Joining the Forces

Like most families have a family profession, mine too has one and it is a career in the forces. Starting from my great-grandfather almost everyone(except a few) have either served or are serving as officers in any one of the three branches. Recently I went on a trip to Babina where my Uncle is the CO of an armoured (read tanks) regiment. His father (my grandfather’s younger brother) is a retired Maj. Gen from the infantry and was the head of an SSB (Service Selection Board) for quite some time. During the 5 days together he told me how to prepare for the SSB interview and what to expect. The SSB is the most important procedure during selection.

After a candidate has cleared the exam conducted by UPSC, he/she will get a call letter to appear before the board, with all necessary instructions. During SSB the candidates have to stay at the centre for some days. The number of days depends on whether you get selected or are sent home after some round.

The selection team consists of

  • Interviewing Officers
  • GTO or Group Testing Officers
  • Psychologist

The tests are conducted in two phases

  • Phase 1 – Screening
  • Phase 2 – Psychological Test and Interview

Day 1

This day is for Screening. Two tests are conducted

  • Verbal and Non Verbal: These are like any IQ tests. Involves reasoning.
  • Picture Story Writing: A picture is shown and the candidates are asked to write a story based on the picture.

Basic criteria are to make select the most mentally fit candidate and screen out the rest. The story doesn’t have to be a booker prize winning one, but it should have a positive angle and a positive moral.

Day 2

This is for the Psychological test and includes Picture Story Writing, Word association, Situation Reaction and Self Description.

In Situation Reaction you will be given a scenario like how would you plan a surprise birthday party for a colleague in a short notice.

Day 3 and 4

These are for group tasks and group discussions. These are done to see whether the candidate can work in a team and his/her leadership qualities.

Day 5

This is the day for Interview.

Now the important thing is the criteria for the selection of candidates. All the three selection teams individually tests the candidates based on the following points:

1. Effective Intelligence: How do you make use of your intelligence in day to day activities

  • Effective Intelligence
  • Reasoning Ability
  • Organising Ability
  • Power of Expression

2. Social Skill

  • Social Adjustment
  • Co-operation
  • Sense of Responsibility

3. Social Effectiveness

  • Resourcefulness
  • Initiative
  • Ability to influence Group
  • Liveliness
  • Speed of Decision

4. Dynamic

  • Determination
  • Courage
  • Stamina

These are the 15 points based on which a candidate is selected. The questions and tasks are not difficult and are those things that you will normally face in daily scenario but the question is how you perform them. The people there will not tell you whether the answer given is right or wrong. They will move you forward or give you the ticket for home. But if you are planning to give the SSB then keep in mind the above mentioned 15 points. I don’t guarantee that you will be selected (chances are a better candidate may be there), but keeping in mind these points will give you a chance and an edge. The rest depends on what you actually do there.

6 Responses to “Joining the Forces”
  1. tangyorangesour says:

    pretty extensive – good.

  2. Raju Bist says:

    So, are you aiming for a career in the forces?

  3. Sapna says:

    Hmmm pretty elaborate…

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