Recommended For Indian Air Force Flying Branch From 3 AFSB Gandhinagar Shares Valuable Tips

Warm Greetings folks! I am writing this article with a hope that it might help someone. I’ll consider it worthwhile even if one person effectively benefits from it. All that matters is how you see yourself. Faith in your abilities goes a long way.

In my engineering, I studied subjects like Aerodynamics, Flight mechanics, Propulsion which dragged my interest towards planes. Inspired from a visit to Sirsawa Airbase I started working on drones and eventually mastered flying them. I participated in various national drone competitions and secured prizes over there.

Still, defense forces were never on my cards but the craving for fighters was started. And the final icing to cake was done when I did my summer internship at Air-force only, then and there I decided this is the place I want to work for. I gave AFCAT exam and after clearing the written exam, my eyes were set on clearing the SSB.

Now, I would like to share my 5 Day Experience at 3 Air Force Selection Board, Gandhi Nagar.

I left home with great positive energy and still remember the words said by mother “Agr vo tujhe nahi select krenge to vo log apna nuksan krenge”. As soon as I boarded the plane I started observing things because that might be asked in the interview. I reached a day before and stayed in a hotel nearby railway station where we had to report next morning at 5.30 AM. I practiced verbal and non-verbal reasoning for around 10 hours.

Screening Test

I reported at the concerned place and found a good number of young candidates in formals with a military haircut. One glance and a person could know that those young lads were going for SSB. After observing a huge number of candidates who appeared focused to crack the SSB, my mind became anxious for a second. But then, I realized that getting recommended depends upon one’s performance and not on the number of candidates. With that in mind, I embraced the opportunity of meeting new people and learning new things from the whole process.

At the reporting point, I made some new friends, some were repeaters and the rest were fresher. They hailed from different states ranging from Jammu to Kerala.

Our luggage was loaded in a Military Truck and 2 buses came there to accommodate nearly 220 candidates. After a small briefing, the candidates were told to sit inside the buses. It was a 30 min journey from Ahmedabad Railway station to AFSB, Gandhinagar.

I started to have Goosebumps as soon as we entered the AFSB. As soon as we reached, there was a detailed briefing followed by allotment of the chest numbers. The screening process began and all the candidates were asked to be seated in a hall.

After filling some forms, the first step of screening started with OIR (Officers’ Intelligence Rating) test which is basically an IQ test. It had a blend of both easy and difficult questions and we were supposed to do two sets of papers. There were a total of 80 questions, divided into 40 questions each in the two papers. I was able to do all the questions with revision (because of practice I did a day before)

Immediately after the OIR Test we were asked to assemble in another room which had a projector and a big screen for Picture Perception and Discussion Test (PP&DT). A hazy picture was shown for 30 seconds and we had to write a story on it in the next 4 minutes. As I looked around, I could see both confident and nervous faces. I am not sure whether I belonged to either of the categories. There was no time to read the story and the candidates were asked to move to different rooms according to their groups. The papers containing stories were remained to be folded and submitted at the end of the narration and discussion process.

Soon, we were divided into the groups of 10-15 and sent to different rooms for the Narration and Discussion Test. Three assessors were present in the room and the candidates were sitting in a Semi-circular pattern. After a small briefing and introduction, the Individual Narration started with me as I was sitting at the extreme end. I narrated my story in about 45 seconds sticking to the theme of my story. My narration was short, to the point and even had a conclusion.

After the narration, Assessors asked the group to start a discussion and reach towards a common story. I was looking towards the assessors while they were telling us to begin the discussion. Even before I could turn my head towards the group, most of the candidates began to speak at the top of their voice. The discussion was a complete chaos. I didn’t speak anything for a while waiting for the “right time”, but it seemed like none of the group members would ever stop speaking for a second. Even I joined the massacre and tried to be a significant part of the discussion.

At last, I found the “right time” and put forward my thoughts in an effective manner. Post that, the discussion continued and the assessor had to stop the discussion so that we could reach a conclusion. A fellow candidate concluded the discussion and we were lauded by the assessors before being asked to disperse.

With this our screening process was complete and candidates were free to have lunch. All of us were hoping for the best. The result was out after 2 hours. 24 out of 220 candidates were screened in. Screened in candidates were allotted new chest numbers and my new chest number was 11….

After the dispersal of screened out candidates, we were allotted rooms according to our groups. We had a rest for 2 hours after rechecking of documents.

Soon after that my psychological tests were taken at 6.30 PM which ended around 9 PM. We went to our rooms after dinner. My group had 10 candidates and we were allotted the room named ‘Sukhoi’. Apart from my own group I ventured around in other rooms and made friends from other groups as well.

Day-2 Interview

It was at 10:30 am and I wake up at 4 AM to prepare for it. I revised all the questions I prepared. Brushed some current affairs and got ready. I reached the waiting room at 10:10 am. I was asked to wait and a person asked for my documents and certificates at 10:25 am. After 15 minutes of scrutiny he called me in at 10:30 am. I asked for the permission to come in and marched into the room confidently. After an exchange of greetings, he asked me to take the seat. The interview went for more than an hour. Maybe 80 minutes. The Interviewer began with rapport building and asked the meaning of my name and where do I hail from.

After answering these questions, I was asked to answer a series of questions, which are also known as rapid-fire questions, where the interviewer asks some 10-15 questions rapidly and one has to answer all of them in a right sequence. Round one was focused upon me only. The questions were about my Educational background, my reason behind the intent of joining defense forces, Round one was good.

