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Strategies To Crack The SSB Interview

Communication is the Key

Effective Communication plays a major role in getting selected in the SSB Interview.
SSB Interview is about screening the personality of the candidate. This is done
through 3 – dimensional testing namely psychological test, group testing and personal
interview. In these three dimensions, the candidate is required to project his
personality through various forms of communication namely oral, written and bodily
expressions. Hence, developing the art of communicating is extremely important.
More importantly, communicating in the English language is crucial. This is so
because as officer’s one is required to mostly communicate in English in the services.
However, at the stage of selection, it is not expected that the aspirant should speak or
write at a very high level of language skill. The number of years of training is kept in
mind before arriving at a selection decision. Hence, the first strategy should be to
develop communication skills which are best done by regularly reading English
newspapers and watching English news and talking to friends and family in the
English language as far as possible. So, the quicker you start, the more beneficial it is.

Developing Reasoning

Reasoning can be well – defined as, “a sense of cause and effect”. As officers, one is
expected to evolve solutions to practical situations which necessarily requires
“Reasoning”. Unless an aspirant is able to identify the cause that leads to a
phenomena/ outcome, he/she will not be able to find a solution to the situation. This
is tested at two levels at the SSB Interview both abstract and practical. The abstract
level testing is done during the psychological test, interview and some of the tests of
GTO like Group Discussion, Group Planning Exercise and Lecturette. The practical
level testing is done in the remaining test of the GTO. The best way to develop
abstract reasoning is to listen to panel discussions on national issues in the television
and reading various perspectives by different writers. Hence, it would be very wise to
read good quality magazines/newspapers and watch prime time news channels. On
the other hand, practical reasoning develops through participation in sports and
extracurricular activities. So for those who have been fortunate to have got an
opportunity to take part in sports and extracurricular activities would benefit greatly.
And the lesser fortunate ones should watch my video on the practical tests of GTO to
understand what is expected.

Value System at the Core

The three officers like qualities of factor 2 are the cornerstones of selection in the
SSB Interview and these are social adaptability, cooperation and sense of
responsibility. All these three can be summed up as “The wellness of the heart”.
Unless an aspirant is able to adapt to the different culture, religion, caste and social
environment, he/she is a mid-fit in the armed forces. A potential candidate is the one
who can mix freely with people and adjust with them quickly despite the differences.
The second aspect is one’s ability to put group interest ahead of individual interest
which means sacrificing one’s own success for the sake of the group. The third aspect
is the sense of right and wrong. A person with the right value system will know what
is right and will try and stand by the right. Unfortunately, there is no strategy to
develop these at a later stage in life as these gets formed during early stages of one’s
upbringing and how much ever one may try to falsely project these, will not succeed
at the SSB Interview.

Interaction of the Mind and the Heart

The five qualities of factor 3 is an outcome of the interaction between factor 1 and 2
i.e. Factor 1: Mental Abilities and Factor 2: Adaptability results in five behavioural
qualities which determine the social effectiveness of the candidate. It is often seen
that a candidate with very high mental abilities but not so good value system doesn’t
prove effective as a team member/leader whereas a candidate with moderate intellect
but strong value system is seen to be a better leader. While value system is developed
over one’s early childhood not much can be done to improve it at such a later stage of
life. However, one can moderate his behaviour consciously during the selection
process to get success. A successful candidate is the one who freely comes forward
without any inhibition and performs towards the group objectives by taking his
teammates along. So the core strategy here is to be seen as a valuable member of the
team whom the team trusts.

Urge and Motivation

Being a person with all the required qualities is not sufficient to get selected in the
SSB Interview. It is important that the candidate has the urge and motivation to join
the defence services and serve the nation. It is often seen that candidates though good
and selectable are more interested in other career options and they appear at the SSB
to keep defence forces as one of the options. There are several other candidates who
apply for defence just to secure their future, by getting a government job, such
candidates are of no use as they will only serve their individual purpose than serving
the cause of the nation. Hence, it is important for aspirants to project their utmost
urge and motivation to be in the forces and their willingness to serve the cause of the

Appearance Matters!

