Thursday, November 27, 2008

Aspiration to Achieve,Getting in to Officers Training Academy


My love for joining Armed Forces buds in my school days.My uncle who was working as a Master Technician in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) and had a very close association with the life of Armed Forces Personnel.He always praised their life style,discipline,exposure and adventurous life.I was very keen to know the different cultures of people and to learn to speak Hindi and English fluently. This motivated me to get a job in uniform. Immediately after intermediate exam ,I attempted to clear the NDA(National Defence Academy ) Exam,but I failed.Almost same time I got selected as an Airman in Indian Air Force and also got through in Kerala engineering entrance exam.I got the call letters to join Air Force as Airframe fitter and to join the engineering college for B.Tech on the same day. I decided to complete my Engineering Degree first,so that I can directly enter as a Commissioned Officer in Indian Armed Forces. My endeavor to get into Armed Forces continued even after my Engineering Studies. Then the first attempt was in Mysore Air Force SSB(Service Selection Board). Read on....


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Getting into the Armed Forces

Sumita Vaid Dixit

The road to success isn't a long, treacherous route, but, on the other hand, with some foresight and good planning, a rather smooth one. Two months is the time needed to crack the National Defence Academy (NDA), Naval Academy (NA) and the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) says Lt. Col. (Retd.) S K Chhabra of The Cavalier.

The right time to apply

The right time to start preparing for NDA is during the Class 12 summer vacation that is soon after passing Class 11; and for CDSE during the summer break of the final year. No point in waiting to either pass your Class XII or graduation. The eligibility mentioned in the notifications only means that at the time the applicant clears the entrance, he or she should have either passed Class 12 or earned a graduate degree and not at the time of applying!

Choosing the right subjects

While the right timing can save you on missing a chance, planning and choosing the right subjects will decide whether you can join your preferred defence career at all. Say for example, if one wants to be a pilot with the Indian Air Force, then the time to choose the subjects is in Class 11, both for NDA and CDSE as the qualifying subjects for the flying branch in the Air Force are Physics, Chemistry and Math (PCM); for the Indian Navy: Physics and Math. So if you decide to the join the Air Force after college, you would have to plan from Class 11. That early!

"A safe bet is to opt for PCM in case one is considering a career in either the Indian Navy or the Air Force," says aspirant Ashutosh. But there's a bright side for those less inclined towards science subjects.

The qualifying subjects for the Army for both NDA and CDSE could be any stream in Class 12 or any degree in college. Qualifying subjects for the Indian Military Academy (IMA) are Math of Class 10 standard, English and General Studies. But for those mortally scared of Math, they can tick on Officer's Training Academy (OTA) in the form, as the qualifying subjects are English and General Studies. But do keep in mind that OTAs are taken on Short Service Commission (SSC ) which is a service of 14 years (either 10+4 or full 14 years in the case of some branches in the armed forces) and not a full-term service as in the case of Permanent Commission (PC). However, the SSC tenure is extendable depending on the vacancies and the performance of the Officer.

Anonymous said...

Different entry points

Well, there are many ways of entering the Defence services as you would see from the table. While the NDA/NA, CDSE exams conducted by the UPSC are common for entry into the Army, Navy and Air Force, for the direct entries the three wings on their own screen and select candidates and then send them for SSB interviews. These selections are done under the non-UPSC schemes as you would see in the table. The 10+2 Tech Cadet entry, Technical Graduate Course (TGC), NCC, University Entry Schemes (UES) are some of the non-UPSC entries or direct entry schemes to enter into the armed forces.

While there is no written exam for the direct entries in the case of the Army and Navy, the India Air Force, however, conducts its own tests for direct entries for Technical and Ground Duty branches in the form of the Engineering Knowledge Test (EKT) and the Common Entrance Test (CET). Those who qualify the written test are called for the SSB.

There's no written test for the SSC Flying entry branch, instead shortlisted candidates are directly called for the SSB. Candidates selected through the UES are paid Rs 5000 in the final year of their degree course, that is while they are still in college pursuing their degree. University graduates with NCC 'C' Certificate with minimum 'B' grading and 50 per cent marks in graduation are inducted in the Navy and Air Force as Regular Commissioned Officers and as Short Service Commission Officers in the Army.

Be yourself at the SSB

Honest, motivated young men and women with integrity are the kind of people the armed forces is looking for. "Life in the Forces is tough and we are looking for people with mental stamina," says Col Gill. And these are precisely the qualities candidates are judged on during the five-day SSB interview.

Though it may seem the toughest part, the SSB is the easiest part. The SSB panel assesses candidates in three stages: psychology test, group discussion and a group task. The screening happens on the first of the SSB and those who make it then go through the five-day interview process.

The Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) for the Flying branch of the Indian Air Force or the Aviation Arm in the Indian Navy takes place on the same first screening day of the SSB. And there is no method to crack this test. "It's just your natural aptitude they test," says Wing Commander Singha, IAF spokesperson. But you take the PABT test just once in your life. So just in case you aren't able to clear the test, there are other branches you could apply to. Above all though, Group Captain Singhal, a psychologist with The Cavalier, says that one's confidence should not be superficial; no false confidence'.

"Be yourself and honest, because, if there's an inconsistency in your answers, it will show you up in the interview," says Major General Kashid.

He also notes that candidates are not assessed for their fluency in English as the focus is on the candidate's outlook, not his language. Personality traits such as aggressive behaviour, dominating attitude, selfishness; tendency to cheat or take shortcuts hurt the candidates chances of qualifying says Group Captain Singhal.

Once the SSB interview is over, candidates then proceed for the medical test, which is a four-to-five day process. And just in case you are failed in the test but are convinced that you are fit then there is a provision to appeal to the Medical Board. Wing Commander Singha, IAF spokesperson was failed in the medical test but he appealed to the Medical Board. "And I got selected!"

Anonymous said...

I hope, it's OK

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