Cracking SSB (Services Selection Board) Interview is not an easy task. Having said that, I’d also like to add that it is not mission impossible either! After all, we all have dictionaries with the ‘term’ impossible absent in it, right? Okay, let’s talk business now, I’ll share some valuable, killer tips with you. These tips will enable you to crack SSB Interview! But hey, these tips won’t work like magic. You must implement and practice these tips. Then, I can guarantee that you’ll crack the interview!
Each year, Lakhs of candidates appear for written exams like NDA (National Defence Academy) and CDS (Combined Defence Services) etc. Thousands make it through and manage to win themselves a seat for the SSB interview.
But what’s interesting is the fact that majority of the shortlisted candidates get rejected after the first round of SSB! And after the end of the week long interview processes, handful of them get recommended. In the end, few of them make it to the premier institutes like NDA and IMA (Indian Military Academy)!
What a tale! So, basically, SSB interview is like a ‘filter’. It separates the best from the rest. And I must say that this filter does a good job! The candidates who get recommended are assessed from various point of views and rated and evaluated by psychologists, senior army Officers etc. Also check – NDA 2019 & AFMC MBBS 2019.
You too can be among those ‘selected ones’. For making it happen, I suggest that you go through this article, know these tips closer and implement them religiously.
Killer Tips to Crack SSB Interview
1 Know SSB’s tests and procedures inside out
Okay, this interview is not a one day stuff. It is not like a regular interview also. Most of the selected candidates make this mistake. They don’t know important details about SSB and its procedures .
Try to learn more about the procedures that you’ll face once you reach there. There will be a series of tests conducted across several days. Make sure that you get proper knowledge about the time-table. Learn more details about the various tests you’ll face.
Initially, there will be a screening test. Those who manage to clear the screening test and group discussion round are then supposed to stay at the SSB centre for the next 5-6 days. Over these 5-6 days, various tests and interviews will be conducted by the board. Personal Interview is also held during this phase. Apart from PI, some other tests are also held. Some of those tests are- SRT, WAT, Progressive Group Task, Final Group Task, Command Task, Physical Test and Conference round.
These tests will come one after another from the second day onward. Though the CHM will inform you about the timing and dates regarding these tests, it is always better to do one’s homework and be prepared to face them anytime!
Know what tests like WAT (Word Association Test), SRT (Situation Reaction Test) etc are all about. Know when you’ll face such tests, what these tests are all about etc. This is the most important tip.
2 After following tip no 1, do good practice and form test-wise preparation habits
Okay, I hope that you’ll follow tip 1 religiously. After doing that, make sure that you go on a quality ‘practice session’. Knowing these tests closer is key part, but practicing them is even more better.
Study materials are available in abundance. You may go for ‘coaching classes’, buy CDS and NDA preparation books or get study material online!
Whatever source you choose, make sure that you practice well.
It is very important to prepare for each test/stage involved in the SSB Interview. Each test has its own unique nature. Forming test-wise preparation habits will definitely be of help.
SRT, WAT and similar written tests can be dealt with by practicing from study material available in the market. Going through question sets will help you get a grip, when it comes to such tests.
But it is difficult to prepare for Group Tasks, PI, Physical Test round and Conference round merely by referring books and study material. When it comes to Group Task, one must have confidence, clear thinking, analytical skills, decision making skills and good communication skills to perform well! Developing those traits will definitely help one out!
Being physically fit and agile will help during the Physical test stage. There’s a set of fixed obstacles, when it comes to this round. Having knowledge about these obstacles and training keeping them in mind will help you during the actual test. Time saving tactics can be used during this stage and bonus marks can be obtained by one!
PI is a tricky affair. One must be very confident, prepared and honest, when it comes to this stage. Adequate importance must be given to dressing and appearance, sitting posture, physical gestures and eye contact. Don’t get too nervous, try to stay calm and answer the interviewer’s questions honestly. Keep answers to the point. Honesty is the best policy. Filling up the PIQ form honestly and correctly will ensure that you won’t face ‘tricky situations’ during the interview. During the PI, interviewer will look for key traits like OLQs, confidence, decision making skills, analytic skills, general awareness and aptitude.
3 Don’t ignore Current Affairs
This is what many candidates ignore. They’ll practice for all those tests, but leave behind Current Affairs. Having good general awareness and knowledge of current affairs is an added advantage!