Your appearance alone can reflect a lot of who you are. A well dressed, neat looking
candidate oozes confidence and attracts the attention of fellow aspirants and the
selectors. It also reflects on one’s organised way of living. Hence, it is always good to
be dressed well during the selection process. Also, ensure that you take a nice haircut
and shave every day during the SSB Interview.

Factor 1: Planning and Organizing. This factor includes four qualities which are
associated with the mental aspect of the person.

(1) Effective Intelligence (EI): This is the ability of a person to evolve

solutions to practical problems. It is different from basic intelligence which is
measured using the intelligence tests (Verbal and Non Verbal). In EI the assessor want
to see if you can solve day to day problems and cope with minor difficulties of daily

(2) Reasoning Ability (RA): It is the ability of a person to grasp a given

situation and arrive at conclusion by rational thinking. In RA the assessors are
looking for your receptivity, inquiring attitude, logical reasoning and the ability to see
the essentials of a problem.

(3) Organizing Ability (OA): It is the ability to use the resources

systematically to produce effective results. In OA, the assessors are interested in
seeing how you use the various resources to produce results.

(4) Power of Expression (POE): It is the ability to put across one’s ideas
adequately and with ease and clarity.

Factor II: Social Adjustment. This factor includes three qualities which are
associated with the heart/conscience of the person.

(5) Social Adaptability (SA): It is the ability of a person to adapt

himself to the social environment and adjust well with persons and social groups. The
assessor is interested in your abilities to adapt to the members of the group, how you
interact with them, are you tactful in your dealings with others etc.

(6) Cooperation (Co): It is the attitude of an individual to participate

willingly with harmony with others in a group achieving the group goal. It is
important to be a team player and one must not be selfish. The group aim and
objective should be most important as compared to individual aim and objectives.
The assessors will be keen in seeing your team attitude.

(7) Sense of Responsibility (SOR): It is the thorough understanding of the

values of duty, social standard, and of what is expected of individual and then giving
it his energy and attention on own accord. The assessor is keen in knowing if you
understand your duty as a child/student/citizen of a country and do you have a right
sense of what is the social standard and know what is expected of individuals and
then do you give your best energy and attention towards it without anybody having to
remind you or tell you.

Factor III: Social Effectiveness. This factor includes five qualities which are an
outcome of the dynamic interaction of the above two factors i.e. head and the heart.

(8) Initiative (Inv): It is the ability to originate an action. The assessors see if
you take the lead in the right direction and sustain it till the result is achieved.

(9) Self Confidence (SC): It is the faith in your own abilities to meet
stressful and unfamiliar situations.

(10) Speed of Decision (SOD): It is the ability to arrive at workable

decision quickly. There are two components of this namely, appropriateness of the
decision and quickness at arriving at the decision.

(11) Ability to Influence the Group (AIG): It is the ability of a person which
enables to get willing effort of others in the group to achieve the objectives set by
him/her. What is seen is, if you can convince others to do things willingly that you
want them to do without use of any force.

(12) Liveliness (Liv): It is the capacity of a person to remain buoyant / cheerful

when faced with difficulties and bring about a cheerful atmosphere in the group.
What is seen is, if you get unduly worried or disturbed when faced with difficult

Factor IV: Dynamic. This factor includes three qualities which are associated
with the limbs or the coordination between the mind and the body.

(13) Determination (Det): It is the ability to put in sustained efforts to achieve

objectives in spite of obstacles and set backs. The assessors seen whether you are
focused, able to concentrate on the task and continuously work towards achieving the

(14) Courage (Cou): It is the ability to appreciate and take purposive risks. What
is important is to take risks only where required and that too after a careful thought.
Some candidates tend to take rash decisions which may endanger the life of
subordinates and that is undesirable. Hence, what is important is ‘calculated risks
when required’.
(15) Stamina (Sta): It is the capacity to withstand protracted physical and
mental strain. It includes both physical and mental endurance.

