Greeting future GC’s and LC’s!!! This is your friend Rishabh Pandey and I’ll be sharing my experience for Army TES SSB for 39th course in the next few paragraphs. It could be long but I can assure you that it will be worth reading. I hail from a defence background and living in Kanpur since the last 5 years. I have done my schooling from St. Aloysius’ High School, Kanpur. I always wanted to become the first generation officer from my family and therefore started my preparation for SSB right after my class 12th. I went through a few SSB books (had like-minded friends, each one would buy a different book and then we would exchange them among ourselves). I had watched YouTube videos just to get some idea of the procedure, while browsing I came through the video tutorial package by Cdr. Natrajan sir and ordered it. To my surprise it was much better than my expectations and took coaching to quench my curiosity and get more hands-on approach. During this 3 months tenure of preparation I collected every vital information and practiced for psychological test and went confidently for my first ssb for Navy Tech (10 + 2) Btech Entry in NSB Coimbatore. I did exceptionally well in all the task but couldn’t perform well in my interview due to anxiety and this performance later affected my GTO Day 2 tasks. I knew I ruined it and won’t be making it this time. I took a one week break and tried recollecting and re-evaluating my performance I interacted with commander Natrajan sir and told him about my experience. Other than this there were many seniors who helped me figuring out my weaknesses and improving them. (Thanks to Apoorva, Pratik, Pranjal, and Amit)
I took their words as instructions and started building up the GENTLEMAN in me. Apart from this, I practiced for psychological tests and made a whatsapp group of friends with whom I discussed the responses. I got a gap of about 6 months (Aug – Feb) for my next SSB which was for Army TES.
I was happy on receiving the call letter but it later changed to disappointment when I saw I had to report to Allahabad, the centre well known for rejection. I was not sure if I should waste an attempt.(Yes, I was scared). I decided to take a chance as it would be a test of my preparation.
Day 1 : Stage I (Screening Test)
The day started at 0600 Hrs. I Reported at MCO Allahabad with my luggage and documents. Saw a huge number of boys neatly dressed. Interacted and made some friends. Bus took us to the Selection Centre where documentation took place. A total of 251 candidates reported of which 3 were already recommended. Verbal and Non Verbal Tests were conducted and I attempted maximum questions in both the tests. We were given a short break after which PP & DT was held. We were shown a hazy picture where two human figures could be seen, one of them sitting on a raised platform and the other one on a mat (or ground).
Then for the discussion, they made a group of 20 candidates (mine was a repeaters batch and I was the youngest repeater there (i.e C/O only once).There was a fish market situation as everybody was seeking to take the initiative. I decided to keep calm and waited for the exact moment (when there is least noise) and made my entry to the discussion with 2-3 solid points. With more and more chaos the assessors divided the group into two parts and in this way the discussion concluded in less than 5 minutes.
We then came out of the Capt. Manoj Pandey Hall and were given refreshments. I had a mixed feeling and wasn’t that confident of getting screened in. In order to release my anxiety I decided to have a casual walk observing the faces and hearing from other candidates. The time went really fast and we were called again to the hall where the results of Stage I screening test were to be declared.
A total of 18 candidates were screened in out of which 8 were fresher’s and 10 were repeaters (Including 2 NDA-140 recommended candidates). Yes, I was among them! And was allotted chest number 14 after which we were briefed about the rules and regulations and made to fill up the PIQ and few other forms. The day ended at 1800 hrs.
We were allotted our barracks where we kept our luggage and congratulated each other for clearing Stage 1.
My Advice for Stage I:
Assume yourself as the central character. Try to make the story on some social issue, reflecting some moral values.Try to tackle the situation (or problem) by yourself instead of pushing the responsibilities to some ‘NGO’. If you couldn’t complete your story or wish to make some changes, do it wisely while narrating without altering your original theme/motive. Be loud and clear during your narration and do not stop or stumble in between. Confidence is the key to clear Stage 1.
Day 2 : Psychological Tests :
I had practiced a lot for this particular day.We reported to the CHM at 0730 hrs who took us in Vikram Batra hall where the psychologist briefed us about the tests.
TAT : 11 Pictures + 1 Blank Slide was shown for 30 seconds each. And we were supposed to write stories in 4 minutes of time.(Similar to PP&DT)
My advice :
I had prepared my Blank Story beforehand (about a birthday party I organized) . Preparing the blank story really helps and you can utilize those extra 30 seconds in completing/concluding your incomplete stories. Make sure it is something realistic and reflects your personality. Won’t recommend you to write the story of your ‘SSB Struggle’. Don’t seek pity and don’t try to beg ‘recommendation’ by forcing him/her them to see your hard work (instead of show them by your ACTIONS).
- WAT : Attempted 58 / 60 words in 15 Minutes
- Skipped 2 words ‘Recommendation’ & ‘Dames’
- Words were quite easy and I made simple observational sentences which reflected my personality. Speed and accuracy matter.
My advice :
Listen to psychologist’s instructions carefully. Make sure you don’t miss out the sequence as it may reflect your careless attitude and may spoil the whole test. So be conscious and cautious. Write your natural response which comes at first shot.
- SRT: Did all 60/60 in 30 min
- Don’t over assume the problem.
- Be honest in every response, react logically.
