Sunday, 29 March 2015

SSB Interviews: Ground Realities...!!!

Day 1 - The Day of Arrival
Candidates will be asked to report at CMO of the particular railway station. At the pre-informed time they will be received by the officials and then after the formal verification of their identities they will be taken to the SSB center.
After reaching the center actual verification of their documents will be done and their eligibility will be verified and then chest no’s will be allotted to them.
In Air force (Refer 2nd Day), candidates will be offered breakfast in the morning only after which first round of tests will begin (as for Air Force the reporting time is generally 600 hrs and for ARMY it is around 1300 hrs). In case of Army after getting the chest no's.candidates will be allotted with temporary barracks for staying on that day.
It’s recommended to get relaxed and get used to the things; environment and most importantly try to mingle with the group as much as they can as SSB is all about leadership and team management.

Day2 - The Day of Screening
The day of screening is the first and most important day of selection process as the majority of candidates gets filtered out in it (Say 60 to 70 %). All the candidates will be called in a Hall and the first round of “Psychological Test” will begin. It comprises of two sets of MCQ questions (mostly non-verbal), each for 30 minutes of duration. These sets have to be done in a booklet provided to them.

After the completion of “Psychological Test”, a test called “PP&D” means “Picture Perception and Discussion Test” will happen which is as odd as its name. In this test a Black & White hazy picture will be displayed on the front screen for around 30 seconds. After 30 seconds a minute will be allotted for thinking of a POSITIVE story and after 1 minute a short duration of around 3-4 minutes will be allotted for writing that. The story must contain all the details like the characters, there sex, there mood and it must have a positive and suitable ending.

After completing this round of test the actual testing has to happen. The candidates in a group of 10 to 15 will be called for discussion. They have to sit in a semicircular fashion whereas the evaluator will be sitting at some distance. After a short briefing the candidates will be asked to narrate their stories in a span of a minute. The moment last candidate of the group finishes his story the Discussion will start. A time of around 10 to 15 minutes will be allocated for this depending on the group size. It’s recommended for a candidate to take initiative and take an active role in the discussion. Sometimes, after the completion of the discussion group may be asked to conclude it. Here also, it’s recommended to take initiative and come up as a leader.

After all the groups are done with the GD process the results will be announced. The success ratio for the PP&D round is very low as hardly 30 to 40 candidates makes it out of every 200.

The filtered out candidates were taken to the bus stop and are relieved after that while the selected candidates will continue with the further formalities as they have to fill a number of forms and further verification will happen.
Selected candidates will be asked to assemble in a conference hall for the further rounds of that day’s test.

First a full round of picture perception and story writing test will happen. 12 consecutive pictures will be shown alternately with a time frame of 3-4 minutes for writing the story (same kind of as that was shown in the screening round). This is a very lucrative one as its quite easy one and teaches a good time management skill as only 3 minutes will be allotted for each picture’s story to be written and then again a new picture. This will continue till all the 12 pictures are done. After this test a very important test called “INTROSPECTION” is done. In this test few questions will be there to answer in the same booklet. A candidate is expected to answer each question in 8 to 10 points in not more than 100 words. All the questions have to be answered. The time allotted for this test will be around 30 minutes. Generally the questions will be:

·         What do you think about yourself?

·         What does your parents thinks about you?

·         What does your friends thinks about you?

·         What does your neighbors thinks about you?

·         What does your teachers thinks about you?

After the completion of INTROSPECTION test, a test called SRT i.e. “Situation Reaction Test” will be carried on. This test is as its name only, candidates will be given a booklet containing around 50 to 60 different situations and were asked to answer what will they do if they are caught in that situation. Answer shall be in a single sentence. The time allotted is around 30 minutes for 60 questions.

After the completion of SRT a test called “Sentence Formation” will be carried on. In this test a booklet comprising of around 60 words will be given and within a time of 15 minutes candidates will be asked to frame sentences based on the words given.
Note: The sentences should be positive and must convey some meaning.

The selected candidates will be reassigned with the new chest numbers…and new barracks for further days of tests. Now the candidates can have a bit of sigh and relief as they have cleared the initial hurdle and irrespective of their further performance they will stay there till the conference rounds. So, enjoy the east winds as even you are unsuccessful here you will have one of the best memories of your life to cherish.

Day3 - The Day of GT
GT that stands for Group Task in SSB dictionaries are designed specifically to check ones leadership, decision making and the ways in which they handle their mates and their subordinates in extreme pressure conditions. A GTO (Group Task Officer) is assigned for the same task. Generally he will be one of the senior officers of the SSB center. Generally the GT will be a two days affair as its one of the longest and most important tests of the SSB interviews.

It comprises of a Group Planning Task including a GD, Group Tasks, Half Group Tasks, Commanding Task, Field Tasks and finally an Extempore. First the group will be assigned with the Group Planning Task; it’s one of the most interesting tasks in the whole of the interview procedures.

In the group planning test, a group of 10 to 15 candidates will be asked to assemble in the Group Planning Room. Here, at the center of the room a Planning Task Module will be present. Basically, it will be a kind of MAP pertaining to any complex place. The GTO will explain a situation based on the MAP which may contains 6 or more problems. After he finishes, candidates will be asked to write probable solutions based on the sources present and prioritize the problems with their solutions. The time allotted for this will be only 10 minutes after which the papers with the solutions will be taken by the officers. Then the group will be asked to narrate their solutions one by one and after the last candidate finishes his narration the process of group discussion will start. Again the candidates are recommended to come with their leadership qualities and try to be as active as possible in the discussion process. Even if one fails to grab the chance of being the initiator try to keep the pace going with the group and never lose the track of discussion. Here also one should try to take the opportunity of concluding the discussion.

