Armed forces offer very exciting career to young men and women in several fields. Career in the forces, in addition as a career, is also an adventure in itself. To ensure that appropriate candidates are chosen, a comprehensive selection process is adopted by the armed forces through Service Selection Board (SSB) interview. This system of selection is based on the “trait theory” of leadership which assumes that every leader must have some specific and pre-determined leadership traits. It also presumes that such traits can be acquired by a candidate with the passage of time meaning thereby that a person once rejected in an SSB interview is likely to succeed if he acquires some of the traits with the passqage of time. The present system of selection, although is long and takes four to five days, is thus based on an objective assessment of each candidate in which the qualities like initiative, alertness, judgement, courage, physical fitness endurance, cooperation, group planning, decisiveness, knowledge, etc. are judged. In addition, psychological and mental robustness of the candidate vis-a-vis requirements of the Armed Forces is judged and finally an overall assessment of the personality of a candidate is made by way of an exhaustive personal interview.
Scheme of Selection
The existing scheme of selection was initially designed in the US army, after the second World War. The system was adopted in the selection of officers in Army, Navy and Air Force for induction through National Defence Academy, Army Cadet Corps, Officers Training Academy, Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy or Naval Academy.
The slection process has the following stages/components.
(a) Psychological/Intelligence Test. (b) Group Testing Officer’s (GTO’s) Test. (c) Personal Interview. (d) Medical Examination.
It is evident that the interview is mainly confined to first three stages of examination while the fourth one concerns the medical examination of only those who get through in the SSB interview comprising of first three components. Evaluation of a candidate is made by three independent examiners. The psychological test is carried out by a psychologist and GTO test is given by a Group Testing Officer (GTO). Personal interview is carried out by the interviewing officer who usually is also the President of the Board.
The interview being an integrated process, culminates with the conference on the final day when all the three examiners gete together to give the final assessment of the candidate. If there is any doubt on any aspect of the personality of the candidate, a few questions are put to him/her and the evaluation is done accordingly. All the candidates who manage to obtain minimum prescribed marks are declared selected. There is no quota or percentage fixed about the number of candidates to be selected and the selection purely depends on the performance of the individuals. The selected candidates then have to undergo a comprehensive medical examination to be finally recommended for selection.
Through this series of features on careers an effort is being made to acquaint the candidates, particularly the fresh candidates, with the techniques of SSB interviews and strategy to be adopted to overcome this final hurdle to a challenging career in the defence forces. In the first part of this series, psychological tests are being dealt with in detail.
The scheme of selection is almost same for Army, Navy and Air Force with the only difference that in case of interviews for the flying branch of Air Force, an additional aptitude test is given to the candidates right at the beginning. The interview usually lasts for four to five days and the arrangements for free boarding and lodging are made for the candidates. Moreover, the candidates appearing before the Board for the first time are entitled to claim travelling allowance for to-and-fro journey upto the selection centre.
Immediately on arrival at the Selection Board a questionnaire is given to all the candidates in which, in addition to personal details, including educational qualifications and details of family, hobbies, games and other extra curricular activities, details about other important happenings in life, friends, ambitions, etc are also sought from the candidates. This questionnaire usually forms the basis for interview. This part also assumes importance, considering the fact that it is of importance to a psychologist to know what a candidate thinks of oneself.
(a) Intelligence Tests: First and important part of pscychological tests is the intelligence test. There are two types of intelligence tests. In the first, usually 80 questions are required to be answered within 30 or 35 minutes. The time is lesser for the second in which 60 questions on figures are required to be answered in 20 to 25 minutes. This test presumes that even under adverse circumstances an intelligent person will be able to answer more number of questions accurately. The questions are objective type with multiple choice answers.
To attempt maximum number of questions correctly, the candidates are advised to attempt those questions to start with, about which they are fully sure. The questions which need some more time to answer, must be skipped initially and if after attempting other questions there is some time left, it can then be devoted to the left-out questions. Exhaustive practice in these tests, which appear regularly in the Competition Master, can be of great help in attempting the intelligence tests effectively. A candidate who achieves a good score in these tests may get the benefit of being placed higher in the order of merit if he/she finally makes it in the interview.
(b) Word Association Test: This test aims at judging the personality traits and basic psychology of a candidate. It brings out attitudes, thoughts, desires, feelings and even negative aspects of one’s personality. For testing the word association, candidates are shown a word of common usage for about 15 seconds, during which time candidates are supposed to write a sentence. After 15 seconds are over, another word is exposed for 15 seconds, the process continues and candidates are asked to write 50 sentences. The words are easy and of day-to-day usage. Time given to the candidates is so short that they have to write down the very first thought that comes after seeing the word. The psychologists analyse the personality traits, attitudes and feelings on the basis of these natural reactions of the candidates to specific words.
There can be no readymade solutions to the word association test. However, with a little bit of practice the candidates can choose correct sentence. The pessimistic, negative, pervert and counter-productive feelings must be avoided whereas positive feelings of success, honesty, respectfulness, uprightness, optimism, humanism, etc should be highlighted. For example, the word “failure”, can be used as “Failure cannot always be avoided”, or “Failures are the pillars of success”. Whereas the former sentence depicts pessimism and defeat, the latter sentence shows how a negative word can also be used in a positive manner. On similar lines the candidates must prepare himself beforehand for words like defeat, death, disease wrong, etc. It must be ensured that the sentences used are small and convey some positive aspect of one’s psyche. Due care must be taken to ensure that the sentences do not depict the feeling of fear, insecurity, anxiety, cowardice, etc. To do well in this test the candidates must practice with several sets of words and do the self appraisal.
(c) Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): This technique, also called picture story writing, is one of the most important aspects of psychological test at SSBs. This technique aims at judging the overall personality of a candidate by judging the traits like fearlessness, positive frame of mind, initiative, judgement, courage, temperament, ambitions, and more particularly candidates’ suitability for the armed forces. This test is conducted by showing several slides/pictures (usually ten) to the candidate for a short while. Then he is asked to write a small story on the picture. The picture is shown for 30 seconds and the candidate is given a time of 3 minutes for writing a brief story. Needless to say that the time duration is very less and the candidates must think and write fast to complete the story within the stipulated time.
