Each year, thousands of candidates appear for written exams like CDS (Combined Defence Services) and NDA (National Defence Academy) to join the Indian Army, Airforce, or Navy. The officials conduct the selection process in 2 stages – Written Exams ( Pre and Mains) and interviews. The candidates are required to clear the written exam to appear for the SSB or Service Selection Board Interview.
The SSB interview process is conducted to shortlist the best from the pool of candidates for the Indian Army, Airforce, and Navy. The SSB interview schedule is as follows:
- Day 1: Screening Test
- Day 2: Psychological Test
- Day 3 & Day 4: The Group Testing Officers (GTO) Activities
- Day 5: Conference
- A Personal Interview or PI can be conducted on any day between the 2nd and 4th day.
If you wish to join the Indian Defence Forces, you must know the following top 10 tips to crack the SSB interview.
1. Be Aware of the SSB Tests and Procedures
Most of the SSB candidates make this mistake. They appear for the interview without any knowledge of the SSB selection process. Aspirants who are aware of the procedure are likely to be well prepared and perform well in the exam. SSB interview is not a 1-day affair. There will be a series of tests conducted across 5-6 days.
Initially, there will be a screening test and only the ones clearing the screening round will be allowed to stay at the SSB center for the next 5-6 days. Over the next few days, many tests and interviews will be conducted by the selection board. Some of the tests are – Progressive Group Task, Situation Reaction Test (SRT), Word Association Test (WAT), Final Group Task, Command Task, Physical Test, and Conference Round. Along with these tests, a Personal Interview Round will also be conducted.
These tests will be conducted one after another. Though you will be informed about the dates and timings regarding the tests, it is always better to do one’s homework and be prepared to face them anytime.
- Form Test-Wise Preparation Habits and Keep Practising
Knowing the tests is not enough in the SSB selection process. You will have to practice to score well in the exam. Each test has its significance in the entire selection procedure. Forming test-wise preparation habits will help you clear the SSB exam in the first attempt itself.
Situation Reaction Test (SRT), Word Association Test (WAT), and similar written tests can be dealt with by practicing from the study material available online and offline.
The physical test stage will require you to be agile and physically fit. There is a set of fixed obstacles in this round and knowing about them along with proper training will help you perform well in the test.
In PI or Personal Interview round, the interviewer will look for key traits like OLQs or Officers like Qualities, decision-making skills, general awareness, analytical skills, confidence, and aptitude. Other attributes like appearance, dressing, physical gestures, sitting posture, and eye contact will also play an important role here. Try to stay calm and answer all the questions confidently.
The SSB study material is available in abundance. You can buy SSB preparation books or get the entire study material online. Whichever option you choose, make sure you practice well. Keep in mind that study material may not help in preparing for Group Tasks, Personal Interviews, Physical Test rounds, and Conference rounds.
- Brush Up Your Technical or Academic Knowledge
Many times, the interviewer may ask you about your academic or technical knowledge in the pursued field. For example – the aspirants appearing for the interview after Class 12th are likely to be asked questions related to their studies. If you are an Engineering graduate, you should prepare for questions related to your branch.
- Know Your Native State or Town Better
Before the personal interview round, the candidates are asked to fill a PIQ (Personal Information Questionnaire). You have to fill in the details like your town, state, etc. The interviewer may pose questions related to town or state during the personal interview. Collect information related to the current affairs, population, language, historical significance, government organizations, notable personalities, etc of your state or town.
- Be Aware of the Climate and Practice Time Management
The interview may be held at a time when the climate is extreme. For example, the SSB can be held at Allahabad in January. At that time, the place would be too cold and you won’t be able to write fast due to ‘cold and frozen hands’. It is essential to know the climatic conditions early on and prepare accordingly.
- Maintain Good Physical Fitness
There is an ‘Obstacle Round’ in the SSB interview where your physical prowess will be put to test. You must maintain a good level of fitness to perform well in the physical test. Exercise regularly, eat well, and maintain a balanced diet.
- Enhance your Oratory Skills
This is something you should work on. Having good oratory skills will help you perform better in personal interviews, group discussions, group tasks, etc. Invest some time daily in cultivating these qualities in yourself. You will be amazed at the results.
- Detailed Knowledge of Certain Topics
SSB Interviews emphasize some common topics like Indian Politics, History of India, Current Affairs of India, and Armed Forces of India. Questions related to these topics are always asked during the group discussion and personal interview rounds. Ensure that you study these topics extensively. Preparing your notes will also help.
- Be Honest
You must be honest while filling out the PIQ or personal information questionnaire. The interviewer will ask questions based on the information you provide in PIQ. Stop bragging about the things you never achieved. The interviews can see through you and lying will lead to your rejection in the interview. Stay true to yourself and give your best in the interview. Focus on your strengths and qualities and don’t copy others.
- Keep a Positive Approach
A positive approach will help you get through the SSB interview easily. Be it your psychology test, personal interview, group tasks, or physical test, a positive mindset will help you stay calm and perform to your fullest potential.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is an SSB interview difficult to crack?
- The SSB interview process has been designed to test whether a candidate is apt for the Armed Forces or not. It is not an easy exam to crack. However, with the right mindset and preparation, you will be able to crack it.
- Should I join a Coaching institute to clear the SSB interview?
- If you are clueless about the SSB selection procedure, you should join a good coaching institute. However, if you have somebody to guide you through the full interview process, you can avoid joining an institute and prepare at your own pace.
- What are the important stages involved in the SSB interview process?
- The SSB interview selection process is held for 5 days. The candidates are required to qualify for Stage I and Stage II of the interview round.
Stage I consists of OIR ( Officer Intelligence Rating) Test and PP & DT (Picture Perception and Description) Test. After qualifying Stage I, the candidates are required to undergo Stage II testing.
Stage II includes VACHA (Personal Interview), MANSA (Psychology), KARMA (GTO or Group Testing Officer Tasks), and Conference. Only the candidates with the right attitude, knowledge, and confidence are shortlisted.
- Is English important in SSB interviews?
- English is primarily used during the SSB interview. But it isn’t compulsory. If you get stuck while speaking in English, you may use Hindi to complete your sentence. SSB Interview is a test of your personality and not your English speaking skills. However, if you are fluent in English, it is an advantage.