Services Selection Board

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Candidates in a group task

Services Selection Board (SSB) is an organization that vets candidates for admission into the Armed Forces of India.[1] The board conducts personality and intelligence tests and interviews to determine suitability. Some tests are paper based while others involve group tasks or presenting to a panel of assessors. The SSB is held in specified central locations over a number of days.

Introduction[edit]

A candidate ready for a group task

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. The interview involves a battery of psychological tests of personality, to assess the candidate's suitability for commission to the armed forces. The tests help the SSB select candidates with officer like qualities ("OLQs"). The Services Selection Board is not concerned with the number of commissions available. Its responsibility is just to assess and then, recommend. Successful candidates have a medical examination and if satisfactory are recorded on a "merit list" before training and commission.

The selection occurs over a five day process. Day 1 involves a screening test, Day 2, psychological tests, Days 3 and 4, group tasks, and Day 5, compilation of results In Conference. A personal interview is also included during the selection period. The qualities looked for in the selection period include intellect, responsibility, initiative, judgement under stress, ability to reason and organize, communication skills, determination, courage, self-confidence, speed in decision making, willingness to set an example, compassion and a feeling of loyalty to the nation. The candidates are billeted during the selection period and complete the assessment in a group with other candidates. Observations of the group are constant.

Procedure[edit]

The candidates who have passed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) written examination, or who, in the case of the Territorial Army have been recommended by a Preliminary Interview Board (PIB), or, who have been asked to present to the Service Selection Board are allocated a SSB centre to attend. Service candidates attend via movement orders made by their superiors.

Day 0[edit]

Candidates meet before their assessment

On Day 0, candidates report to their allocated centre, they present their educational documents for verification and are given a number by which they will be identified throughout the process. A briefing about the schedule and general instructions may be given.

Day 1, screening tests[edit]

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). In this test, a picture, either hazy or clear is shown to the candidates for 30 seconds. Each candidate observes it and then, in the next one minute, must record the number of characters seen in the picture. Then, in four minutes, each candidate must in over seventy words, make a story from the picture (and 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. Then, in a group, each candidate must narrate his story in under one minute. The group is then asked to create a common story involving each 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 up to five personal information questionnaires which must each be recorded in the same manner. The personal information questionnaire is the basis for the individual candidate interview.

Day 2, psychological tests[edit]

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.

Also administered on the second day is a Word Association Test. 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 come to mind in response to the word.

Other tests administered on day two are the Situation Reaction Test in which a booklet of 60 situations is given in which responses are to be completed in 30 minutes. and the Self Description Test which consists of 5 questions asking about parent's, teacher's, friend's and your own perception about yourself.

Days 3 and 4, group testing[edit]

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 lecturette and a final group task.


Day 2 to 4, individual candidate interviews The interviews are conducted by the interviewing officers. It is based on the personal information questionnaires filled by the candidates on day 0 and some general knowledge.

Day 5, final assessment and results(Conference)[edit]

On day five, All the officers in Proper Uniform to attend the conference each candidate has a conversation with a panel of assessors. The assessors look for confidence and expression when speaking; a positive attitude in adversity and in life; and honesty. Following this, the final results are announced. Successful candidates remain for an intensive medical examination taking three to five days at a military hospital.

Pilot Aptitude Battery Test[edit]

The Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) is administered to candidates hoping to join the Flying Branches only of the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Indian Army or Indian Coast Guard. The PABT is conducted during the SSB interview. Candidates may sit the PABT only once. The PABT includes the Instrument Battery Test, a Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and a Control Velocity Test (CVT).

More recently, the "Computerized Pilot Selection System" (CPSS) has been used. It was created by former president of India Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam with the Defence Institute of Psychological Research and the Air Defence Establishment, groups within the Defence Research and Development Organisation. It was developed to determine aptitude for use of intellect with respect to advanced aircraft.

CPSS machine simulates an aircraft cockpit. Video games played by the candidate on a screen in front of him is scored best of three games. It tests hand, leg, vision and hearing coordination.

Instrument Battery Test[edit]

The Instrument Battery Test (INSB0 is a paper, pencil and machine based test. It has two parts. The candidate must listen to a briefing and then interpret the dials of an instrument panel of an aircraft. If the candidate does well, they proceed to the machine part of the test. The machine test includes the Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and the Control Velocity Test (CVT) which examine a candidate's co-ordination. The tests are administered in one day and candidates may only ever attempt the tests one.

Indian Coast Guard Selection Board[edit]

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is part of the Ministry of Defence. ICG officer selection is similar to SSB and is conducted in two phases. Phase 1 is called the Preliminary Selection Board Exam (PBS) which is similar to the SSB screening stage. Phase 2, the Final Selection Board, includes psychological tests, group tasks, a personal interview and an assessor' conference. shortlisted candidates proceed to later testing.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Join Indian Navy". nausena-bharti.nic.in. Retrieved 2017-08-19.