Hello everyone, I am Sonal Raj, from New Delhi and I have cleared my AFSB in my fourth attempt and have secured All India Rank 71 (Men) in the order of merit for AFCAT July 22 Couse. In total, I have appeared in a total of three AFCAT Exams and one NDA exam and cleared all the written exams.
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As far as AFSB is concerned, I was conference out in my previous 3 attempts from AFSB Mysore and AFSB Gandhinagar. In my previous attempts, I believe I was lagging behind in my psychological aspect and would tend to write a very detailed solution in My SRTs. This would waste a lot of time and hence I was not able to complete my SRTs in time.
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After my failed attempt at NDA in 2014, I appeared for JEE Main and cleared it to get admission in engineering. At the time of branch selection, I choose Electronics and Communication Engineering, so that my engineering stream options are also open for the Indian Air Force. Coming from an IAF background, I was a clear about the requirements of the various streams of the Indian Air Force.
In my final year in 2018, I started appearing for the AFCAT exam and cleared it twice continuously. In both these attempts, I was conference out and decided to take a break from SSBs to ascertain the reason of my continuous failures.
In the meanwhile, I cleared GATE and joined a PSU to continue a life and decided to attempt the chances left for AFSBs. Then the dreaded Corona virus arrived in 2020, and due to constant panic and a state of confusion I could not appear for AFCAT in the next two chances.
Eventually I again gathered some motivation and confidence, and appeared in AFCAT 2/2021. I was very stressed in this attempt as it was my last attempt and I wanted to give my 200% efforts to make sure I don’t repeat my previous mistakes.
Fortunately, I cleared the written exam and selected AFSB Mysore for my SSB. I never took a formal coaching for my SSB as I believed that it is a personality test and you can’t be coached. But I used the internet to read about the procedures, correct techniques and tips to perform better in the AFSB. Several YouTube videos and SSBCrack blogs later, I went for the final AFSB attempt on 18 October 2021.
In the morning, I was confident of the screening test as I was able to clear it in every attempt. My PPDT was very good and my story was selected as the common group story without much discussion and hence I was sure of making it to the Stage 2 of AFSB. After stage 1 completion, results were announced and I was screen in.
In the afternoon, we were taken for the psychological test. My goal was to complete the SRTs and WATs properly as I was not able to complete them in my previous attempts. I wrote to the point reactions and sentences and fortunately, I was able to complete my entire set of SRTs and WATs.
Next day was my Group task and we were divided in a group of 13 people. In the group planning exercise, I was able to prioritize and assess the situation reasonably well and hence again, I was able to convince the group about my solution and hence I was selected as the presenter. In the group exercises, I tried to be calm and innovative to my maximum limit.
Also, I supported the workable ideas where I couldn’t get one myself. In my command task, I was called in the end. I felt my task was bit tricky and I was thinking for a long time. Suddenly the GTO started reminding me that only 5 minutes are left. I panicked but to my benefit I came across a good workable idea and was confident again. My command task end on a good note.
On the next day, my interview was scheduled for 11 Am and I was asked to wait outside the office. Suddenly an airmen came and asked me to accompany him. During that walk, I was told that the commandant will take my interview.
I was bit nervous but was able to hold on to my nerves. In the waiting area, I went through top news of the day from the newspaper and went inside the cabin with a smiling face. My interview was primarily on my job, Defence background and my hobbies. My interview lasted for about 50 minutes and I was satisfied with my performance.
Then the dreaded waiting period began. We had a free day but since it was covid, we weren’t allowed to book out. I had good discussions with my roommates and tried to remain positive about the result.
On the results day, we were called in for the conference and were asked to wait in the waiting room. Everyone was called one by one, and my sequence was 17. After Chest number 16 went outside, I was made to wait for around 15 minutes outside the conference room.
Those 15 minutes seemed 15 hours long. Finally, I was called in and the commandant asked me about the food. The conference was over in a jiffy.
After the conference, we were served lunch and asked to wait for the results. After around half an hour, a senior wing commander came with a piece of paper. I was having goosebumps. The Wg Cdr announced two chest number, #1 and #17.
I couldn’t believe I made it through in my last attempt. It was a very emotional moment for me and a very proud moment as well.
I met all my friends, bid them goodbye and completed the paperwork. As I already passed the PABT during my NDA, I was free to leave with my medical date.
My medicals were scheduled on 5 January 2022 at AFCME, Delhi. After a thorough checkup, I was declared fit and finally waited for the merit list.
On 28 May 2022, order of merit was released and I was AIR 71 (Boys). It was at that moment, the entire journey from my first attempt to the last attempt crossed in front of my eyes and I was filled with tears of joy and excitement. My parents, family and friends were very happy and proud of me. This made the celebrations even more joyful.
During all these attempts I have realized that where there’s a will, there is always a way. We should dream big and strive hard to achieve it.
See you in blues super soon hopefully.