This blog owing to its length is divided into 5 posts, each in detail description of my 5 day experience in the SSB. After reading this checkout the rest of the Posts too SSB Stories
Rules are made so that it could be broken boi.
- Some not-recommended guy
Okay so I had successfully survived my first day that is the Screening and now it was time for the psychologists to see how messed up my brain was.
I will share much of Do’s and Dont’s in the psychological tests but just to let you know I am no expert.
So, Lights! Camera! and Action!
Call it fear, call it excitement or just the fact that we had to actually sleep at 10:30 last night because of Lights Out Rules, call it whatever but the fact was that I had actually woken up at 4:30 all by myself no shit!
And I am one of those guy who can’t wake up even by the loudest alarm. And it was pretty amazing dude.
But that was not the craziest part. One of the Sainik school boy, Kaushik had already showered. Dude it was freaking 4:30 in February in Dehradun! It was freezing cold man. He was kinda crazy.
So after carefully calculating the pros and cons of bathing we finally decided that we should probably bathe or at least pretend to bathe. There are still 4 days to go and what if the psychologist ma’am straight away reject us?
2 guys still were not convinced and considered it was better to sleep than to participate in our life-death discussion and boycotted showering right away. In retrospection, I think they were much smarter.
Anyway, we got ready and with a bright smile and even brighter hope we went to have breakfast.
It was shit. After much debate and experimentation we thought they had attempted to make some sort of Daliya-cum-Upma sort of thing. It looked like shit, it tasted like shit, and we treated it like shit. The poor guy who had sacrificed for the team and tasted it as our experiment-ish guy had to finish it all. We kinda left him there and went back to our room.
At 6:30, it was fall-in and our temperature was checked. Our DSO came and briefed us. Finally it was time for the psych tests.
The Psych Tests
At 7:30 some 40 candidates were taken to the APJ Abdul Kalam Block and were made to sit in a large hall with a pretty big screen. 3 psychologists came and one of them briefed us about the general procedure of the tests.
We were given a single booklet containing some 15 - 18 pages on which we had to write our answers. There was no provisions for extra sheet so you had to consider the space as well while writing, and not to overshoot yourself.
There is no break in between the test. After each test, you are immediately required to move on to the next.
The best advice for Psych tests is to just present your true character. Anyway you won’t have enough time to shrewdly mask your character so it’s better to be True.
If you for some reason don’t want to show a particular trait or something, make sure to stick to your claim throughout, even during your GTO and specially in your interview.
TAT - Thematic Appreciation Test
No. of Pictures: 11 + 1 (Blank Slide)
Time Permitted: 30 Sec to view each Picture, 4 Min to write a Story
In the booklet, 6 pages were allotted for TAT; 2 Stories in each page. These pages are your standard A4 sheet paper, so you need to write your whole story in just half of the page which was not my forte at all. I am that guy who has big handwriting and even bigger stories. But this restriction actually helped me greatly.
The pictures shown to us were pretty clear and not a single one was confusing or controversial. And I was at my peak that day. I was writing stories with what I would consider my best ever effort. All the stories had that action, OLQs, hero portraying a positive attitude, it was like my best ever attempt at the TATs.
I don’t have the pictures and neither can I remember the stories. So sorry for that my dudes.
And because of the restriction, I was able to finish all the Stories in under 4 minutes and able to carefully analyse the picture in the 30 seconds in which it was shown. I didn’t had to rush at all.
It went pretty solid.
If you are practicing for TATs - make sure to complete your story in only half of a A4 sheet paper under 4 minutes. This would greatly enhance your speed and your creativity.
Also make a pretty solid story for the blank slide. You can, of course, make one on the spot then and there, but since you have the liberty, why not make a good story and polish it and write that one for the blank slide?
This way you would be able to finish your story before the 4 minute mark and like me take a short break and prepare for your WAT too.
Another thing is try to avoid cliche, or overly good hero or things like that. Don’t write all the good things, that your hero is hard-working, studious blah blah instead show those qualities in your story.
WAT - Word Association Test
No. of Words: 60
Time allotted: 15 sec for each word
See I was kind of dreading WATs. I had never been able to write as many words as my friends used to make in the given time, let alone completing all of them. This was one of my weaker section.
Yet as I was writing stories pretty fast, I had like a 30 sec rest before WAT which again helped me to make a head start.
In our booklet, each page had a grid like structure sort of like this,
There were 15 in each page. We were given a 15 sec break after every 15 word to flip the pages. This was by far the most crucial break ever as I quickly used to fill out whichever word I had missed.
The words were your standard WAT words. Nothing much negative or controversial words.
I don’t know how, but I managed to complete all the 60 Words without skipping a single one. Here and there I had to make some one liner sentence. But that was what came to my mind when I saw the word.
There were few repeated words, so make sure to write complementary sentences in them.
Also practice writing completely writing 15 words on a A4 sheet because the spacing is pretty less for each word. You are practically allowed to write only a sentence on each word so practice writing short yet meaningful sentences.
All in all, this too went surprisingly well and I was feeling pretty confident now.
SRT - Situation Reaction Test
No. of Situation: 60
Time allotted: 30 sec for each Situation
In the booklet itself, all the SRTs were given, and after each SRT a line or two was given to write our reaction.
I had practiced a lot for this and was pretty confident for this. However there was a severe problem here.
In all the previous tests, spacing was a restriction but it never felt like a problem. However in this one, we had to again write our reaction in a very tiny space. And I am a guy who has a big ass handwriting. My speed took a toll and I had to cramp my writing to write the complete reaction to the given situation.
Because of this, I was only able to do 52 SRTs. Still it was pretty good score so no worries there.
Also, the no. of SRTs you attempt doesn’t really matter that much. Chest No. 7 who was recommended had actually done only 32 SRTs. Still he was recommended. So it’s better to write few yet good reactions.
