Hello, friends, my name is Mohit Singh Nayal. I got recommended in my 12th attempt from 34SSB Allahabad on 15th April 2019 and I believe my story will definitely motivate and help aspirants in achieving their goal. I will divide my story into two parts – I) Journey till now 2) My findings and tips regarding SSB tastings. My Journey – Being from a defence background I always wanted to become an officer in armed forces. I gave my first SSB attempt in Nov, 2013 and within the next four months, I had already given four attempts. Two for TES ARMY & two for TES NAVY. I was conferenced out in all of them. In my 1st SSB (ARMY) I was so unprepared and unaware that I couldn’t speak a word in both the group discussion of GTO. I couldn’t complete all my stories and was able to write only 40 sentences in WAT. I wasn’t able to answer any personal or general knowledge questions. Then I took coaching from Balnoi academy and now I realise how big that mistake was. I started mugging up stories, memorize interview answers and tried to project as if I am perfect in all aspects of life. I still remember the exams and practicals I had missed during my college days to attend SSB.
During 4th year of my B.Tech I again started preparing for the AFCAT and other entries. But to my surprise, I got screened out in three consecutive attempts. I started questioning myself, have I degraded to a level that now I couldn’t clear even screen-in which once was a cakewalk for me. Finally, I got screened-in in June 2017 AFCAT attempt but the final result didn’t change. That was the time when I introspected myself and decided to first understand SSB and what is actually required from a candidate. I started reading books, followed many YouTube SSB channels and finally attended a 2 day workshop of a psychologist. I contacted the psychologist and took 5-6 days personal guidance. His guidance gave me the direction and I realised the importance of general knowledge in life. Then I got placed in TCS from college interview. I decided to dedicate 2 months before my joining, preparing for SSB. I used to live with my brother in a 1 BHK flat in Dwarka Sec 23b. My brother used to come late at night and I used to cook food for both of us. In those days, I realised the power of loneliness. When your circle gets smaller your vision gets larger. As the saying goes “Nothing comes easy in life”, my AFCAT result was not out because of some mistakes I made during filling my OMR sheet. I was disheartened because I worked really hard and I was aware of the fact that once I joined TCS preparing for any exam would become a nightmare. With hope of clearing AFCAT next time I joined TCS on 9th Nov, 2017 in Chennai for 3 months training. I made new friends and life seemed to be very beautiful and carefree. It was kind of a paid holiday for us and we used to plan trips to Puducherry, hogenakkal fall and other places. I almost forgot about my dream of becoming an officer. Then came the reality check when I joined TCS, Powai Mumbai in Feb,2018 , I gave my AFCAT exam with 102 F fever.
But I was still confident of clearing it . After spending 2 months in office, I realised that this is not the place where I belong to. The environment was very depressing , nobody cared about fitness and only motivation was money. Big tummy and a cheese burger in hand was not what I wanted. Then came another reality check i.e. AFCAT result which I couldn’t clear. I didn’t know what to do next , I felt trapped. This is a point in everyone’s life which either makes them or breaks them. I think if I would have bowed down in front of my situation, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve success. Yes, initially it was very difficult but then I decided to turn fortune in my favour. I decide to work hard and started preparing for CAPF and CDSE exam. I used to wake up early in the morning , watch the Hindu analysis by study lover channel in YouTube and write down important points. During my lunch break, I used to finish my food within 15 mins and rush towards library to read newspaper and revise the previous day points. I still remember my office colleagues making fun of me seeing my madness and spending most of the time in library. I almost lost all my friends as I couldn’t give them time and refused to go out with them during weekends. I used to leave office at 7pm sharp irrespective of the situation in office. Distance from office to flat was 2.2 km and I used to travel on foot all by myself. I used to listen to motivational videos in YouTube . To all candidates looking for motivation please follow “Team Fearless” channel in YouTube , one of the best thing available in YouTube. This motivation was required to study 5 hrs after reaching home. I was following a planned schedule and understood the importance of discipline in life. Now, during June, 2018 I gave Coast guard PSB and got recommended for FSB which was to be held in Noida from 5th August to 9th august. I worked really hard and was very confident of getting recommended and decided to leave my job after recommendation but the only problem was 5 days leave. Obviously, I lied, made up a story, and went for my SSB. Everything went well except few questions in personal interview. During my conference, officer took 15 min before calling me in. As the result was announce, all candidates whose conference waiting time was 15 min got recommended except me. I was shattered, I remember I met my brother that day, had whiskey and cried.
