“Success is what happens after you have survived all of your disappointments and failures”
Heartfelt gratitude to Millions of Defense Aspirants, grown up in different atmospheres, living in the different parts of the country but having only one dream, “Indian Army”.
Introduction: – Where to start from? I’ve a lot to share. I’m Shashwat Awasthi, born and grown up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. I belong to a middle-class family. My family background is NOT of Army. Perhaps I’ll be the first army officer of my family. My first 5 years of schooling was done in Hindi Medium. Then I switched to English Medium but remained in State Board up to High School. I completed my 12th from CBSE.
I dropped a year for the preparation of Army and JEE after 12th. I got conference out in my first SSB of Indian Navy. But I was more enthusiastic and full of zeal after that experience. I always believed in myself. There is a basic funda in my life that Listen and admire everybody but follow only my inner voice.
I started taking part in debates and speeches from Class 6th onwards.
From Hindi speeches to English Speeches, from debates to MUNs, I participated in almost every extracurricular activity. And I love Football, not Cricket though. The most important thing that I’ve observed about myself is that I’m a versatile guy, one who keeps balance between studies and extracurricular activities.
I’m always interested in International and National Politics. So, I read a lot of articles from different newspapers of different countries. I admire different cultures of different countries. That has always fascinated me. It is truly said that, “There is divine beauty in learning. To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.”
I scored 1st position in Class 10th in my school. I was also School Captain in class 10th. So, I tried to develop every skill I could.
It wasn’t always that good, I’ve seen many failures. And I’m glad that my mother always supported in every failure. She motivated me to try harder. I’ve seen my parents struggling to fulfill our needs. And that fueled me. And I owe my success to my parents.
My story may be little bit long but I’m sure that you’ll benefited from my experience. You all are well aware of present SSB process so my story focuses more on my personal experience of SSB interview. I did not take any coaching. (Yes, No Delhi-No Chandigarh)
(I got recommended from 18 SSB Allahabad for TES entry. I am merit in with AIR 7. I’m medically fit.)
1) Screening: – I practiced verbal and non-verbal tests. So, I did not feel any difficulty in that portion of test. I prepared a story revolving around my central character. Mood was positive. My narration was fantastic. My voice was clear and loud. I grabbed everybody’s attention. Discussion was Machali-Bazar (Fish Market) as always. I put my logical points. I was anyhow able to pursue group members to have a common story. 22 (including me) were screened in out of 300.
My suggestions: – Buy any SSB book. (Be smart enough to judge). Practice verbal and non-verbal sets. And Read all the instruction carefully of PPDT. Your story should convey some message. Narrate your story with confidence. Do not create hustle and bustle in discussion. Put your points gently and do take part in discussion. Silence doesn’t help (Not always).
2) Psychological Tests: – These tests are used to measure intellectual, Cognitive, emotional and behavior functioning. So, you can understand how important these tests are. One must pay special attention to these psychological testing series. What you write on paper defines your personality. See, we all are unique. We behave differently under the same condition and same pressure. SO PLEASE DO NOT COPY AND DO NOT FOLLOW OTHERS (EVEN ME). Following are test conducted under psychological testing series: –
1). Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
2). Word Association Test (WAT)
3). Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
4). Self-Description Test (SDT)
Experience: – We reported to the testing hall. I listened carefully to each and every instruction given to us by the officer. Psychosocial tests started with TAT. Stories were shown to us and we were asked to write stories around the scene. I was ready for that. I closed my eyes and tried to focus. Stories were shown. I started with calligraphy and ended with simple separated words. This happens. If you pay a lot of attention to your hand writing, you might not be able to pay the required attention to what you’re writing. But, Psychology says that even your hand writing speaks of your personality. Officers say that vocabulary and hand writing doesn’t matter. But Write in such a manner that officers can at least read your stuffs. So, I was cleared with my thoughts. My stories were simple. And I tried to avoid negativity. I could feel sweat in my hands, though it was January. I managed to write all the stories. Next test, WAT. I wrote the words and formed the sentences. And Believe me, sometimes it was totally blank in the head. But I tried to maintain the fluency and I was able to form sentences of most of the words.
