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SSB Introduction

Ever wondered about  living a life which gives you a blend of adventures ranging from mountaineering, sailing, paragliding, scuba diving, flying aircraft, helicopters,driving submarines,even chances to explore space. Sports events like marathons, shooting, cross country expedition, basketball, volleyball, etc. doing all these along with earning a good salary and perks.

On top of all these, doing march past with full pride while saluting your national flag.

Which fills your heart with immense patriotism.

If these words have captivated your attention, you are at the right place to decide your next phase of life A dream to become doctor, engineer, pilot, sportsperson, an artist, a writer, a historian, commander, instructor, lawyer and what not just by joining the prestigious organization of the world, Indian Armed Forces.

Here we would be taking you towards the path you have decided to walk upon. And we would sail you through the rough terrain to become an officer in India’s defense forces.

The life of Defense forces is not an easy choice to be made. If you have all your heart to lead 1000 jawans and take command to safeguard our country by giving all what you have and the courage to fight against all odds, then you have to be a very strong person.

Becoming an officer requires a sharp intelligent brain who can make quick decisions at time of crisis, an enthusiastic person with whose action and words all his/her subordinate, juniors, seniors get motivation. Physical endurance as well as mental stamina to tackle all kinds of situations on and off duty.A person who quickly adapts to a new lifestyle and respect for all kinds of cultures and people. Not only this a lot more qualities our defense forces require, to understand everything from getting ready, till becoming an officer one needs to know the procedures and assessments involved which we call SSB(Service Selection Board). Let’s board with us for the voyage of a common person touching the sky with glory, living an extraordinary life, and sailing through the seas and ocean.

Service Selection Board : Talking about placements, recruitments, selection every organization has their selection committee and Board. To become a young officer of the Armed forces, a person needs to be selected from the Selection Board.

The definition remains the same even if we have variation in name, like:

SSB : Service Selection Board (Indian Army, Indian Navy)

AFSB : Airforce Force Selection Board(Indian Airforce)

The Selection board gives recommendations to a candidate possessing Officers Like Quality. Which we will talk in detail later.

In brief, there are 15 OLQ to prove that one is fit for the armed forces on the psychological, Written, physical aspects.A candidate is deemed to be selected if he/she has all these 15 OLQ’s. The complete process is dated back from british era, and there is no transparency in the process as a candidate is expected to introspect and improve oneself in case he/she is not selected. Thus SSB is called as one of the toughest competitions where every individual competes with oneself to become a better person, inorder to serve the nation by becoming an officer in the Armed forces.

Procedure :

It’s a 5-6 days selection process to assess a candidate and analyse the qualities he/she possesses. And if these qualities fit in the frame of the required Qualities, one is deemed to be recommended as per Board.

Pre-Planning for SSB :

  • Dossier for all important documents mentioned in the Call letter of SSB
  • Documents like, Marksheets,Valid Photo ID, Admit card(if through written entry), Certificates(Direct entries).
  • Formals for attending test, White Shorts/shoes for GTO.
  • Additional items for personal requirement, with call letter checklist.

The Selection Process is conducted in two stage, including written, physical, Spoken(Mansa, karma, vaachsa):

1st Phase : Screening Test→ Day 1

2nd Phase: Psychology Written Test –> Day 1-2

                   Group Task Obstacles -(Written, physical, mental )–> Day 3-4

                   Personal Interview –> Day 1-4

                   Conference (All Board members)–>Day 5

Reporting to Selection Board :

All the documents would be verified prior your Stage 1 testing. So keeping the dossier handy in an arranged manner  would help you to be in the queue first. The chest number would be allotted after segregating the freshers(first time at SSB) and Repeaters candidates(already gave SSB even once). Candidates would be divided into various groups by the Duty officer for conducting tests.

Stage 1 Testing : Screening (Day 1)

All the candidates would be seated in the testing hall, as per chest number in a serial wise manner. A senior officer would come to greet everyone and for wishing good luck for maximum selection. Duty Selection officer(DSO) would brief about the testing process which will include OIR and PPDT.

OIR: Officer Intelligence Rating , this test comprises two parts (verbal and non verbal reasoning). The number of questions may vary between 40-50 and time given is 18-20 minutes for each. Types of questions can be practiced online on various reasoning websites ranging from Basic reasoning, analogy, missing pattern, matching pattern, series (numeric, non verbal), odd one out, etc.

