Services Selection Board (SSB) is an organization that assess the candidates for becoming officers into the Indian Armed Forces. The board evaluates the suitability of the candidate for becoming an officer using a standardized protocol of evaluation system which constitutes of personality, intelligence tests and interviews. The tests are of both types i.e. written and practical task based. An SSB comprises the panel of assessors, who are officers in Indian Armed Forces and having their specialization as Psychologist, GTO and Interviewing Officer. In total there are ten Service Selection Boards across India, out of which three boards are for Indian Army, four boards are for Indian Air Force and three boards for Indian Navy. SSB is a 5–6 days evaluation process.
Stage I Screening Test (Intelligence Test) (1 Day )
Large number of candidates report for selection in SSB. All may not have the desirable qualities to be selected for armed forces so there is no point to go through the stage-II tests. Hence, the need to filter out these candidates on the very first day so that they can return to their home stations without wasting time.
(Stage -1) The stage-I test has two distinct parts:-
• Intelligence Test This is a simple test of logic / analytical aptitude based on which an intelligence rating ranging from I to V is awarded to the candidates which is based on the number of total correct answers. It is but obvious that the candidate with a higher intelligence rating will benefit in the entire process of testing including stage-II.
• Picture Perception and Discussion Test You were shown a picture on the screen which you were required to perceive correctly. Time was thereafter given to pen down what you perceived by way of number of characters, their age, their mood, etc as also to write a story relating to the pictures. Your perception needs to be correct in order to do well in this test. This was followed by individual story telling and discussion test. Your power of expression, clarity of language (both grammatical and logical), confidence, participation and ability to accept others’ ideas were all important facets of this test. Your body language and attitude during the whole test is also of consequence. What you must do is to remain involved with the test throughout.
• Result Passing of stage-I test is a combination of your intelligence rating, individual story content, method at narration, command over language and overall performance in discussion and complete task. Once the results are announced, relevance of your stage-I performance in no longer there except your intelligence rating which still affects your overall results during the stage-II.
Stage-II Psychological Test ( 2 Day )
The stage-II tests comprise of three different techniques, namely the psychological tests, group tasks and personal interview. This shall be elaborated separately. However, it is emphasised that in all the three techniques the assessment is of your personality which is based on specified 15 OLQs (Officer Like Qualities). The highlights of the three different techniques are as follows:
The Psychological Test The psychologist does not interact with you nor does he know you by your physical appearance or attributes. He will assess your personality merely through the inputs which you have given him in the answer sheet. It is a test of your mind. Your answers are required to be natural responses and not preconceived. In case you have tried to think and modify your natural responses you will run out of time and will not be able to complete the tests. Large gaps in your response will make it difficult for him to assess you. An endeavor has to be made to complete all the SRTs, 60 TATs and the 60 WATs. Any candidate can achieve proficiency in completing these tests through adequate practice. Various books are available which explain the essentials of these tests and may help you in practicing them before you take on the actual test. You cannot change your personality but you can certainly complete the tests in the given time and be in a better position to be assessed well by the psychologist. What is important is you should be positive in thoughts and your application to the test.
Stage-II GTO Test ( 3-4 Day )
Unlike the psychologist, the GTO is actually interacting with you throughout the tests. Each and every action of yours is observed. It is a test of your body and coordination between your body and mind. Your physical and mental qualities get highlighted in these tests. Project your qualities to the GTO and do not remain a passenger. Come out with work sense, ideas and ensure that others accept them. If they are logical and workable they will be acceptable. While you expect others to accept your ideas you should be willing to accept others ideas as well. You need to remain confident and cheerful throughout the tests and learn to comprehend all instructions and ensure that no rules are violated. Your overall performance in all the GTO tasks brings out your personality. You need to be good in every aspect. Outstanding performance in some and poor in others is not acceptable. You need to introspect and find out shortcomings which you noticed in your performance. You ought to be physically fit to do well here. Focus on your shortcomings and you will surely be able to come up to the required standards.
Stage-II Interview ( 2 – 4 Day )
The interviewing officer discusses by way of questions and answers the opportunities you had in your life and the positive or otherwise benefit you have derived from them. It is a test of your heart. The interviewing officer is fairly senior and experienced in the armed forces. While he interacts with you he discerns whether you have the qualities required to be an army officer. What you have done till date with regard to your academics, competitive exams, your achievements in extra curricular activities, your interests in life, sports you play, your feelings for your parents, friends, teachers and society at large, your general knowledge and awareness and your physical and mental fortitude are all important facets of his assessment. The interviewing officer understands and gives you more than adequate benefit for shortcomings or mistakes which you may have committed, thus, do not try and hide anything. The tendency of lying or making false pretences is negatively viewed and is easily discernible.
Stage-II Conference ( 5 Day )
The three assessors have individually carried out their assessment. However, there is no discussion as sharing of facts of assessment between them nor any results of your performance is known to them or anybody else at the beginning of the conference. For the final result on the performance of a candidate all the three assessors and all members of the board must interact as also meet the candidate in person. Thus, we have the final board conference. During this, the individual assessments are discussed and a candidate’s plus points and weak qualities are deliberated upon in detail. All aspects of a candidate are analysed to see if he / she has the required qualities to be trained to become a good armed forces officer. Whereas benefit of any doubt with an individual assessor is given to a candidate; during the conference benefit of doubt adequately probed normally is given to the organisation. Also, candidates with higher intelligence rating can get an additional credit as compared to those with lower intelligence rating. When the conference terminates the results are finalised and communicated to the candidate. Suitable advice by one of the assessors is rendered to all Non Recommended Candidates.