By : GC Shubham Shukla
By : Avilesh
Hi friends, I am Avilesh. Being son of an army personnel I always wanted to become a fauji like my father. I started my SSB journey when I was in class 12th. I cleared written the exam for NDA 125 and NDA 126. Unfortunately, both the times I got conferenced out from 24 SSB and 17 SSB, Bengaluru. I started looking for option to join Fauj and after googling I learnt that Engineering is the best way. I get to give CDSE, AFCAT till 25 years plus other Navy and Army technical entries too. My rank in engineering entrance exams was not too good, so I dropped for a year and started my preparation. Next year I took admission in Engineering and started to enjoy the college life. I never let my goal out of my sight and I kept reading about the success stories of candidates which provided me with constant motivation.
3 years of college went like anything and I was in final year. Along with preparation for placements, I prepared for AFCAT, CDSE as well. I cleared AFCAT -2 2014 and was also selected for Navy UES entry during their preliminary selection round in college. It was month of November, I got placed in IBM too. I was happy but not satisfied as my goal was something else. It was 29th of December 2014, I attended my 3rd SSB at 3AFSB, Gandhinagar. Psychology and Interview went well. GTO was just average. Result, Not Recommended. The worst thing was that I failed in PABT too, so dream to become a Pilot was impossible for me now. I motivated myself saying that Defense has a lot more to offer that to just flying. I went for my 4th SSB at 12 SSB, Bengaluru with same josh and better preparation. Psychology and GTO were good this time, but Interview was a disaster. I don’t know how but I failed to answer basic GK questions. There was a time when IO scolded me saying “Bloody, you know all the story about ISIS, but you don’t know form where the story is coming from!!” when I failed to tell him the capital of Syria. It’s Damascus BTW. Result, not recommended again.
I had applied for TGC and SSC(T) entries as well. My percentage in engineering were good so, I got call for both the entries. But this time during my TGC SSB at 34 SSB, Allahabad, something unexpected happened. I got screened out. I called my father to inform him that. I told him “papa screen out ho gya” and he replied “wo kya hota h??”. I explained in short, disconnected the call and cried at the railway station. Next month, another SSB for SSC(T), result, Screened out. This screened out tragedy happened to me in next 4 attempts too for TGC and SSC(T) entries. I got screened out continuously for 6 attempts from April 2015 to Oct 2016.
Next SSB, my 11th attempt was for TGC at 18 SSB Allahabad. This time I was able to clear the screening and I was very happy as this was my first screened in after about 1.5 years. Next day, Psychology test went well and soon after the Psychology I had my interview with the President of the board. I had prepared my current affairs notes, I had about 20 minutes, so I revised those notes and went for interview. I believe that was a mistake, instead of revising those notes I should have meditated for 10 minutes. The interview did not go very well, I missed a lot of questions in the rapid-fire round, even the current affair questions I was not able to answer properly. I was not at all satisfied with my performance in the interview. Next two days were GTO, all the tasks in field were okay and I was able to contribute but in GD I was not able to speak a word. Command task was easy. I did 11 obstacles in Individual obstacle. Same old 2 regular questions were asked in the interview and I already knew the result. Conference out.
April 2017, SSC(Tech)-49, 21 SSB Bhopal. My previous SSB helped me gain confidence for screening round. I did well and got screened in. Psychology test went well. I was satisfied with my performance in Psychology. GTO Day 1 also went well, I participated in GD although the GD was a typical fish market. I contributed in other group tasks as well. After GTO day 1, I had my interview. I changed into formals and went to the waiting room as instructed. I was feeling very sleepy and took a 10-15 minutes nap in there. My chest number appeared on the screen. The IO talked for about 5-10 minutes about my previous attempts. Then, he talked about my office, friends, education, hobbies etc. He gave me a situation, I responded by giving my natural response. We discussed on the situation for some time. So far, I was happy about my performance. The he threw the rapid-fire round. And exactly that moment I blanked out and in response to those number of questions asked, I just said “Sir, my father is in DSC and currently he is posted at NTS Mahul, Mumbai”. There was a dead silence for 1 minute. He said, “OK fine Avilesh, we had been talking for about 50 minutes, you may leave”. I came out and I knew the result of this SSB as well. GTO day 2 went well, Command task was quite tough, GTO even raised the level by removing my resources and changing the environment. 5th day, Conference. Result as expected.
August 2017, TGC 126, 24 SSB Bengaluru. This time I did the terrible mistake of not preparing for the SSB. My psychology did not go well. I was not able to finish my stories, missed a lot of responses in WAT. I was very unhappy. GTO Day 1 went well. I was satisfied with my participation. After GTO, my interview was scheduled with Additional IO. Interview was going well, he asked questions about my personal, professional, family life which I answered. Geography questions answered current affairs answered. Then came the trickiest question. Did you ever take coaching? I had taken coaching, but I denied. This was my 13th attempt and he said it on my face “Avilesh you’re lying. If you did not take coaching, then how do you know that what you’re doing this time is right?”. He asked a few more questions and the interview were over. After the interview, I directly went to the cyber café and booked my flight tickets to Pune. GTO day 2, was okay. Command task was so tough that I was not able to solve the problem. Conference. Result, well I did not miss my flight.
