Going To The Bangalore SSB Interview For The First Time?

(this is a travelogue from home to SSB, 5 day Interview, and back)
Contents:
  • Jalandhar to Bangalore
  • Bangalore SSB
  • Testing Procedure
  • Suggested Reading
Soldiers are not what we most often see portrayed on the screen. The best of them, the ones who ascend to generals' stars, are thoughtful students of their profession, scholarly commentators on history, and gifted observers of human psychology. The profession of arms is every bit as broad and deep as medicine or law. Like physicians, officers must know their subject in every detail, for they deal in the currency of life and death, and some mistakes can never be corrected. Like attorneys, they must plan everything in exquisite detail, because in some arenas you have but one chance to get it right.
Welcome Military aspirant to the first hand view of a Punjabi who travelled half way through the country to give his Navy SSB. I’ll also share photos and experiences at Bangalore Service Selection Board and what we used to do after the days activities were over. Hop on!

Delhi is the central station from where most of the long-route trains begin and end at. Punjab roadways bus for Delhi was the first leg of the trip.
Punjab Roadways Bus traveling by road you cannot miss the border of Delhi, thanks to the landfills

A little bit of Metro (from Kashmere Gate adjoining ISBT to the New Delhi railway station)
Delhi Metro Delhi Metro Delhi Metro luggage

Seated in my compartment of Indian Railways, a very long journey ahead
leaving Jalandhar station en route  from my seat in the train you know you have reached south when you start reading kannada

So finally landed at Bangalore or Bengaluru. Since Interview is important, I reached the city one day before my reporting time and thus needed a place for rest and night’s sleep. Took a bed in dorm of railway station.
Bangalore railway station

Damn! Idly, Dosa and Sambar are like air and water in South India- everywhere :) In fact, I began to miss rajma chawal some days into my stay here, and could find a dhaba selling north Indian dishes only at Yeshwantpur while boarding back for home. Somewhat strange, because while in Punjab, I throng south Indian dhabas…lols
 Sambar Dosa taking rest the day before Interview began, at the Bangalore railway station dorm enjoying idly sambar and tea
So, the moment arrives…so many youngsters some sober, some hip-hop, some geeky, all with their luggage are huddled near the SSB receiving block and looking excitedly at the Army vehicles and fuajis moving around.
no one can beat the excitement of boarding the army bus, especially for the first timers

You can hear a few of them trying to brag around. A handful of aspirants would be concerned on fresher vs repeater dilemma- who gets selected more and such.

Also, one incident would be worth watching out for – some of the guys will be all too pumped up, and go out of way to volunteer for loading luggage on the roof of bus and will end up doing all the work. Still have doubts if that has any bearing on selection….lols.

Now, we all boarded the bus and reached the SSB, which is in a very posh colony of Bangalore
MG Road, Bangalore The SSB Centre of Bangalore

Upon arrival. we were seated in the reception block, and after preliminary roll call, filling up PIQ forms, identification forms etc, were given board numbers and then escorted to our lines.

You’ll also get another pleasant surprise, the company of fellow lady aspirants, but only in mess or occasionally in corridors.
Reception Block of SSB Bangalore  12 SSB candidates' line

The first night is the most unnerving, because you never know whether you are staying after the screening test.
  trying to get a good night sleep? 

The plan for the candidates
12 SSB Programme Chart

Alright, it’s a new morning- Am I dressed properly? :)
am I dressed properly? Mess of Bangalore SSB

Then will be the Screening Test and all its phases. The details will be sorted out by the seniors, who may separate freshers, repeaters and may interview freshers first. Though, at times, the interviewers beat the expected order by calling chest numbers at random.

My suggestion for anyone in this situation would be no to worry about anything else and just speak his heart out and perform well. The results would be announced after all the candidates have taken lunch.

There is no limit on the number of attempts that can be made and the SSB Assessors encourage candidates to appear again for SSB.

Well well, the fortunate ones would be escorted back to the barracks and reissued supplies and beds while others will be respectfully dropped back to railway station.

The group dynamics change after that, since all of the guys are now here for at least five more days.
they take good care of candidates with timely tea etc     lots of trees and pleasant weather

Then the schedule of the SSB Interview kicks in and the the day at SSB should be over around lunch with the rest of the day for the candidates, who may go out in group. I am not able to share any photos of the Interview because besides mobiles being not allowed at testing centre, my focus was on performance.

The selection procedure is as follows (courtesy wikipedia):
  • Day 0 (Day of Reporting)
SSB is a two stage process. To qualify for Stage II, a candidate needs to clear Screening Test or Stage I.

On the date of reporting, the candidates are picked from the railway station and during the evening, certain Forms and also the Bio Data forms known as “Personal Information Questionnaire” (PIQ) are filled.

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.
  • Day 1 (Screening Tests)
On the next day, is the Stage I, in which candidates 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. After the completion of these tests, results are announced and those who do not make it in this attempt are dropped back to the railway station and the successful ones are retained for 4 days of detailed assessment.
  • Day 2 (Psychology Tests)
   1. Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT)- Commonly known as Picture Story writing.
   2. Word Association Test (WAT)
   3. Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
   4. Self Description Test (SD), or a variation of this like description form the eyes of parents, teachers, colleagues, neighbors etc.
  • Day 3 and Day 4 (GTO Tasks)
dress for GTO events in SSB
The recommended dress for GTO 
tests- white shirt, white shorts, 
white socks and white PT shoes 
along with the colored chest number 
(which has to be worn at all times 
except while in barracks)
The following tests are conducted in this category :-
   1. Group discussion
   2. Group Planning Exercise (sometimes known as Military Planning Exercise)
   3. Progressive Group Tasks
   4. Half Group Tasks
   5. Individual Obstacles
   6. Group Obstacles Race
   7. Command Task
   8. Lecturette
   9. Final Group Task Interview : (Held during afternoon/evening hours on 2nd/3rd/4th day)
  • Day 5 (Conference)
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.

The candidates are required to appear before the complete Board of Examiners comprising of President,Deputy President, all the psychologists, all the GTOs and Technical Officer.

Some more pics of the Centre:
  

After the Tests- Bangalore is a tourist’s delight, there are so many places to visit, from the spacious parks, to temples, to upmarket malls and so much more. The lounge is labelled with maps and tourists attractions and you may decide what to visit on which day. And please, don’t get stuck onto the MG Road only, there’s much more to Bangalore…

Also railway tickets can be easily booked at the Utility Building at the MG Road. There you might notice for the first time, a queue in which people sit on seats rather than stand in a line…nice.

Just a tip- note down the centre’s phone numbers when you leave and in case you might get late or some other concern, just call them up and inform them.

Happy SSB and enjoy your travelling. Here are some of the places I went to while my SSB:
       
Back to Home- God decides everything, and I had to leave on the Conference Day. Well back to Punjab.

A tip- Sometimes it might be difficult to book a seat from Bangalore to New Delhi, you might try other trains that leave from Yeshwantpur (a nearby town) to H. Nizamuddin station.

Check out the complete album and photos here

Also I am not sure if shooting such photos or even calling from mobiles would be feasible these days, since have heard that we have to deposit all devices before beginning SSB.

Suggested reading:
  1. Experiences and lots of discussion of Allahabad SSB Centre by a fellow blogger
  2. Some useful links for candidates re the methodology, what to expect, etc
  3. Services Selection Board (Wikipedia)
Credits: MG road utility building by anitabora, others by author