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Screening Test

Overview of Screening Test :

This is the very first Assessment in SSB/AFSB in order to select the appropriate lot of candidates to be assessed for the next 4 days.Thus this test is very important in terms of selection as well as for the candidates to give their best. One small error and you will not be able to get yourself evaluated for the final selection.

This is conducted on the very first day morning after reporting of candidates at the Selection board. After getting chest numbers candidates will be briefed about the mandatory tests like OIR & PPDT to clear this stage. About 100+ candidates report in written entries and 400+ in direct entries (types of entries explained in detail on the home page). Thus, the selection ratio of stage 2 from stage 1 varies as per the entry. There is no fixed percentage of candidates getting through the one having all OLQs and is able to portray those during stage 1 testing gets screened-in. However the percentage varies 20-40% for stage 2.

The Screening stage comprises of two assessments mentioned below:

OIR (Officer Intelligence Rating)

This test is conducted in two sections mixed of both verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions approx 50 questions in each set. The time allotted is 20-25 minutes. These tests are prepared by DIPR(Defense Institute of Psychological Research-DRDO) who are trained to assess candidates intelligence and competitiveness. Candidates are not allowed to wear watches or carry any mobile phones hence adhering to timelines has to be practiced beforehand.  Candidates are given a sample set of questions and the Duty selection officer brief about the number of questions and the allotted time for the same. Listen to the instructions carefully and go through the samples with full focus, you may get certain varieties of questions which would be asked in the aligned test. Hence getting prior ideas would help to solve it easily.

There is no negative marking in this test, hence it is suggested to attempt all the questions, instead of leaving blanks. Do not waste your time in question if you are not having an idea, finish all in one go whose solution you get first, return to the left questions and try to solve , if still you are not able to solve it, attempt the most suitable answer against the question.

The evaluation of these tests is to judge your intelligence and ability to solve them in a short span of time. On the basis of score a candidate is given rating(OIR). The rating varies from 1-5.

01 -Excellent

02-Very Good



05-Below average

Thus the rating plates a vital role in candidates selection for stage 2, and also this is very important in candidates merit also. As the scores are added in the final merit also. The scores are even passed to stage 2 assessors which will define one’s capability and can increase chances of selection too. The Syllabus to practice OIR includes topics like :

Verbal ReasoningNon Verbal Reasoning
Sentence CompletionFigure Analogies
SpellingChoosing the Odd Figure
GrammarChoosing Similar Figures
Odd one outGrouping of Identical Figures
Critical ReasoningFigure Matrix
Verbal DeductionsPaper Cutting and Folding
Number QuizSpotting the embedded Figure
Blood Relation TestProblems on Cubes
Letter SeriesVisualizing Pattern
Problems on RanksSpatial Ability
coding DecodingProblems on Dice
Direction Sense Test

Certain Examples as sample :

1. Look at this series: 12, 11, 13, 12, 14, 13, … What number should come next?

A. 10

B. 16

C. 13

D. 15

Answer: Option D. This is an alternating number of subtraction series. First, 1 is subtracted, then 2 is added.

2. Paw : Cat :: Hoof : ?

A. Lamb

B. Horse

C. Elephant

D. Tiger

Answer: B. Horse. Cat’s feet are called paws and horse’s are called hoofs.

3.  SCD, TEF, UGH, ____, WKL





Answer : VIJ (1st letter +1 , second,third letter +2)

4.  Select a figure from amongst the Answer Figures which will continue the same series as established by the five Problem Figures.

Problem Figures:                                      Answer Figures:

  (A)     (B)     (C)     (D)     (E)       (1)     (2)     (3)     (4)     (5)

Answer : B (every symbol is moving in sequence in similar pattern)

5.  Choose the figure which is different from the rest.

   (1)     (2)     (3)     (4)     (5)

Answer : 3 (rest are parallel lines)

These varieties of questions can be practiced well to miss any chance of losing marks in one’s selection. Hence practicing the most number of sets as the same will help you to clear this stage and also clearing merit. The difficulty level is usually moderate but a thorough practice will give upper hand in solving them in less time also with utmost accuracy. 