Many times, during the personal interview stage, questions related to current affairs will be posed by the interviewer. Make sure that you go through NEWS Papers, NEWS headlines etc daily. Also referring magazines like Pratiyogita Darpan and sites like Jagran Josh will help you.
4 Some things you should have detailed knowledge about-
All SSB interviews emphasize on some common topics. These common topics are- India, Indian Politics, History of India, India and its current affairs, Armed Forces in India etc. Questions about these topics are almost always asked during personal interviews, group discussion etc.
Make sure that you read and study these topics extensively. Preparing and keeping your own ‘notes’ will help. With the use of internet, you may get all the necessary knowledge for free!
5 Brush up your Technical/ Academic knowledge
Doing so will come handy during the personal interview. Many times, interviewers go for such technical questions. If you are a 12th standard passed/appearing student, the interviewer may ask questions related to your studies. For example, I was asked this question- ‘What is Bernoulli’s equation?’.
If you are an engineering graduate, then prepare for similar questions related to your branch. So, brushing up your knowledge is essential.
6 Know your native state/town better
Having good, detailed knowledge about your home state or town is good. Questions related to them are often asked during personal interview.
Before the personal interview, candidates are asked to fill a PIQ (Personal Information Questionnaire). Details like state, town etc of the candidate must be filled. So, it is obvious that the interviewer will pose some questions related to them.
Collect information related to current affairs, historical significance, population, language, governmental organizations, notable personalities etc of your state/town.
7 Be aware of the tough climate; practice time management accordingly
Usually, the interviews are held at time, when the climate is extreme. For example, consider the SSB interview held at Allahabad in January. At that time, the place would be too cold.
It is essential to know the climatic conditions early on and practice accordingly. In January cold, at Allahabad, you won’t be able to write fast because of ‘cold and frozen’ hands!
And let me remind you that ‘writing fast’ is necessary to do well in tests like WAT, TAT, SRT etc. So, writing practice, keeping the climate in mind often helps. Take time to form some ‘time management’ strategies.
8 Be honest, simple and ‘be yourself’
Having these traits will help you greatly during personal interview and the whole SSB thing. Be honest while filling out PIQ form. Don’t brag about things you never did! Bragging and lying will come back to haunt you during interview! Don’t try to act smart. Be your normal self. Acting like somebody else will do more harm than good.
9 Cultivate Confidence, improve oratory skills
This is something you definitely should do. Building confidence will certainly help you perform well in personal interview, group discussion, group task etc.
Having good oratory skills will also help during group discussion, group task etc. Invest some time daily cultivating these qualities in yourself. You’ll be amazed by the return it’ll give!
10 Maintain good physical fitness
Okay, let’s not ignore this aspect. There is a whole ‘obstacles round’, where your physical prowess will be put to test! So, maintain a basic level of fitness and physique.
Exercise regularly, eat well, eat good food. The obstacle course is a real ‘bonus round’. You can score high score if you’re in good shape and have good fitness level.
These are the top 10 tips that I wanted to share with you guys. I believe that religiously practicing and implementing these tips will help you crack SSB interview! While you appear for it, treat others like your friends, enjoy your stay there and give it your best shot! You’ll learn a lot during your stay there.
In the first point, I described how important it is to know more about the schedule, events and procedure of SSb Interview. Knowing all these details about the interview will help you win half the battle! Rest of it can be conquered through practice and preparation.
In the next section, you will find everything you need to know about SSB Interview. I’ve provided details such as eligibility criteria, tests, schedule and selection process in the next section. Make sure that you check it out –
Everything you need to know about SSB Interview Process
SSB stands for Services Selection Board. It is the one which conducts interviews for the shortlisted candidates at various locations in India. Services Selection Board is responsible for recommending the eligible candidates for Officer Cadre post in Indian defence forces. After conducting the SSB interview, the board sends the list of candidates who have cracked SSB interview for a compilation of All India Merit List. All recommended candidate list once again will be shortlisted according to the all India merit. Final merit list will be released after one or two months by the SSB board and the candidates selected in this list will be commissioned into Indian armed forces as officers.
Eligibility For SSB Interview
The unmarried graduates who have cleared the Combined Defense Services Examination conducted by the UPSC are selected for the interview of SSB.
For male Candidates:
- The candidate should be born on or after 2 January 1991 and before1 January 1996
- In case of Airforce Academy, the candidate should be born on or after 2 January 1992 and not after 1st January 1996
For female Candidates:
- The candidate should be born on or after 2 January 1990 and not after 1 January 1996
- Unmarried or issue-less widows
- Naval Academy: If the candidate wants to opt for Naval academy then he or she should have a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
- Air Force Academy: In case of Air Force Academy, the candidate should have a degree in B.Sc. with Physics & Mathematics; B.E. and B. Tech.