However, this doesn’t mean you should not try to attempt all. See, each reaction has some points given. This mark would be hella important for the final merit list. So more the merrier!
There were few similar SRTs in between. Some were exact copies of the previous one. So again try to make similar and complementary reactions in each of these. Writing that you would attack all the goons who is threatening the love of your life and for a similar situation elsewhere writing that you would leave her and run away is probably a bad idea and you should have a talk with the psychologist and the love of your life.
This too went pretty good and dude my confidence was sky-rocketing.
SD - Self Description Test
No. of Questions: 4
Time allotted: 15 minutes for the complete Test
After our SRT’s time was completed, we were asked to stop and put our pens down. Then he explained how SD will work.
Please don’t be the smart guy and try to write remaining SRT, remember only 1 Psychologist is talking, the other 2 Psychologist are paid to sit and just observe everyone.
We were given 4 questions and we had to write a small paragraph on each. The question we were given were like this:
- What your parents think about you?
- What your teachers think about you?
- What your friends or colleagues think about you?
- What you think about you and what kind of person you would like to become?
Remember these questions are subject to each particular Center and SSB and not the same for every SSB. But in most cases, the questions are slight variations of this only.
Since, most of the candidates know about these questions beforehand, almost everyone has the SD prepared and polished and full of ahhhhh well fake praises.
The candidates know this, and the psychologist know about this too. So the SD doesn’t have that much value in the interview. Still, it is a good idea to make a SD before coming to the SSB.
Thus, finally SD too went pretty good and with that our Psych test was finally over.
At this point my Confidence was Sky High. I was so happy that I had not messed up anything in the psych tests that I was practically dancing man.
Rest of the day
We went to our room at around 1100 hrs and were completely free for the entire day. Too bad it was Corona times or else we would have been allowed to go outside the campus.
Still we had a great time. All of us had became quite a good friends and did a lot of mastis that day.
At first we were kinda serious and had 2 full on “kill-each-other” type discussion in the name of practice for our Group Discussion next day. It was pretty stimulating though and kinda scary when a 6’2” guy is making a karate chop gesture whenever you disagree with him lmao.
After about a hour we thought screw this and considered Lunch to be more important. Remember we had not anything since last night 2000 hrs and thought maybe, just maybe the Mess would finally figure out how to make a decent lunch. Yeah that was kinda wrong to assume.
We were so hungry that we actually went inside the mess. We were politely send back.
Finally at around 1300 hrs we were given lunch, which shall we say was kind of decent or maybe it was because bat shit hungry and would have eaten the Mess Boy too if he would have been enough salted.
After this only thing remained was to wait for our finally much awaited Game Time. We were so excited for this that we didn’t even sleep at all and spend the entire afternoon playing dumb-charades, cricket with kinnu, and other dumb shits which would be kinda inappropriate to write here
I was nearly expelled
Finally it was 1600 hrs and we were officially permitted to play outside.
Due to the Covid, each group was allotted a particular game for a particular time frame only. Balls and other things could be issued from the game room.
There was a strict No intermixing between groups Rule. I was probably in some dream world when this rule was stated. Maybe.
See, we were allotted volleyball for 1 hour and football for the next hour. And I hate these sports from the bottom of my heart. I also happen to love Basketball. And I am kind of pretty Stupid too.
So when we 8 boys with bright eyes and eager mind with lots of energy finally went to the volleyball court and started playing, I found out I was kind of shit in this game. Which didn’t particularly helped my hatred for the game.
Sometime later, few candidates came and joined our group and started playing with us. And some started playing Basketball too.
You see where this is going? Yeah, we thought if they can join us, we can join others too. The rule felt really stupid after all.
So here Chest No. 8 and I made the brilliant decision and started playing basketball. Boy oh boy! it was the best game of my life. We were rolling man. 10 guys passionately playing basketball. It was amazing. Added to the fact that I am pretty decent in basketball and was playing top of my game.
Lmao, we were so engrossed that we didn’t even notice the utter silence around us. I happen to look at the volleyball court and saw that a Duty Officer was what looked like scolding our group members and other who were playing with them.
Blood turned cold, fear was practically pouring out of our body instead of sweat man. We immediately stopped our game. And being the Smarty-pants I am, I tried to sneak away and pretend that I was not even playing.
You see, the basketball court was in a cage and the only way to enter or exit was through a single gate which was right in front of the eyes of the officer. So yeah, my plan didn’t worked though and the officer shouted and told us to remain there only.
He came and asked what we were doing and why we were not with our group. We tried to explain things but he probably thought we were bullshitting and asked the NCO with him to write our Chest Numbers and told us to go back to our rooms.
It was like a scene of mourning in the room. Or maybe that was just me, since the others were actually playing their allotted game only albeit breaking the covid protocols. And the guy who was with me Chest No. 8 didn’t really wanted to be an Officer and had come to the SSB because his father told him (his father was Wg Cdr in Air Force) so he basically didn’t care at all.
So there I was from being the most happy and confident guy to jack-shit scared thinking I would be expelled next day only during the fall-in or even worse, the accessors and the psychologists would make a negative remark on me and not recommend me.
Yeah I was pretty much bummed up through that night. We kind of did a small discussion practice and called it a day and slept before even 2200 hrs.
Lmao don’t get so much depressed guys, we talked to that same NCO later on our 4th day and found that he had thrown that paper right away and they never told any psychologist or even our DSO. It was just to instil fear in us and to make us follow the Covid protocols.
I would say that certainly did the trick, ummm kind of too much even because no one, not even the repeaters broke any rule later on.
So that was how my second day in the SSB went. I was pretty confident at this point and thought I would surely get recommended.
Do read about the rest of the experience here SSB Stories