Now I had an important decision to make, weather to apply for 3 month notice period or not. I kept faith in myself and applied for notice period. Next 3 months I followed a strict schedule and studied day and night. My only fun time was Friday night when I used to watch motivational movies to keep moving in the path I chose.“M.S.Dhoni” is a movie that I had watched more than 30 times during my job in TCS. 15th Nov 2018 was my last day in TCS and I knew I was going to miss two people Pratik and Rashmita, both were my seniors but supported and motivated me at every step. I felt protected under them as they were aware of my dreams and goals and used to give me easy tasks so that I can focus on my studies. As I left TCS the next important thing was CDSE exam. I reached my CDSE Examination centre, and realised that I forgot my admit card, I ran here and there but couldn’t find a printout shop , I kept looking and finally found a shop. When I reached my centre I was 30 mins late, it seemed impossible to enter the centre as only 10 min late entry was allowed. I was lucky that there was no guard when I entered the main gate, I ran to 2nd floor and entered my room. The invigilators stopped me and called centre in-charge, I pleaded in front of him and almost cried. Seeing my eagerness to sit in the exam, the in-charge allowed me. I was happy and ran to my seat and started giving the exam. Yes I couldn’t complete my paper but I was confident of clearing the exam. Life after TSC was very challenging as I used to study 13-14 hrs daily and my only physical appearance outside my home was for running and swimming. I really want to thank my parents for supporting me at the time when I needed it the most. My mother did everything she could to provide me conducive environment for studies. My studies were dedicated towards clearing CAPF as there was no SSB involved in it. Then I met Brig. Ruhil recommended by my close friend Srishti Sharma(Currently LC in INA, Kerala).I thought I would be wasting my time and jeopardize my CAPF preparation but now I feel very lucky that I took her advice and met brig. Ruhil sir. I took few days guidance for Ruhil sir and On 25th Feb 2019 I went for AFCAT SSB in Dehradun and got conferenced out . Outcomes said sorry you don’t have it in you but the warrior inside me kept saying that a warrior is not someone who always win but a person who is last man standing when everyone gave up. With this thought, I continued my CAPF preparation. I decided to give one more month for SSB probably my last try and started preparing for SSB with Ruhil sir. Ruhil sir taught me that life should be full of achievements. Without achievements and goals, life has no meaning. His life experiences helped me a lot and rigorous psychological tests helped me understand my mistakes and gave me time to rectify them.
Then, came the SSB date selection day for CDSE . I decided to select 1st April as my SSB date because I wanted to finish SSB as early as possible and get back to CAPF preparation. But nothing seemed going my way as I selected 10th April 2019 by mistake. I still remember that I was alone in Delhi as my father was posted in Nasik , and loneliness was at its peak . So , finally after tons of hard work and perseverance I finally got recommended in my 12th attempt from 34 SSB Allahabad and I still remember the phone calls to my parents, brother, friends, and Ruhil sir after the result was announced and everything that was stuck inside me came out from my eyes in form of tears.
I will refrain myself from sharing SSB details as it won’t help candidates. Rather I would like to present you my findings and tips for SSB testing.
I forgot to mention the amount of research I did in past 2 years. From every SSB preparation YouTube channel to every good book available in market, I tried everything. And even though I couldn’t get recommended in previous attempts but my understanding about SSB was very clear.
From September 2017 to August 2019 I changed three professions , started with a call centre job , moved to Software company(TCS) , then to Indians largest Education tech company BYJUS as a BDA and now finally joining a profession I always wanted to join☺️.
Intelligence test –SSB is a time bound process , how you handle pressure determines your performance.
Best advice for intelligence test is to read all questions one by one and try to quickly answer as much questions as you can. Again read the left out questions, give 45-60 sec and if you are unable to solve within 60 sec , leave the question and move forward , continue this process and attempt each and every question.
Reason to recommend this process is quite simple. You are bound to read difficult questions more than once and your chances of getting it right also increases.
PP&DT –watch the image very carefully, understand the background, mood and approximate age of the character and make a simple story.
In GD, narrate the story in the least possible words, and during discussion always support your point by relating it to the picture shown . For example –friends if we recall the picture, we can clearly see a village scene and 4 farmers with visible cheek bones sitting in front of a young man who looks well dressed and can be considered as a banker , student , teacher. Friends as cheek bones of farmers are clearly visible so we can conclude that farmers are very poor and probably facing crop failure.
Now such explanation proves that the candidate has understood the situation well and is able to come to a definitive conclusion. Such candidate is sure to get screened-in
Psychological test –
- This is a test of your perception and imagination. How you perceive a situation determines your understanding, life experience and thinking process. The most important thing in this is to understand the situation presented in the picture. Most candidates fail to interpret the picture correctly. For example – a boy in dhoti standing in a field cannot be considered as a civil engineer or a rich businessman, one should understand the character and background well before plotting a story.
