Hello everyone!! My name is Snehal Pandey. I am originally from Varanasi and have completed my B.E. in Computer Engineering from Gujarat. I have got recommended from 3 AFSB Gandhinagar in my 7th attempt. The journey started from being conference out in my first SSB at 2 AFSB Mysore to finally getting recommended from 3 AFSB Gandhinagar is like the golden ticket to unlock the door of my dream. Undoubtedly, the whole journey was full of thrills, joys, ups and downs but only thing which remained constant was “Never give up” attitude. May be this thinking played a major role why am I here today. I am currently working with TCS, Bangalore and to work in MNC is another privilege I have got years back. Nevertheless, the journey of IT sector and giving SSBs started hand in hand long back in 2016. I attended my first SSB in August, 2016 for Indian Air Force through AFCAT Entry. After learning and experiencing many lessons and failures in SSBs, I convinced myself that this may not be the right time for me or may be I’m not presenting to the highest of my efficiency but I believed and continued to learn from my setbacks to surely make it someday.
The non-recommendations, setbacks, sadness and then again bouncing back with more determination and efforts made me realize the fun in working towards your passionate goal and how sweeter the success tastes after subsequent failures. I started liking the process which is full of exciting challenges that not only taught me how to perform well in SSBs but taught me how to become a better version of myself in this practical world, so called “LIFE”.
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” ―Winston
And so can never leave the thought of working on my passion towards joining Indian Air Force. Being a Fauzi Brat, I have got influenced from my father who is serving in Indian Air force. I have got conference out 4 times and screened out 2 times in my earlier attempts for Air Force, Army and Navy all together. The support of my family was always there on whatever I do and also the guidance and support of my mentor cum friend Anshuman Barman was there at my back who helped me to remain motivated and positive in all my ups and downs. I also took coaching from Olive Greens Chandigarh. This has really helped me realize where I went wrong and helped me mentored in a right direction with the right approach.
So, the journey for 3 AFSB, Gandhinagar begun. I reached Gandhinagar a day before my AFSB date and stayed in hotel which I have booked earlier near to the bus stand so that it would be easier for me to reach on time to bus stand where we were all instructed to assemble at 6 AM on the very next day.
All the candidates
up and Air force coach came to pick
us from bus station. As this is
the day for giving
yourself to avail the
prestigious opportunity to
showcase your personality for the
next 5 days. It was
to be calm and have the
proper rest. So, I had good food
a sound sleep
to make myself run
whole day effectively without
any additional fuel 🙂
We reached 3 AFSB campus area, it’s a newly constructed and bigger in size than the previous board. We were asked to take out our mandatory documents and form a queue. We were all segregated according to screened out candidates, repeaters candidates and the recommended candidates. I was standing in the repeaters batch. Then our documentation process had started. After document check, we have been given the chest numbers and my CHEST No. was 157. I was fully energized to kick off my day. Then the 1st day, 1st phase of testing started. We had our screening test.
DAY 1 : Screening Day (Morning hours) – This consists of Officers Intelligence Rating (OIR) test and Picture Perception and Discussion Test (PPDT). As everybody knows we must have to clear phase 1 in order to reach second phase of testing also known as Phase 2 which will last for another 4/5 days. We were all asked to be seated in a hall for OIR testing. Once the OIR test is completed, we had 15 mins of break for having breakfast. The breakfast was delicious. My OIR went pretty good and so I was happy with my performance. Then we were called in the hall for PPDT testing in 2 groups i.e. freshers and repeaters separate groups. Picture perception started. In picture, a hospital scene was shown where there were 3 people in the picture, a lady is lying on the bed with a baby in her hand and an old lady is approaching the door. After describing the
picture on the sheet of paper in the allotted time, we were divided into batch of 15 candidates for the group discussion which is a part of PPDT. I confidently narrated my story and contributed well in the group discussion. I made sure that I shouldn’t repeat my points, listen to others and add the relevant points to where the group is proceeding. It was a real chaos but finally we were concluded with our PPDT test.
Total of 75 candidates got screened in out of 170. I was one among them. I was thrilled to hear my Chest number. The screened in candidates were provided with new Chest numbers and were instructed for the further process. My Chest Number was 71. After the detailed documentation check is done, our phones have been submitted. After this, we again lined up as per our chest numbers and got the privilege to give our names for the choice of food we would like to have in the course of our stay. It could be either vegetarian, eggetarian or non vegetarian food. We were then allotted our rooms and our room name was “Hunter”.
We were instructed to refresh and settle ourselves for a couple of hours and to report back at 7
PM in the evening for the next phase of testing i.e. Phase 2 which is Psychological Test.
DAY 1 : Psychological Test (Evening hours)- We all reported to the assembly area and were taken to the testing hall for Psych testing which includes Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation Reaction Test( SRT) and the Self-description (SD). This was the SSB where I have not prepared anything for TAT, WAT or SRT making myself sit in a room and practicing. This time I have just worked on my thinking ability, I started focusing on and noticing the things more deeply and intellectually wherever I go. This I have inculcated into my daily routine. Similarly, for the words, I started reading articles and self-help books which modified my thinking skills from inside and this ultimately helped me to write better sentences naturally with ease. As I had already prepared for the SD, so it was easier for me to complete that as well.