- Know your limits, You can’t fight 4 men alone (that happens only in south indian movies) , or use a public vehicle in a curfew.
- Be aware of rules and certain protocols of the society.
- SD : Practised it beforehand, improved my timing.
GTO Day 1 :
18 of us were divided into 2 groups of 8 and 10.(The later consisted of repeaters)
Group Discussion :
My participation was good in both the GD’s, I gave solid points which were often accepted by the group. I promoted the one who weren’t able to put their points and spoke for about 3-4 times in the complete discussion. Provided counters where ever necessary.
My advice :
Discussion is a two way process, even if you have less information of a topic listening will help you take a stand in the discussion and counter/support the points.
- Reading helps a lot: Facts and figures can add value to your points.
- Learn to CONTRIBUTE and not to COMPETETE while working as a group.
My group members were excellent and competitive, I smartly snatch opportunities to show my skills and ideas, most of the members agreed to my idea which made me confident and helped me perform better in next GTOs test.
- GPE, Lecturrete topic : Swach Bharat Abhiyan : Spoke fluently for 3 minutes
- Snake Race : Chose the war cry : “Hamari Shan- Hindustan” , Lecturette topic : Swach Bharat Abhiyan : spoke fluently for 3 minutes
- Individual Obstacles :Did 11 out of 10 (Repeated the commando walk) , PGT and FGT were held on the same day.
- Interview of some candidates took place.
Day 4 : GTO 2 & interview
To my surprise, none of the group members called me as a subordinate for the command task. Next time anyone says the more you are called as a subordinate the higher is your chance for getting recommended, show them this post).
I got a difficult structure but managed to clear it halfway when the GTO shouted at me “Gentleman, hurry you have last 60 seconds !!!”.He was trying to pressurize me but I didn’t lose my cool. He made all the structures white and I was able to cross the structure along with my two subordinates.
After completion of Command Task, GTO sir briefed us and wished us all the best for the next tasks. After which we had lunch and it was announced that I have to report for the interview at 15:00 Hrs and Deputy President will take my interview. I had my lunch and went back to the barrack along with my friends. They were asking me to prepare for the GK questions which he was commonly asking. I took a shower and dressed up smartly and reached the waiting hall. Deep inside I was getting nervous as I wasn’t prepared for the GK questions which he was commonly asking. I stood up and walked up to the mirror and spoke to myself, “Be cool Pandey Ji, Anxiety has already been the reason for your last failure, let’s try something new!!!” As soon as I finished my sentence the buzzer rang and my chest number was displayed on the screen. I gave a final look in the mirror , adjusted my tie and walked towards the door, knocked, opened and wished him good afternoon. He stood up and gave a handshake and asked me “So Rishabh for how long have you been waiting in the waiting room ?” I wasn’t aware of the time right now but i confidently said for the last 45 minutes sir.” He then asked questions about my city Kanpur, my journey and details of the train, the average speed of the train. He then went on with my PIQ , my interview lasted for around 50 minutes. I was asked 2 sets of rapid fire questions which i answered in sequence. I was not asked any technical questions.
My advice :
Be truthful and precise to your answers.”When you say the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
- Positive Body language, etiquettes and smile is a MUST.
- Feel comfortable and listen to his questions carefully.
- Prepare your PIQ well. Interview will be around this.
- You must be able to justify your answers.
- Confidence doesn’t come when you have all the answers. But it comes when you are ready to face all the questions.
- This was the last night together for the group (As tomorrow was the judgement day).We were working as a team for the last 4 days. They gave me the nickname ‘Pandu’ we made a great bond of brothers which will last forever.
Before the conference I made sure that I know all the answers of the questions which I didn’t answer in the interview. I had to wait for 7 minutes before entering the conference hall. This time I was not at all nervous. As I entered the hall I found that all the officers were in uniform and were difficult to distinguish. I was smiling and kept the same smile throughout. I was asked GK question which I was not able to answer in my interview and were given 2 SRT’s to solve, they asked me to rank my position in the group, and asked who all will get recommended and why ? He asked if you could remove a person from your group who would it be? I gave logical answers and justified them whenever asked.
He then asked for any suggestions and wished me all the best. I thanked them and confidently walked out of the hall. I was satisfied with my overall performance. I met my friends in the waiting hall who were waiting to hear my experience inside the conference hall.
The Dy. President came for the motivating closing address. He told us about the 15 Officer Like Qualities and wished us Good Luck for the results.
After which the results were declared , officer came in and declared the chest no. of recommended candidates who had to stand up walk forward and shout their name, date of birth and roll number. Heart beats could be heard in the room.
- Chest no. 11 (Shubham) , Chest no. 13 (Ajinkya) and Chest no. 14 (Rishabh)
I went numb for few seconds but somehow overpowered my legs to stand up, cried my name in a broken voice, barely managed to speak out my date of birth and by the time I reached my roll number I started crying. Everyone congratulated us, I felt sad for the rest of my friends.
I really appreciate the fighting spirit of repeaters. And I wish to say that,”You have the patience, the strength and the passion to achieve your ambitions, your goals and your dream. All you need to do is TRY.
If a stone is broken by the last stroke of hammer, it doesn’t mean that the past strokes were useless. Success is the result of continuous and persistent efforts.Keep trying and don’t stop till you get enough!
Looking forward to read your story on SSBCrack.
Jai Hind !!!