Hello Warriors! I, Navaal, was recommended in my first attempt for CDS/IMA-149 from 11 SSB, Allahabad on the 5th of March, 2020. Coming from a 100% “Civvie” background meant that everyone around me thought that my wanting to join the Army was a phase. Of course, I was just waiting for my final semester of Engineering to go for the SSB and had been building up my fitness and knowledge continuously. This is not just the story of my recommendation. This is the beginning of your recommendation story.
The goal in my mind was singular and focused- Get recommended in the first attempt. First let’s debunk a common SSB myth. You don’t need outstanding achievements in sports, academics, extra curriculars to clear the SSB. What you do need is the right personality type. Sports and extra curriculars simply help shape this personality.
Everyone planning to attend the SSB must know the complete procedure inside out and SSBCrack has multiple resources on the same, so I won’t delve into that.
Clearing the first day of screening tests is a simple matter of basic intelligence, creativity and confidence. Practicing OIR tests beforehand will give you the confidence needed to complete all the questions in the alloted time with good accuracy. Use your creativity to make a sensible story for the picture given in the PPDT and confidently narrate the same to your group. Now you’ve been screened in with a few other candidates who have shown potential. The next day brings with it the battery of Psych Tests for which a lot of Do’s and Don’ts are available online but the only Do’s and Don’ts that you must adhere to are the ones given by the psychologist right before the test. I aimed to give my first response (or second incase the first one was extremely foolish or juvenile) to every question in the psych tests and tried to solve as many as possible. Go with a mindset to attempt as many as possible while maintaining decent responses. At the end of the tests, I had managed to do each and every question. Improve your writing speed and read books to enhance your creativity which is much needed in these tests. What I noticed was that if you have done adventure activities or participated in sports/extra curriculars, when an image or word is flashed to you , the memory of your activities will help you to write the most natural and best fit story/sentence possible. Thus, there’s no quick fix to psychology. You must develop that mindset over time through your experiences. At the end of the Psych tests, I realised that if one of my friends had been given all my answer sheets without knowing that I had attempted these, they would have been able to guess that they had been written by me. The four tests when attempted honestly will together create a personality type which represents you.
The GTO tasks are basic problem solving outdoor tasks along with a few tasks to check your communication skills and knowledge. In all group discussions make sure to remain calm and composed throughout. Give your best points and let others give theirs too without trying to dominate the conversation. Imagine you’re already an officer and are simply having a discussion with your coursemates! Understand the basics of the outdoor tasks and you’ll automatically generate ideas when an obstacle is placed before you. Always remember that these are group tasks and you will only be able to tackle the obstacles through teamwork and cooperation. Have the mindset that your entire group must be recommended because it is possible. It always helps to have a basic level of fitness for the GTO tasks. There’s no need to try and portray OLQs or any other leadership qualities. If you do your tasks well, your best qualities will automatically show. Let the academy develop your OLQs and leadership qualities, that’s what training is for! Lastly, enjoy the group tasks with your group members and tackle all the obstacles with utmost self confidence! My personal interview went on for 15 minutes in which questions were asked from my degree syllabus, current affairs, armed forces knowledge and personal questions. Prepare your PIQ well without any false information and know yourself inside out. That means knowing your strengths and your weaknesses. Can’t find any weakness/strengths in you? Ask your family and friends and they will provide a comprehensive list of both! Introspection is the key to improving upon yourself and developing the right personality.
Do not prepare for the SSB. Prepare for life. Develop your personality to be kind, compassionate and thoughtful. Develop your mind to be disciplined, resilient and calloused. If you have the opportunity, speak to serving/retired officers. Not to get some secret cheat codes to clear the SSB but to understand how officers think, speak and act and how you can inculcate the same in your life. Together, a fit body and mind can achieve great things. Don’t play any sports? Start running a few times a week and see the changes that come with it. Don’t have any hobbies? Start reading and notice your knowledge and awareness grow. Start small and keep going till you find greatness, howsoever you define it. We’re all waiting to read your recommendation story!
Finally, wherever you are and whatever you might be doing; Always find an excuse to win. Because it pays to be a winner!