Service Selection Boards (SSB)- some useful links for candidates re the methodology, what to expect, etc

SSB Consists of three independent tests-Psychology, Group Tasks, and Personal Interview, all designed scientifically and time-tested to select the right person for this job.

On the final day, every Assessor and the candidate sit together for and have a chat- the fate of the candidate for that SSB is decided by the Assessors collectively there.

SSB is a two stage process. To qualify for Stage II, a candidate needs to clear Screening Test or Stage I.

Before anything, candidates fill certain Forms and also the Bio Data forms known as “Personal Information Questionnaire” (PIQ). PIQ is very important- there must be no cutting and consistency in each of the four or five copies of PIQ you are to fill.
A well written PIQ, impeccable Interview is your Recommendation Letter

In Stage I, you are given Intelligence Test (Verbal and Non-Verbal), then there is a Picture Perception test, in which a slide (hazy or clear) is shown and then each candidate writes their story and later have a Group Discussion. This sequence is popularly called PPDT- Picture Perception and Discussion Test.

The Psychology tests consist of:
  • Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT)- Commonly known as Picture Story writing.
  • Word Association Test (WAT)
  • Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
  • Self Description Test (SD), or a variation of this
In Group tasks or GTO (Group Testing Officer), which is spread over two days, candidates take part in the following tests:
  • Group discussion
  • Group Planning Exercise (sometimes known as Military Planning Exercise)
  • Progressive Group Tasks
  • Half Group Tasks
  • Individual Obstacles
  • Group Obstacles Race
  • Command Task
  • Lecturette
  • Final Group Task
Then there is the Interview, which is quite similar to GDPIs (Group Discussion and Personal Interview) of the MBA. But since the job profile of a military officer is quite unique, certain tips and an idea of the Interview's structure will be useful.

The Interview/Personality Test would be conducted by a Board of competent and unbiased persons who will have before them a record of the candidate’s curriculum vitae. The candidate will be asked questions both in his/her own field as well as matters of general interest to test his/her awareness and understanding.

In broad terms, this will be an assessment of not only his/her mental calibre but also his/her social traits and integrity of character. Some points:
  • Physical Make-up
    • Appearance
    • Bearing
    • Manners and Mannerism
  • General Intelligence, Aptitude and Interest
    • Ability to perceive, analyse and present facts and situation.
    • Work related aptitudes, like discipline, empathy etc.
    • Extra-curricular activities-participation in games, sports, debates etc.
  • Disposition
    • Leadership, drive, determination, quick decision making etc.
    • Self-reliance.
    • Ability to face stress and crisis.
    • Courage-moral and physical.
  • Behavioural aspect of personality
    • Inter-personal relations with superiors and subordinates.
    • Commitment to values, integrity, secular and national orientation.
Suggested Reading:
  1. A detailed writeup of the SSB Interview, almost complete in every respect
    courtesy Shantanu Harde on Orkut website
  2. Article on SSB on Wikipedia

Comments

  1. Thanks for the post.. it was really good.. a few examples wud have really helped me more

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  2. Hi...Glad to be of help...Surf around the Orkut pages listed at end... Gentleman Cadets (GCs) as well aspirants like us regularly participate there...Best Wishes!...Jai Hind

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  3. great task keep it up anil

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  4. Thanks...will keep relevant articles coming up...Regards,Gopal

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  5. hi pal...i gt selected fr d ssb interview for navy...ima fresher fr dis...ur experience showd me hw big is the task im gng to face...please help me wit any preparation material...my email id is ramengineer2006@gmail.com

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  6. Hi Ram,

    Congrats on getting selected for the SSB Interview. I hope all this info will only guide you so that you know what to expect, and thus help perform better.

    There are some informative links mentioned at the end of article and also Orkut pages....browse and read them, you should get more idea.

    Bro just remember to be true and have fun at the SSB Centre :) ...God will do best.

