SSB Experience at 1 AFSB, Dehradun for Air Force Flying Branch (July 2012 Course)
Hi folks! I'll be telling you about my SSB Experience at 1 AFSB Dehradun.
Like any other child I too had the dream of joining the Indian armed forces, and to be more specific I wanted to be a pilot in the Indian air force.
To make this dream come true, I had started applying for every entry that could clear my way to be a man in uniform. I have attended a total of 4 SSBs , two for AFCAT entries at AFSB Varanasi where both times I was conferenced out , 1 at Allahabad where I got screened out and the 4th attempt at AFSB Dehradun for CDS entry where I was finally recommended.
The results of CDS written exam were announced in January 2012 and as expected I had got merit in all four Air force, Army , NA and OTA. my first choice was Air Force (flying branch entry).
Soon, within a week I got SSB letter for air force at AFSB Dehradun. My SSB was scheduled on 6th feb.
I started my journey from Ghaziabad and boarded the Dehradun Jan Shatabdi express in the afternoon of 5th feb. It was a pleasant journey in the chair car of train to see the outside greenery and the fields through the window, but at times when it came to my mind that I am going for SSB it gave a very haunting feeling.
I reached Dehradun at 9 pm and spent the night at a hotel near the railway station.
On 6th Feb. I woke up at 5 , got ready n reached the railway station where our reporting was scheduled . I saw 10-20 guys already standing there with their luggage who had come by morning trains or by buses. More candidates kept arriving as time elapsed.
Soon we saw the airman and the bus from AFSB that had come to pick up us. our admit cards were checked and soon we boarded the bus to AFSB.
After reaching AFSB, we were given tea and bread as breakfast and after that we were lined up at Brahmaputra hall, and categorized as freshers, screened outs n repeaters and allotted the chest nos. My chest no was 78.
Then, the intelligence tests started in which there were aptitude and simple reasoning questions. The intelligence tests were in two parts and were pretty simple.
After intelligence test was over, we were taken to Alaknanda hall where we were to be tested for PPDT(picture perception and description test). We were shown a hazy and blurred picture in which a man was sitting and two were standing by his side. We were given 30 seconds to see the picture and next four minutes to write the story. I wrote a story on a doctor who was campaigning to create awareness among the villagers about sanitation and diseases. Next , we were divided into groups of 12 and taken into separate rooms where narration and discussion was to take place. There were four officers in each room. Each candidate was given 40 seconds approx to narrate his story.
After narration was over, discussion began. As expected there was a lot of commotion, arguments and almost no one ready to listen to other candidates point. After a minute, one of the officers stood up and divided into two sub groups of six each to discuss. There was a Sardarji in my group, who had narrated his story very nicely, everyone was impressed by his communication skills ,but it looked like he had pledged that he will listen to no one. Whenever a candidate said anything , he simply said , “I don’t agree”.
After this hot discussion was over, we were sent outside n asked to wait for results. We spent this time with repeater candidates sharing our humorous and painful experiences of our previous SSBs. there were some candidates of my previous SSB batches ,and I was really happy to meet them .
After one hour , the results came. this is the time when the whole atmosphere becomes dull, everyone calling and praying to all Gods they have known.
The chest numbers were being called one by one, those who were screened in were happy, and others still expecting that they too will get their chest number called.
Finally,49 candidates were screened in, I was among them. Unfortunately, our hot blooded Sardarji was screened out. This is the moment when you feel happy for yourself , but very sympathetic for those candidates who couldn’t make it through.
After screening, we took our luggage and went to the rooms, and then for lunch. In the meantime the screened out candidates were cleared off their TA and dropped at the railway stations.
We were at Bhramaputra hall now, and our document verification process began.
We were Again given new chest numbers and this time my chest number was 29.
This lasted for one hour, and now we were ready for the psychology test.
We were taken to Alaknanda hall again, now first rest was the WAT(word association test) in which 60 words are shown and you have to write whatever comes to your mind within 10 seconds. I attempted 55 words. The duration of this test was 15 minutes.
Second test was the SRT(situation reaction test), in which we were given 60 situations and we have to write our reaction within 30 seconds for each situation. the duration of this test was 30 minutes.