After this interview, I decided that I will go prepared for my next SSB. I started preparing. I changed my habits. Started jogging again. I started reading. I used to prepare a little bit every day. I thoroughly read the book “My appointment with Psychologist”. Especially, the Psychology test part. This book really helped me a lot to understand the Psychology test and the kind of responses expected from the candidates. I practised based on the input from that book. Make realistic, doable stories. Do not unnecessarily assume problems. I followed Cdr NK Natarjan’s book as well for further practice. I forgot the time constraint and practised writing stories and responses to WAT. I also prepared interview questions by writing the answers so that I do not miss any questions in the rapid-fire round.
I also signed up for Psych assessment and Mock Skype Interview by Cdr Natarjan. My psych assessment was good. In the interview, I came to know that for every question, I give a very elaborative answer which takes time to answer and I forget other questions. I pondered upon these points and prepared accordingly by preparing short and crisp answers for interview. Natarajan Sir also boosted my confidence by saying that I am a really good candidate, based on your response I have passed you in Psychology and Interview. So, do well in GTO and give your best.
29th November 2017: SSC(T)-50, 24 SSB Bengaluru. 14th attempt. Cleared screening. Psychology test went well. Performed as per my expectations. Wrote 58 responses for WAT, attempted 48 SRTs. GTO day1. I spoke only for about 3 times in both the GDs, but I spoke valid points with valid reasons. My group was good, and we had a smooth discussion. GPE also went smoothly, we discussed all the problems and their respective solutions. I was contributing regularly in GPE. The group plan was like the plan that I wrote. In PGT, I tried to stay in front most of the times. I was giving ideas and I was also taking ideas from the group and implementing them. Being a light weight person proved to be very efficient for me. In HGT, I gave ideas and my team executed it. Snake race was fun. I chose an easy topic for Lecturette. According to my group, my performance was good. GTO day 2, also went smoothly. I did 12 obstacles and was on the 13th when the bell rang. I was called 5 times for command task. The task I got was of moderate level, I solved the problem. GTO increased the level by changing the structure a bit, with a little hint by GTO sir, I managed to solve the problem. I participated well in FGT too. Overall, I was satisfied with my performance in GTO. Soon after GTO day 2, I had my interview with the President. IO started with the meaning of my name, asked some casual questions and then asked me about my failures in previous attempts. I clearly told him about the reason behind my failures in previous attempts. I also told him about the coaching stuff. I mentioned the books and how it helped me in my preparation. He seemed satisfied with my answer. The he asked questions mostly on my personal life, my hobbies and my PIQ. He asked a few GK questions like Kashmir issue, South China sea issue. He also asked a few simple technical questions like SQL, Query, Subquery, Cryptography, Cryptocurrency etc. I answered all the questions confidently. I missed maybe one or two questions in rapid-fire round. Overall, I was happy with my performance. 5th Day. Conference. I waited only for about 5 minutes before I was called in. I was asked some basic questions about my performance, stay and any suggestions.
After the conference, I was not able to figure out anything about the result. After lunch, an old lady psychologist came with the result. She said “Gentlemen, I am very disappointed with the result and when I took your psychology test, I was expecting a lot from this batch but I am disappointed as we have recommended only one candidate. But you should be happy that that candidate is a repeater who got success after a very long struggle.”. While she was speaking, she was waiving the sheet in her hand and all the first benchers turned and started looking at me. My heart was performing at its max and she announced “Chest No 35, Avilesh Kumar Bharti. Please come forward”. As I went to her and stood next to her, she was saying something like “He is a very good candidate, he improved….”. I was not able to hear anything, I just looking at her face. I was blank. She congratulated me and went back. I just sat down there. Boys came and congratulated me. Chest no 36 came, hugged me and said “bhai kab tak aansu rokega?”. Chest no 34 said “ bhai 14th attempt!!” I heard that word and I cried. I cried a lot, I cried continuously for next 20 minutes.
My suggestion for the candidates:
Don’t take screening lightly. Do well in OIR. Write practical, doable stories in PPDT. Deliver a confident narration. Don’t be a part of fish market, in case of fish market just try to calm other.
In GD, give your points with reason. Give short and crisp points.
In GTO tasks, don’t think what GTO will think about you. Just do what you feel right at that moment. Try to participate as much as you can. Listen to others as well.
In Interview, you know what are the questions that will be asked. Prepare your answers by writing them down. You already know 80% of the interview.
For repeaters, bhaiyon don’t lose hope. Don’t go unprepared. Improve your skills. Identify your mistakes and work hard. Enjoy the process. Make a lot of friends. Make those 5 days memorable.