    Jai Hind

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  7. thankyou dude hope this will be a step ahead of information benefited to me..

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  8. Hi Gopal,

    Can you please guide me on how to crack the CDS exam. I am really confused on to which materials are best to follow.

    Waiting for your help..
    Thanks.

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  9. Hi Arihanth

    As far as the written exam is concerned, buy any good books from the market and practice them well.

    Everyone knows what their strong points and weak points are...like my strength was in english and maths.

    So focus more on your strengths. General Knowledge is nice, but since the syllabus is not bounded so I would suggest concentrate more on the other subjects esp maths.

    Good luck and believe me, only your labor can help you clear the exam.

    Do the hard work..God will help :)

    Warm regards,
    Gopal

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  10. Hi Gopal,

    This was really helpfull.. Thank You! :)

    I will surely focus on my strength and work hard..

    Thanks for the advise.

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  11. Hi gopal, My SSB is dated on 4th july @Banglore. I have a doubt regarding interview. Recently i did R&D project on Defense gadgetry 'Unmanned vehicle for Explosive handling and Hostage situation neutralizer' funded by 'THE INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERS'kolkata. Is it worth and fetch me any thing with this interview if i talk about it in personal interview.

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  12. Hi Bharat

    First of all best wishes for you SSB... Also checked out your profile and blog... pretty hi-tech stuff :)

    Well, if you ask me I am bowled over just by the name of the Project you worked on. I have a gut feeling that SSB is lenient towards engineers and doctors.

    Tell you what, I'll share a small story that a retired Army Officer told me regarding your doubt:

    Once there was a farmer working on his field. He saw something shiny in the soil, picked it up and thinking it to be a broken glass threw it on road.

    Just then, a jeweller from city was driving by. He stopped and checked it out.

    Guess what? It was a diamond woth an amount the farmer could have never imagined.

    The moral with regards to SSB: Yu just present yourself to the SSB guys...this is who I am, I am passionate to be a soldier- If I make it.

    Finally, to quote in your own words :), in my opinion, yes, it is worth and will help in Interview.

    P.S.: just have fun there! :)

    Warm regards
    Gopal
    Jai Hind.

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  13. Hi Gopal, i am Venkatesh from chennai.I am planning to apply for 29th NCC Entry(last date Aug 8). I just passed out from my graduation(BBA)in 2010. I have 'B' graded C certificate. But i have arrear in a subject which can also be cleared by writing the Instant Examination.But the results will be announced only at the later stage i.e, after the last date for submission of applications. and i will get the provisional certificates too after the results. As per the advice from the Defence Academy (SSB Coaching Centre in TN) can i atach my principal's letter with application form instead of my provisional certificate and 6th sem mark sheet? please do reply me as soon as possible. my email id is venkysathya09@yahoo.co.in.

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  14. Hi

    I think they should accommodate having Principal's letter on school letterhead. Your NCC Office will be better able to guide you, for I'm not sure. Please get your NCC in-charge involved in this, so that you know that you are taking the right decisions.

    It's not a big deal, but try to clear the backlog subject as soon as possible.

    Prepare well for Interview and have fun!

    With best wishes
    Gopal

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  15. should we write the same details or be consistent in all piq forms,
    pls explain

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  16. Hi

    It is always better to be consistent. See, facts like percentage in school etc do not change, but otherwise personality changes. Be current and true.

    Hope this'll clear your mind

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  17. Hi Gopal,
    I am going for AFSB on 26th july
    your advice felt valuable.
    Thanls!!

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  18. hi gopal
    your blog proved useful
    i got selected from 1afsb dehradun
    do you have any idea for prepration of merit list and number of vaccines in 129 gdoc

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  19. Hi Kamal

    It's an honor for me that my humble efforts in sharing experiences and knowledge are helpful :)

    Regarding the number of vacancies, I have no idea.

    I hope you have cleared your Medicals also, because it's an essential step to become an Officer.

