My CPSS-PABT Experience at 1 AFSB, Dehradun (What happens in CPSS and PABT – Explained )

Greetings Warriors!

If you have cleared AFCAT or in NDA and are going to appear for the flying branch of the IAF, you are going to face these tests called CPSS-PABT, the results of which will decide whether you are eligible to become an aviator or not.

If you are worried that you don’t know about the tests and there is no time or capital for coaching, don’t worry, we have got you covered! Just be patient and read, and watch the video, you would have nowhere else to go!

In this post, I’ll explain my CPSS PABT Experience at 1 AFSB, Dehradun. It is worthy to note that the test is same at all centers, just the day on which it is conducted may vary. Concerning my results, I cleared both, CPSS and PABT from 1 AFSB, Dehradun.

The best way to read and understand all about these tests is- First of all, you should read this article, it has all you need to know about CPSS and PABT tests, then, there is a Video made by us which will actually ‘animate’ all these tests and make these tests crystal clear to you.

What is CPSS and PABT?

Well, first of all, before actually beginning my experience of CPSS and PABT at 1 AFSB, I would just like to share some facts about the CPSS/PABT for those who don’t know about it.

1. CPSS/PABT stands for Computerised Pilot Selection System/ Pilot Aptitude Battery Test.

2. CPSS/PABT is a test which tests the psycho-motor abilities of an individual, who aspires to be a pilot in the flying arms of the Defence Forces.

3. It is a once in a life time test. That means, if you don’t get selected in it once, then you are not eligible for Military Aviation, throughout your life. And, if you clear it once, then it makes you eligible to fly as a Military Aviator.

4. Candidates, who habitually wear glasses, are not eligible to present themselves for evaluation.

5. This test is common for all the arms of Defence Forces, be it Navy, Army or AirForce. In other terms, you have to appear in CPSS/PABT, if you want to opt a career in Naval Aviation, Army Aviation or indeed the Indian AirForce.

CPSS PABT for Naval AviationCPSS PABT for Army Aviation

6. This test is a brainchild of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He devised this new system while he was scientific adviser to the Prime Minister in 1997.

apj abdul kalam, cpss pabt

7. This test came into being to account for the increasing number of Aircraft accidents, which were attributed to pilot error. This test selects the Candidates as such, who are least likely to make errors in flying.

8. This test aims at selecting the best of the best candidates, who will be able to master the upcoming, high performance fifth generation fighter aircrafts fitted with cutting edge technology. Such aircrafts, only let the best to master it, and this system selects them, the ‘right stuff’, people, who are a Cut Above!

fifth generation fighter aircraft pilot


What is the present state of CPSS/PABT?

You might be wondering that why CPSS is always written with PABT and vice versa.
So, the answer to that question is, these are used together because, as of now, the transition from PABT to CPSS is still in progress. At some AFSBs, it has already been completely been changed to CPSS only, whereas in other centers, both the candidates are subjected to both the tests.
When I appeared for my AFSB at 1 AFSB, I gave both the tests, i.e, CPSS as well as PABT.
The results for these tests are announced together.

CPSS/PABT Experience at 1 AFSB

After we got screened in, we went to our barracks to retire and have some rest. We were told in the briefing, that we would be told about the schedule for our CPSS and PABT tests in the next briefing.
And as said, we were told in the next briefing that our test would be conducted on Pyschology Day, before the psych tests.
Since we all were aspiring aviators, this news spread an enormous grinning smile on our faces out of excitement. We all had seen the pictures of the new system of CPSS on the Internet. We were told by our friends who have been given CPSS recently, that they make us sit in Cockpit like testing apparatus, as you can see in the image below. So, just a single of thought of having a feeling of sitting in the cockpit aroused us all.

