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Home / Education / SSB Interview: Cracking the SSB Code, all you need to know

SSB Interview: Cracking the SSB Code, all you need to know

The Indian armed forces are one of the most elite and premium military organizations in the world, promising a lively and extraordinary career path.

education Updated: Jan 20, 2020 18:16 IST
Shishir Dixit
Shishir Dixit
Proffering the most amazing and momentous vocational prospects to the vibrant and purposeful youth, joining the Armed Forces as a ranked officer mandates you to clear the SSB interview.
Proffering the most amazing and momentous vocational prospects to the vibrant and purposeful youth, joining the Armed Forces as a ranked officer mandates you to clear the SSB interview. (Sanchit Khanna/ HT file)

The Indian armed forces are one of the most elite and premium military organizations in the world, promising a lively and extraordinary career path. It’s a boundless reservoir of meaningful opportunities, where the sky is indeed the limit.

Proffering the most amazing and momentous vocational prospects to the vibrant and purposeful youth, joining the Armed Forces as a ranked officer mandates you to clear the SSB interview a compulsory phase which is held within a span of 5 days. It consists chiefly of two stages. The first stage comprises Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR test) and Picture Perception and Description Test (PP&DT). After clearing stage 1, the candidate appears in Stage 2. This stage is spread across a series of personality tests such as the MANSA (Psychology), VACHA (Personal Interview) and KARMNA (GTO).

Acing these two rounds requires an optimum strategy and groundwork regarding the selection parameters and your personality orientation as potential defence personnel.

Stage 1

The Day one of the SSB screening begins with the OIR test, i.e., the Officer Intelligence Rating test. The OIR value scale hovers between 1 and 5, which marks the candidate’s intelligence quotient before the selection committee. The candidates are advised to practice their verbal and non-verbal reasoning skills to improve their performance.

The PP&DT comprises of story drafting, Individual narration within 1 minute and group discussion .The candidate, while drafting the story, should be careful in choosing a theme that is not only socially relevant and fruitful but also reflective of the protagonist’s problem-solving skills, resourcefulness, the richness of values and positive thinking.

The group discussion round would require you to work on your oratory and listening skills to win the consensus of the group. Performing well in this round requires you to be well-articulate and maintain a calm demeanour with the appropriate facial expressions and the right body language.

Scoring better in psychological testing: Essential Tips

Using the scientific techniques of psychoanalytical and projective prognosis, a candidate’s personality and moralistic traits are ascertained by fielding them under highly stressful conditions of duress. The candidate’s cumulative response under the myriad of simulated scenarios warrants the selection board’s verdict report through various tests, namely TAT, WAT, SRT and SD.

The primary objective of this round is to assess the candidate’s subconscious and unconscious state of mind to forge hobbies that usher creativity and fruitfulness while simultaneously also attaining valuable experience through extracurricular activities. It’s all about coming to terms with your strengths and weaknesses, failures and fears, and developing a valiant spirit in your everyday life.

The candidate should also practise their writing speed to draft responses with the time-period. It is equally essential to widen your mental and storytelling skills under the prescribed structure. One should also practise their visual skills and highlight within themselves wherever there remains scope for further improvement.

The participants are strictly briefed to refrain from providing bogus, pre-determined, and unconvincing ideas that lack in authenticity, as the SSB is full-proof and purely scientific testing method. Their response must project integrity, accountability, swift decision-making, leadership qualities, and their ability to be socially adaptable.

Nailing the interview

It is pertinent to prepare your introduction well in advance. Introduce yourself cheerfully with enthusiasm and positivity to create a nice rapport with the interviewer. Make sure you lend careful attention and focus on the rapid-fire round as they test your cognition, mental aptitude, endurance and poise.

Be well-prepared as around 95% of the questions arise from the candidate’s PIQ. General awareness is considered a grey zone area. It is important to stay abreast of the current national and international affairs, defence knowhow and the latest trending issues and impacts. To add weight and give your candidature a beneficial edge, maintain optimal eye contact, an assuring seating position, an affirmative facial index, and effectual communicative skills.

Be graceful enough to identify your shortcomings whenever required, as they can be easily dealt with proper training and conduct. All-Rounded alertness and aware disposition are as important as being passionate and well-spirited.

How to be a team player in GTO?

Your social adaptability and ability to adjust in any situation is the fundamental parameter that promotes approval from the selection board. It is important to mend and adjust your skills towards achieving the collective objectives of the group rather than focusing on the individual self-goals. Be ready to take an initiative stand and exhibit your ideas and critical faculty with implicit tact and sharpness. Avoid wasting time by staying ahead of your mind as it tends to get caught in neurotic thought loops.

The quality that the armed forces desires and seeks the most in every candidate is the courage to stand in the face of adversity. Being resourceful and analytical of the risk quotient is reflective of the right decision-making abilities. It is important to inculcate the spirit of co-operation at every level in the armed forces, so make sure you come across as a well-rounded team player.

Listening skills are of the utmost importance in the group discussion rounds as they give you a precious insight into the thought processes and understanding of those around you. This helps you in tackling every problem posed in the selection rounds with innate logic and creativity. Lastly, the importance of physical fitness and agility of being cannot be stressed enough.

The selection board’s criteria seek candidates who are mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically well-tuned. Equally pertinent is the weight that is allotted to the results of the IO, the GTO, and the psychology test. The strength and splendour of the selection system is quite evident from the fact that no amount of fake credentials or bogus attributes can get you past the selection screening.

In a nutshell, despite the fact that the Indian armed forces suffer from a serious dearth of officers in its cadres, the selection procedure does not commit to even an inch of compromise. After all, as an Indian Army Officer, it is the matter of national security and the countless lives that are at stake. Pursue this path only if you are ready to rise and commit the self to an idea of eternal glory through service.

(Author Shishir Dixit is Founder Director, Centurion Education. Views expressed here are personal.)