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Important Things to Know About SSB Exam

SSB (Service Selection Board) is the esteemed selection unit of Indian Ministry of Defence and has been entrusted with the prestigious responsibility to select talented and committed officers for the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy. SSB Exam comprises of Personality & Intelligence test which is carried over 5-6 days. The test determines eligible candidates on the basis of some major OLQ (Officer Like Qualities) parameters, including- Effective Intelligence, reasoning ability, organization power, sense of judgment (under pressure), responsibility, self-confidence, courage, determination, communication skills, fast decision making ability and certainly the temperament to serve the motherland with commitment & loyalty.

It must be emphasized that SSB interviewees have to compulsorily secure qualifying marks in either of the exams – NDA and NA (National Defence Academy & Naval Academy examination) examination, CDSE (Combined Defence Services Examination) and AFCAT (Air Force Common Admission Test).

The post below highlights the important facts to know about SSB exam and interview.

Eligibility criteria (SSB 2017)

Criteria with marital status

  • The candidate should be unmarried.
  • In case of female candidates, issue-less (no children) widow applicants are also allowed

Criteria with age

  • Males- born within January 2, 1991- January 1, 1996
  • Females- born within January 2, 1990- January 1, 1996

Educational qualification-

  • Indian Military Academy & Officers Training Academy – Candidate should hold a graduation degree from an accredited university
  • Air Force Academy – Candidate should be at least B.Sc. with the combination of mathematics and Physics. B.Tech/B.E. candidates securing 50 percent marks are also allowed
  • Naval Academy – Candidate should be an Engineering graduate

SSB Interview and exam- a brief overview

Candidates who attain qualifying marks in the NDA and NA/CDSE/ AFCAT exam would be sent call letters by post for their further screening at the SSB center. As you arrive at the designated station, an Army official would be waiting to receive you. Remember, your screening actually starts from the moment you meet the official. So, make sure you present a decent appearance; first impressions are crucial!

The SSB test & interview together will carry 900 marks.

The SSB exam and interview is conducted in 2 stages- Stage I & Stage II.

First round comprises of-

  • OIR or Officer Intelligence Rating
  • PP and DT (Picture Perception and Description Test)

Candidates would be shortlisted on the basis of combined performance

Second round comprises of-

  • Psychology Test
  • Group Testing Officer Tasks
  • Interview and Conference

The second round would be carried over four days.

Reporting & document verification

Candidates must report at the specified SSB selection center on the mentioned date and must carry all the required documents (listed below)

Required documents for SSB screening:

  • Call Letter of SSB interview
  • Original & Photocopy of 10th/12th mark sheet and certificate. You have to bring 2copies of each
  • Original & Photocopy of Graduation/ Post Graduation certificate. You have to bring 2 copies of each
  • Students who are in the final year of Graduation or Post Graduation must carry certificate from college/university principal
  • NCC Certificate, both original & photocopy (NCC Special Entry candidates)
  • DCGA issued valid commercial pilot license
  • Original ticket (candidates who have received traveling allowance)
  • Original and 2 photocopies of ID proof (passport, Voter ID, PAN card/DL)
  • NOC Certificate (applicable for those presently working in PSUs or Government sector
  • Risk certificate signed by guardian/parent (for minors)
  • 20 color photographs of passport size. Photograph must be taken wearing light-colored cloth against a white background

PIQ form

After all the documents have been verified, the candidate would have to fill PIQ form (Personal Information Questionnaire). The form will ask the candidate about his/her family background, educational qualification and many other personal details. The PIQ form must be filled carefully as it would be used during interview round & the candidate’s responses would be examined by the designated SSB psychologist.

Stage 1 (Day 1)

The Stage 1 of SSB exam comprises of Intelligence Test (comprises of both verbal & non-verbal exam) and Picture Perception Test & Discussion Test.

Intelligence Test – It would be a written examination with Multiple Choice Question. Candidates have 30 seconds to answer each question.

PP & DT This test involves story writing & discussion. They would be shown a picture for thirty seconds and would be given 3 minutes to pen a story based on the displayed picture.

Stage 2 (Day 2)

There would be 4 tests on the 2nd day, which is the first day of the Stage II of the SSB examination. The tests would be conducted by SSB psychologist who will check the candidates’ psychological capacity to be an Army officer.

TAT or Thematic Appreciation Test – Akin to PPDT, this test would also involve story writing based on a picture. But here things would be tougher as you will have as many as 11 pictures. Each of the pictures would be shown for thirty seconds. The candidate would be required to pen a story on the basis of a picture within four minutes. The same process would be followed with all the pictures. The 12th slide would be blank which you would fill up with a tale of your choice.

WAT or Word Association Test – This is another psychological test. In this case, 60 words would be displayed back-to-back for 50 seconds. The candidates would have to jot down the very first thought which hits their mind the moment they see those words.

SRT or Situation Reaction Test – Here candidates would be given a booklet containing 60 situations. The applicant would have to jot down the responses in respect to each given situation.

SD or Self Description Test – the test would require candidates to jot down their opinion regarding themselves, parents, friends, teachers and others. The time limit is 15 minutes.

Day 3 and 4 –

The 3rd and 4th day of the SSB exam would be comprised of interactive outdoor and indoor activities that would test both the physical and mental temperament of the candidate.

Group Discussion – A topic would be given to a team of candidates and all of them would have to talk about various facets of the concept. Topics are mostly chosen from current affairs. A designated Group Task Officer would observe every candidate during the discussion.

Group Planning Exercise – In this case, candidates would be given a model of a real-life situation. They would be asked to present their own strategy and plan to solve the problem.

Progressive Group Tasks – A team of candidates would be asked to cross different barriers with the aid of supporting stuff like plank, rope, wood log and so on.

Half Group Task – the test would be similar to that of the earlier one. The only difference is that in this case, the PGT groups would be divided into half.

Individual Obstacles – Candidates would have to cross 10 barriers individually.

Snake race – This test is where candidates will perform against other candidates in groups. They would be asked to cross another set of barriers with snake-like rope.

Command task – In this case, the candidate would be asked to don the role of a commander in which he would have to successfully cross barriers, supporter by 2-3 subordinates.

Lecturette – The candidate would be asked to offer lecture on his chosen topic for three minutes.

Final Group Task – This round would be similar to Progressive Group Tasks.

After the exams end for the 4th day, an interview would be conducted by Interviewing Officers.

Day 5

This is the final day of SSB exam. On the 5th day, candidates would have to attend a conference before all SSB board officials and other candidates. The SSB result would be announced within 1 hour of the conference and selected candidates would be sent for medical test.


For any queries related to SSB exam, feel free to contact with us at  +91-33-4008-5544 or email us at 

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