“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory”- Mahatma Gandhi. Hello to all the dear aspirants out there, I am Anirudh Pattathil, and am here to share my experience of my back to back recommendations. I got recommended from 3 AFSB Gandhinagar for NDA 143 and 18 SSB Allahabad for TES 42. I attended my NDA interview as a fresher and the knowledge I knew about SSB were gained mainly from SSBCrack and a coaching institution in Coimbatore called Coimbatore Defence Academy. I believe they helped me prepare well for the SSB and gave me tips on how to clear it.
NDA EntryWe were told to report at 6 pm on 19 Aug at Patikashram bustand in Gandhinagar. I was all exited and had even arrived a day in advance. Then we were all taken to the board and we were taken into the Hall to fill up a few mandatory forms. After that they took us out for some light breakfast and then started allotment of chest numbers. I was given 88 as it was according to date of birth and I was one of the oldest freshers there. Then we had our screening.
1) SCREENING: We were now taken into the testing Hall and we had to do two sets of OIR’s. Both sets had 50 questions and they were a mix of verbal and non verbal. I was very confident about my replies and had answered all 100 questions. After this we were taken out and divided into two batches. I was in the second batch and these were divided to conduct PP&DT (Picture Perception and Discussion Test). We were taken in after the first batch were done with theirs and they explained what we had to do. Then they showed us a hazy picture and we had to write a picture based out of that. I had perceived two brothers sitting and discussing something with each other regarding the youngers job. My narration went well and I had a fabulous group discussion as well. Our group was organised and a common story was also reached. Then we were directed to go and have lunch. Soon after lunch, they called us out to announce the screened in candidates. Out of 117 who had reported 60 had been screened in! And I was one of them. Soon after this we moved in for document checking. And that’s where the biggest twist lies! They routed me back during document check. Turns out the 10th certificate is very important and since I studied in an international board they didn’t issue one. So now I had to go all the way back home to Palakkad, Kerala , obtain the document affidavit and then report back at Gandhinagar!! Imagine the way my heart sunk at that moment. With a heavy heart I returned a phase 1 routed back and was allotted 2 Sep as my new date for reporting. Since I had already undergone phase 1 I was now in no need to repeat that the next time.
2) Phase 2: I had by now obtained all documents and had again reported back. This time since I didn’t have to do screening I had to end up sitting staring at the sky for the longest period till the got screened in! And voila it was over. Now I was allotted chest number 68 and this time 79 had been screened in. All the documents were now perfect and they allowed me to carry on.
- Psychology: To all of our surprise we were told that the psych tests would be held on the same day! What a shock. We had to give up our phones by 5 and by 6 had to report for the psych. Once we got in and were settled, the psychologist came in and briefed us about all the four tests: TAT: Thematic Apperception Test( basically story writing) WAT: Word Association Test (basically sentence making from a given word) SRT: Situation Reaction Test (basically what it sounds like) and SD: Self Description. After the briefing all tests took place back to back. I was confident of doing well and had done all 12 TAT, all 60 WAT and SRT, as well as giving a very convincing SD explaining both positives and negatives about me and how I could improve them. By the time this was over it was 9 and we ran for dinner as we were all famished. As soon as that was over we went over to the accommodation and rooms were allotted, and mine was Gajraj. We were also told of the schedule for the next few days. To my shock, I had nothing to do on the second day, just my interview on the third day and GTO tasks of my group, ” GAJRAJIANS” , on the fourth day. The fifth day would be normal conference like any other. The second day was a bust. I spent most of my time reading a book or playing basketball in the indoor court!
- Interview: My interview was scheduled in the first allotted slot, that was at 8 in the morning. I woke up early, took a good shower and got well dressed and reported for the interview. I had a good session with the IO and it went on for about 1 hour with him asking about my family, friends, education and also aeroplanes and it’s principles. Since I had prepared I also was able to answer confidently. After that the day was basically again all but spent reading, yes we did go out but to get photostats done.
- Group Testing: The GTO tasks to our surprise were conducted in one day. They conducted all the tasks within the afternoon and although we didn’t have Lecturette and group obstacle race, all the other items were conducted. My group was cooperative so Group Discussion and Group Planning Exercise went well. Progressive Group Task wasn’t up to standard but was good. Half Group Task was tackled with ease and so was Final Group Task. I was able to do 8 Individual Obstacles, and my Command Task was made challenging at every point I found a way through, he would make it tougher. After this tiring day, we decided to go to the nearby Akshardham temple. To our surprise the auto driver fit 10 of us into one auto, whose tire got punctured, and finally we did go there and arrive back.
- Conference: The day was here, 6 Sep, and since I was 68 , had to wait a long time before being called for the conference. When I went he he just asked me why I felt the Air Force felt different to me? To which I gave an apt answer of saying it us be what normal civilians can’t be, fighter pilots! Then we were directed to lunch and to report back at testing Hall. We all assembled over and the duty GTO came over. He had results in hand and started reading out the chest numbers. Since he read it in a sequence, my number came last. He had announced my number!! Although I had a feeling I could make it, when you hear it from the it is a different experience. We got all the forms filled tht evening itself! Now we had to undergo CPSS but as it wasn’t there yet, I was sent to Mysore to attend it. Unfortunately I couldn’t clear it and hence my medicals were moved to Bhopal MH. ( for Navy)
TES Entry: This was scheduled the next day after my CPSS and so I had to rush there. It was held at Allahabad. I won’t bore you guys by going into too much detail and I’ll keep this entry details short. Since this was now my second entry I was a repeater. The OIR went as normal and my chest number was 219. The PP&DT went well also and even though it was a fish market we manged to try and reach a conclusion. Then I was screened in with chest number 21 out of 29. The procedures here were like normal and we got rest of that day of. The second day was psychology and went same as the previous attempt, was able to do all without any problems, and soon after had my interview slated. The interview was very brief with a few technical questions and wasn’t really that challenging. The next 2 days we had GTO, to the addition of what I had done earlier there was GOR and Lecturette which were exiting. After all this the final day, 21 Sep, we had our conference, and since there were only 29 members the conference got over fast. I hadn’t performed as well as I had in my NDA entry but I was yet able to make it. 4 out of 29 had been recommended from there for the TES entry. Now again as soon as this was over I had to travel to bhopal for my medicals. I reached Bhopal and my medicals went on well. I have been declared fit for navy and fit for army. All documentation has of now been completed and am eagerly awaiting the final merit list. My advice Is that you try and be yourself, try and enjoy your 5 days, make tons of friends, create memorable experiences and you’ll just see the magical hand of God working. Jai Hind!