Now the field tests of the GT section will start. First of all the Group Task will start where the whole of the group will be assigned with a task and will be asked to work together and solve the problem. Basically the problem will be a kind of a problem explained below:

Problem Description:
The group will be taken to the field where a battle like arena will be waiting for them. They will be given some LOAD (it may be anything from drum/ basket/ or any big box), a bamboo, a big rope, a platter. The group is expected to clear the arena which consists of no. of hurdles in the form of various designs made from wood planks in the prescribed time. The hurdles might prove difficult not because of its designs but because of the colours. Yes, all the hurdles will be coloured in Red and White. The Red signifies the danger as you are not allowed to put your feet or anything for that matter. Wherever it’s coloured white it’s your space, use it wisely. The interesting thing of this test is that you have to climb, cross, jump and clear the maze with all the things provided to you along with your complete team. It’s the biggest chance to show your leadership and planning skills to the GTO.

After the completion of the group task another interesting test called Command Task will take place. The group task is meant to check your teamwork spirit but this test is solely meant to check your leadership and decision making capabilities. In this test a candidate will be the commander and asked to select two or max three sub-ordinates from the group. Then you will be taken to another ground hurdle. Though this hurdle will be smaller than the one you had faced in the group task but it will be quite complex as here you will be commander and you have to take decisions. Same kind of equipments will be given to you as provided in the group task. The subordinates will be there to take your orders, so utilize them very usefully.
After the completion of this test, time comes to show your physical might as the field tests will start.
A total of ten different hurdles comprising of points from 1 to 10 depending on their level of difficulty will be there. A candidate has to clear all the hurdles one by one in the prescribed time. Here is the chance to grab more points but only if you have cleared all the 10 hurdles you can start again. In this test you can start go for any hurdle of your choice. But don’t forget its SSB interviews…the hurdles looks simpler than actually it is. It may comprise of anything like jumping 8-10 feet of wall, going through a hanging tire, jumping on sharp rods, walking on bamboos. This test may prove fatal, so don’t go for something if you are not confident. It’s absolutely fine if you can’t clear all the hurdles…they are looking for officers not the monkeys…
With the completion of this task the day ends up for the candidates.

Day 4 - The Day of Interview
Welcome to the fourth day of the SSB interviews…its one of the most important days of the interview process. As the GT will be ending today and most importantly you will have your Interviews today. As Interview is the most important in all the tests, you have to be well prepared for it. A single mistake in this can cost you dearly. So, be prepared well in advance.

The fourth day starts with the extempore round of the GT. Here all the candidates will be given a chit that will have three firing topics. A time frame of 90 seconds will be allotted to each for thinking on any of three topics they wish and then they will be asked to deliver a sort of lecture on that topic to everyone.

After the extempore round GTO may decide to allot some more physical tests for the group that may include individual and half group tasks.
Now the time for Interview:

Interview section of the SSB is the most important and crucial in deciding the fate of the candidates as here the candidates gets an opportunity to directly interact with the SSB board president. Generally the interviewer will be the President (Brigadier in case of ARMY), as there is a saying in the west, if you have impressed the king the ministers will fall in line.

The interview will be formal one so be pre-planned for it. Candidate’s needs to be formally well dressed the duration of the interview might vary from 2 to 4 hours. Generally it will start on a lighter note and then keeps on flowing from then. A psychologist will be present with the president in the interview, his job is to cross verify the points written by you in the “INTROSPECTION” test. The distance between the interviewer and the candidate will be larger than generally expected, so be prepared for the surprises.

The interview will basically be a formal discussion between the interviewer and the candidate. The questions may be anything from one’s family, friends, school/college, personal life and professional life (if any). Candidates might be tested for general awareness and national and international issues. It includes the general knowledge check, current events and an in-depth check of thoughts and views on various issues of national, international, social and political importance.
The SSB interviews informally end up with the end of this interview.

Day5 - The Day of Conference
The conference day or the D-Day of the SSB is the most important day of the interview as it's the day of the Final Decision. The final results have to be announced this day and if selected further things will be revealed.

The  decision for selecting a candidate is almost finalized and its very important for the candidates who are on the boundary, as its the last chance to show your strengths and qualities to whole of the SSB board and to give it the final Midas touch.

The conference room will be not less than any war-room, as whole of the Board members of the SSB board will be sitting in the room and in that too in their formal attires. It's the first time, the candidates will be seeing them in their uniforms. The conference will be chaired by the Board president (Brigadier in case of ARMY). All the candidates will be asked to present themselves (one by one) in complete formal attire before the board and have to answer the questions asked by any of the board members.
The whole idea of the conference is to introduce the whole of the team with a candidate (selected one basically). As, till this time the board would have already decided on the selections of the candidates and to show the whole of the board why this particular candidate is recommended and why others are rejected.
 
But, here is a golden chance for the candidates standing on the boundaries as the board will decide on the candidature in this conference only. So, here is your final say...give your best and try to impress the whole board such that if your were on boundary ...you can crack the doors of the opportunities...
 
After the commencement of the conference, the final results will be announced and the candidates who are selected here will be called as t;he Recommended candidates and they will be sent for the Medical examinations which may continue for another 2 to 3 days. If a candidate clears all the medical tests then he will be declared fit and recommended from that particular SSB board and he has to wait for  the Final Merit list from the Headquarters.
 
The general success ratio for the getting recommended after the screening round is 1 out of 10 and to fall int eh Merit list is after that is 2 out of 3.

If a candidate's name is announced in the Merit list, he/she will be called to join the Indian Armed Forces as an OFFICER.

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