Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Do You Have It In You?" My SSB experience

Chest no.33 it was what they used to call me, my name was almost lost during those 5 days of my SSB(Service Selection Board) interview.

 Our venue was in Bangalore and the date we had to reach there, was 25rd of July by 3:00 pm. Excited as I was, I waited anxiously, booked the tickets, arranged the necessary requirements as predicted in the call letter, and reported the Bangalore City Railway Station, on the desired date and time. It was then, that Our trip towards astonishing and surprising standard of life began.
There were around 115 aspirants in our batch waiting for their luck and hardwork to ripen. At the scheduled time, We all were in the bus, a bus of ‘Indian Army’, and in few minutes, we have entered the Selection centre South, Bangalore.
The day of reporting wasn’t included in the SSB interview 5-days’ Schedule. It was just to fill up some forms, which included, a PIQ form, a TA form, etc. and allocation of barracks to the candidates. We were 80 girls in a barrack. Then comes the first day.

 26th July
 It was the screening day. We had to report at 6:00 am, so everyone woke up at 4:00 am, in order to get ready. The screening included a series of tests which decides whether you are required for next 4 days to assess your qualities or you are sent back the very first day. We were given the chest numbers with mine being chest no.90. The tests included : an intelligence test, a PPT(Picture Perception Test), a narration, and a GD(Group Discussion) on the stories made by Group fellas to converge onto a single general consensus. The way it went for me, I was sure that I'll be screened in. The result was shocking, the girls who we felt had a better chance were screened out. only three in our roommates, and 45 in all 115 were selected. rest were sent back the very first day. This was the thing, which was not pleasing. You can’t be sure of your selection at any cost. The chest numbers were re-given to all 45 candidates. According to the call letter serial number, I was given Chest No.33 . Rooms were re-allocated, and so we had new roommates for once more. The day ended in a happy mood.

 27th July 
It was a psychological test day. There was a booklet given and a series of tests, were there, to check out the state of mind, level of thinking, reaction to situations. The tests included An aptitude test, SRT(Situation Reaction Test), WAT(Word Association Test), Story Writing, etc. The same day after the tests were over, many of us were called for the interviews, usually the candidates are called in sequence but interview may not be done in sequence necessarily.
First 10 candidates were called for the interview and it was taken individually at different places and in random order. Mine was 24 SSB(Indian Army Board), some had interviews in 12 SSB(Indian Navy Board), thus IO(Interviewing Officers) were also different.

28th July
Now it was an Outdoor Task day, where we had Group tasks. Firstly, we had a Group Discussion on a topic chosen by us from the topics given by GTO(Group Task Officer) among the members of each group particularly. There were 5 groups each containing 9 candidates, and each group had there own GTOs.
 In GD,first we got the topic ‘who is the biggest enemy of India- China, Pakistan or USA ’ and the second topic was ‘Who is responsible for crime against women- Men, Women or Government’

After GD, We had Military Planning test. There was a sitution given with a no. of problems occuring simultaneously, and you have to find solutions to those problems within the specified time limit and with the resources supplied.
 Then there was GT(Group Task) where a series of obstacles are there, which a group has to cross with a set of materials and a set of rules. Then there was a Lecturette where each of the candidates had to speak on a chosen topic for 3 minutes infront of the group members and GTO.
Then there was a Half Group Task, where group was further divided into two, and each one has to perform the task same as GT.
 Then comes the most interesting part ‘The Snake Race’, This was my favorite part of SSB. So, I would prefer you find it yourself what it basically is . :)

 Then comes the IO(Individual Obstacles test) which was a test of your physical agileness, strength and your confidence, thinking. There were 10 obstacles to cross individually in 3 minutes.
 Each obstacle specifies a given no. of points. Now this is the point I performed really bad (as i fell down from Tarzan swing, monkey jump and even double ditch) and got a hairline fracture in my leg :(

While some groups had the GT going on, some had their interviews.

29th July 
The final Group tasks include CT(Command Task) where each individual has to command his two chosen group members while performing a task. It is done to check his leadership quality and participation. This was the round i performed exceptional well and my GTO even complimented me for it :)

 I faced my interview on the same day. My IO (Inter-viewing officer) was Colonel Ashok Mehra. My interview lasted for around 40-45mins and it covered topics ranging from personal life to technical know how and GK. I was pretty satisfied with my interview even tough i was unable to answer few questions. :) 

30th July
Now comes the Conference day, the day deciding the fate of all the candidates. This day all the three, the Psychologist, the IO, the GTO, sit together to decide who is in, who is out. If all three say Yes, then only the candidate is recommended.
The thing they look for in a candidate is OLQ(Officer Like Qualities), and what qualities are those are still hidden in many aspects to the real world. The Conference has a formal procedure where each candidate in their Chest sequence, has to meet all the three testers simultaneously. Then the results,(the result may come good or bad, but the anxiety before it is always same ).
In our Batch N-STL/68011 only 7 were recommended for the medical test, rest had to leave the same day. I was in the rest, so could not tell much about the medical tests, but I know, those tests are secondary, the prime focus is always towards getting RECOMMENDED, and the first step towards becoming an Officer of Indian Army.

Though I didn’t get selected and I know I never had so much preparations or confidence towards joining Armed Forces, I will never forget those days. Those 5 days though sent me back unsuccessful, but I didn’t returned empty-handed, I had a exciting, cheerful and inspiring experience, which would help me all my live, it changed the way I think and execute my plans, how I talk, walk and be in groups, it changed the beliefs and the way of living. I am thankful to my friends, Our Indian Armed Forces, and their selection centres to rekindle the dead spirits in me. The age limit is 25 for the Indian Army (women), and I am 22, so, I do have 3 years more to try again. And I will not miss the chances now, anyhow….