cpss pabt experience

The next day, we all dressed up for our testing, bright and charming. After a few instructions in the fall in, we all were taken to the CPSS block. Then, we were divided into groups just for easing the sitting process. While we were doing this, we saw a few uniformed foreign men walking towards the CPSS complex, later on, we got to know ( or assume ), they were from Bhutan army who came for the tests.
First, we had to go through the first part of CPSS test, commonly called the written test. This test is conducted over computer screens and has various sub parts in it.
Then, we entered into the hall, the hall was quite and comfy. It had computers all over. These computers were where, we had to give our INSB or Instrument Battery Test and other tests. We were given ample time to settle down and all the doubts which may have arose in our minds were voluntarily answered in the form of instructions. We were given elaborate instructions, guidelines and briefings about each test. However, if someone still has a doubt, then they may ask so. It is very important to listen to those briefings with sharp concentrated mind, because these instructions give you the basic stuff, which would help you in solving different modules in the test.

Then, after all the instructions, our testing begun.
I must say,that this test is very thorough and elaborate. You will find all kind of questions there. And they are quite easy too. Different types of questions, test your different abilities. Like, visualising ability, imagination power, problem solving ability, aptitude, plane orientation, and what not.
Being patient and consistently concentrated helps a lot here.
It is a time bound test, and time for each module is fixed. So try and maintain your speed too while being accurate with your answers.

I completed my test well in time. After everyone completed their tests, we were asked to leave and wait for the results of part of 1 of CPSS test.
We left the hall. Soon, we were called back to announce the results of the Written. Around 50% of the candidates cleared the test.
Those who cleared the written were taken for Machine Test.
Finally! The moment has come, we would be sitting in the cockpits! Almost like flying the apparatus.
When I entered the room, I was awestruck! Such a beautiful place, looked exactly like an ‘indoor tarmac’ with Sukhois standing all around, just waiting to be flown!
We were divided in a batch of two, exactly half candidates in first batch and the other in second.
I was in the second batch. So, we were asked to wait outside till the Machine tests of Candidates of Batch 1 got over.
We went outside the room. I didn’t wanted to leave, but had to.
After a long long wait, finally our turn came, when we entered the room, some of the candidates were still undergoing their tests. We could see the concentrated faces of theirs and the sounds of them moving the pedals and pressing buttons.
Soon, our briefing started.

What happens in the Machine Test?

We were put to complete ease before the briefing. The Officer there asked us that whether we played computer games, we replied with a Yes. To which he replied, “Very good! You have to play just 10 games here!” And with this he began his briefing. We were given elaborate instructions about each test.
Then we were made to sit in Cockpits ( as we call them! ) and put on our headphones. Adjusted our chairs to our comfort for easy movement of pedals.


->The apparatus looks a lot like a Cockpit. You have to climb up to it via a ladder and get seated comfortably.

->You have to put on the headphones, on which beep sounds will be made. 

->Below, there are pedals, which control the horizontal movement on the screen. That is, you have to press the left pedal to move left and right pedal to move right. 

->Their is a handle in front of you. It has all the controls like fire and other controls, but not all are used in the tests. It controls the vertical movements. That is Up and Down. ( Man! It gives goosebumps to just hold it! )

->There are few buttons on the screen board too which have their functions in different tests.


Before the commencement of tests, one can look into instructions of each test in case he is not clear with the instructions or couldn’t properly hear the instructions during briefing.
The test has a total of 10 ‘Games’ we need to play.
I’ll mention all those which I recall.

The first two tests are the same as that of PABT.

Test 1 – In this test, a red colored small ball keeps on moving over the screen, and there is a box whose movement is controlled by our controls of pedals and handle. Also, there is a distracting beep sound which comes in the headphones, and when you hear this sound, you have to press the buttons on the apparatus. It is quite easy to do.

cpss pabt tests 1


Test 2 – A series of dots will be coming onto the screen, moving downwards. And there is a dot which is controlled by your handle. You just have to use the handle here, no pedals. These dots are making a specific path which you have to superimpose by matching your dot with the dots moving downwards.
The more you stay on path, the more points you get.


drum test at cpss pabt

Note – The remaining 8 tests are not in the order in which they come.