There are 15 OLQs that are grouped into four factors.

The four factors are as under:

1.Planning and Organizing: This factor is about the mental faculty of the

2.Social Adjustment: This is about the conscience part of the person

3.Social Effectiveness: This is about the interaction of the mind and the

4.Dynamic: This is about the physical part of the person

I will write about one OLQ at a time in each of my blogs under this heading and
explain to you what it is and how to project this in the three techniques of testing.

Factor I: Planning and Organizing

Effective Intelligence: This is the ability of a person to evolve solutions to day to day
situations/problems. This comes out of several factors. The first one is
inquisitiveness. A candidate who is inquisitive to know what’s happening in and
around him is considered a good candidate. The next important thing is ‘grasp’.
Unless one can grasp a situation, he can’t find solution. Unlike elsewhere, in SSB we
check Effectiveness of your intelligence instead of Intelligence quotient which is

How do we see this using the three techniques?

Psychological Test

In TAT, you see the picture and write a story. When you perceive a situation in the
picture, your grasp gets reveled. Your story tells about your ability to solve a
situation. It is hence I always said, perceive a situation as close to what you see in the
image. Your description of the situation should relate to the stimuli shown. Then
identify a main character and involve him in solving the situation. The way he goes
about solving the situation reflects about intelligence.
In WAT, you are required to quickly react about a word. This throws out your
subconscious mind. Several of your sentences will reflect knowledge, facts, beliefs
etc. Thus, even if you write any grammatically correct sentences it will not help. As it
is not a test of English but a test of your imagination which in turn reveals your depth
and intellect.

In SRT, you are actually given situations to solve. Your reactions very easily reveal
your Intelligence of solving day to day situations. While SRT is a direct way of
measuring your intelligence, the other two are somewhat indirect of finding it.

Personal Interview

In personal interview the first few questions are basically to probe your background,
academic and family and also to know your hobbies and interests. The rest of the
interview will be open-ended based on your PIQ. It’s mostly in this section that your
EI is checked. I always said, it’s not important to show knowledge alone but it is
more important to show your views on issues. Knowledge can be obtained by reading
but views come from your intellect. Thus, in interview you may either be put in a
situation and asked to respond or you may be asked about your views on current
happenings. For example, the situation of civilians pelting stones on military forces in
J&K and the Army Chief’s latest response. So unless you form and express a logical
and balanced view on common subjects you won’t be able to impress. This requires
you to not only read newspaper but also watch primetime news channels to hear out
the views of many panelists and think and form your own views on various

Group Testing

This is a combination of abstract and practical tasks. GD, GPE and Lecturrate are
abstract while the rest of the tests are practical. Your views on the topic during GD
and Lecturrate clearly highlight your intelligence. Thus, I always said devote a little
time in the Lecturrate to share your views on the topic chosen by you. In GD, don’t
be repetitive but develop the argument by adding new points. In the practical tasks,
your intelligence comes out very clearly. The ability to tackle the obstacles is a clear
indication of your intelligence.

Here’s How To Prepare For NDA SSB Interview In 30 Days

Here are a few tips to prepare for NDA SSB interview in just 30 days:

One thing to know while preparing with this timetable is that it will improve your
skills and will set you a platform to prepare. The real preparation is however done by
you and your interests. Ask your parents and family to support you and not to disturb
while you are on this routine. Also, there are things you need to do daily in order to
get best results at the end of the month.

Start your fitness routine and stamina building exercises. You’ll need a lot of stamina
and strength for the long duration of tests in SSB. Also, the Ground Tasks require a
decent fitness level. Exercise regularly, eat well and eat good.

Start reading newspapers and GK to keep you updated on current affairs. Read as
much as you can. I suggest you go with the monthly Competition Success Review
magazine of last 6 months and read them all.

