My journey of SSBs was not laid with the bed of roses. Life has knocked me down several times but I chose to bounce back with renewed strength and greater zeal.
Hello everyone, I am Aaryan Kaintyura from Dehradun, Uttarakhand. I got recommended in my 14th and the final attempt from 4 AFSB Varanasi on 5th October 2018 for Non-technical branch.
Cracked SSB Interview in 14th and final attempt from 4 AFSB Varanasi
As this was my 14th attempt I left no stone unturned in my preparation. So, through this piece of writing, I would want to make an attempt to motivate all those aspirant who has tasted the failure a dozen times and left the journey.
I want to remind my mates that
“When life gets tough, it’s time to become even tougher.”
Without any further dragging, I’ll be straight to the point now.
I started my journey with my first SSB on 28 August 2010 at 4 AFSB VARANASI when I appeared for NDA entry.
Life was not easy on me so I made a lot of attempts to achieve what I really needed from life. Throughout my journey, I contained my frustration and didn’t let it make me go off track from my goal.
After making 8 attempts I felt the need to have a fallback option so as not to put my career in danger.
Advice for everyone: please keep a fallback option.
As I was a computer science graduate I joined the corporate world, but to me it was tasteless.
I continued my journey but faced rejection every time; and the only reason believed was the lack of preparation because so is the nature of the corporate world, one hardly gets time to pursue anything other than office work.
After working for 2 years and 8 months, I decided to put brakes on my corporate journey and completely devote my time and energy toward the one and only goal.
In the process of my preparation, I met my mentor Retd. Gp Cpt Puneet Sharma and under his guidance I started preparing for SSB and this was a game-changer for me. I owe a big chunk of my success to him.
I remember him citing again and again that just preparation for SSB won’t help me sail through but the transformation in the personality, after all, SSB is a test of personality. With everyday interaction with Sir, he was able to point out flaws in my personality and pushed me to overcome those. Besides this, he trained me to perform better at SSB.
I started nourishing my inner self so that my thought process changes for good. I focused more on myself, walked the extra mile to become more self-aware so as to know my shortcomings and eliminate them.
I overcame negative thoughts and allowed the flow of positive energy into by working on my spiritual dimension too. Swami Gopal Gaur Das videos helped me a lot here. I was well aware that to clear the SSB this time I have to portray myself as a balanced personality.
So I pushed myself outside my comfort zone to improve my body language so that I could present myself as a genuine candidate at all times during testing and off testing hours.
Note: This personality transformation didn’t happen overnight but took more than 4 months.
Now talking in brief about the testing days.
Day 1(MORNING): Screening
45 out of 240 could make it to stage 2 testing.
As I am good with reasoning and numbers OIR test was a piece of cake for me.
- The picture was not very hazy if anyone who has seen the picture for complete 30 seconds could easily make out the type of background, number of characters etc.
- I wrote the story that came to my mind at that moment.
- I narrated the story well in a deliberate manner.
- Though the discussion became a fish market I was able to contribute well.
Key points :
- Do a lot of practice of OIR TEST (It matters).
- Observe the picture for complete 30 seconds. Try to look for minute details. Sometimes the most important things are hidden in plain sight.
- Write action(mandatory).
- Fill in all the details inside the box carefully (no cutting or overwriting).
- Write original content.
- Remember nobody will give you a chance to speak. Develop enough tact in yourself so that you know how to steal the chance.
Day 1 EVENING: PSYCH TEST
TAT: I was confident because I knew how to handle TAT through correct observation and let my brain respond to it in a natural yet logical manner. I didn’t write any fancy or preconceived story this time. All I did was to observe the picture in detail and give meaning to it by recalling my past experiences in life. Stories where I couldn’t relate myself so I used my imagination to form a practical story.
Mostly my TAT stories revolved around my friends, family, my interests, ambition and I guess it paid off pretty well.
I was confident that I did well in it because I gave the all-natural and original response. No tailor-made responses this time and that has made all the difference.
Key points :
- Observe the picture in detail.
- Recall life experiences and draw inspiration from them to craft a story. It will be more realistic and original.
- Do not copy someone else idea because you will be doing more harm than good to yourself.
WAT: I attempted all the words within the stipulated time. I have mugged up a lot of good sentences that I have made during my preparation but during the testing, I couldn’t recall any so I put my first thought. And now I believe that it was for better that I forgot the sentences and wrote my first thought because the qualities out of WAT would have surely matched with qualities out of TAT.
Key point :
- Just practice writing the sentence in time.
- Make sentences on your daily life observations.
SRT: The easiest of all the tests. I completed 47. I could have attempted more but my focus was more on quality than quantity.
Key points :
- Read the situation carefully and then answer.
SDT: This time I didn’t write SD just to impress the assessor. I didn’t boast about something which I was not. Earlier times I used to write to impress but always failed to express. I wrote a balanced Self Description. I put in a lot of efforts here by taking genuine opinions of my family, friends, boss etc. I recalled my life experiences and draw more opinion about myself from there.
Key point :
- Be honest. Don’t portray that you are the man with no flaws. Everyone has. The only reason for not revealing is either you are hiding it or you are least aware of yourself.
- Spend time preparing for this because the same will help you in the interview as well. More you know about yourself more easily you will be able to express.