    Once again, thanks and wishing you a glorious career...
    Warm regards
    Gopal
    Jai Hind

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  20. hi gopal

    I declared fit in medical examination now i am waiting for my call. that y i asked for number of posts

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  21. Hi

    That's a great news, but sorry I have no idea about the number of posts.

    If you've made it so far, you'll make it to the Academy also, God Willing! :)

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  22. after clearing ekt…. i’m going to varansi for my ssb dis sunday….done all d homeworks regarding d various stages… n i’m optimistic about my selection….but 1 thing is on ma mind if i get slaughtered among d hundreds in d 1st stage itself….. just a feeling creeps inside my heart… dat only speaking maters??? courage can b shown not describd in wrds…. i can eatup 3 guys in a fight…. nor my english is d problem…. just a feeling dat a call center employee can give a better ppdt dan me….. lets c wat happens…..will writeback….

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  23. hello gopal sir,
    i have my SSB at Allahabad for 131 course IMA.
    i am pretty excited but anxious too...what would you suggest ....?
    it had been my cherished dream to be an officer since time immeasurable....

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  24. Hi Shibu

    Don't self-doubt and I think to feel good about yourself, you don't need to discount someone else :)

    God will do good.

    Hoping and praying that you clear your SSB and Medicals.

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  25. Hi Raghav

    Best wishes for your SSB Interview at Allahabad. It's a wonderful place and I'm sure you'll enjoy.

    I understand how you feel. Excited, maybe nervous at times- especially when you imagine the possibilities that lie ahead.

    I've been there personally too.

    Bro, let me help you out :)

    1. See, when we become anxious about something, that feeling comes in the way of our success e.g. you might have seen this happening when guys approach girls- it doesn't work out if you're too stressed :)

    2. Also, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Get a job, go for civilian job Interviews (with the intention of getting selected), or if you intend to study higher get admission into your planned course and begin classes.

    Why?
    This will help release the "dependence" on one SSB Interview only and thus help you perform better.

    3. Keep giving more written exams, direct entries to Navy, Air Force, Army (on the basis of graduation, see Employment News every week).

    Why?
    To enable yourself the maximum number of SSB attempts till your age-limit.

    4. It may have been your cherished dream to become an Army Officer from the beginning. That's great bro, but it doesn't concern the SSB guys.

    Come to think of it- the SSB is here for a job, to evaluate a guy or girl when they appear for the Interview.

    (Yes, personality changes and you can be a totally different person for one SSB to next.)

    I'll quote my SSB coach, "you are going to SSB to present yourself as you are...with a desire to serve in the Army/Navy/Air Force...whether or not you cut it is their job to evaluate".

    Why?
    Be relaxed and enjoy :)

    So, go there and have fun.

    Finally, bro have faith in God. If you like reading read You can't connect the dots looking forward.

    This article will help get more perspective and idea that what happens today, even if we don't like it, is eventually in our favor only.

    I hope that you'll now go for Interview with a cool relaxed mind and perform your best sincerely, with no worry of the outcome.

    I wish you and all Indian Military aspirants my best wishes and prayers.

    God'll do good.


    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  26. Hi, how do i apply for the SSB? i tried searching the net but wasn't of much use. could u plz tell me about the dates of the pcoming exams.. thank you

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  27. hi.....i want to know whether we will have to frame the questions in PIQ or they are pre defined?

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  28. @Anonymous

    I suggest you stay on the goal and that is to become a Military Officer, right? SSB is a step that you have to clear for that.

    Kindly read the basic outline of becoming an Indian military officer.

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  29. Kindly keep yourself updated regarding the dates and other details at http://upsc.gov.in.

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  30. @Anonymous

    Re PIQ Forms

    PIQ (Personal Information Questionnaire) form is basically a bio-data form to fill details like Name, Father's Name, Education Details etc, but somewhat more open in that you are allowed to mention things like achievements during school, college and many other things.

