Hey guys. I am Rakesh Kumar Samota from Jaipur and I got recommended from 4AFSB, Varanasi through CDS 2017 (I). This was my first attempt for SSB. So, I am sharing my story with you guys and also my strategy for SSB.
I never had any dream of joining defence services until I got to know about it from my best friend. Before this, I was preparing for civil services and was very keen to become an IAS officer. But as someone said that what is meant to always find a way. And that is what happened with me. Only one thing was in my mind that I would not go for UES entry or TGC entry as clearing a written exam (that too conducted by UPSC) and then appearing for SSB always has a better chance than others. So, I sat for CDS 2017 (I) which was conducted on 5th Feb. 2017. This year, the result of the written exam was announced earlier as compared to previous years and that was a healthy sign for me to start the preparation for SSB. I took complete guidance from my friend and understood the whole pattern of SSB and started my preparation at that time only. Soon, I got the call letter from 4AFSB, Varanasi and was given the date for my SSB i.e. 24th July 2017. I made a strategy for my preparation and moved with that only. Mostly I practiced for PP&DT and Psychology Test as I consider them as the key player for clearing the SSB.
As soon as the month of July started, I was getting nervous as I had never appeared for any Interview in my whole life. I didn’t go for campus placements during my engineering. But I kept talking with my seniors or with my brother’s friends who had appeared for Civil Services Interviews and got some idea about the technical question asked in those interviews. I was quite weak in technical part so it made me more nervous.
I made two copies during my preparation, one was for PP&DT and Psych. test and another for my Interview.
In first copy, I used to practice PP&DT part once in two days with random pictures and making stories for them and for Psych. part, I used to practice WATs, SRTs and TATs on a regular basis. For every word, I used to make 2-3 sentences with different approach and took sufficient time to make them because whatever we write with our hand lasts for a long time as it get stored in our memory. Similarly, I practiced SRTs and TATs.
For Self Description Test, I asked my friends, teachers and parents. Whatever they felt about me, they told me freely which I wrote in my copy and modified as per the need of the Test. I also included my weakness which they told me because no one is perfect so it’s very important to know your strong as well as weak areas.
In second copy, I wrote everything about me (PIQ based information with full details). Beginning with my name and its meaning, about my family, place to which I belong ( detailed analysis), my education and achievements, hobbies ( teaching, playing guitar and writing songs & poems), extra-curricular activities and responsibilities which I was given during my school and college time (including examples, my best and worst experiences, etc.).
This copy was also used for making short notes for Lecturette for all the topics which I considered as important including relations of various countries with India ( mainly China and Pakistan), current issues ( Climate change, demonetisation, GST, Smart cities, Cashless economy, Digital India, Skill India, Cyber crime, etc.), social issues in India ( Child labour, Child abuse, Female foeticide, etc.).
I also made notes for Important current news ( both national and international aspect).
This copy was made especially for Technical ques. which might be asked during my Interview. But, I was lucky that I was not asked much questions from this part.
Now coming to the SSB, I went Varanasi with my friend who was also appearing for SSB. We were to report at 6:45 AM at Varanasi Cantt. Total 111 reported on that day. From there, we were taken to 4AFSB in a bus and was provided with breakfast. Soon after, we all were taken to the auditorium and filled declaration forms. After that, we had our Verbal and Non-verbal tests which lasted for 34 minutes ( 2 sets, 17 min. each).
Questions were quite easy, so I attempted all. After that, main part started i.e. PP&DT. I was clicked with an idea of the story and completed it on time. Soon, the narration of story was started. As soon as the last chest no. narrated his story, we were asked to start the discussion and reach a conclusion for a common story. But during the discussion, 2 members started shouting and they were not ready to listen the other group members. I somehow managed to give my points and idea about common group story and spoke twice in the whole discussion. I was quite nervous as I had some feelings that I would not be screened in. Soon the results were announced. As the DSO announced chest number 27, I just checked my own chest no. and then said Yes Sir. It was a great feeling to get screened in. I was so happy to clear the step 1 of the AFSB. Soon, we were taken to the place where our bags were kept and we were asked to pick our bags and keep it in the truck. Thereafter, we were again taken to auditorium for documents verification which lasted for 2 hours. After having lunch, We were again asked to report in Auditorium for PIQ filling procedure. I tried to keep my PIQ as simple as possible. I did not bluff anywhere in the PIQ. Here I would like to share something which one of friend (Viraat Engle – Chest no. 44) said to me. He said that if someone wants to bluff in the PIQ then he should see Drishyam movie first. In that movie, whatever the family of Ajay Devgan lying, they had lived that moment. So, if you want to write some hobbies in PIQ then at least do them for some time so that u get familiar with the questions which Interviewing Officer can ask you.