The candidates need special practice to attempt this test successfully. It must be clearly understood that the story which is written by the candidates, depicts their own thoughts, perceptions and imaginations. Hence the initial 30-second time while the picture is displayed, must be utilised in most useful manner. After devoting minimum possible time for understanding the picture, the candidate should appreciate the situation, identify the hero of the story and prepare a simple but well thought of plot for the story. The plot should be simple considering the fact that the story has to be written within 3-minutes. The planned story should depict the feelings of courage, success, hard-work, initiative, ambition, achievement, helpfulness, patriotism and positive bent of mind. It should be ensured that no unnecessary time is wasted in describing the picture. The picture only depicts one of the situations which could form part of the story. It is pertinent to add that candidates may expect at least one picture each about hospital scene, war, road accident, a captive lady, a frustrated youth, a river, a thief, a graveyard, etc. There may be a few vague pictures also. Practice on writing stories on above situation/pictures would assist the candidates to do well in this test.
(d) Situation Reaction Test (SRT): This is last in the series of psychological tests. In the SRT, the candidates are given 4 to 5 reactions to a particular day-to-day situation and the candidates are asked to choose the most appropriate one. This test aims at judging a candidate’s aptitude towards cooperation, group interests and positive thinking. No answer is outrightly incorrect or correct. The candidates get weighted marks depending on the degree of correctness of an answer. In all 50 to 60 situations have to be reacted upon in 25 to 30 minutes. The candidates must exercise due care while choosing the alternatives as two to three alternatives may appear to be correct. The answer which appears to be the best in a real life situation must be chosen. Initially, questions appearing easier to answer should be chosen and the candidates should avoid conflicting replies and be considered.
The second part of the interview contains Group Testing Officer’s (GTO’s) Test. While the first part aims at testing the intelligence and frame of mind of a candidate, the GTO’s test is a complete test of one’s personality, including physical fitness, mental obustness, leadership qualities, planning flexibility, expression, knowledge, argumentative capabilities, etc. In other words, the performance of every candidate is gauged as a member of a group, and leader of the group, so that his/her behaviour as equal, superior or subordinate is keenly observed and assessed. The group worthiness of a candidate is tested.
The GTO’s test includes the following six broad sub-tests:
- Group discussion
- Group planning exercise
- Group obstacles
- Command Task
- Individual obstacles
Candidates are divided in groups of 8 to 10 and each group is tested by a GTO. Usually two topics of general interest are given by the GTO to the group and the group is asked to choose one of the topics, on the basis of which the group is asked to proceed with discussion. Every candidate is supposed to express his opinion and views on the topic given. The time for discussion is approximately 20 minutes. After the discussion on the first topic is closed, GTO gives the second topic. During the discussion, the GTO quietly observes the performance and behaviour of the candidates and makes his own assessment.
The group discussion tests the expression, argumentative capabilities, depth of knowledge, initiative, flexibility, participation and authenticity of a candidate. The candidates must comprehend the topic properly, carry out a mental framework of line of discussion to be pursued and plan the discussion quickly. It is always better to take the initiative to start the discussion. Self confidence, clarity in expression, appreciation of opinion of others, keen interest, flexibility and knowledge are some of the properties which are sought by the GTO. Proper tone, volume and level of voice are other important aspects of a good candidate. To do well at group discussions, it is suggested that the candidates should prepare well by selecting certain topics of general interest like role of science, democracy, role of women, sports, evils of dowry, family planning, compulsory military training, students and politics, status of Indian women, etc.
Group Planning Exercise
Under the group planning exercise, a situation is given to the candidates usually on a sand model or cloth model. Each candidate is given the situation in which some problem like taking a patient to hospital within stipulated time, reporting the matter to the police or any other situation is depicted and certain facilities as well as limitations are explained. Considering these given limitations and facilities, the candidates are required to prepare a plan to successfully accomplish the task. The time allotted to the candidates, to write down the solution, is about 10 minutes. Soon after writing down the solution, the group is asked to discuss the solutions and arrive at a group plan. The group then nominates a leader who gets up and gives the group plan. After this, others are also asked to give their plans if there is some material difference in the plan. For this exercise a further time of about 20 minutes is given. The test is planned to test the understanding and analytical capability of the candidates. In addition, in a group where no one is nominated a group leader, opportunity is provided to the natural leaders to emerge as leaders and take over the reins of the group. The individual plan tests the analytical ability and the discussion of the group plan sees whether the candidate is prepared to accept a superior plan over his plan or he is able to convince the group about superiority of his plan against an inferior plan being considered by the group. The candidates must properly appreciate the problem, take stock of the resources available with them and then try to generate some alternatives in the given situation. After considering the pros and cons of every alternative, best alternative should be accepted. By actively participating in the group plan discussion, the candidates should try to get themselves nominated as the group leader to get an edge over the other candidates.
Next part of GTO’s fest is the group obstacles. It has four sub-parts including Progressive Group Task, Group Obstacle Race, Half Group Task and Final Group Task. These tasks are designed to test the behaviour of a candidate in a group where there are no group leaders nominated. The GTO, therefore, keenly observes the candidates for their qualities like cooperation, group belonging feelings, natural leadership qualities, planning, initiative and task orientation. Group obstacles in all the four sub-parts are in the form of obstacles which cannot be negotiated by an individual and need a group of persons to cross it. The group is explained that within the obstacle area, in which particular parts are “out of bounds”, the entire group has to cross the obstacle within a given period of time with the assistance of tools like ropes, planks, wooden logs, etc. The progressive group task has four tasks with each successive task getting tougher and final group task is the repeat exercise to facilitate the GTO to observe only the potential candidates.
