By : Abhinay Yadav
Hello everyone. A warm “Hi” to all the defence forces aspirants. This is something I have written for all you people to learn and realize what is the easiest and according to me the most effective way of clearing the SSB interview. Corrections are welcomed by everyone.
Before my 3rd and the last attempt for NDA, I went to other two interviews at Bangalore(conference out) and Dehradun(screened out) for NDA entry, so I would say that my experience is a great tutor in all the things. So it was my last chance for NDA entry. I was called up on the first date at 4AFSB, Varanasi. I had reached one day earlier because it is preferable to reach a day prior rather than depending on the train to reach on time. The reporting time was 6:45 in the morning, but I was already late by 10 minutes, please Gentlemen, don’t do it like me, because your first impression of going late is a bit disgusting and you start feeling low right from the first moment of interview’s start.
So there was a huge crowd of young chaps, much of them were studying in their school, rest of the mature faces could be recognized easily. We were taken by the bus to the AFSB which is hardly 300m from the reporting point. And here begins the journey, in just 2 minute of ride, we try making friends by introducing ourselves, and this is really helpful to remove the nervousness that comes when you are in escort of defence personals.
A total of 184 candidates reported on that day. We are required to fill a declaration form, regarding our Name, UPSC roll number etc. Then they took us to the testing hall, they made us to sit there and wait for our turn to get our documents verified. So your patience test starts here. Be calm and remain seated till your number is called. After that they conducted the very first test called OFFICER’S INTELLIGENCE RATING(OIR) TEST:
A series of questions based on Verbal and Non verbal comes in this test. Anybody of average intelligence can score really well, but what we need to do is to keep our mind cool and don’t bother about the little time given to us for this test. We need to be quick, and a bit decisive because if we get stucked in any question, we should leave it and move forward because it happens that difficult questions are in starting but in end there are really easy questions, so the tip for this test is to keep the pace fast and mind to be kept calm so that mind can work effectively.
After this, the screening tests are conducted:
PPDT(Picture perception & description test):- A hazy picture is shown to us and we have to write the story that comes to our mind looking at that picture stating the number of characters, their age, their gender and their mood. You can mark the characters by circling them. The instructions would be given in advance, so please listen to them carefully when the authority is showing you the demonstration.
After that we will be given the picture & it will be shown for 30sec, after that 4 minutes will be given to write the story. Please be quick while writing the story and give a suitable name to the hero, his age should be preferably yours and mood must be positive or sometime neutral. Try avoiding negative mood for your hero. Write a story based on the first thought that comes to your mind, write what happened before the scene shown, what is happening in that moment & what will happen after the scene.
After this we need to first narrate our story to the whole group and then discuss it among our group to finally come up with a group story. While narrating the story, we should have enough confidence and our voice should be loud enough to be audible to our group members, narrate your story to your group not to the assessors. Never look at them, and narrate it to every member of your group. While discussing the story, try to initiate the discussion with the approach to form a group story rather than discussing your own story. Try to find as to what the group story would be based on, speak some relevant points on the group story, rather than just shouting same point again and again. Speak up for three to four times, if your discussion is going like a fish market, try convincing your group members to discuss one by one, if they still don’t stop doing so, keep it quiet and speak up when it is right time. Our effort should be the contribution in the group story, accept the valuable points of other group members and present your thoughts nicely. If you think you are able to understand all the points of the group story while discussion and you were able to convince your group members enough, you can narrate the group story, but if not, avoid raising your name forcefully, it would create a negative impression rather than becoming a leader. Be humble and polite in your discussion.
After this lunch is served to us, and just after that results of screening test is announced. A total of 62 candidates got screened in and the rest 122 were screened out.
Day 2: PABT and Psychological tests: In the morning, we were again assembled in the testing hall and told about the next phase of testing for air force candidates. An instrument reading test is conducted, we are told about the instruments and we have to make reading and then answer the questions followed. Listening to the instructions of the officer is enough to understand the instruments. Please be attentive while they are telling you about the instruments. After this test, the results are announced as to who will continue for the next test of machine battery test. Then a kind of 2 games is to be played by us, you will understand the instructions easily, we are given 3 chances for both the games, one chance gives enough experience to do well in next attempt. After this results are announced of PABT.
1. TAT(Thematic apperception test):
A series of 12 pictures are shown to us depicting various scenes of our life. There are 11 pictures followed by one blank picture on which we can write anything what we want. The method to write the stories is just the same as that of PPDT, but the difference is that characters are not marked. But the main hero is still to be mentioned inside the story. The tip for this activity is to write the very first thought that comes to your mind seeing the picture because your first thought shows the actual personality you have in real life. Don’t try bluffing here because the psychologist is intelligent enough to trace out all the things that are not related to you. While writing the story, we have to focus on the steps taken by the hero, because the more you elaborate on the effort, the story seems more real. We have to give practical solutions to our story. There is nothing write nor anything wrong in the story, the psychologist just checks the thoughts you are having seeing that picture.