DAY 2 : It was off for our batch. We visited Dandi Ashram and Gandhi Museum. It was fantastic roaming with new friends, exploring and learning from the new city. We came back to the board before the allotted time and then after having dinner in the mess, we were all preparing and discussing for our next day activities which were for some candidates only GT means ground task was scheduled and for others GT and interview both were scheduled for the same day. Mine was the earlier case.
DAY 3 : Group Testing (GT) – It is generally comprises of 10 tasks. For us, there were only 8 tasks and got completed in a day. Here is the list below:
1. Group Discussion 1 – As usual the group discussion was on a global topic basically consists of what going at the world level.
2. Group Discussion 2 – It holds the very basic topic related our day to day lifestyle.
3. Group Planning Exercise (GPE)
4. Progressive Group Task (PGT)
5. Half Group Task (HGT)
6. Individual Obstacles (IO)
7. Command Task (CT)
8. Final Group Task (FGT)
DAY 4 : I had my interview scheduled on this day. The interview lasted for around 30 mins for me and I was happy after coming out from the interview room as it was satisfactory from my end. After all the tasks were completed, we were permitted to go out and visit well known Akshardham temple of Lord Swaminarayana. This temple’s history and facts reflects 10,000 years old India’s culture, spirituality and beautiful architecture. We visited there and witnessed the beautiful temple and attended the magnificent musically light and fountain show.
DAY 5 : After the whole process got completed, then comes the final day, in our terms the D- Day of SSB, THE CONFERENCE DAY.
We all sat in PPDT room and being called one by one to attend the conference where as per my guess approximately 21 officers were sitting in a horse Shoe manner. My turn came up, I entered the room, stood in front of the chair. One of the officers greeted me with a loud and clear confident voice “GOOD AFTERNOON SNEHAL!” I greeted him back with all the respect and confidence “GOOD AFTERNOON SIR!!”. He asked me to have a seat. After thanking him, I took my seat.
As per my performance, I was quite sure that it wont take much time inside the conference hall. I did well. The same happened. After the couple of questions and the routine questions, I was asked to leave. After coming out, I was worried about the couple of questions being asked in conference but was happy that I have answered it correctly as per me. After everyone’s conference got over, we had a wait of around half an hour.
After the short wait, then comes the lady officer for announcing the results. The heartbeat was at its maximum rate. I was excited yet little nervous to know the result. The moment came when the lady officer announced my chest number. Chest Number “71″, I was above cloud nine. I came out from my row and stand in front of everybody on the stage. I was still recalling the words in my mind, my chest number got announced, my chest number got announced.:) Everyone clapped for me and other candidates who got recommended along with me. That was the proudest moment of my life. I wanted to cry with happiness but somehow controlled that time. The lady officer congratulated us and asked to meet our friends and report back to the hall ASAP for further proceedings.
I met my friends I made there, specially my squad members named Hunter. They all congratulated me and I cried hugging my friends as this was my last attempt through AFCAT entry for IAF and I got recommended. It was one of the happiest moments of my life and the proudest moment ever. I then proceeded for my further documentation. In evening, after our final documentation procedure got completed, we were given the phones to us. I immediately called my parents, my father picked up the call and worriedly asked me whether I’m okay, why my phone was off. I said yes I’m fine. He said okay you come to home whatever happens, happens for the good, no problem, we are happy, you reached till here, reaching here itself is the big achievement. I said, “papa I got recommended for Indian Air Force”. He was silent for few seconds and burst out crying in happiness. Listening to him I got overwhelmed with tears in my eyes. I was overwhelmed that I made my parents proud on me. I reached one step ahead towards achieving my goal. He handed over the phone to my Mom and I told the best news of the day.
She was very happy and both blessed me on call. Then I called my sister, she started dancing listening to the news and congratulated me. Then I called my friend, my mentor Anshuman who has helped me in clearing every stage of this worthy goal. He jumped out loud and was so very happy knowing this news.
The next goal of mine in this process was to clear the medicals of IAF. I went to home, I ate for 2–3 days nicely. Then I resumed my workouts and started focusing on clearing my medicals. I finally cleared my medicals in one shot and declared “FIT” for joining the Indian Air Force. I was so happy and now the wait was only to get into the merit and to join the worthy academy to get the privilege to serve our nation. There is a twist in this story. This was indeed heart breaking for me that I didn’t make up to the merit list for IAF. This was my last attempt for IAF. But I know there are few SSBs for Army which I would give to my best again and would come out with real flying colors. In this whole journey, SSBCrack had always played a significant role by motivating us through the success and inspirational stories and I am grateful that today I am getting the privilege to share my story. At last I would like to say,
“Its not about how hard you get hit, its about how hard you hit back, this is how a winning is done!!”