The Indian Armed Forces have always been a fascinating career option among youth who aspire to join the defence forces. A career in the Armed Forces holds a place of dignity and immense respect amongst the youth. If you are one of them, here you will get detailed knowledge about the SSB procedure.
What is SSB?
The SSB interview is designed to assess candidates based on 15 key character traits known as Officer Like Qualities. The selection process for candidates aspiring to join the Indian Armed Forces- the Army, Navy, or Air Force. This interview aims to select individuals who possess the necessary qualities to become successful military officers.
Full Form of SSB
The SSB stands for Service Selection Board, this exam is conducted in India for the selection of officers for the Indian Armed Forces. It is designed to assess a candidate’s intelligence, personality, and potential for leadership. Whereas, the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB) is a selection board exclusively dedicated to recruiting officers for the Indian Air Force. Similar to the SSB process, AFSB conducts a rigorous selection process to identify candidates with the necessary qualities to serve as officers in the Air Force.
Procedure for SSB Interview
The SSB interview is a selection process conducted by the Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force) to assess the suitability of candidates for officer-level positions. The interview aims to evaluate a candidate’s personality, leadership potential, communication skills, and suitability for a career in the armed forces. The SSB interview is a comprehensive and rigorous process of 5 days that consists of 2 stages, each designed to assess different aspects of a candidate’s personality and capabilities. The SSB Call Letter is a letter that is sent to qualified candidates, bringing them closer to their dream of joining the Indian Armed Forces. It is an important document for aspirants.
But, you must be curious about the procedure of an interview? And How is it conducted? Let’s get a detailed knowledge about SSB procedure.
On the day of reporting at the SSB board, you will need to go through document verification and fill out Personal Information Questionnaire forms. You will be instructed to report at the specified location mentioned in your call letter, usually at the Moment Control Office. You will not have any difficulty finding the place as there will be other candidates reporting on the same day as you.
For certain entries like AFSB Interview, the reporting day and screening day may be the same. It is important to refer to your call letter for accurate information regarding this, and once you clear your screening test room will be allotted to you. The selection process typically comprises of the following stages
Here is a detail about the screening process on the first day of the SSB interview.
Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Test: This is a written test that evaluates the candidates’ reasoning, verbal, and non-verbal abilities. It includes questions from various topics like logical reasoning, coding-decoding, analogy, etc. It is a basic aptitude test that measures your cognitive abilities. While preparing for the OIR Test and PPDT, it is recommended to refer to a reliable OIR Test book to enhance your preparation. You can also practice verbal and non-verbal sample questions to familiarize yourself with the test format. After completing the OIR Test, you will be given some rest and then proceed to the next stage, which is the PPDT.
Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT): In this test, a hazy or unclear picture is shown to the candidates for 30 seconds, and then they have to write a story based on the picture in the next 5 minutes. The candidates’ ability to think creatively, form coherent stories, and their personal attributes are evaluated. Afterward, candidates are divided into sub-groups of around 14-15 members. Each candidate will narrate their story to the group, followed by a group discussion on the picture.
The PPDT assesses your ability to analyze, interpret, and articulate your thoughts effectively. It is an interactive session where candidates can narrate their stories, give suggestions, and reach a common storyline. It is very important to perform well in the PPDT as it plays a significant role in clearing the screening process and advancing to the next stage of testing.
These stages are conducted on the first day to shortlist candidates for the subsequent stages of the SSB interview process. The shortlisted candidates move forward to the next rounds which include psychological tests, group tasks, and personal interview among others.
The psychology test is an important component of the Service Selection Board (SSB) interview process. It aims to assess the psychological suitability of candidates for a career in the Indian defence forces. The test consists of various projective tests designed to analyze the candidate’s personality, thought process, decision-making abilities, leadership qualities, and emotional stability.
There are four main tests conducted during the psychology test:
- Thematic Apperception Test (TAT):
In this test, candidates are shown a series of pictures. Each picture is displayed for 30 seconds (limited time period), followed by a few minutes given to write a story based on the image. The purpose of this test is to evaluate the candidate’s spontaneity, ability to analyze situations, and creativity in constructing a coherent story. Be concise and focus on portraying a strong character, problem-solving skills, and positive attributes
- Word Association Test (WAT):
Candidates are presented with a list of words one after the other. There are 15 seconds to write a sentence that comes to mind first after reading each word. This test aims to assess the candidate’s thought process, vocabulary, and ability to make quick associations.
- Situation Reaction Test (SRT):
This test requires you to respond to various practical situations provided in a booklet. Candidates are required to write their responses based on these situations within a time limit of 30 minutes. The purpose is to evaluate the candidate’s decision-making skills, reasoning ability, and ability to handle challenging situations effectively.
- Self Description Test (SD):
In this test, candidates are given a few minutes to write their self-description. They are instructed to write their opinion about themselves from the perspectives of their parents, friends, teachers, as well as their own self-assessment. Additionally, they are asked to mention areas they would like to improve in the future. This test helps assess the candidate’s self-awareness, introspection, and willingness to grow and develop.
During these tests, speed is important as it reflects the candidate’s ability to think and respond quickly. However, accuracy and coherence should not be compromised. It is essential to write legibly and avoid manipulations or unnecessary elaborations that may create problems in the later stages of the selection process.