Test 3 – In this test, you are given two bands, one vertical and one horizontal. The red bar keeps on moving on both the bands. The yellow bands are controlled by your controls. The vertical by your handle and the horizontal by your pedals. Both the red bands keep moving simultaneously, you have to match each of them continuously, the more time you manage to overlap them, the more points you get.

test 3 at cpss pabt


Test 4 – In this test, an arrow will be passing in the screen at a constant speed. All you have to do is, judge the speed of the arrow, and press the fire button when you assume it to reach the final line. The judgement part here is that, it’s approach is covered after it travels a specific distance, leaving the candidates to judge it’s travelling speed and fire when it reaches the finish line. The more fires you hit correctly, the more positive points you will get.

test 4 at cpss pabt

Test 5 – In this test two images are shown on the screen. Any one of them will be varying in shape, either getting bigger from smaller or smaller from bigger. All you have to do is just press the button when you assume the moving object to be of exactly the same size as that of the static object.

test 5 at cpss pabt

Test 6 – In this test, you have to tell ‘color or letter’. Your screen will have buttons on it. One by one, words will be shown to you, those words will be the names of colors, like Pink, Blue, Red. And these words will be written in different colors, for example, the word pink will be written in Blue color. That’s how the words will be shown. Now, when a word will be shown to you, it will also be flashed on the screen that what do you have to tell about the word, i.e, the word itself or the color in which the word is written. Look at the image below to understand it better.

test 6 at cpss pabt`


Test 7 – This was the last test in our Machine test series. It could be called ‘matching the smiley’. In this test, you will be given a smiley in the beginning of the test. You have to carefully see it and remember it’s features closely. The smileys are much like the smileys we use while texting. After that, a page full of smileys would be shown, in which there would be different smileys, and also the smiley which was shown to you in the beginning of the test. You have to identify that smiley from those and press the fire button upon those whom you think are exactly the same. This is a tricky game to play because most of the smileys are very slightly different from the smiley shown in the beginning, so carefully observe it.

The remaining three tests are simple too and can’t be explained, but they are quite easy. If anyone of you volunteers to explain them, then you may do so by commenting here.


After CPSS, PABT would be conducted for all, even for those who couldn’t clear the written of CPSS, as well as those who cleared it.

​What happens in PABT?

PABT, could be really called as a sub part of the CPSS. CPSS is the parent, and PABT is the child.
The written part has only plane orientation questions. And as far as machine test is concerned, it has only two games, the same starting two games of the CPSS.

​What happens after both these tests?

Well, nothing happens after these tests. The regular SSB schedule is followed. Since our CPSS/PABT was on our Psych Day, so after our test, we went for our Pysch testing. And continued with our regular testing at the AFSB.
On the conference day, the results of CPSS/PABT are announced before those who get recommended from AFSB.
The Officer came in with the sheet of results and started calling out the names of those candidates who were selected in CPSS/PABT. Fortunately, one chest numbers amongst those was mine!
My joy knew no bounds as soon as he called out my chest number. I had gotten one step closer to my dream of being an aviator.I had a really wonderful experience undergoing this test, especially the machine test!I wish all the aspirants best of luck for their CPSS/PABT. Hope this article helps you in some manner.

Here is the video explaining those machine tests to you all in all great detail and simplicity-

If you have any queries/suggestions/thoughts, you may share them in the comments section, or text us at our facebook page, or you may also drop us a mail at

 ​​Good Luck and Hakuna Matata!

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Administrator and Content Writer at SSB Memes

2 thoughts on “My CPSS-PABT Experience at 1 AFSB, Dehradun (What happens in CPSS and PABT – Explained )

  • July 2, 2017 at 7:39 am

    what happens if one passes in pabt and fails in cpss ???
    is he deemed to be passed??

    • July 2, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      These days, PABT is conducted after the CPSS, so if someone doesn’t pass the written of CPSS, he/she is not allowed to give the PABT. However, if someone passes the Written of CPSS, and doesn’t pass the Machine test, but passes the PABT, so, he is NOT considered passed for the flying branch.


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