Today I feel privileged to share my success story on SSBCRACK. I am sure my story will motivate all the defense aspirants, especially repeaters. It is well said, “Arise awake and stop not till the goal is achieved” by Swami Vivekanand. So, I never stopped and followed my goal. Jai Hind to all defense aspirants I am Piyush Tayade and have done B-tech in Electronics and Telecommunication (2020) from SGGSIE and T Nanded Maharashtra. I recently got recommended in INET entry for SSC(Electrical) course in my 7th attempt. currently, I am pursuing my postgraduation from IIT Roorkee. I have attended all available naval selection boards (Never wanted to). But destiny had something else stored for me.
My father has served in BSF and joining defense forces was always my dream, a dream which never let me sleep. And the words of doctor kalam “Always Dream Big” kept resonating.
This was my 7th attempt. I got screened out in my first 4 attempts (Maybe I was too desperate to get selected) and decided to take a break for almost 1 year and prepare well for SSB and take guidance. So first of all, I decided to have a good backup.
So, I got admission to IIT Roorkee for my postgraduation (Yeahh, through my gate score), which kind of made me confident to attend SSB. Also, I went for guidance, to crack this problem of getting Screened out every time and understood the whole process very well. Thanks to SSBCRACK informative page for the valuable guidance. My mother supported me in all my decisions and knew what I want to do in my life.
I began my long journey way back in August 2016. My attempts are listed below:
|Navy (10+2) Btech Entry (2016)||SCREENED OUT NSB Coimbatore|
|Army (TES) Entry (2017)||SCREENED OUT 11 SSB Allahabad|
|Air force (AFCAT-flying) (2020)||SCREENED OUT 3AFSB Gandhinagar|
|Navy (INET-Pilot) (2020)||SCREENED OUT 12 SSB Bangalore|
|Navy (INET-General service(X)) (2021)||CONFERENCE OUT 33 SSB Bhopal|
|Navy (INET-General service (Electrical)) (2021)||CONFERENCE OUT NSB Kolkata|
|Navy (INET-General service (Electrical)) (2021)||RECOMMENDED NSB Visakhapatnam|
To sum up my first 4 attempts, I could not speak confidently during narration, my stories were not up to the mark, failure to contribute in the group. All this resulted in getting screened out.
(I used to think that, how much longer would I have to wait, how many more years would I have to face failure, wondering if there was some greater purpose out there waiting for me? I knew right then that if I didn’t make a stand and start walking the path of most resistance, I would end up in the mental hell forever. Doing something else just for the sake of earning money!)
5th Attempt 33SSB Bhopal (July 2021): So, on the first attempt after taking coaching and preparing for all possible tests, I was pretty confident for my 5th attempt. Got screened in, but the happiness didn’t last as I got C/O due to poor show in my interview. Only 1 of us was recommended
(TIP: Overconfident is not good for your health.)
Went home and noted every bit and what had gone wrong. The Next attempt was SSC-tech army but could not attend due to my midterms at college (Backup option hai I know but Midterm ki priority jyada hai Bhai.)
Similar to this I have almost missed 7-8 SSB of SSC tech, TGC, and Coast guard SSB due to other reasons. This quality of setting priority will help in SSB interview (GPE) and in your life ultimately.
6th Attempt NSB Kolkata: I was pretty calm and composed; aware of the process completely. Made a bunch of good friends; got screened in again.
(I understood what they are expecting during the screening process very well. TIP: Only OIR pdf available on SSBCRACK are more than sufficient for clearing the OIR test)
Psych went well (my strong area because I know what they are expecting from a candidate), GTO was a bit messed up this time, being with repeater group, I found it tough to contribute well during the group task.
But I contributed and tried my best in every task. During my PI, I was too much honest with my answers, which backfired, and got worried when I could not answer one or two questions.
(TIP: Keep your answer to the point. Jitna poocha utna batao. Respected IO interested hoga to cross-question karege, then answer that part.)
Though I was expecting that ‘is Baar toh ho jayega’, after the conference, results were announced; my friend got recommended. We expected more would get recommended. Completely shattered after the results. We all went to places in Kolkata and I boarded my return train sadly on that night.