The group obstacle race is in the form of an intergroup race in which they also have to carry a sack type of load while crossing the obstacles. Half group task is given by dividing the group into two sub-groups, facilitating the GTO in observing the candidates in a better manner. While crossing these obstacles, or planning to cross these, the candidates should think objectively to negotiate the obstacles with the help of given material. There are usually more than one solution to each obstacle. Immediately on getting the solution, the candidates must start asserting themselves by also seeking advice and suggestions of other candidates. Even if the candidate is unable to arrive at any solution he should try to assume the role of a mediator between several candidates having diverse solutions. Even while actually negotiating the obstacle endeavour should be to take on the most difficult tasks so that an impression of task orientation and leading by example is created in the mind of the GTO.
Command Task is aimed at testing the leadership and command capabilities of candidates. In all the earlier exercises, the natural leaders are allowed to emerge. But in some cases, where there are more than one natural leaders, the strongest one will overshadow rest of them. Similarly, a person who is shy by nature, may not be able to exhibit his leadership qualities in a group of equals and hence an opportunity is given to such candidates to show their worth in a formalised situation, where they are declared leaders. In the command task the nature of obstacles and facilitating material remain the same. The only change is that one candidate is nominated as a formal leader, asked to choose his team, plans to negotiate the obstacle and finally executes the plan. The candidate’s judgement, planning and analytical capabilities are checked and his capabilities to get a task executed are also tested. The candidate must, therefore, choose his team carefully, choosing the best candidates who are cooperative and physically strong. This reflects his objective assessment of subordinates. Then the leader must explain to his men the objective or task, the facilitating material available to them and spell out the plan as to how he planned to accomplish the task. The plan should be clear and spelt out in clear and commanding manner. After explaining the task to his men, the leader should go ahead with the proper execution of the task by properly supervising and giving supplementary instructions if required. Normally, the work should be got executed from the chosen candidates, but in case some part of obstacle negotiation needs his assistance, he should be ready to do so. At times, the commander may find it difficult to plan a solution to the obstacle. Under such a situation, the commander may ask the members of the group to suggest to him the possible solution.
There are 10 obstacles which are required to be negotiated by every individual within a stipulated period of 3 minutes. The obstacles are not very tough and can be negotiated by any candidate with average physical fitness. These obstacles include climbing ropes, jumping, swinging on ropes, climbing wall, walking over a beam and parallel ropes, etc. The relatively difficult obstacles carry higher marks and easier ones have lesser. In case a candidate can repeat some of the obstacles, after completing all in the given time period, such a candidate gets more than maximum marks to the extent of repetition of obstacles. To do well at this test, the candidate must try to achieve a particular level of physical fitness before proceeding to the SSB interviews. Easier obstacles should be attempted first and even if one is unable to complete all the obstacles within three minutes, one should be satisfied as in the words of one GTO “armed forces need officers, not monkeys”. Nevertheless, this test aims at looking for bare minimum level of physical fitness, which can be built up by rigorous pre-commission training in the Training Acadmeies.
Lecturette is last in the series of GTO’s tests and is aimed at testing the speech of a candidate. A leader should be able to speak effectively, attract attention while he is talking, have a clear head and clear line of thinking. These qualities are tested by giving a small test to the candidates known as lecturette. This candidate is given about four topic of general nature which do not need any specialised knowledge. The candidates are required to select one topic, prepare for three minutes and then deliver a speech to the group for a period of three minutes. While taking this test, the candidate must select the subject/topic on which he is fully confident of having enough knowledge and material to speak for three minutes. Unnecessary movements of hands, legs, fingers etc should be avoided and the speech should be delivered in a pleasant but authoritative voice. The views expressed should be balanced and extreme positions in views should be avoided. The clarity of thoughts and ideas must be insured.
It is evident from the above that the GTO’s test is a comprehensive test of one’s personality. An objective assessment of personality of the candidates is made by observing their behaviour in a group and as a leader as well. Capabilities of the candidates like knowledge, expression, leadership, initiative, physical fitness, planning capabilities, understanding, disposition, grasp and task orientation, etc are tested by following a comprehensive and objective method of personality test. The GTO makes the assessment by assigning marks in each of the six exercises and then finally allots the aggregate marks on the basis of overall average assessment.
Personal interview is the last hurdle in the selection process to the defence forces through SSB Interviews, apart from the medical examination. Every candidate is tested by a psychologist, G.T.O. and finally by the President or Deputy President of the Selection Board.
The aim of the personal interview is to have a closer look at the personality of every candidate through conversation in friendly discussion. To keep the interview formal and the candidate at ease, only one interviewer interacts with the candidate. The information given by the candidate, on the very first day in the questionnaire, forms the initial basis for questions during the course of interview.
At an average, every interview lasts about 30-40 minutes. The President of the Board begins in a very friendly manner by asking very personal questions from the candidates like name, detail of the brothers and sisters, occupation of parents, names of good friends, place to which the candidate belonged. About 10 minutes-time is devoted on these questions so that the candidate is put at ease. Name of the educational institutions where one studied, subjects offered, marks obtained etc are a few other questions that may be initially expected. In addition to putting a candidate at ease, the President also observes the qualities of friendliness and the ease with which one can handle simple and personal questions. Other questions in the interview may be about games played, hobbies, girl/boy friends and the means adopted by the candidate to remain fit. As a young and educated person, one is expected to either play or have keen interest in some games. Similarly, every person is expected to have a hobby, be it reading, playing games, swimming, driving, gardening, philately, riding, photography or travelling. Every young candidate, aspiring to become an officer in the armed forces, is also expected to have friendship with the opposite sex. Hence all these questions must be answered accordingly.
