Mangesh Recommended for IMA Army

Dear all,I am MANGESH. I would like to share my experience at SSB. I am not someone great or extra-ordinary to guide but a very simple person with only aim in my mind: “TO JOIN THE ARMY”. Before I tell my experience at SSB, it is important to tell few things about my history. I was a hero back in my school days involved in many activities and was always decent scorer. However, due to some reasons, me and my family shifted to Pune and I failed in 12th. Next time I passed with mere 58% but secured admission to engineering by cracking entrance test. I completed my engineering with first class and currently working with a company. I gave SSB 3 times, out of which, first time I was conference out, second time screened out and third time recommended. The reason for telling my history was that my failure in 12th had a very deep feeling of guilt inside me, this guilt always showed up. Same thing had happened for my first time at SSB. The feeling of guilt drained all the confidence inside me and as a result I was not recommended twice.

Recommended candidate ssb

However, next time I decided to prepare myself as much as I can. I contacted various people who either had an experience of SSB or who were recommended or ex-army personal. I found out the website SSBCrack and thereby had a contact with Krishna Nair and Anup Unnikrishnan who forwarded me their e-book “My Appointment with a Psychologist”.All these sources made me realize that past is past so there is no need to whine about it. What is important is to look at the positive side. I overcame my failure by doing my engineering and that was important. I made use of everybody’s guidance and followed their instructions keenly. I exercised daily. I ran 2.5 kms daily without fail. Apart from this, I extensively employed the principal of “THE SECRET”. It is a book written by Rhonda Byrne. It’s videos are also available on YouTube. Do watch it, as soon as you can.

All of my efforts showed up at SSB,  few key points to remember always are;Be yourself. Believe yourself. You are a gem and even others are! You have it in you.”              

Before going for any test at ssb tell yourself “THERE IS NO COMPETITION AT SSB”. Listen to your INNER VOICE, everyone has one. Practice writing your PIQ.Hence forth whatever I would tell about facing SSB is nothing but repetition of the instructions given to me by my sources.

Day 1: Screening

Make sure you are calm. Take few deep breaths and tell tour self “aaall is well”.

Give the test honestly and don’t worry if you solve less or more. Officers need not have an IQ that of a scientist.

Day 1: PPDT

Writing a story on a picture is not difficult. What is important here is that you must believe 100% in your story. What happens is that after writing the story, when candidates discuss their story, it is found that everyone has a different and beautiful story. It is quite possible that even before group discussion, you might get inclined to someone’s story thereby loosing confidence in your own. Mind well, never put yourself down.

Before entering the group discussion, calm down. Remind yourself there is no competition.

Friends, have you ever thought that when we sit at a tea stall or a coffee shop and talk/chat with friends what we actually do is group discussion!! How is our attitude at that time? Do we feel rage if someone is wrong? Are we irritated if someone teases us or doesn’t accept our ideas? In fact, do we bother if our views are taken into much consideration or not? NO, NOT AT ALL!! . Same should be the attitude during any group discussion in SSB.  Now imagine if you are suddenly told that while you will be discussing on some topic with your friends, one anonymous person would asses you and give a prize to best speaker. What happens? Suddenly our brain tells us “I want to win the prize” and then we act like rowdies, fighting with our own friends. This is what happens in PPDT, the prize is getting screened in. What we should tell our self is that all of us will get the prize of best speaker. And this is what the army wants “all together”.

So once PPDT starts, tell your story nicely. Show that you believe in your story. And during discussion, be nice. Be honest when you say “ my friends….. ” the feeling of friendship should reflect in your voice/body language. Just because you want to get screened in don’t unnecessarily place the same point again and again. If you wish to convince your group, convince the way you would convince your girlfriend/boyfriend. Don’t bother if others are making a mess.  Do your job. Assessors are there to take care of it.

If you behave like this, I promise that results will be favorable.

Day 2: Psychology tests

Friends, my advice would be to read Krishna and Anup book “My Appointment with a Psychologist”. Psychology is something that is developed over many years. It is important that you find and remove any type of wrong/negative thinking. It is important that your PIQ must match your psych test.


       TAT:Your stories must match your PIQ.

Three steps to build a story are:

1.       Imagine that the picture shown is a frame of a filmstrip.

2.       Plot the theme

3.       Write what happened before and after that moment.

For eg: I do kayaking. There was a picture with a man in a boat in a river and other man holding something in his hand and his expression was tensed.

I wrote a story describing my kayaking experience. Once I was stuck in middle of the river due to a big rock that rubbed my boat’s hull and I rescued it.

It is important to plan the story before you write it. Let it take 30-40 seconds to plan. Don’t rush to write the story as soon as you see the picture.

·         WAT:

Make short, factual and if possible, informative sentence.

Eg: C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S

Now this was a big word. So I just wrote VISHWANATHAN ANAND.

·         SRT:

As we all know it is important to write the entire reaction. Also remember that we do face many situations everyday and we solve them easily. It is not necessary that every time the solution should be out of the box and very heroic/ fantasy. It must be real. It is necessary that you feel the situation. You should imagine that it is really happening to you and then automatically the solution will pop up.


While going the college, he saw 5 men harassing a girl . He…..