- TAT is all about actions. If your perception is correct then any story will work but your action decides how good is your story. Every story has some problems, or issues or goals to achieve, how you solve that problem or achieve your desired goal will fetch you marks. Anybody can count problems but a leader finds a solution. For example –you have a picture showing an accident scene. Now how your hero tackles this situation shows your leadership qualities. Like he will rush to the spot, with others help take injured to roadside, stop the bleeding with a cloth, ask others to stop a cab or a car, safely place him in the car, take him to the nearest hospital, admit him , pay registration fees , inform his family and also inform his boss that he will get late for office today . Give family his contact number for any help and leave for office. More the number of actions more will be the qualities you can project.
- It is important to understand how much imagination is required in a given picture. For example, in an accident scene, the situation is clearly visible, the only requirement is your actions in tackling the situation. If picture shows a boy sitting in front of a study table with books on it that means some hint is given and some imagination is required. If picture shows a mountain or a sea or a house that means 100% of your imagination is required as no hint is provided in the picture.
- My advice – see the picture for 30 sec, understand the situation, background, character mood and think logically as to what the picture wants to say. Now, plot a theme with some daily life problems or goals and write multiple actions to solve it or achieve what your hero wants to achieve. Every line reveals your OLQ, for example in one case a candidate writes-Ramesh was a software engineer and one day while passing through a garden he saw ….. another candidate writes Ramesh was a software engineer and one early morning while he was heading towards his office for an urgent meeting he saw ………. 1st candidate missed the opportunity but the 2nd candidate took it and projected that he is sincere, hardworking, responsible and aware of his surrounding.
- WAT can be simply explained with an example –
Word is LEISURE
1st candidate –leisure time is best for relaxation.
2nd candidate – leisure time is best spent with friends.
3rd candidate –leisure time is best utilized in hobbies.
4th candidate – opportunity to spend time with family.
Nothing is wrong or right in WAT, only your association of word is observed.
A psychologist can easily say that 1st candidate looks a bit lazy, 2nd candidate might be very friendly, 3rd candidate definitely has a hobby and 4th candidate likes to spend more time with family. Now, he will compare your responses in TAT, SRT and SD to confirm this. Like if 3rd candidate in SD writes that his friends praise him for his involvement in trekking activities and he has also mentioned about trekking in his PIQ then the psychologist can say that this candidate gives time in performing his hobby.
- The beauty of expression and structure of sentence doesn’t matter only your association of word matters. For example – the word is Love.
Some association – Mother, life, food, brother, friends, a movie etc.
Word is HATE
Some association – terrorist, racism, lie, inequality, running etc.
- can be compared with TAT because in TAT a situation is shown and your actions are required, similarly, in SRT, a situation is given and your response is asked.
- A leader should know in which sequence the action should take place. For example – you are travelling by train in 3 AC class and suddenly your compartment catches fire. What will you do ??? Sample response – pull chain, shift passengers to another compartment, with others help put off the fire using blanket and water. If you are satisfied with this answer then you haven’t understood the situation well. 1st step is to open all gates of the compartment so that the smoke can go outside as many passengers might die because of suffocation. 2nd step is to pacify people as they would be agitated, then shift to another compartment etc. If you understood this point then your SRT will be fine.
- Now, if you write in SD that your parents think you are a very obedient son and in an SRT situation where your parents want you to marry a girl of their choice your response is opposite, then the psychologist will get to know that you are lying.
- SD shows how much you know about yourself and does your personality matches with the person you tried to project in the other tests.
- What you write in SD is compared with what came out naturally in the other tests.
- What you think about yourself is very important, you might be wrong about what others think about you but you cannot be wrong about yourself.
- Group Discussion
- GD is not about how much you speak. It is about what you speak and how well you adjust in a group.
- A leader is one who listens to others point, thinks before speaking and when he opens his mouth he creates an impact. Even those members who are against his point acknowledge him.
- Imagine a group of 10 people, everyone trying to prove their point right. In this group, there is a leader who wants to give proper direction to the discussion. He will listen to the other’s point of views, recollect his knowledge, look for good examples and politely look for an opportunity to speak his mind out. His points and impact would be such that others will listen to him, some will appreciate his point and some might go against him but nobody can ignore him. Now, whole group will start discussing what he said without even being aware of it . Leader will stay quiet for sometime , look for more examples and again comeback with full conviction. Again the whole group listens to his point and starts discussing on it. This is how a leader creates an impact on others and testing officer is looking for such candidates.
- GD is very simple , just follow bottom up approach , for example if the topic is about human rights start from personal examples you have faced , move to your city , your country , then to whole world and finally give your opinion and logic behind choosing a particular sub topic. Try to imagine any topic , if you have knowledge you can easily implement it.
- Help others if they are unable to speak , a leader is sympathetic towards his/her colleagues.
- Group Planning Exercise
- Understand the situation clearly, set priorities , explore solutions , modify solution if someone gives a valid point, and keep track of time.