- Indian Military Academy and Officers’ Training Academy: The candidate should have degree or equivalent from a recognised university.
- Name of the post: After medical checkup and training, the candidates are going to be inducted as Commissioned Officers.
- Notifications: Candidates are intimated for the SSB interview through call letters. In case call letter is not received on time after clearing the UPSC exam, the candidate must immediately contact the concerned office.
Schedule of SSB Interview
The five-day personality and intelligence test schedule are as under:
- 1st Day: Basic Intelligence Test
- 2nd Day: Psychological Test
- 3rd and 4th Day: The Group Testing Officers (GTO) Activities
- 5th Day: Conference
- A Personal Interview (PI) can be taken on any day between the second to fourth days.
Important Points To Remember
Try meet and talk to someone who has faced SSB recently. They can be very helpful in guiding you. It will build up your confidence, you also have to know the procedure and method of Interview or what to expect and when.
Candidates can also read some books on the subject, to get a feel. It will give them an exposure to the types of questions. You don’t have to learn the answers. The answers are either within you.
Coaching can only help the candidates to be familiar with the Tests. Some of the candidates would not personally recommend coaching. SSB is looking for in you so, what you are, not what someone has drilled into you. Coaching sometimes creates a lot of conflict between your real self and the tutored.
Get yourself updated on General Knowledge and General Awareness of important happenings around the world and the country.
Keep doing regular jogs to build up your stamina don’t worry they are not looking for your six packs.
Be truthful in your Interview don’t waffle or hide, they will catch you, without you coming to know. Most of the candidates lie about themselves which cost them later.
Be positive in your outlook and remember all Group Tasks are to see your team spirit, the leadership of a group and decision making.
Remember, the main goal of SSB is to find out if you have the qualities to be a good officer or have the potential to develop into one.
Things to keep in mind for the GD session:
- Do not look at the officers while narrating your story and just after completing it.
- Try to maintain a proper body language.
- Do not argue in the GD as it will create a negative impression. Look if you are allowing others to speak, including the weaker ones.
- Don’t just go and vomit out everything. Wait for the right time to put in the strong points of the story that you have written.
- Try to be actively present in the discussion so that the officers notice you.
Second Day: The second day is considered one of the important one. Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation Reaction Test (SRT) and Self-Description are undertaken, all of these tests are part of a psychological process. These are all general psychology tests that demand your extensive attention and concentration.
Self-description: Prepare for it beforehand. The psychologists usually look for your:
- Ability to self-analyse
- The aim in life and determination
- Thinking and mentality regarding parents, family, friends, neighbours, teachers and others.
- Perception of how your parents, family, friends, neighbours, teachers and others analyse you.
Preparations for next two days: The Group Testing Officers (GTO) activities conducted on the third and fourth days include various indoor and outdoor group activities like Group Discussion, Group Obstacle Race, Group Planning and Progressive Group Tasks. The individual tasks consist of Individual Lecturette, Individual Obstacles and Command Tasks. These tests are conducted to evaluate you as a team player in various situations as also as an individual. It also assesses your leadership qualities and the way you express yourself. Perform all the tasks in a calm and composed manner.
Selection Process of SSB Interview
The selection process in an SSB interview passes through different stages. Here you can check them one by one –
Screening: Screening process is to pick up some potential candidates from all those who have reported for the particular entry. It consists of few activities like:
- Verbal and Non-verbal Test: To be truthful, it is not that tough and doesn’t need any preparation too. But it is always good to go well prepared, you can check some verbal and non-verbal sample questions here. After the screening test, the candidate will get some rest and later proceed for PPDT.
- PPDT: The PPDT section consists of story writing and discussion. You will be shown a picture for 30 secs, later the candidates have to write a short story based on the picture you have seen in 3 mins, after that, you will be divided into subgroups of 14-15 members, firstly each candidate will narrate his/her story which is followed by the group discussion on the picture, among the group members. Keep in mind that PPDT is the most important part which helps you to clear screening and helps the candidate to go on test-2.
- Results of Screening: After the PPDT is completed, the candidates will get some rest for 2-3 hours and will be provided lunch too. The result of the screening test will be declared after the break, the candidates who are selected are allotted with new chest numbers. The rest of the candidates gets their TA and dropped backed to the railway station or bus stand.