After PIQ filling process, we were allotted new chest numbers. I got chest no. 11. Then we headed back to our rooms for some rest as we were having our Psych. test in evening (6:00 PM). I slept for one and a half hours and got ready for the test. Soon the Psychology test began. First was the TATs. I wrote stories mostly thinking me in those situations and in 12th picture, I wrote a story about a coordinator at Jaipur Literature Festival which was somehow related to one of my hobbies i.e. writing songs and poems. After TATs, the second part was WATs. For this, I was pretty confident as I practiced a lot for this part. I was able to write 59 WATs and one was left as I haven’t heard that word (Dames). Third part was SRTs. I attempted 47 out of 60. Fourth part was Self Description Test. I wrote whatever my parents, teachers and friends felt about me with some negative points too (which were having some positive parts too J). We got free at 9:00 PM. Then after dinner, we all gone through our schedule for next 4 days.
Current Affairs questions will be from last 5-7 months (for AFCAT, NDA, CDS, TA)
- Current Affairs Jan 2017 eBook [300+ Questions Included]
- Current Affairs Feb 2017 eBook [600+ Questions Included]
- Current Affairs March 2017 eBook [800+ Questions Included]
- Current Affairs April 2017 eBook [750+ Questions Included]
- Current Affairs May 2017 eBook [900+ Questions Included]
- Current Affairs June 2017 eBook [1100+ Questions Included]
- Current Affairs July 2017 eBook [1200+ Questions Included]
Day 2 & 3 :
I had my GT on day 2 and day 3. The first task was the Group Discussion which went smoothly. The second was Group Planning Exercise. The third task was PGT, in which we were able to complete all four tasks. We got engaged in the 3rd task for a longer period of time but somehow completed it. I couldn’t get any of the helping material but I kept giving suggestions for every task. After PGT, our group of 8 people was divided into two subgroups (even and odd chest numbers) for Half Group Task. We were able to finish the task in 5 minutes and it was quite simple. The last task of Day 2 was Lecturette. I got four options ( Climate change, Tax reforms, IVF and My idol). I spoke on Tax reforms as it could be easily related to GST. That was the end of the day. After lunch, I went to Sarnath temple and museum with my friends.
Day 3 was started with the Command Task. I was called at the last (8th number). I couldn’t complete the task in the time limit. I got nervous but I didn’t give up. I kept trying and when I got no idea then one of my subordinates gave me some idea which I was able to apply. Soon GTO asked me to wind up as the time was over. The seventh task was Individual Task. I was very much excited about it as all the tasks were looking very interesting. I tried all the 10 tasks and successfully completed only 8. The last task was Final Group Task (There was no snake race in our GT). That was the end of Day 3.
Day 4 :
I was having my interview on this day. We 12 people were asked to sit in the waiting room at 7:00 AM and wait for our turns. I was called at 8:30 AM. My heartbeats were racing. I don’t what kind of feeling it was. But I guess it was a mixed feeling of nervousness and excitement. As soon as I entered the room, I greeted the IO with a smile and wished him Good morning. The first question he asked me was “Mr. Rakesh, you look so bright this morning. What’s the reason behind it?” I replied that sir it is the first interview of my life so I am little bit excited about it. Then he laughed over my reply. Soon my Interview started in full fledge. I was asked questions mostly from my PIQ including 3 rapid fire questions. First about my education, second about my family and third about my routine, reading habits, use of the internet, etc. In between, I was asked for my 12th class % (I had 10 CGPA in 10th and 78.2% in 12th ). So he asked questions about my stay at Kota during my JEE preparation. What I learned in Kota, how are the people there, what problems I faced, what new things I experienced, etc. Also in between he cross checked my SDT, he asked what your father thinks about you, what your friend thinks about you, what are your weaknesses, what qualities you would like to improve ( I said consistency and stamina). Then he asked what are you doing to improve these things. Other questions were : Where did you go yesterday? How will you compare Varanasi and Jaipur? ( I told 2 points i.e. Jaipur is cleaner than Varanasi and Auto drivers drive too fast in Varanasi.) You have spent many years for your engineering, how you will use that if you come to defence services ( I gave an example of Sanskrit language. I said that I study Sanskrit till 10th class but if someone asks me to read anything in Sanskrit then I can read that and also sometimes I can understand the meaning so in a similar manner, whenever and wherever I will get the chance, I will apply my knowledge.) My interview lasted for 25 minutes and I replied all the questions and didn’t try to bluff anything.