There were three rapid-fire rounds which I answered confidently, correctly and in proper sequence. While I was answering he tried his level best to break my concentration by using a pen, his mobile, making weird faces. Still, I continued and remained focused. After that, the Interviewer started a General knowledge round and it lasted for 15mins. I was asked about burning International and National Issues. We had a good discussion over the Pakistan Issue and the Syrian Crisis.

Meanwhile, questions about GF, alcohol, relationships, and friends were asked which I answered them with full confidence. Then came the technical round which I was eagerly waiting for and he asked me questions from planes, drones, missiles, S-400, an aircraft carrier. Moreover, this interview got converted into a discussion which we both enjoyed. I was hungry and ran towards the mess to have lunch. After my interview, I came to know he was the Board President and I really enjoyed those 80 mins (After all I prepared for 7-8 months for this, even studied topics like history, geography, propulsion which were out of my interest)


My group was totally free for day 3 and we played Table tennis and enjoyed our time together.

Day-4 Group Tasks

Group tasks started at 7.30am and we were asked to be seated in a room. After waiting for around 30 minutes, Two Assessors entered the room and briefed us about the first task and its rules.

1. Group Discussions One
2. Group Discussion two
3. Group Planning exercise
4. Progressive Group task
5. Half Group Task

The thing is all the tests went very well. I was the person who was giving maximum ideas. Also, I was light-weight so even the group was sending me ahead in all tasks on the ground. I respected each and every individual’s view. I kept my each point with valid examples and able to influence group with my knowledge. They themselves don’t know when they started following me and I emerged as a leader. My funny behavior and always positive attitude combined with knowledge was the reason behind this good performance.

Day -5 GTO (Remaining Tasks)

6. Lecturette

I spoke for full 3 minutes and gave my best. I made full use of those 3 minutes (I Love to speak among people, this helped me here)

7. Individual Obstacles

This was easy. I did 13 obstacles in the given time. And most funny part was that I climbed that rope but I didn’t know how to come down, so I slithered down and injured my hand. At end of this task, I was lying down on the ground with sand on my clothes.

8. Command Task:

My command task went really well. I was called by 7 out of 7 group members as their teammate (Result of good performance in previous test and my ability to make friends easily). I had already helped 4 members with their command task when my turn came. Before command task the GTO had a small interview with me, again I brought him to drones, planes, helicopters (Which I always wanted). This went for around 10 minutes and I came to know that he is also a pilot. I was battle hardened by it and completed my command task in just 20 seconds. Then he kept on changing my task making it more and more difficult. This went for around 30 minutes and he changed task about 9-10 times. I was able to complete task Everytime within given time. GTO never change task so many time which I knew, so when he changed it 8th time, I looked at him with a smile. He replied “Sachin ko khi bhi batting krni pad sakti hai no1, no5, no8 position.It was tiring but a worthwhile experience. (Remember my hand was injured and bleeding but I didn’t pay attention to it keep doing my work)

Final group task:

This was quite easy in comparison to the PGT. In this task, everyone cooperated and we were able to successfully complete it within the given time. Again I was the one leading from the front, giving ideas and executing.

Conference Day

It was a big day for every candidate. I was injured, it was paining and I had to visit doctor which gave me only 5 min to dress up. In this whole mess up, I forgot to trim my beard, which I came to know when other candidates told me. My turn came and I waited for around 15 mins outside the conference room. It was way more than the average waiting time of 1 min for all the candidates who went before me. I marched in and greeted them. There were around 20 officers sitting in that room. I had to be calm, no matter what. They launched the questions ranging from my personal to academic life. Almost all the questions were complex. I was able to answer them confidently. One officer said, “Abhinav this is the last question of your whole journey, Where do you see yourself in the next two hours”. I answered, “Sir, in the next two hours I see myself calling my parents, my teachers, my GF and telling them about my recommendation in Indian Airforce as a Pilot”. Then they asked for suggestions. I gave none and smiled at them. With this, my conference ended.

All the 36 candidates were asked to wait in the hall. DSO sir came with a slip and said “We have only one candidate who got selected and that is Chest number 11”. I looked down on my chest and verified 11. My mind stopped working for a second. My heart skipped a beat. I was neither happy nor crying which people usually do. I was just sitting blank with a feeling of satisfaction. All the hard work I did for a year, all the bad things I left, all the sacrifices I made, all my motivators, all critics, everything was coming in front of my eyes. It was the moment when my dream turned into reality. Finally, my visualizations were turned into the reality that day. I was immediately taken to a different room and all other 35 candidates greeted me with a smile. I filled up numerous forms and the whole process took 4 hours. After completing the formalities I was free.

Walking out of the Air Force Selection Board as a recommended candidate was the biggest achievement of my life.

After that I was sent to 1 Airforce Selection Board, Dehradun for my CPSS exam and I passed it too.

I cleared all medical, after that I went for Navy Pilot Entry which I also cleared (I will write that story some other day)

This skipped many things in-between otherwise I can write a whole book on this great Journey.

I would like to conclude my experience with a quote “Man becomes what he thinks about”. Your thoughts, beliefs, and actions should be aligned with your goals. Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve. You just have to be disciplined and persistent in your actions. Success comes at a cost of losing your closed ones, sleepless nights, early mornings, being misunderstood, being your own cheerleader. If you can do this, then nothing can stop your dreams from manifesting itself into reality.

And I would like to thank my Parents, Teachers and my friends who are with me since class 1 of school Harleen and Sarthak for their contribution in my life and I am really lucky to have you all.

My dear friends, I wish you all the good that prevails in this universe. May you march towards your goal with glory and become the Woman/Man you were meant to be.

Abhinav Sharma