A Brief introduction about NDA
NDA is the abbreviation of National Defense Academy. There is an entrance exam which is paper needs which needs to be cleared before a student can appear for further screening tests to enter into NDA which is India's catch them young army initiative. The paper test is conducted twice a year and around top 10% of the candidates are shortlisted for further screening and eligibility tests. The second stage of screening takes place at a place called SSB. Here the students are tested in various areas over a period of 3-15 days. Free accommodation and food is provided by the government of India to all the students who are appearing for the same. Also if you are appearing for such screening for the first time in your life, the Indian government also reimburses the travel charges incurred by the student. The NDA is one of the best places to study as the student passing out will get an opportunity to serve the India Army directly for a period of 5 years which is compulsory. Then you can either continue or drop out and pursue some other job of your interest. There is a bond of 5 years service which needs to be signed the new student before joining NDA. This measure is a very important one as it makes sure the knowledge accumulated by students at the NDA is not utilized else where. I must say that the paper exam is a really easy one with nothing more than high school math with basic arithmetic. And the second part of the paper is about social science up to 10th standard. It is a relatively easy exam to get through as it is a very simply and easy exam. I think every student must give it a try because they won't get such an easy and direct opportunity to get into the Indian army who claim that they will even take just 1 candidate but never compromise on the quality levels set by them. I think it is one the best areas where one can test their knowledge and abilities. I think students can easily get through the paper written exam which as I said, is very veyr easy. But the real thing is the SSB where one is tested in many aspects which will be mentioned below. But first let us know what an SSB is.
SSB - Services Selection Board
The services selection Board is the only channel through which every aspiring Indian army candidate has to pass through. Every candidate has to appear at an SSB and clear the various tests in order to get recruited into the prestigious Indian Army. It is one of the toughest practical tests a student can face in his entire life. The students are very rightly tested by Army Officials at these centers. The method of recruitment at SSB is quite unique. There is no limit on how many candidates can clear the SSB! there can be as many as the entire appearing batch which can be passed out from SSB if the conditions are so. At the same time, there have been many instances where not even a single candidate from an entire batch got through. So SSB is quite the right place for those who seek challenges and those who like to bring down the odds. These SSBs have a unique style of accommodating the candidates appearing for recruitment. They have separate blocks based on the level in which the candidate is presently in. There are typical Barracks for the candidates for the first level of testing. Then the facilities get better and more boring as the testing level increases. The Barracks have a common room to sleep which is very very huge and spacious. The bathrooms are very large and have 24/7 hot water supply. There is a military Canteen embedded into the SSB campus and also the officers' buildings are also present which are "out of bounds" for candidates. There is also a temple to pray in many of the SSBs all over the country which is very useful indeed.
SSB - Bangalore, My story begins and ends here
The Services selection board, Bangalore is a very vast and one of the biggest centers in India. It can accommodate a huge number of candidates and has excellent facilities for living a basic life. IT is around 15km from Bangalore City Railway station. We were to report at the Bangalore City Railway station by 3 pm on that day as mentioned in the Call Letter from the Indian Army. We were boarded into a couple of Buses. There were a total of 100 students in my batch. I've heard that batches of 100 students are called at once to the SSB for further screening after they clear the written exam. We reached the SSB at evening and got a warm welcome from the Army personnel. We were made to sit inside a small hut like structure. We had to provide all the required documents like birth certificate, age proof, Matriculation certificate, Intermediate memo etc. After the verification of the certs, we were given about 5 forms to fill up. These forms included various data like personal profile, hobbies, life, education etc. There was also a Travel Allowance form for those who were appearing for the first time. There were about 10 repeaters in my batch. I thank SSB because I got to meet people from almost every corner of the country. The thing is no student is asked to report at the same SSB repeatedly so there are always different cultured people coming to the SSB. It was a great opportunity for me to interact with these individuals who looked like perfect army guys. They were physically so strong and also fun to be with. I luckily found to of my city people, i.e Hyderbadis, and Hyderbadis as always are lazy, royal and fun to be with. We were give tea, samosa and then we spent the rest of the evening listening to introductory lecture from Army Personnel and were also busy with the forms. Once we were done, we lined up at the only PCO inside SSB. We were strictly prohibited from going out of the campus. It was soon night and dinner time. First we were shown our resting place for the night, the Barracks. These were indeed very spacious and for the first time after a long gap, I really felt freedom and I almost felt I could fly. Such was the beauty. We dumped all our luggage and then reported for roll call. After the roll call, we were lead to the dining hall, the mess. The mess was a really huge one with an attached room with TV and many magazines in it. Really SSB is so much fun to be in with all these connectivity facilities. So soon after dinner, I watched TV for sometime, then we went back to the Barracks. We started unpacking our inventory and started to set up our bed. We were really tired and hence everyone dozed off without much fuss.
Testing Phase 1- Aptitude
We were woken right in the morning at 4:00 am. It was the coldest mornings for me since a long time especially after that comfortable blanket sleep. But there was help. We had surplus amount of hot water. There were geysers in many bathrooms which meant fun and comfort. We took bath very happily and I unfortunately indulged in water wastage by staying under the shower for like 15 minutes. This made my friends go mad but It didn't matter to me. The biting cold could not get the better of me. We soon dressed up. We were told the previous day that we would be tested in aptitude and speaking skills today. So we started thinking of how to approach this. We were soon subjected a rude breakfast with nothing more than bread and jam and an Egg. It didn't matter as we were really interested in the tests. There were rumors being spread by the repeaters but I didn't really pay much attention. At around 9:00 am, the tests started. We were lead into a huge seminar hall with suitable furniture for us to fill up some multiple choice questions. There were around 4 papers to be answered and each one took about one hour. We were given thorough instructions about how to answer the questions. I found all the four papers very easy as they were only aptitude and it was all based on our sheer pace of thinking. It all depended on how quickly you check out and eliminate the various options before putting the right option. Soon we were let out for lunch. The lunch was some what better as we got more time to soak it in with no more tests announced for the day as there something wrong with the test pattern that time. The officials didn't convey us much information so we happily enjoyed it. We spent time in military can teen and were really amazed at how cheap the cost of the commodities was in there. We stacked up as many things as we can from the canteen as we knew we couldn't get them so cheap at other places. We then started lining up for the usual phone calls at the PCO. Soon night, and it was time for dinner. We soon finished dinner and again dozed off as we wasted too much energy talking and chatting during the free hours. I really wanted to make up for this because the next day we were to be tested in our speaking skills through things like group discussions and story telling.