PPDT [ Picture Perception and Description test ]

To Clear Stage 1 -Screening , PPDT plays a very crucial role for a candidate to get selected for stage 2. After the OIR test, Candidates are briefed about the details and action required to be done.This test comprises a hazy picture on which candidate needs to write a story and later the same story is to be discussed with the group of (8 to 15 candidates). Candidates are given a sheet of paper, having a small square box at the left corner, Action , and then the rest of the page to write.Candidates need to carry their own pen for writing(blue/black).

Conduct of Test:

A picture is shown to candidates on a big screen through projectors for 30 seconds. Candidates have to write a story based on the perceived stimulus, Based on this only the test is called as picture perception and description.

How to Write Story on the given Sheet :

Example :

The number of characters need to be mentioned in the square box with three details like:

28, M, -ve  (As portrayed in the given picture)

The Mood can be (+ve , -ve, Neutral) The symbols can be as per the instruction given.

So, never miss any instructions given before any assessment.

These details need to be mentioned for as many people you see in the given picture.

Mood can vary as per perception and the central character or the first character you see details need to be encircled.

Then comes Action: This will be the theme of the story written by the candidate.

Ex : Extinguishing Fire from School.

For writing the Square box details and action 01 minute of time will be given to the candidate.

04 minute of additional time will be given for writing the complete story.

How to Write a Good PPDT story 

  1. Observe the picture carefully for 30 seconds allotted time.
  2. Observe the background, number of characters, materials if at all.

 Example: The fire can be clearly seen in the given picture, the person is on movable stairs, carrying a extinguisher at his back (shows the person is from fire brigade department)

The background shows a building with many windows and exit points, so it can be a school, coaching centre, or residential building etc.

  • Frame a theme first ( based on your perception )–The Action Part

 In the given picture the fire can be clearly seen depicts the emergency and action to be taken immediately in order to extinguish it, thus my story would revolve around it.

Considering it a fire Drill would show my ignorance as it’s very clear. But in case the picture is very hazy and candidates are not able to see the fumes, one may consider it vice-versa.

  • Introduce your Hero/Central Character of story :

 In case there are more than 2 characters one can pick any character of their own choice around whom the story revolves. One can also bring a character out of the picture in case they are not sure of the existing character. But don’t forget to include the picture scenario in the story.

Ex: If I made a student hero who is helping in extinguishing fire, I cannot state my hero to wear uniform and take extinguisher and walk on stairs. I had to mention that the hero helped by calling the fire brigade, while they were extinguishing fire, he helped everyone to vacate the building immediately.

  • Adhering Time limit :

To complete the picture in a given time, one needs to have an idea in the 01 minute of filling details in the box. This can also be achieved by practicing certain pictures before going to SSB. If a candidate fails to complete the story, no need to panic as you will get a chance to present your story during the discussion test. So, stay calm and revisit the story in your mind to give a complete story during narration.

Important aspects to keep in Mind while writing story:

  1. What Led to situation /challenge in front of the hero
  2. What action the central character took to overcome the challenge or tackle with the situation.
  3. What was the resultant of the actions taken/Final outcome.

Sample Story for the given picture:

Mahesh, 28 year old , Chief Fire Officer in Bengaluru City got an emergency Fire Call alert at his office from a nearby Residential block. He immediately called his response team and reached the location. His team started pouring water over the building to reduce the extent of flames. He announced to vacate the building through the speakers. Later he felt few are stuck on upper floors, so he rushed with the fire extinguisher through stairs on one of the windows, he saw 2-3 people stuck with the closed burning door. He called his team to make an evacuation platform, and helped them to slide through that to come outside of the building through windows. He pacified people screaming and helped the emergency medical team called by a resident to send the injured people to hospital. He monitored from in and out of the building after the fire was extinguished completely. He also informed his head office about the status of injuries and with his quick action there were no casualties found. He appreciates people’s effort in calling emergency units. After this instance, he introduced a team to do a quarterly drill to aware people on Fire Safety Rules , so as to avoid any clutter causing such fire, and monitored the report. With this the number of fire cases were reduced to an extent in the city.

Challenge: Emergency Request for fire in building

Action: Reached immediately, helped people in rescuing, helped the medical team, quick action saved faster evacuation and no casualty, generated faith in the public by reaching in time. Awarend general public on fire safety norms

Outcome: Many lives were saved, less number of cases were registered.