Then Came SRT. I was pretty confident about my performance this time. I attended around 50 SRTs. And My Reactions to the situations were simple, logical and clear.
At last SDT, I had to write what My parents, teachers, friends think about myself. Actually, I love responsibilities. I was IT Club Secretary in class 8th. I was school vice caption in class 9th and school captain in class 10th. I had a lot to write about myself. I come from a middle-class family so I’m resourceful by nature. I wasn’t a good debater, but I developed this skill. I’ve a younger brother, I spend a portion of my leisure time guiding him. So, this all contributed to Self-Description Tests. And I was able to write genuine about me in the psychological tests.
My Suggestions: – Psychological Tests are used to bring out your true personality. So, these tests are important. I suggest you to practice. Practice and practice a lot. Make a time table and spend time practicing it daily. Write and Practice. Nothing is better than writing. We have to write a lot in psychological tests. Keeping this in mind, the more you practice, better will be the result.
I suggest you to meditate daily. This sharpens your imagination and thinking. Do meditation for 15 minutes daily. Try to recall what you’ve done from morning till noon. This will help you to imagine the situation quickly in SRTs. And believe me, it really does help a lot in psychosocial tests.
Do not learn things. (Ratta Mat Maro) Understand it.
3) Interview: – Everyone got the chance to be interviewed in formals. But I was called for my interview just after my GTO-2 (on Day 4). I washed my face and sat down in the waiting room. I didn’t wait for a long time. I was called by my interviewing officer just after 10 minutes. I took a deep breath and walked inside the office with a mesmerizing smile. I greeted him and he asked me to sit. My interviewing officer was president of the Selection Board. We had a quick introduction. He asked me about my performance in other tests. Then, He asked me about my family, financial situation, my school, my performance in 10th and 12th, my teachers and my hobbies. Seeing my interest in Geo-Politics, we had a conversation about the present world scenario. From Russia’s Interest to Israel’s’ attitude, He asked about the present global situation. Then, He asked about the most recent launch of ISRO and purpose of Indian satellites in the launch. I knew that the launch was conducted at the time I reported to SSB Centre. I told him the same. But He again asked me the purpose of the India’s Satellite. I thought for a while and told him that the purpose was either land navigation or communication, seeing the past record of Indian satellites. “Land Navigation” was the right answer and he quickly briefed me about the launch in 30 seconds. He asked me about my JEE preparation. And then the new phase of interview started. He asked me about my favorite subject. My answer was Physics. He asked me set of questions related to physics and further conversation went as follow:
Interviewer: – What happens to the mass of the object when speed of it reaches the speed of light?
Me: – Mass becomes infinite. (Told the formula of inertial and non-inertial mass)
Interviewer: – What is refraction? What is the cause of refraction?
Me: – (Told him about refraction) I would consider light as a wave to answer this question (as light possess dual behavior). Because of the change in wavelength and the speed of light wave, the refraction occurs.
Interviewer: – How can you say that Light possess particle like behavior too?
Me: – By Photoelectric Effect. The time lag between the incidence of radiation and the emission of a photoelectron is very small, less than 10−9 second. If it behaves like wave here, it would take several hours. Every electron absorbs one photon, then it is emitted out if the incident light has equal to or more frequency than Threshold frequency.
And it continued. Overall, I really enjoyed my interview. And I believe that the officer was satisfied. I was able to answer almost every question he asked.
My suggestions: – Your body language speaks a lot of you. Sit straight. Listen carefully to what officer asks. You’ll surely face Rapid fire questions. So, prepare well. You must have some hubbies. Music to Novels, anything. If you don’t have any hobby, develop at least two hobbies. Spend some productive time learning new things. Read in your leisure time. And Improve your communication skills. You should know how to express your thoughts and inner feelings.