2. WAT(Word association test):
60 words one after another are flashed for 15 seconds each, we are required to write down a sentence on the word flashed. I wrote down simply the first thought that had come to my mind. I avoided the use of modals (could, can, should, may, etc). This needs a bit practice, but if however modals come in your thought, do write it but few times. Speed and being brief helps do well in this task. I completed all 60 words in time.
3. SRT(Situation Reaction Test):
60 situations are presented before us relating to us the daily life problems that come are way. The best formula to do all the situations is to think “What a responsible situation would do”. Being realistic and practical with our answers helps us to do this task well. We should avoid simply the decision, but write something how to do so. Doing so helps the psychologist analyze whether you will actually do this if you are encountered with this situation or not. And one more thing, be true with your solution, it should be your original decision, so that you do not contradict with yourself because your interviewing officer and psychologist discuss about you in conference, and they should get the same person with their analysis. Be intelligent too, read carefully the situation, because we sometime assume some unnecessary things even when they are not present. For example, there was a situation: “You were riding on your bicycle, you see some men walking towards you with Lathis in their hand, what you will do”. I simply wrote I will ride from the side of the road. Where is it written they will harm you or they are coming to search you? So show your intelligent mind here. Also avoid writing two solutions, be sticked to whatever comes to your mind, and show your first solution will work out rather than having doubts in your decision. There will be situations repeating twice or thrice, so write the same solution as you did previously. Be brief with your solution. I did 55 situations and I was satisfied with my job.
4. SD(Self Description Test):
Five questions are told by the psychologist and we have to answer them in paragraph form, in 15 minutes. ask your friends, your parents, your teachers/seniors so as to what they think about you. Note down the strengths and weaknesses about you. Preparing for this task is advisable because time is so less and we wish to write more and more. Being spontaneous in this task may sometime create trouble because we start thinking and we consume a lot of time doing so. also, preparing in advance will help us remember about our strengths and weaknesses, which the interviewer also asks for. Being acceptable for our weaknesses and writing down our ways of improvement do great job. Because none of us is perfect and we do have some weaknesses, but from their point, any person cant improve lest he knows about his weaknesses. So, write down all the true facts about you. Also, do not show your desperation anywhere to join the armed forces. Just simply writing down that I want to serve my nation the best way I suits.
A direct one to one interaction with an interviewing officer probably lasting for 40 min – 1 hour tests your whole personality with whatever you speak, the way you behave with your body. This task is important because this is the chance you can tell everything about you to the person sitting in front of you, be it your participation in games and co-curricular activities. It is all based on your PIQ form, and some questions based on current affairs. He would ask for your introduction in the first question, then proceeding to your education qualifications right from class 8th up to current, the subjects you chose, the teachers you liked, the reason behind that, the friends you had that time. Now after this first Rapid fire, he would again go on for your family, what their occupation, education and your general involvement and kind of relationship you have with them, the things you like about them and what you don’t. Now the questions that he will ask now will be based on the answers you have for the earlier questions he had asked. So its must that you should be honest there because he is intelligent enough to catch you whenever you try to bluff or tell him anything that doesn’t exists in your life at all. So the best thing you can do for your selection is to tell him honestly whatever the things are in reality. This is what I personally did. There would be some questions that you will be unable to answer, so simply say I DON’T KNOW and the questions you think that could have been answered, tell him I WILL TRY TO FIND. Because these will be the questions he will probably ask it in your conference. The thing we can do to do well in this interview is to write all these questions that I have mentioned above in advance, because sometimes we forget the percentage of marks we have got in our academics, so it would help there. Be confident while answering because he is already aware of you because he has you PIQ with him, he has already formed a picture of you in his mind, so present the things he want, and its done. Be comfortable while speaking, and look straight into his eyes, avoid moving your hands while speaking, put your hand on your thighs and keep on answering his questions. This is the most important task in the whole SSB because it is where you spend the most time with somebody and his recommendation is necessary to make your final selection. So being true and honest would do all the jobs in our selection.
1. Group Discussion:
The procedure of this task is just the same as that of the PPDT but the only difference is that the topic is given by the GTO. The first topic, he gives us the choice between two topics but for the second GD, he gives it of his own choice. Be gentle with your group, give logical points and invite opinions from other member also. When it starts turning into fish market, try to manage the group and get back into a healthy discussion. The only mindset for having a nice GD is to think that you are sitting with your group over a cup of tea and discussing a routine discussion. So, do we fight and give aggressive arguments to them, no, we don’t. So this is the same thing we should do while speaking in GD. Preparing a bit on the current affairs would help to speak some good points in this task. Being in the group is the only way of selection in this task.