One statement of the wall posters of our barracks that still roams in mind every now and then and will always do is -
 “DO YOU HAVE IT IN YOU?” -Indian Army

I can’t say about you, but in my point of view if you are above 18, you are just an adult, and if you want to do something substantial, then join Indian Army.

 Take care.

P.S. Even though i got a fracture and i'll have to be on complete bed rest for the next 2 weeks while i have to keep the plaster on for 6 weeks... I am coming 'Back with a Bang' Indian Army..!! I wouldn't let you go :)


nikhimenon said... bro is a Lt Cdr in the Indian Navy..
ts okay,you will succeed the next time..all the best

Brian Miller said...

wow. love the fire in your words, even with a def have sounds like quite the experience...and i hope you heal up soon...

Anil Choudhary said...

every failure is a lesson well learned dear, and i like your courage and dedication. i want to attend your Convocation ceremony of IMA... Keep doing n get well soon

Mrsupole said...

Hi Madhulika,

I hope your recovery goes well and that you are well occupied during that time.

I also wish you the best of luck for next years try outs. I am sure you will do great because you have had this years experience. And as long as you keep your knowledge from it then you will only grow for next years tryouts.

Having spent two years in the U.S. Army, all I can tell you is that it will be an experience that will be with you for the rest of your life. I am of the belief that every young person should have this experience and also serving one's country is an important thing to do.

Get well soon.

God bless.

Bikramjit said...

this reminded me too , I went for ssb interview 3-4 times but was never good enough, rather as i have mentioned earlier too .. in dehdradun a sikh guy who refused to go into a hindu temple saying its a hindu temple and he hates hindu's .. Got selected :)

and in bhopal the son of a high naval chief's son Pashrichia got selected .. and yeah I am a sore loser :)

but thankfully i am working here in forces not good for my own nation but good for foreign land :)

hope the fracture sorts out soon and all the best for next time :) try out all the chances I am sure you will get it

get well soon :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

Madhulika although you did not make it but this experience would stay with you for life time! My career to started with SSB:) A very inspiring read for those who would like to don a uniform with pride!

Dilip said...

Hi Madhulika,

Your narration though fun to read reveals your perseverance to join the Services. Here's wishing you best of luck.

And a smart salute in advance :)


Daanish said...

May you have speedy recovery,amen.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...was good to see you...i hope you are doing well!

Anonymous said...

UR words contains t fire, one will be excited.
But the way of expression is just like... it reminds me Bobby Deol in "Tango Charlie". U R lucky to get a chance to attend SSB interview.

Very few h've the real excitement and courage to join armed force.

U h've 3 more years to try.
Best of Luck.

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Prasant Kumar Sahoo said...

Well done. forget it which was happened. continue your preparation with complite dedication . I hope that you will come out as a winner with bright colours. god bless you.

I was recommended by 22 SSB, Bhopal on 08 Jan 2012 for Army Medical Corps Non Tech (PC) commission, but bad luck I was not commissioned in the same because of 06 vacancies declared for PC and 16 Vacancies for SSC . We were 36 candidates recommended from Allahabad, Bangaluru and Bhopal for the above posts. As a service candidates we have the only oportunity to become a commission officer to improve our in life.

What a herculian task to cross the SSB barrier.

Ankita said...

hi :) i'm going to give my ssb next year and your words have inspired me a lot. i'm looking forward to this experience :)

Anonymous said...

love your spirit...not many ppl take rejection positively.i guess,you'll make a great officer:D

Praveen Kumar Singh said...

its too good

Praveen Kumar Singh said...

its too good

Sonu said...

Thanks for sharing with us! It was nice reading..

Anonymous said...

How do u performd in latr tasks wid fracture? Cud your leg move?

Anonymous said...

thing is to remain motivate throughout the life... that matters most. it was a nice reading

Anonymous said...

the thing is to remain motivate throughout the life that matters most. it was nice reading.

Anonymous said...

the thing is to remain motivate throughout the life that matters most. it was nice reading.

Anonymous said...

I am goin for my first SSB.Your blog has inspired me.Thanks a lot & a minor correction regarding the age factor that age limit for men & women is 27 yrs & not 25.So all the best for future attempts.


raghav gakhar said...

nicely written ! so, do you gave exams to get recruited this year ?

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Anonymous said...

I am sure u will definitely crack it in your next attempt..but ur story encourage me a lot..thanks........

Ajay said...

Hi Madhulika,
That was a pretty inspirational and helpful post by you. Sorry to hear about the fracture.
But i am sure you will make it someday:) Goodluck!

I have also tried to write a few words about my experience at 12 SSB Bangalore:

kavita mudela said...

The story of 5 days motivates me!! Even i want to b a part of ROYAL INDIAN NAVY .... n thanks!!! for 5 days story it will help me a lot and I am sure u will definitely crack it in your next attempt... wishing u all the best :)

Ajay said...

Hi Madhulika,
This was one of best posts I have ever read about SSB. Thanks for sharing it with us. I am pretty sure you will make it someday. Goodluck!
I have been through the same SSB experience as well-

Rohit Singh said...

how inspiring and courageous word we here out here...very inspiring ..I do find the very much matching of Dr APJ Abdul kalam saying the failure story which will give you how to win this is the best practical example of his words...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such an informative blog. This is really impressive blog.
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Suchita Joshi said...

what a girl candidate should wear for ssb ? please reply. Can it be kurti leggings ?

Anonymous said...

Great article.

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