I was asked only one question from my hobbies ( How do you write songs and poems? What is the motivation behind them? ) I replied in a truthful manner. At last, he asked me 2 current affairs questions which I answered correctly. IO said thank you and my interview was over. I greeted him again with a smile and walked out of the room. On that day, I went to Ghats with my friends as we were done with all the tasks and tests.
Day 5 :
It was the D-Day for all of us. We were asked to pack our luggage and keep it in one room. The process of the conference was started at 11;00 AM. I was mentally prepared for 3 questions ( How is the food here? How was your stay? Have you got any suggestions for us?) I thought about these questions and prepared the answers in my mind. I sat near the Conference room at 11:45 AM as I was the next to be called in. But when I entered the room, time was 12:10 PM. As I entered the room, I got nervous by seeing 20-22 officers in Air Force Uniform. I was asked to have a seat. As soon as I occupied the chair, I was bombarded with questions from President. Around 40 questions, I was asked. And that too from different areas. No two questions were related to each other. I kept myself calm and answered all the questions. There was no chance of telling lies. Once I couldn’t answer one question for 5 seconds then President asked the next questions. At last, he asked me What you liked the most here? What didn’t you like here? Why? What don’t you like when you are at your home? And then he said Thank you Rakesh. And my conference was over. But as soon as I came out of the room, I wanted to cry because I didn’t expect these all questions and I had some feeling that now I won’t get recommended. I couldn’t have my lunch effectively. But many other candidates came to me and said “Bhai, tu toh recommend hai. Bata party Kahan de raha hai?” And I couldn’t utter a single word. Soon the conference was over and we were asked to report at Auditorium. DSO came with a slip in his hand and he talked casually and gave a speech and then suddenly he uttered the chest numbers which got recommended. He said chest number 11 and 23. I was like what just happened? I couldn’t believe what DSO said. For few seconds. I went back into the past and heard my chest number and that was the best feeling ever I have got on my result days since my childhood. I was happy for my recommendation but I was also sad as my best friend couldn’t make the final list. It was his birthday. I felt very bad for him. We dreamt of joining the Academy together. But he congratulated me with a smile which I will cherish always in my life. Soon we 2 were asked to bring our luggage and come again to the auditorium. After that, I met with all my batch mates and they wished me good luck for my future. After it, they left the auditorium and only me and chest no. 23 were left there. Soon the Officer came for some form filling process and it lasted for 2 hours. Then Chest no. 23 left for his home as he had cleared his PABT last year. So I was left alone in the hostel. I took the phone from a person working there and called my parents, brother, teachers, friends, relatives. I called at least 20 people whose contact number I remembered. When my sister heard it that I got recommended, she shouted with joy which I heard over the phone. My elder brother was so happy when I gave him the news. I cannot explain those moments in writing but I still have those memories in my heart. Best feeling I have ever had. Next day, I appeared for CPSS exam. I cleared Cognitive part but couldn’t clear Psychomotor and failed in CPSS. So now, I am eligible for my next preferences (IMA/NA/OTA). I am having my medical examination on 14th August 2017 at MH-Allahabad.
I have something to say to all the aspirants for SSB:
- Just be yourself and don’t change your personality as per others.
- Observe yourself, know about yourself and work fonyour weakness.
- SSB is not a competition so never hesitate to help others in their preparation. SSB is just the projection of your own qualities which no one can take away from you.
- Be truthful everywhere whether it is Psych. test or interview.
- I feel that the first attempt is the best attempt so put your all efforts into it. Give your best shot for first attempt. For my SSB, I left my civil services preparation and just because of it, I got recommended as I focused on SSB single minded.
- At least give your first attempt either through CDS or AFCAT. Enhances the probability of recommendation.
- Behave properly at selection centre. Just be yourself.
I owe my selection to my parents, brother, sister, teachers (Specially Tiju Thomas Sir who motivated me to join defence services in my college days), Army officers whom I met before my SSB, and 2 very important people in my life Sitaram Rathi and My best friend Aditya Gaur. Without Aditya and Sitaram Bhaiya, I couldn’t have dreamt of joining defence services.
I wish you all the best for your future. Work hard but with some smartness. Don’t follow people and books blindly. Use your wits and follow fashion.
Thank you guys.
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