After the Story writing is completed, candidates are grouped in different teams (ranging from 08-17 ) depending upon number of candidates. They are taken for the next round.

Discussion Test:

This test is very important, as now the candidate will be directly assessed by all the testing officers (Interviewing officer, GTO, Psychologist). Candidates are asked to sit in a semicircle order on the placed chair in the testing room in the sequence of chest number.

Once the assessor gives the instruction, Candidates will start their individual narration, discuss the story among other candidates of the group.

Narration: Time usually given is 45 seconds to 01 minute as told by the assessor, candidate has to make a crisp narration of 4 min story of 1 minute. One can practice this in between the time given from hall to assessing room while movement in your head. The candidate will not be given time separate to practice. “Be Smart in your moves” . 

One can also make this effective by writing stories by practicing and narrating your own story with a clock timer, so as to get a gist of the same before ssb.

Tips to excel in Narration:

  • Practice the narration beforehand as part of preparation to complete it in less than 1 min.
  • Give intro of character properly
  • Mention the actions taken in a crisp and orderly manner.
  • Conclude the story in narration, if the assessor asks you to stop in between, no need to worry , they would have got the gist of your story.

Sample Narration of the sample story:

From the given picture, I have perceived one male character , mahesh who is chief fire officer in bengaluru city in a negative mood, because of the emergency call to extinguish fire in a residential building. He reached to the location with his quick response team, he along with team extinguished the fire, after seeing people stuck on upper story, he himself went along with fire extinguisher with help of stairs, helped them through slider to exit building safely, calmed the public during the rescue, helped medical team for injured people in ambulances, appreciate people’s effort in calling team, later he designated a team to aware people on fire safety rule and monitored closely, and the number of cases were reduced to extent.

This way you would be able to cover all the points of the story as well the OLQs would be reflected through your actions.

OLQ: Decision making, cooperation, liveliness, responsible nature, effective intelligence, Reasoning ability  etc.

Discussion: After all the candidates finish off their individual narration, the assessors will ask the group to start GD, it may be immediately after the last person finishes off the narration (as per instructions given at board). All the candidates will give their opinion and perception details of the picture and the story, and with the due discussion of 8-10 minutes, candidates are asked to come to a common story. Assessors may ask for nominating someone to give a final story, many times they dont ask to give a conclusion as well.

So, to avoid any such misunderstanding at the moment, candidates have to listen to the instructions very carefully instead of committing any mistake at the moment.

Tips to Excel in Discussion:

  • Show Initiative OLQ by starting the discussion, by giving the intro of characters or background or about the picture likewise.
  • To give your points matching with other candidates to take them in your confidence, one has to pay attention to everyone’s individual story first.
  • Give the points as value addition not in order to cut anyone’s point.
  • Try to bring a holistic approach towards the final story with everyone’s agreement.
  • Point the details of the story, which will bring the action part of the central character.
  • Do not stick to your own story, add valuables and acknowledge others’ viewpoints if rational.
  • Never consider this as debate, just a discussion to bring out a common story.
  • Volunteer if the group does not nominate anyone, by seeking everyone’s permission, if you are confident about the final story.
  • Never speak just to speak, every point should add some value to the discussion.
  •  At Least try to speak for 2-3 times , after every 2-3 candidates have spoken.
  • If you are not able to initiate , try to enter the discussion as soon as possible, do not wait for the opportunity, grab it during the pauses of others.
  • Initiative and conclusion should be in a very proper manner with definite valuable points.
  • While concluding add everyone’s valuable points mentioned during discussion  and give a proper narration of the complete story with full confidence.

Once the discussion is over candidates are asked to leave the testing hall in a queue.The candidates have to wait till the results are announced for the stage 1 screening test.

The main crux and tip to excel the screening test is to practice lots of sets of OIR, and pick the idea from your own life stories, events, etc for ppdt, involve yourself with discussion in family, workspace, school, college etc, speak the worth rather than beating around bush, build your confidence by practice narration in front of mirror with clock timing as per the requirement. The idea will spontaneously hit you , once you make yourself comfortable with the process beforehand. ALL THE BEST !!