ssb preparation guide

SSB Exam Preparation & Interview Process – A Step-by-Step Guide

Many difficult exams in India are hard to crack. One amongst them is SSB. The Service Selection Board is set by the Defence Ministry of India to recruit officers in the Indian Armed Forces. We all are aware of the fact that it is very difficult to get into the Indian Armed Forces, that is why several exams, interviews, and selection procedures are conducted for recruitment. The candidates are checked if they have qualities of one resembling the officers. There are several rumors that SSB interviews are almost impossible to crack. Hence, proper coaching, training, and mock interviews are required to prepare students to crack the recruitment process. Let’s have a look at how one can prepare for the SSB exam and interview. 

What is an SSB exam?

SSB (Service Selection Board or Sahastra Seema Bal) announces vacancies every year. The entire process takes 5 days in total to end for evaluation. To get into the Armed Forces, several students throughout the country participate in the exam and try to get through it. However, only a few can get the position. The board is responsible for the evaluation of the suitability of the candidates to become officers. There is a set standardized protocol of evaluation system which constitutes personality, intelligence tests, and interviews. The tests are of both types i.e. written and practical task-based. 

It is not easy to get through SSB because the board has a panel of assessors, who are officers in the Indian Armed Forces and have 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. 

Eligibility Criteria for SSB

SSB is undoubtedly the most difficult exam in India. It is difficult for students to maintain their focus through coaching but several schools provide guidance, tuition, and mentoring for the exam. It is better to opt for SSB coaching with schooling because students can cover their school syllabus and SSB training simultaneously. To crack the exam, one needs years of preparation that is why it is recommended to start coaching in school. However, it is important to know who is eligible for the exam and who is not. Here are the eligibility criteria for students who want to apply for SSB:

  • Age Limit: Candidates must be between 20 and 25 years of age.
  • Educational Qualifications: The candidate must be a graduate from any Government University or Deemed to be University. 
  • Sex: Both male and female candidates are eligible to apply.

Day wise SSB interview process

The schools in India are determined to prepare students for SSB. It requires discipline, honesty, and passion to crack such exams. But before you apply for the exam, make sure that you have done enough research. There is a 5 day-long interview process that needs to be cleared to get the position.  Following is the list of all the tests to be passed to clear the interview:

  • OIR Test – This test is very important for the students to showcase their qualities. You don’t have to thoroughly prepare for it. It is not as difficult as other following tests. Keep in mind that it is necessary to use your time wisely for OIR tests.
  • Picture Perception and Description Test – In such tests, it is necessary to assess the candidate completely. Apart from theoretical knowledge, the interviewers check the overall personality. But what happens in this test is that candidates are shown a hazy picture for a limited time and asked to write a story identifying the main characters. The officers will later ask to narrate your story, narrate it clearly and in a bold tone. It is because they check your oratory and communication skills. It is said that the first impression is the last. You can easily sail through PPDT if you keep confidence within yourself. 
  • Psychology tests – In psychology tests, the candidates must be very attentive because the officers are very well equipped to know what is going on in the candidate’s mind. They are conducted to check if you possess Officer qualities. When you are giving the answers, make sure to be on the point and honest. Practice for this test beforehand. There are 4 following tests involved in this process:
  • Thematic Apperception Test – This test is no different than PPDT except for a few. Candidates will be shown 12 images for which they need to write a story for each test. The officers are looking for positive traits in personalities, that is why try writing stories with a positive approach. Candidates are given limited time, so it is better to write as fast as possible. Writing concise sentences and using good vocabulary can be of great help in this test. 
  • Word Association Test – This test checks your knowledge and ability to observe. Candidates are given 60 words with 15 seconds per word. All the 60 words are simple. Try to write different sentences that are not cliche and generic. For instance, if you are given a word “Practice” and if you write ‘practice makes a man perfect’ – that will be a sentence that everyone is going to write. Think different and think big, only then will you be able to crack this test. Practice writing different sentences with a list of multiple words. This can help you a lot in collecting resources in advance for the test if you are not able to create spontaneous sentences. 
  • Situation Reaction Test – Psychology tests are presented in such a manner that the candidate is bound to challenge the psychology and therefore, the interviewers can know the candidate. Here again, 60 situations are provided. However, you have to complete as much as possible. If you want to secure a good score, try to write 45 in 30 minutes. Be quick in reaction and writing. Be practical towards the situations. The situations given are ground reality relating to real everyday issues, if you superficially respond to them then the officers can easily grasp your immaturity. Stick to reality and write only those things which are possible. 
  • Self Description Test – This is a very crucial test. People have started forgetting about themselves. They know everything about the world but nothing about themselves. Thus the test checks if the candidate observed himself or herself enough to observe other things. This test varies from person to person. So not much to discuss for SDT’s. One can only work on something when they have worked on themselves. Self-description has, to be honest, must consist of what people think about you and what you think about yourself. 
  • Personal Interview – It is very necessary to stay focused in the personal interview. It is that space in the procedure where the officers will try to know your background. In schools, the coaches and teachers try to make the students confident and bold to pass through this round of selection. Schools that are prominent for SSB coaching usually make students ready for the kind of questions that can be asked in the personal interview. It may take one week or even longer for this procedure to end. They can ask about your experiences, family, and friends, whatever they feel like and you have to answer truthfully. Do not cook a false narrative or story to get sympathy or attention. To be honest, that is what they are looking for. 
  • Group Tasks and Obstacles – The candidates have to face several group tasks and obstacles. They are done to assess the practical knowledge of candidates. It is important to score more points in non-field events like group discussions. It is because group discussions bring out the real personalities of people. They observe everything, from your voice to your body language. Remember not to look at the officer. Be generous and give chances to other people as well.