After clearing the first stage of testing, the real battle of the candidate will start. It is painful for all the candidates who have lost the second battle, but a good preparation can fulfil the candidate’s dream to join Indian defence forces.
Psychological Test: It is a battery of projective tests, all tests are used to check the psychological suitability of the candidate to be an officer. Candidates are required to write their responses based on the particular test. Here the time limit is very crucial, so you are required to write your first response in time.
What Should The Candidate Do?
- TAT: You will be shown 11 pictures in which the last picture it will be a blank slide, each picture will come just for 30 seconds and then disappear, after that, you will get 4 minutes time to write the story based on that picture. After 4 mins another picture will come for 30 seconds and the same process will be followed until the last slide.
- WAT: You will be shown 60 words back to back, each word will remain on the screen for 15secs, in 15secs you are required to write a sentence which comes in your mind first after reading that word. In the same manner, you have to write 60 words continuously without any pause in between.
- SRT: You will get a booklet with 60 situations written on it, you are required to write your responses based on those 60 situations, the time allotted will be 30 mins.
- SD: Candidates will be asked to write an opinion about you from your parents, friends, teachers, yourself and things that the candidates would like to develop in future. The time allotted for this will be 15 mins.
- GTO: This is also has a series of outdoor task, the main aim of this task is to judge your qualities during group performance, remember most of the task in this series are group task, you are required to support the group with best of your qualities and not to compete with them in any manner.
Series of Tests:
- GD: Take back to back group discussion on two topics, mostly current affairs.
- GPE: Group Planning Exercise, each candidate has to write his planning for the mentioned problem and map given, later group members are required to discuss on the problem and have to come with a common plan with the common consensus. After that, any one of the group members has to explain the common planning with the help of pointer and map.
- PGT: Progressive Group Task, you are required to cross some obstacles with the help of supporting materials like rope, plank, wood log etc. Some rules are required to be followed during this task, it a full group activity.
- HGT: Half Group Task, mostly same as PGT but the number of group members will be half, you may get more chance to show your potential.
- IOT: Individual Obstacles Task, you are required to attempt 10 obstacles individually, each obstacle consist of some points from 1 to 10.
- Command Task: The candidates will be a commander in this task, you are required to cross some obstacles with the help of 2-3 subordinates. You can choose 2-3 candidates from your own group whom you think can help you to clear the obstacles.
- Group Obstacle Race: All group members will be competing with other groups, members will be holding a snake-like rope, they are required to cross certain obstacles with the snake. There are certain rules like all other tasks. It is kind of race among different groups, it’s a fun.
- Individual Lecturette: Each candidate will be giving a lecture for 3 mins on a topic selected by him or her. You will get 4 topics out of which you have to select one topic.
- FGT: Final Group Task, same as PGT, just like another chance to show your potential.
- Personal Interview: the Personal interview is the main key that will decide the candidate’s recommendation in the SSB Interview, SSB Interview questions and answers play a vital role in the assessment of the candidate. How to face the Interviewing officer in the SSB Personal Interview is a major concern here, one wrong move can tarnish your image and reduce your chances to get recommended.
- Conference: Each candidate will be facing all SSB board members, he will face few general questions like how was your stay or what did you learn from this, a conference is just to decide whether or not to recommend you as an officer in Indian defence forces. All assessors collectively decide your suitability, for some candidates, those who are in borderline may face certain questions, which can be a decisive one. The conference will hardly go for 1-2 mins.
The test has been designed to test whether a candidate is apt for Armed Forces or not. It is not an easy test to crack. But if you have got it in you, you will find a way to crack it!
Yes, it is possible to crack the interview without attending any training program. Self-preparation must have a proper strategy, discipline, effective study material and direction.
If you have prepared well enough for it, you will be able to crack SSB interview in the first attempt itself.
Some of the main tests/stages include – Verbal and Non-verbal test, PPDT, TAT, WAT, SRT, SD, GTO, Group Discussion, GPE, PGT, HGT, IOT, Command Task, Group Obstacle Race, Individual Lecturette, FGT, Personal Interview and Conference.
English is primarily used during the SSB interview. But it is not compulsory though! If you get stuck in between (while speaking in English), you may use Hindi to carry on with your sentence. SSB interview is a test of your personality, not English speaking skills. However, being fluent in English will help you for sure! English may not be a barrier in the selection process, but it definitely can become an asset (if you use it well).