1st Day: Know your enemy well

Well, not really an enemy, but you need to know more about the selection procedure.
One day, one whole day is devoted to knowing the SSB procedure and planning the
rest of the days. Try to learn more about what you’ll face once you reach the board.
Then make sure that you get a proper knowledge of the timetable. Read all that you
can to understand what all is there in each test. What is the pattern, what is the

2nd and 3rd Day: Self-Introspection

Know yourself well. The first day in this, write down everything you need to know
about yourself and your near ones. This includes your positives, negatives,
achievements. Your hobbies, interests and information related to that. On the second
day, ask about you from the words of your friends, family, and teachers. Collect all
information related to your friends, family and their likes dislikes, and your likes and
dislikes in them on this day.

Based on this, write your self-description as you would write in Self-Description test.

4th-10th Day: Start Preparing for SSB

Now that you know better about yourself, it’s now time to start preparing for SSB.
Start with practicing TAT, WAT and SRT. Set a timer and try to beat the time while
making a sensible story out of it. Every Psychological test in SSB is time-bound, and
that is their way of creating pressure on you. You need to practice to think fast at the
spur of the moment. Practise each task daily. Don’t feel that it is easy and you can
cover it up the next day. Just do it at the moment and as much as you can.

10th-12th Day: Public Speaking

Start practicing lecturette, this will not only help in lecturette but in every task that
requires public speaking. Read the daily newspaper loudly or read it out to your
grandparents. Listen to public debates on TV instead of watching shows and movies.
These 5 whole days, focus on your public speaking. Remember about the magazine I
told you about in the beginning? Well, yes, read one magazine daily.

12th-15th Day: Increase your knowledge on Armed Forces

Any organisation you want to join expect you to know at least the basics of them.
And so does the Indian Armed Forces. If you go to interview but you don’t even
know what are the ranks and insignia of the armed forces officers, you are as
insignificant as the ‘ueue’ in ‘queue’ to them.

Gather basic and important information related to the Armed Force you have applied
for. This will include information like commands, Chief of staff, recent procurements
and ranks etc. And don’t miss out on the current affairs related to defence at least of
the last six months.

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from Amazon.

Repeat Over:

So, you have done all that you need to for the SSB. Now you know what you could
have done better and realised your mistakes. Now, do it all over again from the
beginning keeping in mind the improvements you would include in the following
routine. You can read the magazine and current affairs of more last six months to
increase your horizons.

Good persuasion skills go a long way in getting recommended. Read how to develop
persuasion skills for SSB in order to increase your chances for getting recommended.

Good persuasion skills

Persuasion is the soft skill which most candidates exhibit during their GTO tasks like
GD and Lecturette, and psychological tests like TAT, WAT, etc.
Thus persuasion skills will be particularly important for your success as a member of
a team, when you will often have to gently and tactfully convince the others in the
team to accept your point of view or suggestion.

Here I jot some proven persuasion techniques that you can use effectively in your
daily interaction with others:

1.Begin by establishing a rapport with the person with the person you are trying
to persuade. Do not turn angry or turn the interaction into a confrontation.

2.Try to look at what you want you want to persuade someone to do from their
point of view. Ask yourself when in GD or group tasks, “Why should they
cooperate with me?” and at the same time try to be correct. Don’t just ask them
to do whatever you feel like even when you’re wrong.

3.State clearly the advantages and benefits of doing something. This is most
helpful when topics are suggestion based in lecturette.

4.Support your request or suggestion with some valid arguments and proofs
while in GD to avoid fish-market like situations.

5.Provide facts and figures to get people to come round to your point of view.

6.Appeal to people’s sense of justice and goodness. Don’t try to be a boss!

7.Appeal to people’s emotions when you feel like doing so, is right for everyone
concerned and that it will work.

8.Listen carefully to what other person says. This will help you understand how
they think ao that you can use other arguments to persuade them.