Final part of the personal interview may include a few questions on current topics, general knowledge, some imaginary situation for reaction and small simple problems for judging the administrative planning capabilities of the candidate. Problem solving may be judged by depicting a simple real-life imaginary situation involving the brothers, sisters, parents or friends to which reaction of the candidate is judged. Similarly, a small administrative problem may be given to a candidate including organisation of a match or a picnic. The candidate is then asked to give his/her step by step planning and execution and perception of happening of the event, without its actually taking place.
How to tackle?
As has been hinted above, the questions in the interview must be tackled very carefully. The candidates should not be in a hurry to reply the questions. The questions should be properly understood and after considering the contents for a while, reply should be given. Regarding personal questions, the candidates should be careful that they do not hide material facts or try to give wrong facts. It must be understood clearly that the President conducting the inverview handles several candidates every day and does the same thing over the years. Moreover, he is trained to interview candidates in such a manner as the truth comes out. Any attempt to hide some facts or give wrong facts will be certainly picked up by the experienced President and they usually make the candidate realise during the interview itself that he/she was trying to bluff. Moreover, no candidate is expected to be perfect, as every human being does have some weaknesses. However, it should also be ensured that no unnecessary details are given by the candidate. The replies should be to the point and relevant to the questions asked.
The same principle applies to the other questions like games played, hobbies pursued and friends (particularly from the opposite sex) held. The games which are stated to be played by the candidate should be ones about which the candidate has complete knowledge and is able to reply to most of the questions. Similarly, the interviewer devotes a lot of time to the hobby named by the candidate. The candidates must, therefore, make sure that the hobbies and games they name must be fully known to them. Rather than bluffing in this regard, it is better to give a negative reply. Moreover, as earlier pointed out it is good to have friends from the opposite sex with healthy and friendly relations. But in case there is no such friend, the fact should be admitted without hesitation.
Finally, the questions on current affairs and general knowledge need a little-bit of brushing up of knowledge in this field. Regular readers of “The Competition Master” normally do not find much difficulty in tackling this part. Candidates who feel less confident in this part are advised to consult the General Knowledge Refresher by O.P. Khanna.
The questions on the reactions in given situations have to be handled very carefully. The candidates must grasp situation completely, clarify the doubts if any and after taking some time to think, come out clearly with the course of action. Choosing a right course of action is not very difficult. The candidates must imagine themselves in similar situation and consider the most probable course of action which would be taken by them, which invariably is also the right solution to the problem. In their reactions, the candidates must not bring in any artificiality and unnecessary heroism. They should react as if they would have done in a similar real life situation. Due care, therefore, must be exercised as this is one of the most crucial aspects of the interview. Two more questions which must be prepared properly arre (a) “Why do you want to join the Defence Forces?”; (b) “If you are not selected what would you do?” These are often-repeated questions and must be answered very honestly and correctly, without any exaggeration.
While proper replies to the questions are important balanced conduct of the candidates is still more important. The candidates should avoid use of slangs and be very respectful to interviewer. Use of language and expression are the plus points but the candidates are usually not penalised for weak expression, as it is believed that the problems of fluency and expression are overcome during the training period. The candidates must be composed and maintain their poise. Lack of confidence in replying to the questions reflects lack of knowledge and self-confidence. At the same time one must not be over confident or arrogant.
The interviewers are trained to identify the signals sent by the body language alongwith the spoken word. Whatever is spoken from the mouth must be reflected from the eyes of the candidate as well the tone of his/her voice. Hence, body language must be controlled to convey the same meaning as the word of the mouth. Any contradiction reveals the untruthful intention of the candidate. It should, however, be kept in mind that no unnecessary gesticulations are made with hands and sitting posture is also proper, as recommended for the interviews.
The appearance and bearing of the candidate helps in making a good first impression. The clothes need not be new or highly fashionable and bright, but should be sober and properly cleaned. Hair should be properly groomed and hands should be properly cleaned with the nails cleanly cut. While describing their achievements, the candidates should be modest without being boastful and while admitting weaknesses and failures, they should not be ashamed or evasive. There must be eye-contact with the interviewer for most part of the interview.
In addition to the above there are certain established interview etiquettes which must be strictly adhered to. One must enter the room after seeking permission. On entering the room, the candidate must suitably wish the interviewer and should sit only when he/she is asked to do so. On being offered a seat, one is expected to thank the interviewer. In case the President offers a hand for handshake, it must be shaken firmly, but the candidates, on their own should not initiate shaking the hands. Seat should be taken promptly and the candidate should sit properly and if possible in an upright manner.
The interviewee should offer a bright and cheerful face. If the President calls for a cup of tea or lights a cigarette and also offers to a candidate, it should be declined gracefully, without annoying him. In a very few cases if the President asks some irritating and personally offending questions, the candidates must not loose their poise and temper. Such a question may be aimed at seeing whether or not a candidate gets provoked easily. The candidates should also show flexibility and admit his/her mistakes, if any pointed out by the President. If a question is not clearly understood or heard, the President may be requested politely to repeat it as there is no harm in it. As the interview is over, the candidates should thank the President, get up without battling with the chair, wish him appropriately and quietly leave the room. The questions like “How have I done Sir?” should not be asked by the candidates while leaving the interview room.
The last stage in the selection process is the conference which takes place on the last day. During the earlier three stages, three selectors i.e. the psychologist, G.T.O. and the President carry out their tests independently. At the conference all the three selectors sit together, call the interviewee and ask two-three formal and routine questions. Candidates who qualify in all the three tests independently are declared successful. All those failing in all or any two are declared unsuccessful. A few candidates marginally failing in one of the tests, may expect a couple of more absorbing questions, including a situation, and on the basis of reply offered by the candidate, final decision about his/her selection is taken. The result is announced soon after the conclusion of the conference and all those who are selected are required to stay back for the medical examination, which takes another three to four days.
