Initial Tests and ISSB Test for Officers’ induction in the Pakistan Army
Before I start writing on the specific topic, it is necessary to mention here that I have been thrice through the Pakistan Army selection tests or recruitment process. Unfortunately, I got thrice not recommended from the ISSB test.
Thus, based on my three times first-hand experiences, I will try to write in detail about everything related to the Pakistan Army’s initial tests for officers and the entire process of the Inter-Services Selection Board (ISSB) tests. This write-up will considerably help you in your preparation for the initial and ISSB tests.
All your questions and queries will be answered in this write-up. In case, you are left with some doubt, feel free to contact me.
If you want to become an officer in the Pakistan Army, you must keep yourself up-to-date regarding the opening of registrations for PMA Long Courses, or Graduate Courses. For that, keep visiting www.joinpakarmy.gov.pk.
Difference between PMA Long Course and Graduate Course
Here, keep in mind that usually, the entire selection process for the PMA Long Course and the Graduate Course is the same. The only difference in both cases is in eligibility criteria. For the long course, you need to have at least 1st division in intermediate saving for some relaxations in special cases mentioned in detail on the above-mentioned website. While for the PMA Graduate Course, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in the first division. There is also a difference in age limits. Everything is mentioned on their website, so better we just stick to the topic.
Another main difference is of the training period in Pakistan Military Academy Kakul. Cadets from Long Course undergo rigorous training of two years while the graduate course cadets get training for one year only.
Pakistan Army Initial Test for PMA Long Course or Graduate Course
Basically, the initial tests are divided into three phases.
- 1) Online Tests
- 2) Physical | Medical Tests
- 3) Interview
After you register yourself for a long course or graduate course, you will be called for an initial test at any of the Army Selection and Recruitment Centers of your own choice.
You will be asked to bring the academic mark sheets/ DMCs and Degrees/Certificates along with you without whom you won’t be allowed to sit for the exam.
All your documents would be stamped by the staff before the start of the online test. After getting your documents stamped, you will have to deposit a nominal registration fee at the center.
Done with these stages, now you will be called for online tests.
Three Phases of the Online test
The online test is comprised of three phases i.e. verbal, non-verbal & academic.
Verbal and non-verbal tests basically fall under the category of intelligence tests. The tests would be MCQ-based and you will be asked to tick the suitable option among others based on your analytical abilities and intelligence. There will be around 96 questions in each category of the intelligence test. The passing criteria are so relaxed that even an average person like me can clear that easily in consecutive three attempts without prior preparation.
After you are done with the intelligence portion, you will be left with the last stage of online tests, i.e. academic test. In the academic phase, there will be 50 questions in total and passing criteria is again so relaxed that I guess (based on personal experience), but without any solid evidence or resource, if you somehow manage to answer 25 out of 50 questions correctly, he will clear the exam.
The academic test consists of basic English Grammar, General Knowledge, General Science, and Islamiat.
Once you are done with all three phases of the online test, you will click finish and, BOOM! Your result will be on your computer screen without any delay.
The failed candidates will be bidden farewell, while the successful candidates will get their slips stamped and will be called for the ‘physical and medical examination’ early morning, the very next day.
The next day, in the early hours, your physical exam will begin. In the first phase, you will be asked to complete a 1.6 km long run in just around 7 minutes.
All the candidates will be arranged in groups and with a whistle, you will start running.
You must be physically fit for this exam. Training is the key!
The only quick tip I can provide is to run at a moderate pace. You must neither walk nor run fast. If you stopped somewhere in between the track, you won’t be again able to muster strength and energy to run again. So just keep running at your own moderate pace. Don’t compete with others. Reserve some energy to make a shoot in the end if you are left with a small amount of time.
If you successfully completed the circle in time, then your next phase would be 12 push-ups and 15 sit-ups along with 3 chin-ups and ditch crossing. The failed candidates in any of the physical test phases will be given some time to train themselves and appear again.
Once you are done with the physical phase, the next phase will be the ‘medical exam’. In this phase, your height, weight, and chest size will be measured. Your eyesight will be tested. Knee-knocking and flat-foot issues will be checked.