9.Listen carefully to the tone of other person and observe his/her body language
because this will tell you if he or she is, for example, against an idea, uncertain
or open to a discussion. You can then change your strategy.

10.Be polite and use the right words and body language.

11.Do not threaten the person you are persuading with negative consequences.

12.Do not manipulate people. Remember that your aim is to make someone look
at something in a way that will benefit you without harming them in anyway.
8 Hacks To Build Confidence In SSB Interview

How to tackle the lack of confidence in Personal Interview in SSB

Confidence is proved by analysing three factors:-




Your appearance should be gentle like an officer. We all have met officers. If you
recall their behaviour and appearance, they are not stylish, but wear the dress smartly.
Similarly, your way of speaking also matters in judging your confidence level. So
here we are having some point that candidates must follow to strength up their
confidence level in personal interview. Below are some points that a candidate must
reside in mind to appear confident in personal interview in SSB.

1.Dress smartly – Your dressing sense shows your personal perspective. Be

formal in dressing and avoid over fashion. Be gentle and perfect in dressing. It
is the first thing that IO observes. Your actions and words are accessed after
your dressing.

2.Talk less and listen more – Your confidence is inversely proportional to your
talking. Being extra frank can create problems. Listen carefully what is being
asked, take a short pause and reply clearly. Speak what is necessary for your
answer. Avoid spicing your answer. Command your sentences. Low confident
candidates speaks more than what is being asked. And this takes them to a

3.Phase-out insecurities – While appearing for personal interview, candidates

feel insecure while sitting in front of then IO. Don’t hesitate while answering.
He is also a human like you had also faced same stage in his life. Maintain your
comfort level and be cool.

4.Erect posture and eye contact – Your posture and eye contact are the
physical traits of checking confidence. Your posture must be erect while sitting
over the chair. And keep a constant eye contact with the IO. He checks it by
avoiding you while you are answering. Low confident candidates, either slow
down their voice, or starts watching here and there. Avoid this and measure your
posture constantly with time. Sometimes candidates sit in a confident way but
become loose after time passes. So mind your eye contact and keep your spine

5.Speak slowly and clear – Generally, low confident candidates fumble while
speaking. This can be perceived by the accessors as ‘block minded behaviour’.
To avoid this, have a sufficient gap between your words and answer the question
in a limited way.

6.It’s not hard to accept “I don’t know” – It happens many times that
candidate faces a question that is out of his mind. Some low confident
candidates speak out and starts bluffing and then to support that bluff they have
to mount a huge heap of lies. Then why making your interview so complex? Go
straight and politely say “sorry sir. I don’t know”.

7.Don’t reassure your point, give bold example – IO sometimes probes you
over a specific topic. A low confident person constantly reassures his point by
repeating it. Don’t reassure your point. Give examples and answer clearly.

8.Control your emotions – Generally candidates with low confidence shows

conflict in mood and emotions. Shivering, vibrating legs, fumbling, etc. are
traits of low confidence. Well, it is hard to control them at once. Practice for it.
Talk to unknown people in a controlled manner. And your will power will
overcome it.

5 Problems Faced By Repeaters

Selection procedure of SSB depends on mental ability and performance. It is always

said that freshers have more chances of selection as compared to the repeaters. Every
entry is made for an age group which have candidates of a specific age group that
aims to select candidate on their performance which is proportional to their age. An
SSC tech candidate can’t be accessed with an NDA candidate. Apart from this, SSB
has another grouping scheme to make the selection procedure form transparent and
justified. The batch is fragmented into some specific groups based on the SSB
attempts history. The categories are freshers, screen outs, repeaters and
recommended. Repeaters and recommended candidates are mixed following batch
adjustment. These groups face the most competitive environment during the selection
schedule. Here we are having some problems that every repeater faces while
attending SSB.
Previous attempt’s probing – Repeaters generally have to face questions regarding
their previous attempts. The questions may be short if the candidate has a short
history but candidates with a long history behind have to stay alert from the questions
during personal interview. The questions normally faced are related to the cause of
failure in last attempt or all previously attempted SSBs, the way you have
introspected and what was the possible outcome of that introspection. And your
efforts to overcome those shortcomings. In most of the cases, counter questioning is
done while candidate is answering these questions.

