidate will be judged.

After the group tasks, the next phase would be the ‘Individual Obstacles’. During the individual obstacles, each candidate has to go through 9 obstacles placed in his way within just 3 minutes.

The obstacles include; Boxing Ring, Ditch Crossing, Hanging Bridge, Zig-Zag, Tarzan Swing, Monkey Bridge, Rope Climbing, Tire, and High Jump (I didn’t arrange them in order).

After individual obstacles, there will be a Final Group Task. During this task, you would only communicate in the English language.

After you’re done with all the outdoor tasks, the final phase of the day would be the interviews with the psychologist at around 2 PM.

Hence, the fourth day ends!

The 5th and Final Day of the ISSB Test | The Departure Day

On this day, you will be asked to pack your luggage and be ready for departure. However, on the day, some candidates will be called for a re-interview or any other task.

On this very day, your recommendation/not recommendation letters will also be dispatched from the ISSB center. The letter will reach you in one or two days.


If you still have any queries, you can contact us.

About the author


A versatile human being with a passion for reading and writing - always striving for growth, living in the moment but trying to keep pace with the evolving world.


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