- Take a dive into the past and learn more about yourself.
NOTE :Everything should be in sync with the PIQ. If you are not faking anything then forget the above line. Your personality will be congruent across all the testing. And for those who think they can play smart , can always try their luck provided it’s not their last attempt.
Day 2: GTO
If you are an extrovert person, love outdoor games, love company of others then this testing would be a cakewalk but remember the same personality of yours should reflect in psych and interview.
I mingled well with my group mates even before the GTO test began which I believed helped me in every task.
I became the binding factor in the group which helped everyone. I have also trained myself no to appear casual at any point in time.
GD: I chose only one lead and gave supporting arguments. I decided not to criticize anyone but to provide logic in support of my answer. I spoke 4 or 5 times but I was involved with the group throughout the discussion.
Key points :
- Keep your body language in check.
- Restrict hand movement to the minimum
- Don’t jump from one lead to another
- Speak clearly and let others speak as well
- Tactfully steal the chance to speak
- Keep liveliness on the face (very important)
- Listen to others attentively
GPE: I kept my alertness level high and wrote a well and comprehensive plan within time.
During discussion gave enough logic to convince my mates on my plan. I was receptive enough to include other’s views, cooperated with everyone to form a common plan. We all did a pretty well job here.
Key points :
- Listen attentively
- While forming plan keep an account for time and distance.
- Display tact to convince others.
PGT / HGT / IO / FGT
It is a test of complete common sense and application of intellect. In PGT, HGT and FGT, I not only gave the idea but took initiative to go ahead and implement the same. I also helped my mates in implementing their ideas. I was sweating heavily as I was continuously working without an expression of frustration on my face. For the individual obstacle, I felt physical fitness is very important. I did 12 obstacles (10 + 2 repeat).
Talking about physical fitness I believe it’s very important. It talks about our lifestyle, body language and much more. Being physically fit adds to our charm and boost our self-confidence.
You can always use fitness to your advantage. And if you are a big-time repeater then I guess it is the must. I reduced my weight from 78kg to 64 kg in a span of 8 months and I believe it helped me somewhere. Those who know me would concur.
Key points :
- Don’t be in haste. Read the structure carefully
- Don’t criticize anyone
- No frustration on the face
- Keep Working never remain idle on the ground
- Give your ideas but don’t force them on other
Lecturette: I chose to talk on the Role of India in the United Nations. I divided my topic into parts and delivered the lecturette in a logical manner.
- Don’t waste time on choosing a topic
- Organise content well under a different section
- Stand firm, speak with confidence
- Use pitch and tone to create an impact on others.
- Utilize complete 3 minutes.
Command Task: I did very well in my command task, was able to complete the whole task well before time. I was grilled but came up with the solution every time. Due to my good bonding with everyone in the group I was called 5 times in the group of 9 as a helper.
Note : Well after giving 14 SSBs I can surely tell that one can easily come to know about his performance in GTO tasks through command task. If one get a hard task and GTO is grilling him that means the person did well in GTO task but that doesn’t guarantee his recommendation because the other two techniques have their weightage too.
Day 3: Interview
- My interview was very intense. The interviewer was grilling me in everything. Every word I speak he would catch me there. But as I had nothing to hide I replied to him with ease. He spinned the interview around my friends and family. I also played very tactfully and use my prudence to save myself falling into clutches of the interviewer. I made a point to myself that I’ll only what is being asked, no extra information until probed.
- My preparation for exploring more about self and becoming self-aware helped me a lot here. I have recalled all the good and bad experiences of my life and learnt about myself and it helped in supporting my responses. Whenever the interviewer asked me of any incident I would comfortably provide him with that.
- Most important was in what manner I am giving the answer. I know I was carrying a good body language and I kept that intact throughout the interview. After my interview, I felt quite happy and satisfied.
Key points :
- Keep your body language positive
- Know about yourself as much as possible
- Speak with confidence and clarity
Day 4: Conference
As this was my last conference my heart was racing. My chest no. was 45 and the moment chest number 44 went out of conference room I prayed to God that at least this time makes them have a discussion over me. I was counting seconds when I heard the bell, And I was like Shit! Man not again.
I kept my composure, went inside and greeted the president of the board. He asked me in dominating voice “Ok Aaryan, How differently did you prepare this time?” I replied in a comprehensive manner telling about how I worked upon my personality and transformed it and finally pleased his ears He bid me all the best and I left. I was a little tensed but I was also confident about my performance so there was hope.
Soon after it was time for results. My heart was pumping more blood than it should be. Our DSO arrived with results. He announced chest number 37, 41 and with a short pause 45.
I couldn’t believe it. I was exhilarated. All my failures and struggles flashed in front of my eyes. Finally, I had achieved what I have been dreaming all these years. And just when I thought I couldn’t be much happier I cleared the merit with AIR 1 in a non-technical branch(Administration /PC) and now there is the boundary to my happiness. I am very pleased to make my parents proud of me.
I will be joining the Air Force Academy on 31 Dec 2018.
I thanked God, my parents and my friends for supporting me throughout my journey and putting faith in me. I would like to give special thanks to Puneet Sharma sir for his contribution to my success.
I wish many more aspirants like me would benefit from sir’s guidance and live their dream as an officer in armed forces.
All the best mates! Hope you conquer your dream soon.