- A leader understands the urgency, if a person is bleeding heavily in front of him and at the same time someone is kidnapped , a leader will give priority to bleeding person because damage has already been done and requires more attention. Also a leader understands how much manpower to use like a candidate who understands situation well will send 2-3 people with bleeding person but someone who has no idea how to tackle such situation will send only 1 person to take injured to hospital.
- If you are sending 3-4 people to inform police about an incident then you are not a leader because you wasted your useful manpower.
- Generally we look for shortest route to take injured to hospital but if difference between a known and unknown place is only 4-5km where unknown place is near a leader will choose a known place because he understands that it is very easy to get help and find hospital in a known place.
- Always use most reliable resource for most important work . Try to look for certainty, like you are in a hotel and want to take someone to hospital. Look for your own vehicle if not get a car from hotel manager or take help from other guests , looking for lift from passer-by comes last.
- PGT , HGT and FGH
- How you behave in a group , apply your mind and value others point is tested here.
- A leader is always optimistic, he encounters others to implement their ideas, even if they are wrong he still encourages them , give his opinion , modify the idea with their acceptance and complete the task.
- A leader has high mental stamina, I.e. he takes the group out from trouble when others give up.
- A leader likes to lead from the front, motivates others and ensures everyone is safe and all the rules are being followed.
- Command task
- Selection of subordinates is important. A leader should understand the requirement of the task ,whether he should select a slim , fat , tall or short candidate depends upon the requirement of the task.
- A candidate should not look towards his subordinates as helpers and give all physical activities to them; he should equally do physical activities and complete the task.
- If one method fails, look for another , keep trying until you finish the task.
- Have faith in your decisions, testing officer might question your solution but if you have faith in yourself you will stick to your plan. If you are actually wrong and agree with what testing officer says quickly rectify it and move forward.
- Understanding and thoughts of a candidate is observed. How you utilize your 3 min is important. If you keep discussing one point for 3 min , you would definitely fail.
- Tip – use 20-25 sec in dividing your speech into main parts ( Generally 3-4 parts), 20-25 sec in introduction , 40-45 sec in problems/issues , 60-80 sec in giving multiple solutions and last 20-30 sec on your own opinion. Try to implement it with any topic or issue.
- Anybody can count problems but only a leader can give solutions , this is the reason why solution part is 60-80 sec.
- Individual obstacles
- How you overcome difficult obstacles, why and which obstacle you choose to do first or last , how you plan your strategy when single whistle blows i.e. how you plan your last 30sec ,are you afraid of heights , such things are observed in IO and not your physical abilities.
- Most important part of IO is last 30 sec , your choices in last 30 sec shows your awareness and leadership. If you choose Burma bridge in last 30 sec then you are not an effective and thoughtful person ,but if you skip Burma bridge and move to obstacles which takes 5-10 or 15 sec then you are a leader.
- Snake race
- Not a competition but a task to observe how much dedicated, helpful and group oriented you are.
- Help others, volunteer to repeat the task , stay motivated and also motivate others .
- Personal Interview
- Be real, have faith in your answers , 50% recommendation is based upon your confidence.
- Candidates are generally afraid of the series of questions interviewer asks in one go. You are not expected to answer all questions in a sequence , how you manage and handle the pressure is observed. Tip – remember the key words and start answering , give additional information around the key word if you do not remember the exact question , remember your organizing ability is observed and not your memory.
- In some answers interviewer might try to check how much faith you have in your answers so he might try to prove you wrong , but if you are confident, you will stick by your words and give proper reasoning.
- Reasoning ability is most important. If you have proper reasoning every answer is correct.
- You don’t need to hide smoking , drinking or having a g , be truthful , accept it and be ready to give proper reasoning .
- 80℅ of questions are from PIQ , have full awareness about your hobbies , interests , sports you have played and participation in extracurricular activities.
- Interview is driven by candidate and not the interviewer, you can take the interview in whichever direct you desire to. If you are strong in economics , bring economics in your answer and the interviewer will automatically ask next question related to economics.
I hope my experience and tips will help other candidates. At last I would like to thank few people who supported me in my journey and trusted my ability
•) My parents(Rajender Singh nayal and Laxmi nayal) for always letting me do what I want and always supporting me.
•)Brig. Ruhil sir for showing me the right path and sharing his valuable life experiences.
•)Saksham Grover (Coast guard officer), Abhimanyu and Rishabh Singh for always motivating me.
•)Arty Rana for always believing in my abilities and helping me with valuable handmade notes.
•)My brother Neeraj Singh Nayal who was always there with me during my low time and always encouraged me to go for another attempt.
•) Srishti Sharma (Coast guard officer) for introducing me to ruhil sir and motivating me.