2. GPE(Group Planning Exercise):
A series of various problems happening altogether will be presented on a small model, we are explained about the timings and the resources that are available to us. We as a group of 8-10 member are to solve all the problems in mentioned time.
So the first thing is to listen carefully to what the GTO briefs us. After that, while reading the paper we have to arrange the problems according to their priority. While writing the answer in the sheet, we have to first write the problems, and then the resources available to us, it could be any assumption that is practical too. Then write the solutions for the problems stating the time and distance too. In the discussion of group plan, give your valuable points, if they vary with that of others, give logics behind your point. There should be your contribution in the group plan.
3. PGT(Progressive Group Task):
In this activity, we have to cross some obstacles, which have a particular way of solving by the means of some helping material(balli, plank and rope). We, the group, have to cross those obstacles along with the load, the GTO will tell you about the rules. When he is doing so, listen to him carefully. Present your ideas gently to your group, first discuss the idea, and then execute it, while doing this task, avoid looking at the GTO. Try to take responsibility, if it is to cross something, ask your group members to allow you to do so. If nothing is coming to your mind, simply carry the load with you and help your group members, whenever you again get an idea, tell it to your group members. Whatever you speak there is being noticed by the GTO. at times, we feel that one of our group member is giving a wrong idea, you can correct him, by giving logical idea, what you think, and if your idea works, its you who will get more points.
4. HGT(Half Group Task):
Now our whole group is split in to two halfs, so that we can have a better chance to give our ideas, now the task gets easier because we have to convince a less number of members now. Doing this task is just the same as that of PGT.
5. GOR(Group Obstacle Race):
It is the activity in which our group competes with other groups to win the race. We are to carry a structure of shape like that of a snake, negotiating obstacles. We have to show our dynamics here, our stamina, helping the group members, to do well gives a team victory. It is an activity where we really gets a competitive edge with other groups.
6. CT(Command Task):
In this task, we are made commander and we with the help of subordinates have to negotiate some obstacles taking load with us. In this task, we have to brief to our subordinates of our helping material, and we ourselves should be leading in front, and then bring our subordinates and the load. This activity judges our thinking ability. I was able to do this activity, but in between I was stucked, but later with executing an idea, I did it finally. When as a subordinate, just listen to the order of the commander without speaking anything, if you have any doubt, then you can ask your commander but don’t give him idea of doing the obstacle.
In this task, we are given a choice of four topics and we have to speak on any of the topics. I chose the bottom one, it was sports in India. I gave all the relevant points and just in two minutes I was over with my points. So I decided not to just repeat my points again and again, not to pass time with my members. So I concluded my topic and in 2 minutes I finished my lecture. I would say that it doesn’t depend how long you speak, but what relevant content do you speak in minimum time. This task is the test of your power of expression. Being confident and having nice movement of hands would help in speaking nicely.8. Individual Obstacles:
And here comes the test of total dynamics. a series of 10 obstacles are to be done in 3 minutes. While you are allowed to wait for your turn to start, make out a plan to do maximum obstacles in short time. I was able to do all 10 obstacles, and as soon as I finished the last one, GTO gave a whistle and my time was up. We have to be careful while doing all these obstacles so that we don’t do any mistake and we have to repeat it again.
9. FGT(Final Group Task):
It is the final testing of GTO series, and we whole group have to cross just one obstacle, which is really easy to do. By this time, we all are able do these kinds of tasks, so this task goes smoothly. Doing this task is just same as that of the PGT, HGT & CT. Give your ideas and put forward your help to others.
After all this, the final day of conference comes. We all are over with our testing, so this is the time when the three testers sit together and decide for our recommendation. We have to appear before the whole board and there are a number of 15-16 officers sitting on a semi-circular table in their uniforms. We simply have to answer their general questions based on our stay, any problem faced and any suggestions we want to give. My conference lasted for almost 45 seconds. I was confident while answering their questions.
After the conference was over, our results were out in just 20 minutes. From 62 candidates, 13 member were recommended. I was that lucky 13th. although ‘13’ number is considered unlucky but it was not so for me. From our repeater group of 8 members, only I was selected. and also I got recommended on 26th january, so the happiness was doubled. I hugged my group members and then filled up the forms after that.
I would say the only thing that has brought me success is that I was honest and true in all the testings. I had listened to the instructions carefully. and last but not the least, I believed it from the first moment with my arrival at the board that I WILL BE SELECTED SURELY. So this thing really boosts up your confidence and we are able to do every task easily.