I got conference out from my first SSB attempt and soon after got recommended in the next.
1. OTA (CDSE entry, June 2016, Bhopal)
2. AFSB (AFCAT entry, July 2016, Dehradun)
My name is Kshitijnoor Singh and I come from a family serving in Defence forces for quite some years now. So that helps to have some qualities in-hand and some experience of interaction with officers and the passion to continue the tradition of family and earn the uniform.
For my first SSB, I had done preparation taking my father’s help.
The crux of first SSB experience is, that I was very nervous, and this nervousness took a toll on my performance. I couldn’t answer simple questions during the interview, nor could freely perform in GTO tasks. And only because I was so worried about the result and the wish to get recommended. I was also super-conscious and this, instead of helping me, spoiled things. I was tensed and kept on worrying that my performance in the last task didn’t go well instead of thinking of performing better in the next.
All this lead to not getting recommended. I went back home with a heavy heart. I felt bad and didn’t want to go for next AFSB which was scheduled soon.
But eventually, I was there at Dehradun Railway station at 0600hrs for reporting. I had made no different preparations this time, and only revised my Self Description paragraphs.
What was different, was that I least cared about getting recommended, I least cared about how I am going to perform, or what others are going to think about me. I only cared about enjoying my stay, have fun, make good friends and give my best in every task.
Day 1: Reporting and Screening
Other candidates were wearing formals and I was in a Polo, tucked inside jeans and converse shoes. I was under the impression that we might be given a chance to change, but nope!
We reached the center and soon proceeded with OIR test. I didn’t worry what clothes I wore, nor got intimidated by others’. OIR was fairly easy, I could complete almost all of them.
During PPDT, the slide shown was easy, a good story was made. For discussion test, I had sworn not to take a back seat and perform all out.
I narrated confidently and made it finish well under a minute. During the discussion, we were divided into two groups, with 5 each. During our half, I gave good points, let others speak and that was it. We reached a consensus. And some other candidate narrated the common story.
I got screened in.
(Remember, neither the clothes mattered, nor narrating the common story for getting screened in. *Myth busted*)
Day 2: PABT and Psychology testing
I was eligible for flying branch and therefore called for PABT early morning with others, psych tests were scheduled for the afternoon. It started with CPSS and then PABT after. We were 34 candidates at the first test, and only 6(including me) could reach till the last drum test. Results were kept for conference day. After lunch, we proceeded for Psych tests. I didn’t do any different, made simple, champak (basic; this works, which I now know because of my best friend) stories. All TAT WAT SRT was spontaneous. No prior preparation, Blank slide included. Only Self-description I had revised beforehand.
It went well.
(I wouldn’t suggest mugging up psych responses before going for ssb. Just prepare Blank slide story n good SD. Let it be simple and spontaneous)
Day 3,4,5: GTO and Interview
For the interview, I hadn’t gone thru’ current affairs, nor I had any solid knowledge about IAF as an organisation. Others were reading newspapers while waiting in the room, learning ranks, commands, mach speed, payloads and I was just talking to my next chest number and laughing my heart out.
I was called for interview around 1300hrs, it went on for about an hour, the IO was very nice and didn’t try to corner me at any question. I didn’t know equivalent ranks of Navy, I didn’t know the location of AFA(this is another funny incident I’d tell later :P), but I played it cool, didn’t lose my confidence and didn’t stop smiling at all. Uhuh, couldn’t afford to get nervous this time. It got over, I was happy to have had a nice interaction session with the officer. Then there was IMA visit scheduled and everyone was in complete awe of it. It is one of the best places one could be. It is holy for us aspirants.
Next day GTO tasks, every task was amazing. We had a nice time. I gave good ideas, didn’t jump to take lead, spoke what I felt during PGT, HGT. Even did make some fouls which maybe went unnoticed by GTO sir (not suggested to do). I spoke for good 3 mins during lecturette. I spoke on a simple topic rather than choosing a high-level one. I spoke confidently, didn’t mumble.
During Command task, only 2 people called me out of 7 total. During my own task, the GTO kept on changing colors and refusing to accept the ideas I gave, decreasing time left. At last, I couldn’t retrieve my last subordinate, and I asked for his idea and implemented that. Individual obstacles weren’t conducted due to rains and rather Snake race was there. We ofcourse finished first and won 😛
(You don’t necessarily have to maintain lead in GTO tasks all the time, be logical, the group needs to complete, not you alone. Be constructive. Enjoy it, there won’t be another day. Getting called by max people for Command tasks means nothing more than that you have gained their trust. It doesn’t affect GTO’s assessment. *Myth busted*)
Later that day our group went out to pacific mall.
Day 6: Conference
I was made to wait outside for about 15 minutes. The runner told that tea break is on, but idk if it was true. I was called in, and it lasted for a minute or so. I was let go. Results were announced at around 1245hrs. We assembled in the hall and DSO said first he’ll announce chest numbers of candidates who have cleared PABT. I couldn’t clear. I was okay with that. Then he said he’ll announce chest number of candidates who have got recommended and gave a few instructions. He announced chest number 33, I was looking around, waiting for someone to stand, but rather the entire hall was looking back at me. I didn’t realise I was it, I was rather happy someone made it and it wasn’t a washout batch. My friend pushed me and said “bhai tera number h. jaa na”(It’s yours chest number. Go now) I finally stood up and went ahead to stand next to DSO. While I got out of my seat, a friend sitting behind said “freshers got fucked” since freshers were till chest number 30 and none of them could make it. I had to control laughing at that. To add to it, he got recommended too 😛
We were told to bring our luggage and documents. We met our friends before they left and promises were made to stay in touch. We finished documentation in about 3 hours. And then left for our places.
Medicals were conducted at AFCME, Delhi. I was declared fit, however, couldn’t make it into final merit list.
-Smile. That was a different thing I did this time, and so was not losing confidence.
-Don’t be nervous.
-Perform well, be logical, rational, honest, truthful, constructive, and approachable for other group members. Don’t stress, just focus on giving best.
-Don’t cram Psych test responses, it will never help.
-Go prepared for Interview, know current affairs, the organisational structure of armed forces, knowledge of your subjects, and alert during interview.
-Be humble, don’t boast, I got screened out in the next attempt.
-Enjoy your stay, this won’t come back. Another SSB might, this day won’t.
-Be nice to others, helpful and don’t have hidden motives.
-Believe in yourself. Believe that you have it in you and you’re the best. If they don’t recommend you, their loss.
Kshitijnoor Singh after getting recommended in AFSB was merit out, but he tried again and got recommended in 33 SSB Bhopal. You can read his 33 SSB experience here.