The fight wasn’t over yet!
Before the 7th attempt: I returned from Kolkata. I had my college exam within just 4 days. So, I was studying all the time, ignoring my physical health. After the exams, I noticed that my left hand has lost its strength.
I could not lift my left hand at all. Shocked by this, I went to all nearby hospitals. They all referred me to a neurologist. The doctor concluded that I had suffered from a nerve injury. Got treated for almost 1 week. Costing around 1 lakh bill.
After getting discharged, doctors advised me to go through physiotherapy sessions to recover fast and regain my strength. During this whole encounter, my mind was stuck on a single thought. “I have to get through this and I can’t give up on my dreams.”
When the depression started smothering me, it blotted out all lights and left me with nothing to cling onto for hope. All I saw was negativity. For me, the only way to make it through that was to feed off my depression. I had to flip it and convince myself that all that self-doubt and anxiety was confirmation that I was no longer living an aimless life.
Thanks to my close friend who were there when I need to talk with them and share small things.
PS: While I was in the hospital I applied for this entry; my family was a bit furious but did not argue with me. They tried to convince me that I should continue my education at IIT, instead of thinking about defense services because of my medical condition. But there was not a single day, I would not have thought about my dream of joining the Indian Navy. Thanks to my friends who kept checking on me during my time at the hospital.
After 20 days of painful physiotherapy and dozens of medicines, I lifted my hand. But strength was not like old times and I have gained almost 12 kgs due to complete bed-rest. So, I sought out pain, fell in love with the suffering.
After 10 days I received mail from IIT Roorkee that we have to return back to the campus. So, I packed everything and my parent told me to focus more on my studies. But in the back of my mind, there was only one thing.
I reached Roorkee and it felt good to visit the new place after such a long time. College days were back and I even did well in the exams and have secured around 8.4 CGPA. In addition to that, I maintained my self-physiotherapy using the Thera-band and jog slowly to the ground on the campus.
And it’s okay to be cruel to yourself as long as you realize you’re doing it to become better. Because pain is just in our mind. All I knew was that there would pe pain and there would pe purpose. And that I was ready.
I received my call letter for attending my next SSB. It was scheduled for 15th Dec at NSB Visakhapatnam. The first thing that crossed my mind was regarding my medical condition. So, I reduced my weight and started doing yoga as much as possible. Then I promised myself that I will attend the SSB interview only if I could do 10 push-ups. Initially, I could not even get into the plank position, falling over my face, tasted dust.
But didn’t give up. I’d hold myself accountable to the goals I’d set.
I believed in my preparations booked a flight with my friend. Departed Roorkee station without informing my professors and boarded flight for Vizag on 13th December.
7TH ATTEMPT NSB VISAKHAPATNAM
DAY 1: Around 80-90 reported on day 1. From previous experience, I was pretty much confident about getting screened in. OIR was easy and PPDT also went well. Gave 2-3 good points (that adds value to the discussion) and listened to others’ points.
Only 14 of us were screened in.
DAY 2: PSYCH tests:
It started around 8:00 am. After breakfast, the psychologist officer briefed about the test.
TAT (Thematic Apperception Test) started well and completed the stories within the given time. Came up with new ideas. Avoided any pre-conceived ideas.
(TIP: Don’t overdo solving new-new TAT set. Instead, try to come up with new ideas for 1 image. Make a group of aspirants or brainstorm yourself. This habit will overcome your mental block during the actual test.)
(PS: Try to come up with original ideas. On the conference day before the result announcement; the Psychologist mam here was so good that she told us that, she does read all the stories available on all possible online platforms. And they are looking for a unique and positive response from candidates.
So, give them what they want. That’s it!)
I could write a very well response to the WAT (Word association test). Did 60/60.
(TIP: Don’t practice it too much, try to solve 4-5 available free sets on the YouTube channel.)
In SRT (situation reaction test) I could only solve 42 SRT out of 60. And wrote a descriptive SDT (Self-description test) within the given time.
(TIP: Go for a quality response. Even at the entry gate of NSB Vizag, it is written in bold “QUALITY ALWAYS”!)
