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SSB Interview Procedure

Updated: Mar 24

SSB interview procedure is a mandatory process to become a Service Selection Board officer in any Indian defense force irrespective of the age group and kind of entry it is. There just can’t be any Indian defense officer who has not experienced this five-day Service Selection Board (SSB) Interview process.

Because of its high rejection rate, it has gained too much importance for aspiring candidates and so has expert guidance on it in terms of coaching and books published over it. Still, it’s very difficult to get a correct methodology to prepare for it and clear it successfully.

I believe this complete phenomenon of the SSB Interview has become more commercialized and made it a kind of hype and correct and easier procedure had been lost in the process.

Table of Contents: SSB Interview Procedure

SSB interview is a very scientifically designed evaluation system that ensures the correct intake of officers into the system for its overall growth. The board assesses the suitability of the candidate for becoming an officer, It consists of personality, intelligence tests, and interviews. The tests are of both types i.e. written and practical task-based.

In total there are thirteen Service Selection Boards across India, out of which four boards are for the Indian Army, four boards are for the Indian Air Force, and five boards for the Indian Navy. The Service Selection Boards of the Indian Army are located at:

  1. SSB North (Kapurthala, PB)

  2. SSB South (Bangalore, KN)

  3. SSB Central (Bhopal, MP)

  4. SSB East (Allahabad, UP)

SSB interviews consist of three separate evaluation systems spread over five days. The day-wise procedure is given below.

Day of reporting

The selected candidates are provided exact date and time of reaching the respective SSB center in their call letter. The reception center is established at the nearest railway station which further arranges the necessary pick and drop from the station to the center.

Upon arrival, a distinguishing chest no is provided to each candidate which in turn becomes their identity for this exam process. Their educational documents are checked for initial verification and they are allotted a berth for stay. A briefing about the schedule, various tests, and general instructions are given.

Day 1: Screening Test

On the first day, the Screening test is conducted which segregates the best from the crowd. Normally more than half of the candidates don’t make it beyond this point. Screening Tests include;

  • Intelligence Test – This consists of two Tests. Verbal and Non-Verbal. (About 50 questions each)

  • Picture Perception & Picture Description Test (PPDT) – In this test, a picture is shown to the candidates for 30 seconds. Each candidate observes it and then, in the next one minute, must record the number of characters seen in the picture. Then, in four minutes, draft a story from the picture (and not just describe the picture). The candidate must record the mood, approximate age, and gender of the "main character".

  • Group discussion on the PPDT – In stage two of the PPDT, the candidates are given their stories, which they may revise. Then, in a group, each candidate must narrate his story in under one minute. The group is then asked to create a common story involving each of their perceived picture stories.

Selected candidates are shifted to different accommodations where they are going to stay for the next four days of the interview process. The remaining candidates are sent back to their house.

Day 2: Psychology Test

The following tests are conducted during the Second day of SSB interviews.

  • Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT) - Candidates are shown a picture for thirty seconds and then write a story in the next four minutes. Twelve such pictures are shown sequentially. The last picture is a blank slide inviting the candidates to write a story of their choice.

  • Word Association Test (WAT) - Candidates are shown sixty simple, everyday words for fifteen seconds each and they need to write a sentence on each word.Thematic Apperception Test (TAT).

  • Situation Reaction Test (SRT) - A booklet of 60 situations is given in which responses are to be completed in 30 minutes.

  • Self Description Test (SDT) - The candidate is asked 5 questions about the there's parents, teachers, friends, and his perception about himself.

Day 3-4: GTO Tasks & Interview

The following tests are conducted during the day of the SSB interview.

  • Group Discussion Test (GD)

  • Military Planning Exercise (MPE)

  • Progressive Group Task (PGT)

  • Individual Lecturettes

  • Group Obstacle Race

  • Half Group Task

  • Personal interview of candidates is taken by the SSB Board president.

Day 5: Conference

All the officers (in proper uniform) attend the conference where each candidate has a conversation with a panel of assessors. The assessors look for confidence and expression when speaking; a positive attitude in adversity and life; and honesty.

Following this, the final results are announced. Successful candidates remain for an intensive medical examination taking three to five days at a military hospital.

Thank you. If you have any questions simply comment below.

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