Now in this case, it is possible that someone would write:

He fought with 5 men and rescued the girl.

Friends, won’t it be foolish that one man would fight with 5 men? This is too impractical. Filmy.

Logical solution would be:

He intervened, referred the girl as his sister and took her away from the scene, filed an FIR against those men and went to college.

 Self Description:

Practice writing SD. Find out what actually your family/friends/teachers think about you. Then you will feel the confidence of writing it. Never boost wrong things about yourself.

Day3: Interview

Most important is your PIQ. Your interviewer is interested in you and not how much knowledge you have. So if you know everything about yourself, you need not worry about anything.

The best method of feeling satisfied after giving the interview is to assume that not an army officer but a person who knows you well and you are not afraid to talk to is taking your interview (may be your father/ uncle/ friend’s father/ teacher/). Friends, believe me, it works very well. In fact if you are successful in assuming this, then you don’t fumble while speaking and neither you feel the guilt of telling your mistakes/loop holes.

Before giving the interview tell yourself a billion times “my interview is going to be the best”.

Be happy. Interviewer is not going to make you feel worse about your mistakes and neither is he going to punish you for that. So own your mistakes gracefully. Even if tries to make you feel uncomfortable, it is just to test you.

GTO Tests:

Only one thing to remember in GTO tests is :


It might sound surprising, but it is true. Believe me friends, there is no such fun as the GTO tests.

And you will enjoy them only when you fix it in your mind that “THERE IS NOOOOOOOOOOOOO…………………………………………………………………………………………… COMPETITION”.


I will highlight few important points for GTO tests:

Just give your ideas without bothering if the group is accepting them or not. It doesn’t matter if you speak first or not. What matters is new and relevant ideas. Once you put up an idea, calm down instead of stressing on the same point. If you wish to speak again, speak only if you have a new idea. Friends it is group discussion and not a debate so no need to cross or prove anyone right or wrong.

Same principle applies here, NO DEBATE. Put your idea and leave the rest to the group. Do not insist the group to accept your plan. People often think that if my plan is implemented, the GTO gives me more marks. It not at all like that. In fact everybody should co-operate to make the best plan out of everyone’s plan.

In case of my group, the GTO was puzzled to see the group spirit. There was not a single argument and no one crossed anyone. We all talked nicely and the atmosphere was very healthy. This was because no one competed.

Snake race: Enjoy the race. Help the group to move ahead and not only yourself. Don’t get angry on anyone if he/she is slow or making mistakes or unable to cross an obstacle. Instead cheer/ assist that poor fellow.

Progressive group task/ Half group task.

It is necessary to understand here again that “THERE IS NO COMPETITION”. The same things as in case of GD apply here. If you have an idea, move ahead and implement it. If you don’t have one, help the group to move ahead. Remove the thought that if I move ahead (even if I don’t know what to do) and try to cross the obstacle, the GTO would give me more marks. It is not at all like that. In fact you become an obstacle yourself. So give chance to those who have ideas. Being aggressive and authoritative will not help. Always remember that you are with your brothers. Do we scold/ shout on our brothers if they are unable to do some work? No, instead we help them to do it.

Individual task: 
Friends remember that it is not important HOW MANY obstacles you do, but HOW YOU DO them is. There is no doubt that daily exercise, especially running, will help in all the GTO’s. Don’t feel sad if you are unable to do some obstacle. Move ahead and go for the next. Plan your approach meticulously.

Command task: Be calm. Every obstacle is so simple that any person with average IQ can do it. But the catch is that it is possible only if your mind is at peace. Forget the existence of GTO. Don’t bother about what the GTO says. Breath. And the solution will lie right in front of you.

Also, remove the misconception that if I am called many times by others to assist them, I will stand a better chance or if I am called by less people I don’t have a chance or if I am given comparatively difficult task to do I will score more. Every task has equal importance. Command task is meant mainly to asses an individual and not his sub-ordinates.

Lecturatte: Prepare as many general topics as you can. This would give you confidence. Practice speaking in front of the mirror or with your friends. Since the topic is random, if you are unable to select a topic, tell the GTO honestly and he might ask you to talk on any topic you want. But it is advised to prepare for a few topics.

Friends I would like to mention a few examples here:

A candidate, who wrote nothing in his games/sports column, nothing in his hobbies and nothing in his extra-curricular activities and whose interview was only for 15 mins was recommended. This happened because he believed in himself and accepted himself the way he is. He didn’t feel bad or guilty of himself. He didn’t lie and he didn’t show off. He had explanation for everything.

A candidate who was recommended by the same board just 15 days back was not recommended the next time. This was because he went too casual and over-confident.

A candidate who appeared 13 times for different SSB was recommended for the 14th time. This was because 13 times he went for SSB without preparing/correcting himself. 14th time he gave himself time and prepared himself and rectified his mistakes. This example stresses the need of introspection.

Also Check : My Appointment With A Psychologist

Author: Mangesh S Joshi:He is a B.E. Mechanical Engineer who likes Trekking, reading, theater, listening music, playing basketball He made 3 attempts in SSB and got recommended in his 3rd attempt from Bhopal SSB  for IMA July 2012

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