Overall, I was satisfied with my attempt after the psych test. Some of us had an interview on the same day and others were free to enjoy the day.
DAY 3: On this day our GTO day 1 was scheduled. We were divided into groups of 7-7 candidates.
Both GD went well and I stick to the lead that I have chosen, added points that contributed some value to the discussion. Allowed others to speak and listen to their opinions. Quoted some real-life examples.
(TIP: Find pause and bring back the group to the given topic when others start getting diverged. Don’t shout at others and let others finish when they are speaking)
After two GD, GPE (Group planning exercise) started. GTO always explains the test thoroughly. Listen to every instruction properly. In GPE 4 problems were, to prioritize as per the severity and use all available resources.
Keep in mind the time and distance while executing the action. Write the solution properly as GTO is going to read that solution. The same points are to be kept in mind during the discussion as mentioned above.
Narrate the common solution only if you are nominated by others. Avoid self-nomination. I contributed well and was satisfied with my performance.
(TIP: Never forget the original aim of that group of students for which they have come to that place in GPE.)
Next was PGT(Progressive group task), listen to all rules mentioned by GTO. When GTO is showing the structures try to make a plan in your mind before actual execution. Try to take the whole group on the other side and don’t move ahead till all the members have reached the finish line.
Give valid solutions and listen to others when you are stuck with them. I solved the PGT 1st and 2nd obstacle and took help from my teammate to tackle the third obstacle.
(TIP: Never break the rules, don’t look at GTO while performing the assigned task)
Next was the Snake race. Here the catch is to never break the color rule, move as a team, be high on josh with the slogan. It’s a very fun and physically tiring task.
After a small break then, we had HGT (Half Group task), our group was divided into even-odd combinations. Basic rules are the same here as in PGT. It went well and we finished the task very quickly.
After that our day was concluded and we were free now. Some had interviews on that day.
DAY 4: It started early in the morning with Individual Obstacles (IO). Here look at the structure placement while GTO is moving all candidates explaining every obstacle. Make a planned route to be followed in your mind and execute as per it. I did 12 obstacles in 3 minutes.
(TIP: Don’t have pre-conception that double ditch is hard or tiger leap is tough. Go and try at least once saying Jay Mata di. Show courage here as much as possible. With basic physical fitness all 10 obstacles are coverable.)
After Individual Obstacle we had our lecturette. I choose “banking scams in India” out of 4 options and spoke well on the topic.
(TIP: here don’t be afraid of public speaking. Next during the 3 min, preparation time make a mind map of points to be covered. Plan a small intro, body, and small conclusion. Be disciplined and finish up in the stipulated time.)
Next was the Command task. Till now GTO has got a fair idea about a good candidate from the whole lot. And rest of the tests are confirmatory tests. In the command task, answer all questions honestly asked by GTO during the briefing. Select your subordinates wisely.
When my turn came, I gave the solution quickly, then GTO told me that I don’t have balli how will I solve it? I gave another solution.
Then the white structure was turned into the blue to increase the difficulty. Still, I solved it. Later GTO told me that I am the only one left inside the obstacle and I have to give the solution for the third approach in the obstacle. He started putting time pressure and somehow, I solved it in the end.
(TIP: In command task you are commander, so be one. And lead your team, instead of passing the orders to them. The behavior you show here in 5 days will reflect your true nature and decide your selection.)
At last Full group task (FGT) was conducted and only an obstacle is to be tackled. It was simpler to solve, still, give your best.
(TIP: All tests are important in GTO.)
Personal Interview (On day 4)
After the GTO day, I was informed that my interview is scheduled for noon. I got ready within 10 min with all the documents I was waiting in the waiting hall. Calmed my pounding heart and promised myself that this time everything will be fine. Put up a big smile and I was asked to enter the interview room.
After entering I wished him “Good Afternoon Sir!”. He wished me back and asked me to take a seat.
Interviewing Officer (IO): “How do reach Visakhapatnam?”
ME: “I took a bus and reached Ghaziabad and took a flight from Delhi accompanied by a friend attending SSB. Shared room and reached SSB centre from MCO office by SSB board bus!”
(TIP: Give importance to details! Don’t lie!)
IO: “Ok Piyush, Tell me about Buldana!”