    On the day of reporting to the SSB Centre, you have to fill PIQ forms. It is a standard form used by all the SSB Centers.

    You usually have to fill many PIQ forms, at many separate times.

    The questions are all pre-defined and we only have to answer them truthfully and consistently. Consistency is important. Kindly note that a cutting or over-writing on PIQ forms (and anywhere else) is undesirable.

    Kindly search and then post any doubts you might be having

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  31. Hello sir,i m one of the aspirants of ota and appearing for ssb in may or june.i have achived distinction in x and xii standard but due to some family problems i got only 40% in graduation.is their any chance of getting selected? Thank u in anticipation

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  32. @Anonymous

    First of all best wishes for your SSB.

    I've searched Internet and checked out the latest notification of CDS from http://upsc.gov.in.

    Thee only eligibility is a graduation degree. That's all bro.

    Don't take any tension. Though they may ask at the Interview regarding the downfall in percentage- but we all have problems.

    Rest assured, they need the man, not the percentages :)

    With best wishes and praying for your success.

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  33. @Anonymous

    First of all best wishes for your SSB.

    I've searched Internet and checked out the latest notification of CDS from http://upsc.gov.in.

    The only eligibility is a graduation degree. That's all bro.

    Don't take any tension. Though they may ask at the Interview regarding the downfall in percentage- but we all have problems.

    Rest assured, they need the man, not the percentages :)

    With best wishes and praying for your success.

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  34. Thank u sir.i m confident about my capablities,and will give my best.thanks a lot..!!!

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  35. hi ihave got afsb call latter but have 1 backlog whose result would come after ssb pls tell me what should i do ?????

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  36. @Anonymous

    Hi

    I think you'll get some time after the SSB Interview and Medical Exam to arrange your passing degree in original.

    It is a standard procedure e.g. with pre-final students.

    If you feel like, you may confirm from the UPSC office, or SSB Centre.

    You may be interested in UPSC phone numbers.

    I'd suggest you go for the SSB.

    With best wishes

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  37. thank you for your suggestion :)

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  38. hi gopal
    i m goin 4 army ssb interview allahabad on 17 june. I m a repeater as i hav attended ssb at dehradun in april 2011.so i want to 9 is it difficult to clear 1st phase for repeaters? Also plz tel me wat shud i answer wen dey'll ask me y i want 2 join army inspite of being a btech graduate n y i was nt recommended in my last ssb interview.

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  39. @Anonymous

    Thanks :)

    @Harjeet

    1. Congrats on your SSB. Allahabad is a fine place and the SSB Centre is like a high-tech corporate office.

    They might show you guys a movie also. Then there is an emotional footstep called "Pratham Pag" (First Steps) similar to the "Antim Pag" (Final Steps) at IMA, Dehradun.

    2. No, it is not difficult to clear any phase for repeaters. Personality changes, for better or for worse. So, you are a new guy when you appear for Interview. So relax :)

    3. "Why were you not recommended last time?"
    Bro, that's not your problem. You went there to present youself. How can you know why you were not selected? I'd say focus on yourself and how you are great as an individual.

    4. "Why you want to join Army inspite of being a BTech graduate?"
    Doesn't Army require engineers? Wow, you should not spend energy on such useless things. Bro, you want to join Military- does it matter you studied Arts, Engineering or Commerce at college?

    My suggestion would be to let them do their job and you do yours. Go there, present yourself, have fun and stay humble!

    Write back whenever you feel like.

    Warm regards
    Gopal

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  40. Hey Gopal
    Just want to ask you one thing I got Temporary Rejection(TR) after getting recommended by 12 SSB Bangalore for Navy... Does TR affect our position in final merit?? Can it be a reason for lower merit rank..??
    Waiting for your reply...

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  41. @Anonymous

    As far as I know, Temporary Rejection (TR) has no effect on the final merit ranking.

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  42. These are very helpful information for SSB all Aspirants who want become a part of India force. thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete

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