Third test was the TAT(thematic appreciation test). In this, we were shown 12 pictures, one by one and we had to write a story based on each picture, within 4 minutes for each picture. The 12th Picture was a blank slide, so we had to write a story of our own imagination.
Fourth was the self description test, in which we had to describe our teachers’, parents . friends and self opinion about ourself. This test was for a duration of 15 minutes.
Finally , the psychology tests were over and now it was the time to fill up the two copies of PIQ(personal information questionnaire )form.
Our DSO(Duty Selection Officer ) was Wg Cdr D Nagasundram, who intermittently used to crack up some jokes and all the candidates really liked him.
It was 9 pm now and we were briefed about our schedule for next five days. Now we retired to our beds with a relief after a long tiring day.
The GTO began with group discussion and military planning exercises .the topics in GD were Child Labor and water Conservation. Next was the Progressive Group Task,where all group members had to work together to complete the set of obstacles. After the PGT we had to do the half group task in which the group is divided into two sub-groups. Third was the individual obstacles where each candidate had to complete a set of ten obstacles like long jump, rope climbing , Burma bridge,tiger leap etc within three minutes. I completed nine obstacles successfully. Now ,it was the command task, where each candidate was to act as a commander and to complete a given obstacle.in my turn,I called only one candidate as helper and completed the task within very short time,so the GTO increased difficulty level by removing the helping material available with me, I cleared three levels of difficulty successfully.
For today ,the testing was over now. We were all tired, took the lunch and ran to our rooms to take a long sleep.
The best time of the SSB is with the roommates, sharing experiences and cracking jokes, laughing at any activity going on anywhere in the Board. There were mischievous moments also, once one of my roommates Sushant asked me to accompany him for a walk in the evening, I was very tired with GTO activities, so I refused. He kept quiet, went outside, brought in a bucket full of water and poured it over me! It took me whole night to dry my clothes, blankets using the hot air blowers provided by the Board.
For today, we had to complete the two left over GTO tasks- Lecturette and final group task.
In lecturette , each candidate had to randomly pick a card with four topics on it, choose a topic and then give a lecture for three minutes.
I gave my views on the topic –Role of UN in present era. Now we moved to final group task, where the full group had to complete a simple obstacle. With this , our GTO test was over . In the end the GTO gave us a motivating lecture about our career and future.
On the day of interview, we all got neatly dressed in formals with neck tie. My interviewing officer was Wg Cdr Sandeep Mohan Sir. He began with asking me about my education with a long rapid fire of questions. Initially I was feeling very nervous, but slowly as interview progressed I became calm and confident. Most of the questions now were on my personal life, friends ,parents and my college life like who is your best friend ? What are his positive and negative qualities ? He asked me why I wanted to join the Indian Air Force? What If I am not selected ? I simply replied being a man in uniform is my passion, it’s a matter of pride to be a part of the world’s fourth largest Air Force equipped with latest technology and aircraft , and if I am not selected for Air Force, I will join the Indian Army.
Because I am from defense background, he started asking me questions about the newly induced aircraft C-130 and other deals of IAF, all of which I answered satisfactorily. My interview lasted for one hour, the longest in the batch.
After I came out of the interview hall, I was feeling very optimistic as compared to my previous interviews at other boards.
Just after the interview, was the conference, where final decision is made by a panel of officers whether or not the candidate should be selected. Generally, conference lasts for 30 seconds, with usual questions like how was your stay, any suggestion etc
In my case, the conference went on for 20 minutes. The officers kept me asking questions like, whom are you more close to and why, two situations when you broke law, your most emotional moment of life, your achievements etc.
With such a long conference, my hopes of getting recommended this time started growing.
It was 12 in the afternoon, and finally Wg Cdr Ranwah sir came to declare our results of the finally selected candidates. He first gave a motivation lecture and then started calling out the chest numbers of the recommended candidates, in ascending order. At this moment almost every candidate’s heart and breadth came to a halt, same was the case with me also. But to my surprise…..he also called out chest no 29………..i couldn’t believe myself………………I had got recommended for flying branch of Indian Air Force………….it was the happiest moment of my life.
A total of 14 candidates were recommended. Three were freshers , the rest were repeaters and three of them were already recommended in some other entries.
We were given no time to celebrate our selection. Immediately, we were taken to a hall where we were supposed to fill up the forms, declarations etc.
Author - Ashok Mavi