Cleared SSB Interview In First Attempt For Indian Army OTA

Hello I’m Vaibhav Krishna! In light of my recent success at the SSB Interview, I would like to take this opportunity to help fellow defence aspirants by sharing my story on how I got recommended in the SSB Interview. I was recommended in my first attempt from 17 SSB Bangalore for OTA, through the combined defense services entry. 

A little background about myself. I passed out from college in 2015 after doing BBA, followed by which I worked at a startup personalized vacations company called PickYourTrail, for about a year. Working at a startup has umpteen benefits which help and shape you as a person. I’m glad my employers there, supported me a lot. From March 2016 I gave dedicated preparation for Combined Defense Services Exam and the Air Force Common Admission Test, both which I successfully cleared. My first SSB Interview date was April 8th 2017, but due to my playing in the Chennai 3rd Division Football League, I could not attend the regular batch, and ended up reporting on May 14th 2017, for the absentee batch. 

The SSB Interview Preparation Strategy

I knew I’d encounter plenty of bright students in the interview due to this being a UPSC Entry. Anyway, I just stayed updated with current affairs, and practiced the various tests weekly once, with other aspirants and friends namely Abirami, Varsha and Ritanshu. I came across Commodore NK Natarajan’s SSB interview book and DVDs series, and thought I’d use this as a guide. It gave me a clear view on what to expect at each level of the 5 day process. This enabled me to devote and channel my time to areas where I felt work was needed. Sir has worked as a group testing officer in the SSB Board, and in his DVD tutorials, has spoken about each of the intricacies involved in each test. Coaching is NOT NEEDED. Save your 10-15K. 


14th May

We were asked to report at Bangalore city station by 2pm. I left Chennai early morning and reached on time. When I saw the other candidates, I started mingling and making friends immediately. I love speaking to different kinds of people, and it was nice to meet fresher’s, as well as guys reporting for their 15th SSB Interview attempt! An army bus came by 3pm. I was sent on top of the bus and helped put the entire luggage atop the bus. It was fun: p and tiring as well. We reached the SSB Board, and it was a beautiful place with greenery all around. It was also the first time I saw uniformed army officers in person. Anyway, we were all made to fill plenty of documents, and by about 6, we were shown to our hostel. We had dinner and slept. 

Day 1 (OIR and PPDT)

We had breakfast at 5:45am, and had our first test of stage 1. The Officer Intelligence Rating Test. It was fairly simple. Next, we had the Picture Perception and Discussion Test in which we were shown a blurry picture and asked to write and narrate a story on it. My written story was very poor I felt, as I just couldn’t make up my mind on a story. By the time the narration began, I well modified my story and narrated really well. The results were announced in about 3-4 hours, in which 21 got screened in for the rest of the 4 days. I was relieved to get through that. 

Day 2 (Psychological Tests and Personal Interview)

The psychology stage was a highly stressful test in which our psychology is tested with different tests like WAT, TAT, SRT and Self-Description Test. This was my strong point, and I suggest aspirants to not delve too much into these tests while practicing, as it could hamper your original personality. Be as natural as possible for these tests. It should come from within. The tests got over in 2.5 hours. I had my interview in a while with the deputy president of the board. He was a Colonel who was very friendly with me and incredibly knowledgeable. He knew everything in depth about the various hobbies of mine, as well as everything else I mentioned in my PIQ Form. Interview went on for about 25mins, and was average I felt. 

Day 3 (GTO day 1)

We were divided into 3 groups of 7 each for the group tests. These tests basically check how well you perform in a group, and it sees your leadership a lot too. Natural leaders would automatically emerge here. I had a terrific group here, which worked well together in most of our tests. I was looking forward to this day a lot due to the Group Discussion and Lecturette part. These two were my strengths. It went very well for me. We had the Progressive Group Task in which we are given various tools like a plank, rope and a long pole like structure, and we are supposed to get across some obstacles using that. It’s based on the concept of bridging and cantilever. We were then divided into half, for the Half Group Task, similar to the PGT. Then came the Snake Race, which went diabolical for my group. Our teamwork was poor and no planning done. We finished last. In the Group Planning Exercise, everything went smoothly with great cooperation. Remember, if your team doesn’t cooperate well here, you make sure you show good character here. Don’t give up. 

Day 4 (GTO day 2)

On this day, we were taken to the ground again and had 3 tests left. The Individual Obstacles, Final Group Task and the Command Task. In the individual Obstacles, we were given 3 minutes and shown 10 different Obstacles, and told to do as many as we could in the time period. I did 9 of them, with some injuries as well: p. The Final Group Task, similar to PGT was done in about a minute by our team. The Command Task is where each candidate is given an option to call 2 other members from his group as subordinates to complete obstacles with the help of planks and ropes and a pole. This was okay for me, but I had to use the advice of my subordinate, when I got stuck at a place. 

Day 5 (Conference)

A very serious stage in which each candidate is put in a room full of uniformed officers and asked a few questions from either the President or Deputy. Mine went on for about 4 minutes and went well. The results were announced in 2 hours and 7 of us were recommended. When I heard my chest number (03) called out, I heaved a sigh of relief rather than excitement. 4 of us were fresher’s, and 3 repeaters. We were given new chest numbers with a plus on it. Overall, I’d say my performance was an 8/10, but I gave it my best. Do make friends with everyone. This well help you a lot, trust me. And always show the never give up attitude in tests where you feel you’re slacking off. I have medicals a week later, and I’m hoping it all goes well. Thank you 🙂 


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