PPDT: Picture Perception and Description Test

This test includes 3 subsection :

  1.  Story Writing : A picture (bit hazy would be shown to candidates for 30 seconds , A blank paper would be provided by the board, carry your pen(pre-planning), Candidates have to write a story based on the picture shown to them.(This story is based on  the first thought which comes after seeing the picture,( Ref: PPDT for more details).

Time allotted would be 1+3 minutes.{1 minute to write the action(theme) of the story, number of characters seen, gender and mood(positive,Negative, Neutral). 3 min to write your story}.

  • Narration of Story : After written response , candidates would be taken in the assessors room (GTO+Interviewer +Psychologist), the groups would sit in semicircle, and assessing officers would ask one of the candidates to narrate his/her individual story within 30-45 seconds. Narrate your story with full confidence mentioning all important details/highlights of the story within the given span.
  • Group Discussion : After everyone complete their individual narration, the whole group will discuss the story and the picture shown to them, to come to a common story to meet the objective of discussion.Mention all important points and also, consider others opinion if it fits in the common story.There may be chances of fish market (specially in Repeaters group). Put forward your point without obstructing anyone’s view and support the group. There may be chances of not concluding a common story, yet if the assessor asks the group to narrate the common story. (Nominate one person who has given almost common points or one may volunteer with confidence). Make this as your opportunity to conclude and include everyones opinion . The final story should not look like an individual story, as this may put a negative impact on assessors for not listening to the group in discussion effectively. Keep a happy face even if you feel you have not given your best. As its assessors task, just perform well.

Day 1 Result Declaration:

60-80% are sent back on the first day in Stage 1 testing, as this includes all the forms of test which a candidate would go in detail in next 4 days.The results are announced around 1-2 pm on the same day. The chest number of the selected candidates are called out and they are required to call out their birth date and name to confirm the details. The rest of the candidates have to leave the board afterwards.

Thus the Stage 1 testing is the most crucial step to qualify for stage 2 testing where one gets more time to perform well and showcase all the OLQ to be recommended for armed forces.

After declaration of results by calling out chest number, the selected candidates for stage 2 are given new chest numbers, accommodation and are called for briefing for the second stage .

In SSB (Army/Navy) this starts on Day 2, whereas in Airforce it starts on the same day in the evening after 2-3 hours break. The remaining candidates are sent back on the same day after declaration of result.


After Getting a new chest number, the candidates will be divided in groups of 6-10 people for all upcoming tasks as part of assessment.

Test Involved:

Psychology Test (Written)- Day 1-2

Group Task Obstacle (GTO)- Day 2-4

Personal Interview (PI)- Day 2-4

Conference Day  – Day 5

Final Result- Day 5

Psychology Test :

This test is conducted to test the candidate through their written response to assess their psychology (so as to confirm if they have all the OLQ’s in them or not). As this test is time driven which binds candidates for spontaneous responses, which makes candidates write the exact thought (the first thought) on paper. Thus making this an easy task for the assessors to know the actual qualities, as in the given time the response will come directly without conscious attempts.

The psychological test is conducted in four parts mentioned below:

TAT (Thematic Apperception test):

A candidate has to write in total 12 stories based on the picture shown to you on screen in a continuous manner. 30 seconds to view the picture and 4 minutes to write the story. The last i.e. 12th Picture will be a blank screen, where a candidate has to write any story of their own choice, this can be any story of your achievements, real life story incident, memory, etc. All the stories will be based on stimulus received seeing the picture, hence natural response will cater all good thoughts to be pendown on a sheet of paper given. One may relate the picture to his/her life and bring the given picture in the story at some point.

A story should have three sections: What led to the story, what action taken, what happened after.

WAT(Word Association Test)

Total of 60 words will be shown one after the other.The time given for one word will be  15 seconds, where a candidate has to write any sentence associated with the given word ( any tense form). (Refer WAT section for more detailed examples).

SRT(Situation Reaction Test)

Total of 60 SRTs will be given on a sheet of paper and a total time of 30 minutes to give a response. Candidate has to write the reaction depending on the situation on what action to be taken. In short 30 seconds for one SRT.

SDT(Self Description Test)

This section is to know how much a candidate is aware about himself/herself, about the opinions of closed ones likewise. So, this is divided into 4 sections, time allotted 10 minutes.

  1. Parent’s Opinion
  2. Teachers/Employers opinion
  3. Friends/Colleague Opinion
  4. Self Opinion
  5. What Qualities you want to improve/What kind of person you want to become.