Get SSB coaching at schools

All of these drills, tests, and obstacles form the core of the exam. One needs to excel in these to crack SSB. It may not seem easy but schools in India have progressed well in terms of teaching syllabus and preparing students for such exams simultaneously. The New Public School, Chandigarh is one of them. With hostel facilities and library centers, it is one of the best boarding schools in Chandigarh. One can get mentors who guide and assist the students in their learning process. 

Not only this, since they have numero uno boarding facilities, the students can make efficient use of their time and students in peace. Considering that there are only a few good schools providing coaching for competitive exams and covering school syllabus, students are very much inclined to study here. 

Useful Preparation tips for SSB 

Difficult exams require hard work and determination. One cannot pass these exams without willpower. The schools in Chandigarh with a hostel provide coaching for SSB along with these preparation tips. They have different modules which help the students to segregate the syllabus and finish it in time. In exams like these, the preparation part is the most important one. Students must prepare well before the evaluation process starts so that it is easy for them to focus during the interview. Especially for students coming from more villages to cities dreaming of cracking SSB, find it very difficult to cope up with different students. So here are some of the preparation tips that will come in handy during SSB preparation: 

  • Make a time table

The first and foremost that you need to do to crack any competitive exam is to make a timetable. Students often spend a lot of time studying but they are not able to score good marks in SSB. This is because elongated hours of studying are different from efficient hours of studying. A set timetable will help you introduce breaks in between and you will be able to keep a track of what is done and how much is left. 

  • Read as much as you can

Develop a habit for reading. Students who read about anything and everything of their interest can get knowledge. In SSB exams, the interviewer will never stick to the syllabus, he can ask things that might be related to the world of psychology, or nationalism. Reading practice can also help you to sharpen your ability to grasp subjects better. 

  • Improve your oratory skills

A lot depends on what you speak and how you speak. The words that come out of your mouth have to be presented in a certain way that they represent your personality. Officers take note of the vocabulary used in your language because it depicts a lot about you. Candidates are specifically judged for their oratory skills because as officers, they will be responsible to communicate and command their subordinates. 

  • Make efficient use of learning 

Whatever you have learned in schools during coaching has to be put to use wisely. Don’t believe in rote learning, rather go for understanding the concepts well. To be a part of the Indian Armed Forces, one must have the capability and curiosity of learning new things every day. Life can throw any kind of challenge and you have to deal with it. Officers test this skill in Situation tests of psychology. 

  • Prepare well for the interview

The interview is the most difficult phase of the SSB examination. Interviews assess the candidate individually on various parameters to get the best out of them. The 5-day evaluation process may seem tough but it will be easy when the schools provide mock interviews to the students. Mock interviews help the students to get rid of nervousness and fear of facing selection interviews. 

All of these preparation tips and coaching for SSB in schools can help you get through the exam. This is the benefit of preparing for the exams in boarding schools, you get a lot of time with your classmates to prepare together and a peaceful place to study. So get ready to crack the SSB exam!

See also:

Admission Open For 2021-22 – The New Public School – Best Boarding School in Chandigarh.

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