To perform well in the psychology test, candidates should practice developing a balanced approach in their responses. They should showcase positive qualities such as leadership skills, problem-solving abilities, emotional resilience, empathy, and a sense of responsibility. It is also crucial to maintain a logical and practical approach while responding to the given situations.
Overall, the psychology test aims to evaluate the psychological fitness of candidates for a career in the Indian defence forces. It emphasizes qualities such as decision-making, leadership potential, emotional stability, and self-awareness. It is important for candidates to prepare and familiarize themselves with the format and expectations of each test to perform their best and increase their chances of success.
The Group Testing Officer activities are an essential part of the selection process during the Services Selection Board interview. These activities are designed to assess a candidate’s leadership qualities, teamwork, communication skills, and ability to handle challenging situations. The GTO tasks are spread over a period of third day and consist of various outdoor and indoor activities. Let’s delve into the details of GTO assessment.
- Group Discussion (GD): In this task, the group will engage in back-to-back discussions on two topics, usually related to current affairs. The objective is to assess your ability to contribute effectively to a group discussion.
- Group Planning Exercise (GPE): The GPE involves individual planning for a given problem and map. Afterward, the group members will come together to discuss the problem and reach a common consensus on the best plan. One member will then explain the final plan using a pointer and the map.
- Progressive Group Task (PGT): This task requires the group to overcome obstacles using supporting materials such as ropes, planks, and wood logs. Certain rules need to be followed, and it is a full group activity.
- Half Group Task (HGT): The HGT is similar to the PGT, but with fewer group members. This task provides individuals with more opportunities to showcase their potential.
- Individual Obstacles Task (IOT): In this task, you will attempt 10 obstacles individually. Each obstacle is assigned a specific point value ranging from 1 to 10.
- Command Task: For this task, you will act as the commander and select 2-3 subordinates from your own group to assist you in crossing obstacles. It tests your leadership skills and ability to delegate tasks.
- Snake Race/Group Obstacle Race: All group members will compete with other groups while holding a snake-like rope. The objective is to cross certain obstacles with the rope. Similar to other tasks, there are specific rules in place. This task adds an element of fun and competitiveness to the day’s activities.
- Individual Lecturette: Each candidate will give a 3-minute lecture on a topic of their choice. You will be given four topics to choose from.
- Final Group Task (FGT): The FGT is similar to the PGT and serves as another opportunity to showcase your potential as a group.
The candidates’ performance is meticulously observed and assessed by the GTO team. They evaluate the candidates based on parameters like initiative, cooperation, courage, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and social adaptability. All these observations contribute to the final assessment of the candidates’ suitability for leadership roles in the armed forces.
Candidates undergo a comprehensive personal interview with a panel of assessors. The interview focuses on the candidate’s educational background, extracurricular activities, interests, personal achievements, and future goals. This interview round can be conducted on the 4th day as well as on the 5th day.
The candidates are given specific time slots for their personal interviews. They are required to report to the designated venue on time. The candidates are expected to be dressed formally for the personal interview. The interviewing officer asks a series of questions to assess the candidate’s knowledge, confidence, integrity, decision-making abilities, and personal values.
The personal interview covers a wide range of topics, including current affairs, general knowledge, educational background, hobbies, personal achievements, family background, career aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for joining the armed forces.
While conducting the personal interview, the interviewing officer assesses the candidate’s body language, facial expressions, confidence level, eye contact, clarity of thought, communication skills, and overall presentation. The interviewing officer also evaluates the candidate’s attitude, sincerity, and suitability for a leadership role.
The personal interview plays a significant role in evaluating the candidate’s OLQs, which include qualities such as initiative, effective communication, determination, perseverance, self-confidence, social adaptability, willingness to accept responsibilities, and teamwork.
Towards the end of the personal interview, the interviewing officer typically asks the candidate if they have any questions. This is an opportunity for the candidate to clarify any doubts or seek more information. Asking thoughtful and relevant questions reflects the candidate’s eagerness to learn and their active participation in the interview process.
The fifth day of the Services Selection Board interview conference round is conducted. The Conference is the final phase of the SSB interview and involves a panel of assessors, including the President of the Board and other senior officers. Each candidate is called in for an individual conference where the assessors discuss and evaluate their performance throughout the SSB interview. The candidate’s performance in all the assessments, including psychological tests, group tasks, and personal interview, is discussed during this session.
Here, candidates are given an opportunity to clarify any doubts regarding their performance or ask questions to the assessors. This interaction highlights the candidate’s communication skills, confidence, and understanding of the SSB process.
In the Conference, the assessors review each candidate’s performance holistically and arrive at a final recommendation, which can be either Recommended, Not Recommended, or on the Borderline. This recommendation is based on the candidate’s performance across all the assessment days.
After the Conference, the candidates are instructed to wait for the final results. The recommended candidates proceed for a medical examination, while others are free to leave.
It is important to note that the selection process is highly competitive, and candidates should prepare themselves both physically and mentally. Additionally, regular physical fitness training, awareness of current affairs, and continuous practice of psychological tests are crucial for success in the SSB interview.
Also Read – How to Crack SSB 2023