What is SSB?

SSB stands for Services Selection Board. The Services Selection Board is the selection board of the Armed Forces of India which conducts SSB interviews to recruit individuals to become commissioned officers. Thus, if you want to become a commissioned officer in the defence forces, appearing and clearing the SSB interview is essential.

SSB interview spans over a period of 5 days which includes various psychological tests and group tasks. It tests a candidate on the basis of their psychological, intellectual, emotional and physical skills.

How to appear for SSB?

There are two ways which will make you eligible to appear for the SSB interviews.
The first way is by applying and qualifying the following entrance examinations:

  1. Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE)
  2. Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT)
  3. National Defence Academy & Naval Academy examination (NDA & NA Exam)

The second way is to apply in the various Army, Air Force and Navy courses and get SSB interview call letter if you clear the cut-off’s. For the following courses, direct SSB call letters are issued to the candidates who are shortlisted according to their academic scores.

  1. University Entry Scheme (UES)
  2. Technical Graduate Course (TGC)
  3. NCC Special Entry Scheme
  4. Tech Entry Scheme (TES)
  5. Navy’s Executive and Technical Branch entry
  6. Navy’s Pilot/Observer entry
  7. Navy’s Education Branch entry
  8. Joint Advocate General (JAG)
  9. Technical Short Service Commission courses – SSC Tech
  10. Non-Technical Short Service Commission Courses – SSC Non Tech
  11. IAF’s Meteorology Branch Course

SSB interview centres:

For Indian Army:

  1. Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh Selection Centre East (SCE).
  2. Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh Selection Centre Central (SCC).
  3. Bangalore, Karnataka Selection Centre South (SCS).

For Indian Air Force:

  1. Dehradun, Uttarakhand, 1 AFSB.
  2. Mysore, Karnataka, 2 AFSB.
  3. Gandhinagar, Gujarat, 3 AFSB.
  4. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, 4 AFSB.
  5. Kolkata, West Bengal, 5 AFSB.

For Indian Navy:

  1. Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, 33 SSB, SCC.
  2. Bangalore, Karnataka, 12 SSB, SCS.
  3. Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Naval Selection Board (NSB).
  4. Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, NSB Visakhapatnam.

SSB process:

On the day of reporting, the candidates are required to report to the Selection centre. The JCO’s will then check all your required documents. If they find any important document missing, they will ask you to leave at the very time and you’ll be dropped off at the railway station. If all the documents and attested copies are correct and verified you will be asked to fill 3 forms: Identification Form, Travel Allowance Form (if you are fresher) and Marks card. You will have to attach your original train tickets to the form to be eligible for the refund of your travel expenses. Once you are finished filling up these forms, the Commanding Officer will give a speech in which he will explain to you everything that will happen in the next 5 days at SSB and also explain the important rules that have to be followed throughout your testing. Then you have your dinner and are provided a bed where you can rest for the night.

The next day i.e. day 1 starts early in the morning and you are required to gather at the assembly point by 7 a.m. The first day is the Screening test. Under this you first give an intelligence aptitude test in which you will have questions from verbal and non-verbal sections (reasoning, quantitative, verbal ability, etc.).  After this, you will undergo PPDT i.e. Picture Perception and Description Test. In this test your group will be shown a picture for 30 seconds and after that you will have to write a story based on that picture. Then each candidate will narrate their story and afterwards your whole group will discuss about the picture.

After the completion of PPDT, you will be given a rest of around 2-3 hours and lunch as well. Then the results for the Screening test will be declared. All those who cleared the screening test will be given new chest numbers and will be eligible to participate in the further days of interviewing and the rest would be dropped off at the railway station with their respective TA.

Note: For some entries the reporting day and screening test will be on the same day, please check for the same in your SSB call letter.

Then on day 2, you appear for your psychological tests. Psychological tests consist of the following:

  1. Thematic Apperception Test [TAT]
  2. Word Association Test [WAT]
  3. Situation Reaction Test [SRT]
  4. Self-Description Test [ SD]

Candidates are required to write their responses based on the particular test. Here time management is very crucial, so you are required to write your first thoughts as your responses.

More details about the four psychological tests will be provided in the further articles.

Day 3 and 4 constitutes of your GTO tasks and personal interview. The GTO tasks include:

  1. Group Discussions (GD)
  2. Progressive Group Task (PGT)
  3. Lecturette
  4. Half Group Task (HGT)
  5. Final Group Task (FGT)
  6. Individual Obstacle Task
  7. Group Obstacle Race
  8. Command Task

Personal interview (PI) is the most important part in SSB interview. This is where you make or break your chances of recommendation. PI involves a one-on-one interview with the interviewing officer (IO) and it generally lasts for 30-40 minutes.

Then comes the final day: the Conference and the results day. Each candidate will be called in for the final interview where all the SSB board members will be present. You will be asked general question as to how your stay was and what all did you learn from the five days. Your answers here will be like cherry on the cake so give intelligent and honest responses. Then after all the candidates have undergone this procedure, you will be served the lunch. After lunch, the results for the recommended candidates will be announced.

Hope, this article gave you an overall idea as to what SSB is what all happens at the SSB interview. Prepare well and all the best for your SSB! Jai Hind!

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