On a lighter note, at one point during the medical examination, you will be asked to stand fully naked in front of the medical staff. I have no idea what they look for by doing this :p
In case, any sort of medical issue is found, you will be referred to the MH or CMH for clearance.
The under-chest, under-weight, or over-weight cases will be given time to improve and reappear.
Once you’re done with all the phases of the medical examination, you will be given a form to fill and submit for the next-day interview. Remember, whatever you will mention in the interview form, most probably you will be asked in the interview. So better remember all the inputs you provide in the form.
The Interview | The Final Phase of Initial Tests
For the interview, you must wear a formal and neat dress. Your shoes must be well-polished. Get a haircut and become a gentleman before you appear for an interview.
It is a myth that they test your knowledge in the interview. The only thing that is checked in the interview is your confidence and overall personality. Stay confident and cool even if you are unable to answer even a single question. Don’t lie or bluff.
The successful candidates will be given ISSB forms. Hence, your initial test phase ends here!
INTER SERVICES SELECTION BOARD – EXAM | ISSB Phases and Stages | The Entire ISSB Test Procedure Explained
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 – www.issb.com.pk.
Be assured that you are carrying the ISSB call letter and the required documents with you.
In all my attempts, I was asked to be at the ISSB center at 12 PM-2 PM, but every time the bus actually came to pick us (the candidates) up at 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 we were entertained 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, everyone will be directed to ISSB hall, where a never-ending procedure of form filling, docs submission, photo-session, etc will commence. You will be allotted a chest number too. It would be a little tiresome to go through this process given that you have been through a long journey. The 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…
Dress up formally and you will be given breakfast. After that, everyone will be directed to the ISSB Hall once again where their psychological tests will be taken.
The psychological tests will include; Picture Stories, Word Association Tests, Pointer Stories, Writing about your strengths and weaknesses, etc. After this phase, once again you will be through intelligence (verbal, non-verbal, and reasoning questions) that will be easier than the one you have 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 | GTO Day
Once again, you will wake up early morning and start your day with prayer and breakfast. After getting ready, you will again be directed to ISSB Hall. The Group Testing Officers (GTO) will arrive at the hall and will call your chest number and you will be divided 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.
In GTO tests, the first phase will be of the indoor tasks consisting of group discussion, lecturette sessions, and group planning.
For group discussion, your group will be given a topic to discuss and everyone will have to take turns and present the ideas on the topic. Listen to others patiently, and speak with patience and corroborate your arguments with some facts.
During the lecturette session, everyone will be assigned a different topic and will be sent out of the room with given 2 minutes to think about the topic. You 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. For example, you will be asked not to touch the glass or don’t cross this line. Make sure you follow them during planning. Usually, no successful plan is made during this task. Don’t worry!
After the completion of the indoor tasks, the outdoor tasks will start.
For outdoor tasks, you must wear a white PT-Kit. Pardon me if I am forgetting but on that day, the outdoor tasks would consist of half and progressive group tasks.
In the half group tasks and progressive group tasks, your group will be assigned a task of taking few objects containing a rope, drum, bamboo, planks, etc from the starting line to the finishing line. Make a good plan, share 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 you need to, call your group fellows by their chest numbers. Avoid calling their names or using words like ‘yar’, ‘abay’, ‘oye’ etc. 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 both can touch and connect to the area.
‘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 to be touched or used.
The inbound areas for you and your luggage will be wholly white in color. Inbound only for luggage will have the patches of the red and yellow colors. Outbound areas will be throughout red in color.
Else, the whole ground will be out of bound for everyone.
After the outdoor tasks of that day, there will be 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 that would include specifically command tasks and full group tasks.
During the command tasks, everyone in your group will be made a group leader one by one. The GTO will first briefly interview the group leader and then will give him the instructions about the task and the area.
It would be the responsibility of the leader to explain the details about 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 and 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 in which the language permitted for communication would only be English.
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 ISSB Tests | 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.
THAT’S ALL ABOUT THE PAKISTAN ARMY INITIAL AND ISSB Test.
If you still have any queries, you can contact me via the contact form.