After completing this , candidates have to fill PIQ form (Personal information Questionnaire) which will include all the details of candidate starting from Name, address, parents, academic qualification,Extra curricular activities, occupation, hobbies, interest etc.

These details need preparation beforehand, so, refer to the PIQ form and try to fill it with all the details, which will help a person to know about himself/herself more, and will give upper hand to not think at the time of filling, and would be able to fill all the details in given time.


Group Testing Officer(GTO) assesses the candidates on ground through vocal, physical , mental capabilities. The section is given for two days, hence its very important to keep oneself ready for all activities one after the other.This test brings out the quality of candidate at individual level and how he/she behaves and performs in a team.

To clear this test, one must be regular in physical activities to build up stamina to do obstacles, like wall climbing, jumping, pushing, and staying on the ground for long hours. Practice to speak in front of people with full confidence and knowledge of general news happening around the world, to have a grip in GD, lecturette, mental capability to resolve riddles in ground tasks, to use limited resources in order to complete given tasks (samples in GTO in brief). Along with cooperating with the team, the whole team needs to clear this test with team spirit.

GTO includes below tasks to be performed by candidate on Day 3-4:

  • Group Discussion (GD)
  • Group Planning Exercise (GPE)
  • Progressive Group Tasks (PGT)
  • Group Obstacles Race (GOR)
  • Lecturette
  • Half group task(HGT)
  • Individual obstacles
  • Command task
  • Final Group Task (FGT)

These tasks are mentioned in details with approaches, rules, timing, and all other relevant details (Refer: _ ).

Personal Interview(PI)

This is the most important assessment in SSB to assess the quality of a candidate in an interview of 15- 40 minutes. The interview can go beyond an hour depending on the candidate and engagement of the interviewer (IO ) with the candidate, as per the information filled in PIQ form. Thus PIQ form needs to be filled with all the crucial details, and one should be aware about all those before going for an interview.

This is one of the best opportunities to interact directly with assessors unlike other assessments of SSB, thus one must be quite confident to give response spontaneously when asked, and in a well structured manner to reflect power of expression.

PIs are conducted on Day 2-4 , a candidate is informed an hour before the interview in SSB, whereas in AFSB the schedule is given on the very first day after conducting Psych Test. Formal attire is expected to be worn in the interview, rest briefings are given before the interview itself.

There are certain kinds of questions candidates may be thrown up we would discuss in detail in our PI section. Apart from rapid fire questions, a candidate may be asked for general knowledge to check his/her awareness for worldwide activities, daily routine, detailed information on sports played, extra-curricular activities, reasons to join armed forces, and also circumnavigating questions based on the candidate’s response.

Thus it is preferred that one should prepare oneself before appearing for an interview on certain kinds of questions and by introspection more on the parts one has mentioned in  PIQ. It’s like a resume to get placement in your dream organization, so making it impressive, matching with the candidate’s quality will give a positive impression on the interviewer.

The sole purpose is to know more about the candidate at individual level, to make sure the board gets the actual potential officer to lead their Forces. Thus it’s a process which takes very less time but a lot of input from candidates ends.

Conference Day

DAY 5 : After all the assessment processes are over, this section plays an indirect important role in the chances of recommendation. As on 5th Day, all the assessors, Psychologist, GTO, Interviewing officer, Duty Selection officer, President of board, Vice President , and other officers of board would give final agreement on the selection and rejection of a candidate.

Candidates have to wear formal attire to attend a conference with all board members. The confirmed selected candidates, borderline candidates, rejected candidates performance in all three major tests is discussed in the panel to come to a common consensus of selection and rejection. A candidate goes individually one after the other, they(board member) might put up with certain questions, to confirm any of the quality, any general question, SRT, any feedback, etc.

Thus based on the inputs given by all the assessors and confirmation of the candidate, a list is prepared of the marks given to them. Then the president gives his assent for the candidates who are to be selected, to become an officer in indian defense forces.

Final Result:

All the responses in the psych test , the quality extracted by the psychologist on your responses, by the GTO, by the interviewer, if all qualities coincide and meet the requirement (OLQ) of the selection Board , a candidate is Recommended by the board.

The selected candidates chest numbers are announced, and are given new chest numbers, They are called to stay back to fill the required documents. Rest candidates are reverted .

Selected candidates are briefed about  medicals. In the Army/Navy, medical examination is a continuous process , and candidates have to stay back until the medical process is completed in Military Hospitals. In AFSB , candidates are given dates after a month for medicals after the documentation. The detailed Criteria for a candidate to be declared medically fit is given on the website.