1.Higher expectations – Being a repeater means an experienced person. Once

the rules and SSB events and techniques are known to you, the SSB crew expect
more from you. From enhanced performance to the rule-adhering quality, they
want you to make no mistake. One you have experienced the SSB schedule, you
enters the category where the crew expects more from you.

2.High competition – Being experienced, repeaters face tough competition.

This is the reason why SSB panel divides the batch in groups. The groups are
divided on the basis of experience of the candidates. The selection rate amongst
the repeaters in high due to the competition that goes a bit high as compared to
the fresher’s.

3.Instability in mind and mood – Being a repeater and an experienced, the

generally happens that candidates feel instability and mood and tries to do what
they hear from other candidates and get into a trap. Stop following rumours and
myths. Be yourself and do what you actually do.

4.Over-performance – In the field of competition, repeaters aims at defeating

others rather than focusing on their own victory. This thing normally stays in
unstable mind. You should concentrate on what you have to do. Drive and judge
your performance, make your aim to win and get recommended. Limit your
performance in the boundary and perform it.


Repeaters have to prepare hard and pay attention to the next SSB. The expectations
are high and relative competition level is tremendously high. So being natural and
being yourself alone is not sufficient for repeaters to get recommended. Practice is
required. It is not a wise decision to appear in any exam without practice. Similarly,
appearing in SSB also need preparation
Assertive Vs Aggressive Behaviours In The SSB Interview

We often come across three types of candidates namely, Passive, Assertive and
Aggressive during the PP&DT or for that matter in all the group tasks of the GTO
tests. Of these, candidates who are assertive are the ones who normally get
recommended in the SSB. Let’s understand the differences in their behavioural

Passive Person

Normally, the passive person is afraid to speak up first, speaks softly, avoids looking
at people, shows little or no expressions, slouches and withdraws, Isolates self from
the group, Agrees with others despite personal feelings, Values self less than others,
Hurt self to avoid hurting others, does not reach goals and may not even know the
goals. Such candidates normally believe that ‘Others are Ok and they are not’.

Aggressive Person

An aggressive person normally interrupts and takes over others, speaks loudly, glares
and stares at others, intimidates by using expressions, stands rigidly, crosses arms,
invades the personal space of others, control groups, only considers own feelings and
makes demands on others, values self more than others, hurts others to avoid being
hurt, reaches goals but hurts others in the process and believes that ‘he is okay and
others are not’.

Assertive Person

An assertive person speaks openly, uses a conversational tone, makes good eye
contact, shows expressions which matches the message that he is conveying, relaxes
and adopts an open stance and expressions, participates in groups, keeps to the point,
values self equal to the others, tries to hurt no one including self, usually reaches
goals without hurting others and believes that ‘he is okay and so are others.’

Now if you correlate the above behavioural manifestations with the behavior of
candidates during PP&DT you can relate the candidates described above. In any
group most of the candidates are either passive or aggressive. There will be one or
two candidates who will be self-assured and assertive and normally it is these
candidates who get screened in. While this is the norm, sometimes there is complete
fish market and despite repeated intervention the group doesn’t behave and the
discussion is called. In such cases, the screening in happens based on quality of story,
narration and the general body language of the candidate. Since the assessors are
trained in psychology and can also understand body language, it’s not very difficult to
pick up candidates based on story, narration and body language. An assertive
candidate when faced with too many aggressive candidates will try to control these
guys and then realizing the futility starts giving out their points in their natural tone
and manner which is good enough for the assessors to understand. Thus, all those
who feel that there is some kind of bias in the screening test are wrong in their
perception. Hence, try and modify your behavior and try to adopt the assertive style,
though it’s not so easy to change at your age.