The selected candidates are then required to undergo medical examination. Prior to the medical examination, a form is given to the candidates to be filled which mainly relates to the past medical history of the candidate as well as his/her members of the family. The candidates who pass all the medical tests are finally declared as successful and may expect a call to join the training academy concerned within a month or two of the selection. However, the call letters are issued after clubbing the marks obtained in the written examination of the UPSC as well as marks obtained in the interview. At times it may so happen that even a candidate getting through in the interview finally, may not get a call to join at the concerned training academy if the number of vacancies is less or the candidate is very low in the order of merit. Hence, the candidates are advised not to leave their studies or jobs till they rceive a call to join at the training academy concerned.
Start the preperations
Have these things in You?
i) Self Confidence ii) Interest iii) Motivation iv) Awareness v) Understanding vi) Good Health. These are the vital factors an SSB candidate should have.
Belief in your own abilities. Performing a given task, under any given situation and in an unfamiliar situation is roughly called as having self-confidence. Your positive thoughts go a long way in developing your self-confidence.
Positive thoughts, needless to say, help the individual to progress in life, negative thoughts lead one to destruction.
Department of Psychological Research Institute Dimalpur at Delhi specially trains the Board of officers.
Due to a large number of candidates applying for commission in the armed forces each year, to make way for deeper
selection a new method of Pre-screening and Screening tests have been evolved in the recent times.
The Nature of Selection Tests: Under the present assessment techniques adopted by the S.S.B, the candidates are put thorough a series of tests such as IQ tests, Perception test, EKT (Engineering Knowledge Test), Group discussion. These form the part of Pre Screening and Screening tests. Only those candidates who qualify in the preliminary rounds are allowed to take the full SSB tests.
a) Psychological Tests
b) Group Testing Officers tests
c) Interview by Interviewing Officer.
What are the Candidates Tested For ?
The candidates are examined and tested theoretically and practically for the assessment of Officers Like qualities.
Services Selection Centres
Army: a) Bangalore, b) Bhopal, c) Allahabad
Navy: Besides the above centers, Coimbatore is also one of the centers for selecting candidates for the NAVY.
Air Force: a) Mysore, b) Varanasi, c) Dehradun
Three Pronged Testing
Three different officers subject each candidate to certain type of tests, which put together beings out the OLQ (officer Like Qualities), which the services are looking for.There are certain qualities which can be developed /strengthened by training and some of the qualities cannot be developed by training.
a) Intelligence tests consists of Verbal and Non-verbal tests
b) Psychological tests to assess the personality of
the candidates,these include:-
i) Word Association Test (WAT)
ii) Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT)
iii) Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
iv) Self Description test
Group Testing Officers Tests
a) Indoor Tests
i) Group Discussion
ii) Group Planning
iii) Lecturing- Extempore speech
b) Outdoor Tests.
i) Group Tasks
ii) Command Tasks
iii) Individual Endurance Tasks
Interviewing officers Test
Personal interview by President/Deputy President.
Stage – I
2. Pre Screening Tests
a) OIRT (Officers Intelligence rating test)
b) Perception tests ( A model)
c) Group Discussion, which is followed by above, tests a few tips.
Stage – II
3. Psychological tests
i) Word Association Test
ii) Situation Reaction Test
iii) Thematic Appreciation Test
iv) IQ Verbal Test
v) IQ – Non Verbal test
vi) PIQ Form Filling
vii) Pen Picture writing a few tips
viii) Practice tests 1 – 5
4. Group Testing Officers tests
i) Tips to Tackle Group Discussion
ii) Tips to Extempore Speech Making
iii) Military planning Explanation and Sample
iv) Tips to tackle Individual Obstacles
v) Tips to tackle Group tasks and Command Tasks
5. Interview Dos and Don’ts
Your Handwriting is the mirror to judge your quality. Write neatly and legibly.Since these tests are designed to calculate your IQ, try and complete,as many questions as possible; but at the same time, do not do so without thinking sufficiently. Even75% of the questions answered correctly will see you thorough. Since every test is co-related, be positive in what you write.Your pen picture should tally with your thoughts pen down.Since you are being compared with all other candidates your best performance will take you to your ultimate Goal.
WAT Word Association Test: Write the first positive thought that comes to your mind.Time given is 15 seconds to write. The sentence need not be grammatically correct or the word used just to write a sentence. Remember this is not a Make a sentence type exam.This is designed to test your inner thoughts. So be careful in what ever you write.
SRT (Situational Reaction Test) the tests contain day-to-day practical incidents that you will be facing in your real life.Write what actions you, Will be taking incase you are in those situations.There are no right or wrong answers; best approach is to write a positive yet a good citizen will do. Here your qualities such as Courage, helping attitude, empathy, responsibility, social interaction, boldness, honesty etc are tested. Write down the answers on a sheet of paper so thatyou can compare the same with some suggestions. (Never copy the suggestions for it might lead you to wrong conclusions)
Please take the Practice test.
Thematic Appreciation test
The Thematic Story writing will be 12 in all. 11 of them are having some picture and one does not have any. You will get about 3 minutes for each story. Do not write stereotype stories. Try different theme for different stories. Remember you are the Hero; the aim should be to bring out leadership qualities of the hero through these stories.
The Qualities that you are to project through your stories are:-
ALTERTNESS, AVAILABLITY FOR TASKS
ENDURANCE AND ENTHUSIASM
HONSETY, HARD WORK
Only during the perception test you are required to give The age, sex, mood, and number of group of the persons you see in the picture. Your story should such that it suits the picture yet tells The past is that what led to this situation What is happening in the picture? What will happen in the future?
Every candidate will be asked to write a slf- appraisal during the psychological test. This will be the last part of the Psychological test. The aim of this is to make you commit about your-self regarding your knowledge about your-self.
The usual headings under which you will be asked to give out the appraisal is:-
a) What is you personal opinion about your self?
b) What does your parents think of you?
c) What does your best friend think about you?
d) What does your worst enemy think of you?
e) What does your teacher think of you?
f) What are your strong points?
g) What are your weak points?
h) What are the qualities you would like to develop?
