SSB-Services Selection Board




Services Selection Board (SSB) is an organization that assesses 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.

The Service Selection Board (SSB) is the selection body that recruits young aspirants to join defence forces. The SSB recommends a candidate who possesses certain character traits that are expected out of every officer of armed forces of India.


 These traits are assessed by your speech, actions and thoughts which are:

  • MANASA (which means thoughts; Psychological tests are conducted for this)
  • VACHA (which means speech; Interview conducted for this)
  • KARMANA (which means deeds or actions; Group testing is done for this)


An SSB comprises the panel of assessors, who are officers in the Indian Armed Forces and having their specialization as Psychologist, GTO (Group Task Officer), and Interviewing Officer. In total there are thirteen Service Selection Boards across India, out of which four boards are for the Indian Army, four boards are for Indian Air Force, and five boards for the Indian Navy.

Who appears in SSB?

There are a variety of pathways to a commission as an officer in Indian Armed Forces. This applies to both for civilians (after 10+2, graduation and post-graduation), as well as for serving armed forces personnel. All except army medical corps members must succeed in the "SSB interview". There is no limit to the number of attempts that can be made.

SSB is a 5 days evaluation process:-

Day 1 - Screening test

Day 2 - Psychological evaluation

Days 3 and 4 - Group tests

Day 5 - a compilation of results in conference.

A personal interview is also included during the selection period.

Here we are discussing SSB selection process Days viz. :-

Day 0 -Reporting

On the day candidate has to report, he has to follow the instructions as mentioned in the SSB call letter. Generally, the candidate has to report at the railway station in the morning between 7 Am – 8 Am, and from there, candidates are escorted to the board by one of the SSB officials. On the very same day, candidates are made to sit in the testing hall where they have to present their educational documents for verification and are allotted a number (called chest number) by which they will be able to identify the candidates throughout the process. A briefing about the schedule, various tests and general instructions shall be given.

Day 1 Screening test – Stage I

On Day 1, stage one of testing is administered. This includes a verbal and non-verbal intelligence test (About 50 questions each) and then a Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT).

  1. Officer Intelligence Rating Test (OIR Test - Paper 1 & Paper 2):

This includes a verbal and non-verbal intelligence test (About 50 questions each).SSB looks for candidates who can be leaders. A real leader must be an agent for change, an inspirer and developer who is able to show the way forward,integrate people and ideas and be prepared to instigate rapidly the most effective option.

Particularly, in times of tension or war, an effective leader will have to be able to bring both colleagues and subordinates along in a way that is at once identified as pragmatic, meaningful and militarily cost-effective.





OLQs – Officer Like Qualities - Inculcate them

  • Factor – I (Planning and Organising)
    (a) Effective Intelligence (b) Reasoning Ability (c) Organising Ability (d) Power of Expression
  • Factor – II (Social Adjustment)
    (e) Social Adaptability (f) Co-operation (g) Sense of Responsibility
  • Factor – III (Social Effectiveness)
    (h) Initiative (i) Self Confidence (j) Speed of Decision (k) Ability to Influence the Group (l) Liveliness
  • Factor – IV (Dynamic)
    (m) Determination (n) Courage (o) Stamina.

Effective Intelligence: Is the intelligence utilized in coping with practical situations of varying complexity. It is different from basic intelligence which is the capacity to perceive relations or to do abstract thinking. Basic intelligence is assessed by the use of intelligence tests may be verbal or non verbal effective intelligence.

Reasoning ability: The ability to grasp the essentials well and to arrive at conclusions by rational & logical thinking. It includes receptivity, inquiring attitude, logical reasoning and seeing essentials of a problem.

Organising ability: The ability to arrange the resources in a systematic way so as to produce effective results. It can also be defined as the ability to put to the best use of the available means for attainment of a desired objective.

Power of expression: This is the most important tools of personality where his/her ability to put across ideas adequately with ease and clarity are assessed.

Social adaptability: The ability of an individual to adapt himself to the social environment and adjust well with persons and social groups, with special reference to superiors, equal and subordinates. Social adaptability includes social intelligence, attitude towards others, tact, and adaptability

Cooperation: The attitude of an individual to participate willingly in harmony with others in a group, in achieving the group goal. This implies a belief in the collective effort being more productive than the individual effort. Cooperation includes the element of joint effort and team spirit.Team spirit indicates loyalty to the aims and objects of the group to the extent of subordinating individual aim to the group aim.

Sense of Responsibility: It enable a person to be dependable and to willingly discharge his obligation. It includes sense of duty but is much more comprehensive in meaning and scope. A thorough understanding of the values of duty, social standard, and of what is required of an individual and then to give it his energy and attention of his own accord.

