SSB interview is the most extensive and toughest among all the interviews conducted for government job examinations. To become an officer in Indian Armed Forces, you have to clear the SSB interview. SSB interview carries equal marks to the written exam. There are lots of candidates, who have qualified NDA or CDS written exam several times but failed in SSB interview. Most of the candidates, who are called up for the SSB interview, are sent back to home on the very first day and only a few candidates are recommended after the SSB interview. The rate of selection in SSB interview is nearly 6-10% of the appeared candidates. Now, you can understand the importance of SSB interview.
SSB interview requires 80% metal efforts and 20% physical efforts to qualify. The selection board looks for OLQs (officer like qualities) like suitable personality, your approach to solving a real-time problem and your attitude towards your goals & life. SSB interview is a 5-days process, which is a very long duration as compared to the other government jobs interviews. The day wise SSB interview process is as follows-
On the very first day, the screening test will be conducted comprising of OIR (Officers Intelligence Rating) test and PPDT (Picture Perception & Description Test).
In the OIR test, you will be given a set of 50 questions based on Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal & Non-verbal Reasoning. The time given to solve these questions will be of 30 minutes. After that in PPDT, you will be shown a static picture on the projector for 30 seconds and you have to come up with a thoughtful story based on your perception.
On this day, you will be called for psychological testing. In this test, you will be given the following tests-
TAT (Thematic Appreciation Test) – In this test, you will be shown 11 hazy pictures on the projector one by one and you have to write a positive story on them. The 12th picture will be empty picture and you have to write Self-Description in it.
WAT (Word Association Test) - It is one of the projection techniques for knowing about the candidate’s psychology. You will be shown 60 words on a projector consecutively and you have associated these words with some positive events.
SRT (Situation Reaction Test) - SRT is conducted after WAT and 10 minutes will be given for answering these questions. The total number of question will be 60 and you have to write 2-3 sentences in each situation.
Day 3 & 4
On the third and fourth day, GTO tasks are carried out. GTO (Group Testing Officer) is the most powerful person in the SSB interview because he will spend 2 days in testing your abilities. GTO testing is comprised of the following tasks-
Group Discussion (GD) – your group will be given two topics for discussion.
Group Planning Exercise (GPE) – this test will be comprised of 5 parts.
- Model explanation
- Reading of narratives by GTO
- 5 minutes for self-reading
- 10 minutes for writing your individual plan
- Finally, 20 minutes to discuss the common plan
Progressive Group Task (PGT)- PGT is a set of obstacles in a specified area in which the team members should cross each obstacle complying with certain rules. The difficulty level of this task increases from one obstacle to other obstacles.
Group Obstacle Race- It is also known as snake race. Your group has to take part in a race of six obstacles. Here, GTO wants to see the co-operation and team-leading quality in you.
Half Group Task (HGT) – HGT is similar to PGT, but the group is divided into two parts. Here, GTO wants to see the individual performance. The rules for HGT will be same as in PGT.
Lecturette- In this round, you will be given 3 minutes to deliver a speech in front of your group. Good scoring depends upon your expressions, body language, fluency, confidence, and current affairs knowledge.
Individual Obstacles- In this round, you have to perform individually on crossing 10 obstacles. These obstacles include Single Ramp, Double Barrel, Balancing Beam, Screen Jump, Burma Bridge, Tarzan Swing, Double Platform Jump, Double Ditch, Commando Walk, and Tiger Leap.
Command Task- The motive behind this task is to find the commanding ability in a candidate and conducted before the FGT. You are allowed to choose any two members out of your group. This task is also similar to PGT and HGT.
Final Group Task (FGT)- this is the final task in GTO testing. All group members are required to finish this task and all rules remain same as in PGT and HGT. This task is more difficult and long. Therefore, a very short time is allotted for its planning and execution.
It is the final day of SSB interview. On this day, you will be called for the conference for verification by the panel and after this, results are announced.
*** A personal interview round will also be organized on any day between second to the fourth day. The interviewing officer will always be a top senior officer like Colonel or Brigadier. Personal Interview is an integral part of the SSB interview process in which your details in PIQ (Personal Information Questionnaire) form are matched with your personality.
SSB Interview preparation tips
Before starting the preparation, it is necessary to know about all stages of the SSB interview as described above. So, please go through the details of the above stages. Some useful tips for SSB interview preparation are given as follow-
Current affairs are the key to get success in psychological testing, lecturette and personal interview phase. It is advised you to write a story in TAT and sentences in WAT influenced by the current affairs and during lecturette, you should choose only that topic on which you have detailed knowledge and latest updates on it. Most of the candidates avoid reading current affairs. But current affairs can be asked at any stage of the SSB interview. Hence, make sure that you go through the headlines of newspapers daily. For this, you can purchase ‘Pratiyogita Darpan’ magazine and ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for reading current affairs.
Besides these, there are lots of online resources through which you can prepare for the current affairs. Few names of such websites are as follows-
Practice and develop essential habits for ground tasks
Ground testing is the most important stage of SSB interview as you are going to spend two days in it and GTO is going to check several attributes in you. Hence, go through all the stages one by one in detail and identify what kind of OLQ the GTOs are expecting from you? Each step is unique in nature. Hence, you should collect information for all the tasks and practice as much as possible.
To qualify all the stages including the GTO testing, psychological testing, and personal interview, you should keep on practicing for each stage and develop a habit of improving your skills. You should devise a strategy to qualify the SSB interview so that during the visit in SSB board, you can feel confident in what you are going to do and how you will attain success in each task.
Develop a thorough knowledge of some topics
In SSB interviews, there are some common topics that are generally asked. These topics are- History, Geography, Politics, Current Affairs, and Armed forces in India, etc. such topics are very helpful during the personal interview and GD round. Before going to SSB interview, make sure that you have read these topics extensively. Preparing your own notes is the most appropriate method to gain knowledge about such topics because you can carry these notes in SSB venue with you. With the help of the Internet, you can get all the relevant information at free of cost in preparing these notes.
Technical and Academic knowledge
Many times it happens that Interviewing officer asks questions from the academics (10 +2, etc.) or technical stream in which you are graduated. By asking such questions, the interviewing officer (IO) wants to confirm that you are a good student and studies the concepts thoroughly.
Know your native place better
Having detailed knowledge of your hometown and native place where you are born, is very essential and helpful. Interviewing officer will surely ask some questions about these places. Therefore, it is advised that you should collect information about your town or city including the famous places, famous personalities, government organizations, major industries, population, historical significance, religious places, and languages, etc. you can note down all the information in a separate notebook so that you can revise it whenever required.
Time management is very important in the SSB interview. In all the stages, you will face the shortage of time. Hence, we advised you to practice for each stage with a time clock so that you can measure your performance in advance and find the areas of improvement.
Confidence and oratory skills
At every stage, your level of confidence is also measured. Hence, building confidence will surely help you in all GTO tasks and interview. In addition to this, oratory skill is very necessary. It is observed that if you are very good at writing, you can do well in the interview but if you are good at speaking then you can surely ace the interview. Oratory skills play an important role in showcasing your overall personality. Finally, you will be amazed what an excellent oratory with confidence can give you throughout the SSB interview.
Do not ignore this aspect. There are two days for GTO tasks in which you have to deal with the obstacles. Here, your physical fitness put to test. So, maintain a good level of fitness and physique. In order to remain fit- Eat well and exercise regularly!
Beyond the success and failure in SSB interview, feel lucky that you are going to appear in SSB interview. There are personalities including Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and many more, who had appeared in SSB interview but did not clear it. Now, they are at top in their fields.
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