Tips: Go systematic. Suggested headings:
i) About your parents and place of birth and family background
ii) Physical Attributes
iv) Social Contacts
vi) Extra curricular activities , achievements
vii) Your aims and goals. Both short term and long term
An example of Self-Appraisal
About parents and place of birth: I was born and brought up at Coimbatore, an urban township in the western part of Tamil Nadu. My parents are moderately educated. We belong to a middle class family. My father is a businessman and mother is a housewife. I have an elder brother who is working as a software engineer in PUNE.
Physical Aspects: I am Medium built, and 5 feet 8 inches tall. As I used to take part in sports events and am used to regular exercise I am physically fit. I do not remember to have taken ill except for some minor ailments. I go for Jogging every morning before I start my studies. Evening one hour of sports activity keeps me in shape.
Social Contacts: I have a number of good friends. They have confidence in me and I am an extrovert by nature. We take part in the college functions. None of our vacations with out our trekking trips to local hillocks and far off villages around Coimbatore. I like to mix around make friends. We do organize Blood donation/health check up camps and hold children entertainment functions during Aug 15 every year in our neighborhood.
Education: I did my initial schooling at _________. I was groomed by my parents to pay attention towards my studies, sports and was encouraged to take part in school cultural activities. As a result of my father’s encouragement, I used to take p[art in school debate/quiz competition. I always like some challenges from my classmates, whether it is studies or sports. I have always scored good marks and stood within the first three ranks in the class. I have won prizes for Elocution, sports events. I am now doing my final semester in BE Electronics at PSG Engineering College. I got admission after a tough entrance examination, in which I scored285 out of 300 marks. My ambition is to become an Officer in the Indian Air Force in Technical Branch.
Extra curricular activities: Sight seeing and trekking has always been my passion. I am a member of my college senior wing of NCC. I am an Under Officer and represented the college and took part in the Republic day parade held at New Delhi during 26 Jan 2002.
As per my hobby, I collect handicraft items made by villagers. Till date I have visited 11 Villages in the tribal area of Coimbatore, and collected about 14 items. I help my parents to look after our daily house hold work and take time to help my mother to clean up the house, a few hours on Sundays. I keep a daily journal, which helps me to write articles for my college magazine keep a “DO IT TODAY List” on my computer, which help me to organize my day and all other activities. The Internet browsing is yet another hobby of mine. I use it to communicate with m friends as well read about my subject matter.
Achievements: While at School I had won prizes in Elocution, debate and essay writing.
I have taken part in English, Hindi and Tamil Elocutions. I was the school athletics champion for three continuous years from 1997-2000. Represented College at NCC Republic Day camp in the year 2002, and Leadership course at Mt Pachmari I 2001.
Adjusted as best athlete in college in the Year 2001. I have been selected to represent the university, for presenting my paper and ” Robotics in space mission.”
Religion: I treat all religion as equal. I have friends from all religions; I attend their religious functions. I believe in the fact God is one , in which ever form he may be worshiped. I have a learned to give tolerance to all religions from my mother, who too has kept the images of gods of all religions in our prayers room.
What do they judge at SSB in Group Tasks ?
A) Assessment of Candidate’s Participation within the formulated Rules
B) Planning and Intelligent Assessment of the situation
C) Inidividual Quality in context to the Group
D) Assuming control of a Group to execute a task
E) Assess the problem from different angles
F) Assign responsibility to Team mates
G) Ability to realise the Potential of Group Members
H) Capacity to motivate others
J) Creative Thinking
K) Putting the Group before the Self
L) Helping Tendency
M) Originality of Thought
N) Quick Decision Making
O) Cooperation with Others
P) Group Integration
Q) Planning and Execution
R) Leadership Initiative
PERSONAL INFORMATION QUESTIONNAIRE
1.Selection Board (No & Place) Batch No Chest No UPSC Roll No
2. Name in CAPITALS as in application form
3. Father’s Name
4. (a) Place of maximum residence
(b) Present Address (With Approximate
population of the City/town/village)
(c) Permanent Address (With Approximate
population of the City/town/village)
(Whether District HQ or Not)
5.Fill in the details below:
State & District Religion WhetherSC/ST Mother Tongue Date of Birth
6.(a) Parents Alive Yes/No
(b) If not alive your age at the time of Father’s/Mother’s Death
(c) Parents/Guardians Occupation /Income (As applicable)
Particulars Education Occupation Income per Month
No of brothers
No of sisters
Your ranking amongst your brother and sister
7. Educational Record(Commencing from matriculation /Equivalent Examination):-
S.No QualificationAcquired Name of Institute Year Division&Marks% Medium ofInstruction
Boarder/DayScholar Out Standing Achievement if any
a) Matric/Higher Secondary
8. Age ( Year & Months) / Height (in Metre) Weight (in Kilograms)
(a) N.C.C Training _________________________________________ Yes/No
(b) Total Training (if Yes) (Give details below)
Total Training Wing Division Certificate Obtained
11. a) Participation in Games & Sports
Games/Sports Period or Duration of Participation Represented School/College/University
OutstandingAchievement, if any
c) Participation in Extra curricular activities :-
Name of the activity group Duration of Participation Outstanding achievement if any
d) Position of responsibility/Offices held in NCC/Scouting
Sports team/Extra-curricular group and other fields:-
(a) Nature of Commission
(b) Choice of Service
13. Number if chances availed for commission in all three services
14. Details of last interview ,if any (Air Force/Navy/Army Selection Board)
S.No Type of Entry Place and SSBNo Date Batch and ChestNo Recommended/Not
WHAT, YOU FOLLOW?