Initiative: The ability to originate purposeful action. It has the following aspects:- (a) Ability to take the first steps in an unfamiliar situation. (b) In the right direction. (c) Sustain it, till the goal is achieved.
Persons with higher initiative display plenty of originality in thoughts & actions. Persons with positive initiative never get stuck, they are pushing, enterprising , persistent and will come out with numerous fresh idea.

Self confidence: It is the faith in one’s ability to meet stressful situations particularly those that are unfamiliar.

Speed of decision: The ability to arrive at workable decisions expeditiously. It comprises:- (a) Then appropriateness and cost effectiveness. (b) Feasibility & practicability. (c) The quickness in arriving at the decision.

Ability to influence the group: The ability which enables an individual to bring about willing effort from the group for achieving the objective desired by him. This influence is the prime cause of cooperative and willing effort of a group towards the achievement of a set objective.
Persons with this quality are highly inspiring with magnetic charm, in dispensable, impressionable, assertive, persuasive, firm & have considerable capacity to over come opposition.

Liveliness: The capacity of an individual to keep himself buoyant when meeting problems and bring about a cheerful atmosphere.

Determination: A sustained effort to achieve objectives in sprite of obstacles and setbacks. It implies fixedness of purpose: mental concentration and strength of will.

Courage: The ability to appreciate and take purposive risks willingly. It includes:- (a) Ability to meet appreciated dangers (b) Spirit of adventure, and enterprising spirit and a willingness to dare or risk a hazard (c) Capacity to keep oneself composed in adverse situations enabling to be steady in facing and handling such situations.
They are doubtless risk takers, daring, aggressive, creative, bold & plucky with tremendous physical & moral courage.

Stamina: The capacity to withstand protracted physical and mental strain. It emphasizes endurance.
Such persons possess herculean physical & mental capabilities & can withstand plenty of physical & mental stress. They are indefatigable, calm & are very tough individuals.


  1. Picture Perception & Discussion Test (PP&DT)

In this test, a picture, either clear or hazy is shown to the candidates for 30 seconds. Each candidate observes it and then, in the next minute, must record the number of characters seen in the picture. Then within a given time, each candidate must write nearly seventy words, make a story from the picture (not just describe the picture). The candidate must record the mood, approximate age and gender of the first character they saw, known as the "main character".

In stage two of the PPDT, the candidates are given their stories which they may revise. Each candidate in the group must narrate his or her story within one minute. The group is then asked to create a common story involving each of them or their perceived picture stories.

After the completion of these tests, unsuccessful candidates are dismissed. Other candidates are short-listed. They must complete the first of the five personal information questionnaires which must be recorded in the same manner. The personal information questionnaire is the main basis for the individual candidate interview.

Day 2 Psychology test – Stage II

On Day 2, a Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) or picture story writing is administered. It is similar to the PPDT, but the picture used is clear. Again the candidates are shown a picture for thirty seconds and then write a story in the next four minutes. Twelve such pictures are shown sequentially. The last picture is a blank slide inviting the candidates to write a story of their choice. Candidates do not need to remember the number of characters in each picture and there is no group discussion.

The next test will be the Word Association Test (WAT). The candidates are shown sixty simple everyday words in sequence. Each is shown for fifteen seconds. For each word, the candidates write the first thought that comes to mind in response to the word. Other tests administered on day two are the Situation Reaction Test (SRT) in which a booklet of 60 situations is given in which the responses are to be completed in 30 minutes and finally the Self Description Test (SDT) which consists of 5 questions asking about the candidate's parent's, teacher's, friend's and his or her own perception.

Days 3 and 4, Group test is conducted by a GTO (Group Testing Officer) – Stage III

On the third and fourth days, there are tasks including group discussion; group (military) planning exercises; progressive group tasks; small (half) group tasks; individual tasks (obstacles); group obstacle or "snake race"; command tasks; a lectorate and a final group task. Along with GTO, an individual candidate interview is conducted by the interviewing officer. It is based on the personal information questionnaires filled by the candidates on day 1 and other general knowledge.

Day 5, Final Assessment and Results (Conference)

On day five, All the officers in proper uniform will attend a conference with each candidate. They will also have a conversation with a panel of assessors. The assessors will look for confidence and expression when speaking; a positive attitude in adversity and in life; honesty. Following this, the final results are announced. Successful candidates will remain for an intensive medical examination which takes four to five days at a military hospital.

We can see that it's just a subset of life. Just try to be a good person and it will be enough to crack it.

SSB doesn't require any preparation, but life does. Prepare for life. Know yourself, know how to improve. Know the right, know the wrong, only then you will be able to defend yourself in the personal interview.

If SSB is a Venn diagram, then it has 4 circles.

  1. What you speak?
  2. What you think?
  3. What you do in daily life?
  4. What you perform there?

“If all four circles overlap, you get recommended,But seems like overlapping of these 4 circles is the simplest yet hardest thing to do.”