Preparing for SSB Exams: What to Know

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Young men and women looking for adventure in their lives can consider the Armed Forces as a career option. However, they must first go through a rigorous SSB exam which is considered to be the world's toughest army test before they can realize their ambition. Service Selection Board (SSB) is a comprehensive personality and intelligence interview carried out over five days which scientifically analyzes each candidate's potential and compatibility for assignment into the Armed Forces of India.

According to the €trait theory€ of leadership, every aspiring leader must possess a few innate and specific leadership qualities. The theory also states that such traits may be acquired by an individual with the passage of time. The SSB system of selection is based on this theory. There is no fixed limit to the number of trials a candidate can opt for. In fact, SSB assessors encourage candidates to appear again.

The present interview system is mainly an objective psychological assessment of each candidate, to measure his/her potential as a future officer in the Indian Army. Most of the tests require average intelligence. The main aim of the tests is to select candidates with OLQs (Officer Like Qualities). These qualities include initiative, judgement (under stress), effective intelligence, physical condition, communication skills, courage and a sense of compassion and loyalty to the nation. Each batch of individuals goes through the subtle testing pattern over the duration of a few days. They are monitored not only during psychological tests but even during the course of their stay at the SSB headquarters.

The admission procedure is spread across five days. Usually, the tests follow the pattern given below:

Day 0 (Day of Reporting) €" Reporting day is usually a day ahead of testing. The time varies across centers
Day 1 (Screening Tests) €" Stage I includes Verbal and Non-Verbal Intelligence Test, Picture Perception and Discussion Test followed by Personal Information Questionnaire (PIQ) for short-listed candidates
Day 2 (Psychology Tests) €" Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT), Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
Day 3 / Day 4 (GTO Tasks) €" Also includes Interview
Day 5 (Conference) €" The final results are declared within half an hour after the Board Meeting is over

The SSB Board does not concern itself with the number of vacancies; its main responsibility being to assess and recommend. The recommended candidates then turn up for medical examinations. Those whose names appear on the final Merit List make the cut for training and go on to become Commissioned Officers.
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