Service Selection Board: It is a government organization, and its purpose is to select the suitable candidates that are applicable to join the Indian Armed Forces. They conduct all the necessary tests which help them determine the abilities of the candidates. Both written and practical tests are done, so that SSB can judge the overall abilities of a candidate. Physical tests to determine the physical abilities, like strength, stamina etc and written tests to check the mental abilities like logical abilities, decision making power etc.

An SSB is a panel, and this panel consists of officers of the Indian Armed Forces. They are specialized in 3 areas, GTO (group task officer) who conducts the physical tests, Psychologist, the purpose of this officer is to conduct written tests which help SSB to judge the mental abilities of the candidates, and the final one is the interviewing officer, who takes interviews of the candidates. It is possible many times that a psychologist is not from the armed forces directly.

There are a total of 13 SSBs throughout the country.  From them 4 boards are for the Indian Army, 4 boards belong to the Indian Air Force and the rest of the 5 boards belong to the Indian Navy. SSB evaluation takes a total of 5 days.

The total procedure of selection conducted by SSB;

All the suitable candidates who are eligible for SSB test will be given a center allocated by the board and all the tests will be conducted on that center only for the coming 5 days.

These are candidates who are allowed to give the SSB test;

  • Those who passed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) written exam.
  • Those who are recommended by the Preliminary Interview Board (PIB) in case of Territorial Army.
  • Technical entries
  • NCC special entries
  • the who are asked to present the SSB

The selection will be done on the basis of three concepts, Manasa (mind), Vacha (speech) and Karmana (actions).

The panel of officers will conduct tests which help them to know about the overall personality of the candidate. There will be no right or wrong answers in SSB exam, the candidate should analyze the task or test given and perform in the best ways possible. It’s all about situational awareness and making the best decision according to the situation and the abilities of the candidate. To determine how well the candidate acts as a defense officer and serves the country is the main purpose of SSB.

Day 0

On this day candidates must report and follow all the instructions and guidelines given in the SSB call letter. A candidate must reach the railway station between 7 am – 8 am and from there one of the SSB officials will guide him/her to the center. After they reach the center all the educational documents and other necessary documents will be verified in the testing hall. After the verification, one number will be allocated to them, known as chest number. The candidates will be identified by chest number throughout the process and after that a brief introduction to all the tests and schedule will be given to the candidate about the whole procedure of the tests in the upcoming days.

Day 1 Screening test, Stage 1

The screening test stage one will consist of verbal test, nonverbal test (50 questions will be there in both the tests and Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT). In this test, the candidates will see a picture for 30 seconds, the picture could be blurry too. After observing it the candidate must identify all the characters shown in the picture in the next minute. And then each candidate must write a story of 70 words, including the characters shown in the picture, if some candidate just describes the picture that won’t be considered eligible. They must identify the mood, the appropriate age of the character they first see, this character will be the main character of the story.

In the stage 2 of PPDT, the candidates have to narrate their stories in front of the officials of SSB and after that the group discussion will happen and all candidates must make story combining all the characters they have seen individually

After this the PPDT will be done and candidates can leave who failed to perform well in the test. Other candidates who successfully cleared both the stages will be shortlisted. The selected candidates will be given 5 personal information questionnaires, the first of these should be filled by the candidates on the day 1. These questionnaires will be the main basis of the personal interview of the candidate.

Day 2, Psychological test, Stage 2

It consists of 4 types of tests

  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • World Association Test (WAT)
  • Situational Reaction Test (SRT)
  • Self-Description (SD)

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT);

In this test, the candidate must be writing 12 stories on the basis of 12 pictures shown to him/her.  30 seconds will be the time for observing the picture and 4 minutes to write the story on each picture.

In all the pictures, the 12th one will be blank, and in this the candidate must write the story by using his/her own mental ability or imagination skills.

World Association Test;

In this test, 60 words will be shown to the candidates. The candidate must look at the word for 15 seconds and then have to write whatever first thought that comes in their mind.

Situational Reaction Test (SRT);

In this test the candidate’s ability to tackle unexpected situations will be judged.

There will be 60 situations given to the candidate and in 30 minutes he/she should give the appropriate responses to each situation.

Self-description (SD);

In this test, 5 questions will be given to the candidates, and each question will be related to what parents, friends, teachers and he/she think about the candidate. 30 minutes will be given for this test.

Day 3 and 4, Group test will be done by GTO, Stage 3;

In this test, a series of outdoor tasks will be conducted by GTO and the ability to perform well in these tasks will determine the future of the candidate in the SSB test.

These tasks are as follows:

  • Group discussion(GD): it will be done for 40 minutes
  • Group planning exercises: duration for this one is 30 minutes
  • Progressive Group Task: for 45 minutes
  • Half group task: 10 minutes is the duration for this task
  • Group Obstacle Race: 30 minutes is the duration to perform this one.
  • Individual Obstacles:  3 minutes composite
  • Command Task : 5 to 15 minutes duration
  • Lecturette: duration 6 minutes approximately
  • Final Group task: 5 minutes approx

Day 5 Final assessments and Results;

On this day, the officers in proper uniform will have conversation with the candidates and by their ability to communicate they will be judged by the panel of SSB. Speaking skills, confidence, ability to stay positive in difficult situations etc. All these qualities will be noticed. After this, candidates who get selected will be staying for 4 or 5 more days for a medical examination which will be conducted in a military hospital. Others will be sent home.

FAQs about SSB;

Q1. Is SSB a difficult examination?

A1. SSB is one of the most difficult examinations conducted by the government of India, so an SSB aspirant must prepare with total dedication and seriousness for the exam.

Q2. Can a candidate use Hindi in the SSB interview?

A2. Yes, Hindi can be used, but English is preferable.

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