Testing Phase2- Speaking and GD
We were woken at the usual time of 4:00. We ran through the bathing process quicker because all of us were very excited. Everyone dressed up so professionally and gorgeously that I have to admit I was the only black mark in that collection. I don't like putting up good decent clothes just for the situation and I prefer to be simply. I don't really like acting according to the situation. That's me. We soon dressed up, ran through the procedure of break fast with the bread, jam and eggs. It was fun today as I found many more friends by now and we were really enjoying each other. I got really close with people who were similar to me in style of speaking and dressing. They were very much fun to be with. We shared our cultural knowledge and each of us was impressed with the other's culture and life style. At around 10:00 am, we were lead to a bigger conference hall this time which had perfect acoustic systems as we could see the beautifully set up speaker systems. We were first shown a picture for a few seconds. We were then told to write a story on the image. The aim was to make the students test their observation skills and their creativity. We were all given a common image of a Chinese restaurant in China. Everyone got to their creative best and started writing the story. We were given only 15 minutes to frame our story and it was obviously not enough as we had to take care to include all our observations and also recall as much of the image as possible. After 15 minutes, there was a tea break. The evaluators started checking our papers and our weird stories were evaluated. After about 30 minutes, we reported back the seminar hall. Then we were divided into groups of 10 and each group was given the opportunity to discuss the image and the story written by them. This was the group discussion. Members of each group started off with their stories. I was in the first group. Each member presented his view in a very creative manner. The facts were covered and soon we were in a full fledged flow of conversation. There were very good points put up and we discussed them in detail. We took about 30 minutes to end the GD and soon were rid of our fun. We soon were dumped out of the hall and the next batch came in. The others meanwhile headed for lunch and thus ended our day. We had no more activities as we were to rest for the following day when results would be announced of who made it to the next level. We soon started the usual procedure of lining up at PCO and calling our dear ones. Soon I found myself eating dinner and watching TV. We soon jumped into our beds and this time the night lasted a little longer as we discussed a bit more that night. We slept after about 10:30 pm on prompt by the officer in charge.
Results and farewell
The next morning we were assembled at the same hut like structure we sat in the first day. We reported there after our break fast and everyone kept their fingers crossed and wished they would make it across the line. Soon the suspense was broken. The officer in charge gave us a very motivational speech about the usual failure things like failure is the stepping stone to success etc. It was indeed an interesting and a patriotic speech. It lasted for about 30 minutes. Then an old man stepped in and started giving examples of people who failed at SSB but made huge impact in their lives. The notable example he gave was of Mr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Our honorable ex president. Abdul Kalam failed to get through SSB and took up a science career in which he excelled and also served the country in a great way. We were really motivated after such an impact speech. Soon the man who were to announce the result came down. He started reading out our roll numbers which meant we were selected. I was luckily included in the qualified list and I was very happy about my performance. The Officer in charge in fact praised me for my oration skills and appreciated my patience of listening to others before commenting. I was really proud of my parents then as they are the ones who taught me that. Then, the dejected and disqualified students packed their bags and were waiting for us to come. We, the qualified people were run through another verification of certs and were given another set of forms to fill up. After that another lecture about SSBs and how the Indian Army recruits was given. Then we were told that we would have to report at the SSB during December 2011 for the next level of assessment which would be final. This was a unique thing as there were simply too many candidates in the SSB at the time to test them all. So we too packed our bags and were soon moving out of SSB. Thus ended my life at SSB. It is one the best in my life and also one that I can be proud of. It showed me how people all over the country are. It also made me familiar with the military life and I really salute the Army for their sacrifices for the country. I'd like to conclude by saying that life in military is really fun and every Indian must be proud of serving the Indian Army. It is one of the best to do. I sincerely appeal every student member here to please apply for NDA if they are eligible. You will really benefit a lot from this experience as it is a very unique and interested and adventurous period of your life.
Good luck and Jai Hind.
Long Live India.
Sai, Congrats to you for clearing the SSB interview. I don't understand as to why you were asked to report again. Also, Their is no mention about the physical or medical tests in your article. What about the final interview? And the breakfast is not bread, jam and eggs everyday, right?
Saji, I understand your curiosity. There are a few reasons for the exclusion of the physical and medical tests. I was told at the SSB at that these tests are highly confidential and that's the reason we don't find what actually happens at SSBs anywhere other than the SSB itself. So I thought it would not be fair to spoil the fun by revealing what all happened. Also another reason is that I had a really bad experience at the medical test which I cannot forget for ever and hence didn't like to share it with others.
I was just suggesting that you could have mentioned that one has to undergo physical tests and later, on qualification, the medical tests. Details can always be withheld.
Congratulations Sai for passing in the SSB exam.
But I want to know that that for what thing you were told to come again in December 2011
What is your next level of assessment which would be final means.
I want to share your experience in my page :)