Follow the suggestions to get clear the interviews, Your answers come under
the Candidates Reaction and the right way of answering comes under Suggestion
Candidates reactions: a) Peace overcomes war
b) War is destruction
c) I hate war
d) War means bloodshed
Suggestion: Love Peace, but be prepared for war
Candidate: a) Every one loves peace (Acceptable)
b) I love peace
c) Peace brings Progress ( Very Good)
Candidate: a) work is worship
b) Hard work pays (Acceptable)
c) Hardwork leads to success (Very Good)
d) Work while you work play while you play (Avoid using proverbs)
Candidate a) Defeat the enemy
b) Defeat the defeat
c) Defeat -dont get upset
d) Dont get depressed by defeats (Acceptable)
Suggestion: a) Defeat teaches us lessons.
b) Analyse causes of defeat to succeed
Candidate: a) I Love my Country (Good)
b) Serving our country is Nobel (Acceptable)
c) Its our duty to safeguard our country (A)
d) Country first self next
6.HOME Suggestion:. Home teaches us Manners
7 . Luck plus hardwork leads to success
8 . Ghost stories are famous in England
9 . Always trust your leader
10 . Enjoy good company of friends
11 . Playground teaches us many lessons
12 . Character is a virtue
13 . A part from studies involve in sports
14 . Happiness overcomes sadness
15 . Dont worry about failures
16 . success is the fruit of hardwork
17 . My garden has many kinds of flowers
18 . Indian army is known for its patriotism
19 .Music can cure diseases
20 . India won the kargil war
21 . Jogging keeps us in good health
22 . Its our custom to respect elders
23 . I have great affection towards my parents
24 . Fortune and hardwork makes one succeed
25 . Engineers are capable of rectifying faults
26 . Snakes poison is used as medicine
27 . ALways help others
28 . Co-operate with your neighbours
29 . I am a responsible person
30 . Yesterday I withdrew my savings to help the poor
31 . When intrested in work one feels seldom tired
32 . Soldiers risk their life for their motherland
33 . Boats are used to cross dangerous rivers
34 . Fail;ure is steeping stone for success
35 . Fight for a noble cause
36 . Every problem has a solution
37 . Machine is backbone of industry.
38 . Leaders always leads
39 .Education system in india is good
40 . Dont be afraid of obstacles
41 . Take things seriously and work
42 . Child was saved when he was drowned in the river
43 . Analyse the situation and jump into action
44 . Opinions always differ
45 . Exercise protects us from diseases
Story Writing Tips
Thematic writing is given to judge your imagination and positive thoughts.
When you start writing the story remeber the following:
The story should have a Past
the present (i.e what is happening in the scene)
In the story the hero/heroien may be seen/or imagined
the hero should bring out his good quality. ie that any one of the 15 OLQ already told to you in
this SSB Handbbok
The story should be about 12 to 15 sentences
3 for Past
6 for Present
3 for future
In the picture no 1.
Mr. Ram was an hard working and intelligent young man.
His aim was to become a collector, he started his preparation from his final year at the college.
In the picture we see him preparing for the forth coming prelim.
Being a maticulas and a student of forsight, he had collected thematerials for the test. His
hard workl and didication had paid him. He passed the exam with flying colours
He continued his hard work in the academy too, and he passed out as the best IAS officer in
Dos and Donts @ SSB
1. On arrival introduce your self to the reception staff and show your documents.
2. Make as many friends as possible at the reception center itself.
3. Remember you are being judged by your own batch mates right from the word go. Behave like a perfect Gentleman.
4. Keep a record of all the Bio data, for you will need this to fill up your arrival info form.
5. Do not give any false statement.
6. Always dress up neatly and appear smart. Before you leave your room spend a minute in front of the mirror. A man / woman is judged by others, by what he wears and what he speaks.
7. At the railway station itself buy a city guide it will help you to know about the city and its places of importance, bus route, train timings etc.,
8. Always address the group as Gentlemen, or friends. His/her chest number allotted by the board, should be used. (During Discussion and test only.)
9. Know each indl of your group by name his qualification; this will help you during GTOs Task. Try and become popular with them.
10. Take initiative, be co-operative. Listen to others. As the time is at premium during discussions, speak up. Be bold and express your self clearly be brief and do not repeat what others have said. It is better to speak either first or second, so that you will have an opportunity to put forward your points.
11. During Psychological tests, Always write positive sentences/story it should bring out the officer like qualities (of which you have been taught.)
12. During interview if you do not know any answer politely say “I am sorry Sir, I don’t Know.”
13. Be calm, cool and attentive. Smile while you enter the interviewing room and also say thank you, at the time of departure. Your handshake should be firm.
14. The interviewing officer is a qualified gentleman, never bluff, you will get caught and spoil you chances of success.
15. Be confident, rehearse some favorite questions.
1. No lies/false hood please.
2. You have no bad points except to over work to get perfection in any task under taken.
3. Do not Waste your time unnecessarily read some magazines.
4. Don’t be tense take it easy, always think before you answer.
You are a group of Nine college students, all of you went to River Kasi for enjoying a boat ride.
While you were going for boating, you saw a school bus carrying children for picnic spot near
the River. When you started boating down the river, you you saw an Helicopter flying very low
and crashed near Fort, which was 2 kms away from your location. You also noticed that there
was a lot of hue and cry of small children, who got stuck in the cable car just near to your boating
site. Two of your friends who went to investigate the Helicopter crash reported to you stating,
that the Pilot was injured and a box, which he was carrying was to be delivered to ATC by 1500
hours, if not it would explode. The cable operator rushed towards you, and requested you to help him
out to repair the cable car and rescue the children. One of your friends told you that he had left his
wallet containing money and important address in the near by teashop. You were also required to reach
the college hostel to attend the function at 1700 hours. The time now is 1430 hours.
Write your actions and discuss a suitable solution.
Assume resources available are
a) a Jeep
b) traffic on the road
c) Phone at Local Hospital which is 6 Kms away from your location.
d) Road head is 2Kms from you
e) Fort is 4 kms away from you
An interview is a face-to-face meeting, especially for the purposed of assessing the candidate for the job applied for. It aims at evaluating your academic knowledge, awareness or current topics, communication skills, the clarity of thought and expression and sense of balance, and ability to extricate you from tricky situation.