4) GTO (Group Testing Officer’s Tasks): – GTO is really important. So, you need to pay attention towards it. Usually, it is conducted on 3rd and 4th day of SSB interviews. And the different tasks in GTO are:
1) Group Discussion
2) Group Planning
3) Progressive Group Task
4) Group obstacle Race (Snake Race)
5) Half Group Task
7) Individual Obstacles
8) Command Task
9) Final Group Task
I was suffering from High Fever and cold during my SSB interview. I usually used to take paracetamol in the night and perform tasks in the day. By the God’s grace, my throat was all right. I actively participated in the group discussion and group planning. I usually prefer defending the motion. But Remember, it’s not a debate. So, I put my points confidently in the discussion. And We really had a fruitful discussion on both topics. Though in Group Planning Exercise, my solution didn’t match and I had totally different views from others. Everybody agreed to a solution. I announced in front of everybody that I do not agree to thesolution. I briefed them about the mistakes they made. But Nobody listened.But I extended my support to the solution to save time and further confusion.
Then We had PGT, Snake Race and HGT. I participated in it with full energy. And We were able to finish most of the tasks given to us. Snake Race was fun as always. We shouted our war cries and it felt as if we were going to call Gods from the seventh heaven. We won the race but someone broke the rules. We shouted from 1 to 10 and one of us (Me) was asked to repeat a task as a punishment.
I got the topic, “Article 370” in Lecturette. I took my all time. I love history. And I love politics. And It was both, political and historical topic. I spoke my heart out. From Jinnah to Churchill, from instruments of accession to GST and Demonetization, I cleared the picture of Article 370 in everybody’s mind in the given time. I felt that I was able to grab the attention of everyone. So, I felt pretty good after delivering the speech. I paid attention to all the speeches. Everybody spokes well.
But the real game was not started yet. Officer announced that We were going to have Individuals Obstacles on the same day. I was suffering from Fever. I was totally exhausted. AND I was the least chest Number in our group, I had to perform first. I listened to every instruction. I closed my eyes and said to myself, “Abhi nhi to kabhi nhi”. I put my whole energy into it. And I was satisfied with performance at last. Most of the people were exceptionally excellent.
Next day, we had our command task and Final Group Task. It was pretty well performed by me. The command task was very difficult. Officer was trying to create more obstacles by saying Gentleman, think that the blue pole doesn’t exist and now continue. As the result, I was able to complete only half of my command task. (Only one of my group members called me as subordinate)
My Suggestion: – Have command over the language. Practice speaking English in front the mirror. Start reading books. Have knowledge about everything. Keep yourself up to date. Do not mix your thoughts. Keep your body in shape. Read about every instruction of every task before only. Pay Attention to what Officer says. Do not break rules. Remember It’s not a competition.
5) Conference: – Fifth and the final day, we all were excited. The one of best things about SSB is that you get to know many people and you develop a strange bond. We reported to the testing Hall. We waited for the further instructions. Then, everyone faced the conference. One by one, everybody was called for the conference. I got a chance to see my all officers together first and the last time. I was asked about my experience and my suggestions. They asked me about the things I learned here. It didn’t take long. Just 2-3 minutes. After the process was done, we all were made to sit in conference hall and we waited for further instructions. Then, Vice-President of SSB Allahabad came. He told us to take our results positively. He discussed about the OLQs. The most awaited moment came. Result was going to be announced. He started calling out chest Numbers whose who were recommended. He called out my chest no. Everybody looked at me. Believe me guys, it felt like time had surrendered in front of me. I felt the blood through my veins flowing top to bottom and vice-versa. My whole world stopped for a while. I lived that moment. The smiling face of my mother flashed in front of me. My voice crumbled. I shouted my name, DOB and Roll No. Each step I took towards the officer, I felt that I was leaving behind the bias and fake world which I never was a part of. My unconsciousness broke when officer announced, “That’s all”. He turned to me and shook hands.
Tears in my eyes-I couldn’t stop
I was medically fit and I got All India Rank 7. I’m going to join academy next month.
“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.”
My Suggestion: – Do not panic. Take deep breaths. You may face some SRTs in the conference. So, Get yourself ready for that situation. If you’re a doubt case then your conference may be extended to even 30 minutes.