ME: Answered briefly with mentioning all details and included all places of importance.
(TIP: Keep smiling and relax. Don’t be tensed it’s just a normal conversation. Keep telling your conscious mind that it’s ok and it’s not a war zone.)
Further IO questioned thoroughly about my family background, how I spent time with my family, who all is there in my family, quality of father I like and I don’t like, quality of mother I like and I don’t like, compare myself with my sister. How do I contribute to my family, with whom I am closer to mom or dad, and why?
Be sensible while answering and keep your response mature. That’s what they are expecting from a candidate.
After that IO asked me “To tell him about my educational background, subjects I like, the teacher I like and teacher I don’t like, how I managed my expenses, what all exams that I have appeared, how was my performance, why I choose science only, how was my college experiences, and many other questions.”
(TIP: Keep your answer to the point and don’t explain everything in detail, until and unless asked.)
Further, IO asked me about “What all friends I have, name them, what they are doing, how I spent time with them, qualities common between you and them, qualities you don’t like in them, and so on.”
(TIP: Don’t make up names of the friends. Because if you lie and in the later stage of the interview if IO asks about any friend that doesn’t exist then you would be in trouble.)
Most of the interview part was around qualities and by my answers, IO got a fair idea about my personality and who I am.
Next, “How I spent my free time, what are my hobbies, sports that I play, any achievement in them, place of responsibility that I hold, what are my strengths and weakness, and what are my future aspirations”
I answered every question. There are no perfect answers. Everybody will have a unique answer to such a question. Take your time and do brainstorming to come up with your ideas.
(TIP: Also, never try to lie or bluff during the interview because the IO is very very experienced and has seen thousands of candidates like us.
He understands when we are lying and when we are being truthful. And also, it gets easier as we keep the conversation truthful.)
Next, my daily routine was asked,
With all these things do have an insight into your own life experiences. When IO asks about qualities or opinions. He may ask to quote an example from our life to support what we have been saying. So, know yourself better.
Further, IO asked me about my previous attempts in detail and why I could not make in them. What went wrong and where I was lacking. Here accept your mistakes honestly. Tell the truth and how you have improved yourself this time. Always know while doing anything that “Why you are doing this?”, know your purpose and give your best.
The reason for joining the armed forces will be unique for every one of us. So instead of telling others’ reasons. Ask yourself, dig deep into your aspirations. Know your strength and weaknesses. convey it to the IO and how you are working upon it.
My interview lasted for 50-55 min. But I didn’t realize how time flew and felt like a normal conversation
After the interview, our whole group played games, talked, laughed, and enjoyed ourselves a lot.
We all got up early, packed our bags as per the instruction. Get ready in our well-ironed formals. After breakfast, we were briefed about the procedure of the conference. When to enter where to sit and whom to address during the conference. We all were excited and expecting the desired results. After the last 4 days of performance, I was confident that this was the best performance that I could have performed in any SSB. Still waited for my turn patiently. Motivated fresher to keep calm and confident during the conference. An officer of the captain rank, motivated all of us and told us what qualities they are looking for, and asked us to remain focused on our goal.
Chest no 12 was called, I went in and greeted all a common good morning and waited behind my seat till I was permitted to seat.
Question asked during the conference: How was your performance? How was your stay? Rate your performance out of 10!; Any suggestion?.
I was pretty much confident in my answers and kept a constant smile. It ended quickly. We returned to the mess and after lunch, went to the waiting hall for our results.
Everyone was excited and we’re hoping to make it this time. Psychologist mam arrived. She opened the result file announced my name and congratulated me and left. Everyone started to clap and congratulated me. Yes, it was the best feeling. And one of the most beautiful days of my life.
Know the process well and what they are expecting from you. Know yourself better. Focus more on your performance and the group aim. Let the accessors worry about OLQ’s (15 Officer like qualities) that they are testing you for. Keep your mind and body fit! Add small changes to your daily routine that will help in the SSB. Because we cannot change our life instantly, it’s about moving the needle bit by bit and making those changes sustainable.
PS: I have been declared fit. Now I am waiting for my joining letter. Till then feel free to contact me if you need any kind of help.
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