SSB’s: One of the most fundamental factors that contribute to the successful interview is the time and quality of preparation made by. Normally the President/ Vice President of the Services Selection Board will conduct the personal Interview. They are very senior Officer from the Armed forces. Degree of preparedness for an interview helps reduce the uncertain anxiety prior to the Interview.. The amount of effort you wish to put into preparation is directly proportional to your out put at the interview. How to plan your preparation ? Preparation develops Confidence and gears you for the anticipated grilling. Prepare the following:
How to Tackle?
Write down in a neat and legible handwriting the PIQ form given to you (Please copy it down it is given in this CD). Try to put down everything in an orderly and crisp manner. Revise your Bio-data thoroughly. Try to form your own questions based on it. Answer them to your full satisfaction. Check your Bio-Date for grammatical and spelling error. Remember discerning interviewer expects Zero error in the Bio-Data.Try and collect as much information about the City in which you live, your School, College, place of interview and places you have visited. Be sure regarding your hobbies. For example, if you have written reading as a hobby, be sure about what you have been reading. Interviewer expects a serious reply. He expects the names of the authors and then will ask questions based on their themes. A serious reader will score over others who refer cheap detective, thriller novels. The logic holds good for any other hobby you have mentioned in your PIQ.Be clear of your favorite subject and area of you interest in the subject, which you are/have specialized.
Refresh your knowledge. Then interviewer might ask you a few technical questions.A well-groomed look gives an image of thoroughness and professional look.Your achievements should be brought out in a systematic order as and when you are asked about it.Follow the normal etiquette for the interview., Wait for the officer to speak first- Listen carefully before you speak. Take a few long breaths this will calm down your nerves, after listening to the question carefully, clarify your doubts if any, before you answer the question.Think well before you answer. For more questions will follow your answers.
The New Technique adopted at the SSB Interview is RAPID FIRE questions. Listen to the questions carefully. Think well before you answer, elaborate your answers and tactfully take him on to your strong points. Do not over emphasize them.
Be very clear in your thought and expression. Don’t speak in a low voice, be loud enough so that interviewer don’t have to strain their ears.Be brief, brevity is the hallmark of a good communicator. Answer all the questions in a sequence.If you don’t know an answer be Honest. The Interviewer will respect integrity and honesty.NEVER Exaggerate.Never boast about anything including your achievements.Never enter into an argument with the interviewer on any topic.
1 The rank structure of the forces
2 The current events
3 Knowledge about your town
4 Your projects
5 Why you want to join the forces?
6 What will you do in case you do not get selected at selected?
7 (this is to see how determined you are in achieving your aim.)
8 Have a plan B in case you exhaust all the chances then you will
9 Take up ——- job.
10 When the interviewer asks you to organize a trekking event remember the following points; or any other event the heading under which you can cover the preparations are:
11 Initial Preparation
14 Specific Items need for the event.
16 On the day
19 Keeping the journal and recording the event
20 After the event
21 Maintain proper Eye contact with the person who asks you the Question. This shows your Confidence and honesty.
22 Avoid using frequently words and phrases like” I mean”, ” You know”, “well”, “as such” etc.
23 In the end you want to ask the officer any questions plese do so, if not then so politely “I have no questions to ask you sir.”
24 Last but not the least, BE NATURAL. When the interview ends.
If offered a Handshake, do so, if not just say, “Thank you for the
wonderful evening and put the chair back to its original position before leaving. Leave the place with a warm smile and a nod of head. Close the door gently and leave the room.
Appearance makes the man. You should dress up for the occasion. Most of the time you will be asked to attend the Interview in the PT. Kit it is better for you to keep a small pocket Comb and a neat and clean Handkerchief. Freshen up yourself before you set foot in the interviewers room. Your warm smile, excellent etiquette and a firm handshake will be starting point.As we have
brought out earlier, RAPID Fire questions are the order of the. It means you will be asked to answer a number of questions after listening to them just once. Please listen to the question carefully. If you have not understood the question then ask for the clarification. Try and answer the questions in the same sequence as put forth to you. Since the distance between you and the interviewing officer would be about 6 feet, you are expected to talk in a loud and clear voice. Take your time think and answer questions.DO NOT TELL A LIE. You will be caught.
Interviewing Officers are usually hold the Rank of Colonel or its equivilant rank in the Navy/Air Force.Here are some of the tips which you wil find it useful while facing the Interviewing officer:
a) Be tidy and well dressed. Wear simple clothes but willo fitting clothes.Do not wear Jewllery
b)On entering the room wish the panel and do what they say.
c) Do not get over anxious. A minor degree of nerveousness is expected from everyone.
d) Be Yourself
e) Be polite and use words like “Please”, “Sir”, Do not sound egoistic.
f) Be natural and never convey extravagant ideas like ” I would die for my country” or ” The best profession is the Defence Forces “.
g) Do not lie or beat around the bush. If you are not sure of thre answer say that uyou do not know. You are not going to be penalized for say it.
h) Be brief, loud and clear.
i) The major questions like Why do you want to join the Army/Navy/Air Force?. There are no perfect answer to this question. While answering it try to convey 4 or 5 facts such as:
i. Defence services offers a Challange to a young person
ii. Merit is given due recognition in te Forces.
iii. I will get an opportuniyt to learn and exprience the latest technological inventions.
iv. I like an out door life rather than a 10 to 5 desk job.
v. I will get an opporunity to mingle with all sorts of people and persons from different parts of the country.
vi. In my opinioin the Uniformed forces offers reasonable pay and perks
vii. One of the most respected professions in Indian is that of a soldier.
j) Be truthful in stating your hobbies. be prepared to answer questions about it.
k) High light your achievement in sports, NCC and other extra curricular activites.
l) Current affairs be a regualr reader of magazines and news paper.
m) When a situation is given to you think and answer be very specific and answer in the most practical way.
n) Thasnk the Officer for hois time before you leave the room.