⚔🚩Understanding the basic concept of SSB and decodifying the De-Novo SSB.⚔ 🚩@ ✒GBG⚔
Quite recently a young friend from my school SSK visited me, He was accompanied by one of his classmates in engineering, and they both spent a day with me.
Their aim was to brush up their ideas about SSB interviews and gain clarity on this issue.
They also wanted to know about the ALL NEW DE-NOVO SSB, and my approach to the academies mushrooming all around making tall claims of ensuring SSB selection.
To start with the 5 day present SSB selection, a process to select candidates, to join army directly as commissioned officers, started in year 1948. The SSB is focused on unveiling the negative or positive traits of a candidate, testing along side the intelligence, quick situational reactions, rational thinking, cognitive thought sequencing patterns, leadership, team work traits, strength of character, general knowledge, general awareness, social adaptability, core values, core thinking patterns, world view, national spirit, a neutral and secular outlook towards religion and other social divides, inferiority or superiority complexes, or any other fears and phobias etc.
It is worth mentioning that SSB is held only for those candidates, who have successfully made it to the cutting point merit in written examination, an all India competitive exam called CDS, aka Combined Defence Services Exam, or have cleared their NDA entry exam, or are technical or law graduates, or graduates with an NCC 'C' certificate. Till now the SSB has LARGELY been following a successful procedure and has performed it's task well.
Now I shall take you through the procedure of SSB, and then, I shall tell you about the DE-NOVO SSB, the differences between the old and new SSB, and the reason for DENOVO. For now it should suffice to say that DE- Novo is a Portuguese and Spanish origin word which literally means 'AGAIN' or 'Refresh'. SSB it seems, has taken this nomenclature for its connotative meaning, that is 'New'. 'De-Novo' SSB = 'The New' SSB, or again put simply, a refreshed SSB.
So getting back to the present SSB, after a candidate has made to the merit in written tests, he/ she is called for an SSB, which proceeds as follows.
On 'DAY OF REACHING AN SSB CENTER', the SSB can said to have begun. In fact you are observed from the day, when you get down from the train, and report to the reception desk. You are taken to the SSB center, your documents etc are screened, and your dormitory is shown to you. Your area of stay, timings for food, out of bound areas, unacceptable activities, and other rules of conduct are explained to all candidates. It is almost like a 'Big Brother' watching you all the time, not to intimidate you, but to judge your suitability for the armed forces.
Screening Tests... DAY-1 at SSB.
A Cognitive Intelligence Test + Picture Perception and Discussion Test.)
All candidates reporting for SSB are not the stuff, fauj is looking for, so SSB has a 'Stage One Screening Test'. This is the first filter. Those who dont pass the screening test are honourably sent back without wasting further time. Let us see, what this involves.
Screening test has two parts:-
A simple cognition test of logic, analytical skills and aptitude. In this the candidates are rated from 1to 5, based on the number of correct answers. These tests involve grammer, spellings, sentence completion, critical reasoning, verbal deductions, comprehension, word pairing, missing word, synonyms and antonyms etc. No need to explain these tests further here, as you will neither enjoy, nor do well, if such basics even have to be tutored, in any case this information can be found in basic SSB guides.
Screening test part -2 .
This comprises of 'Picture Perception Test' and a 'Group Discussion Test'. A (not very clear) picture is flashed on the screen. A candidate's perception is tested on basis of his observation of this picture.
A candidate has to write in a limited period of time, the number of characters in the picture, their age, gender, and mood. A story has to be written by the candidate woven around this picture, where he or she is a part of the story, as an observer of, or a character in the story.
The sheet of paper with your story written on it is deposited back with the testing officer. Then every candidate, orally tells his group, the story he has just written. Then the group has a discussion over the situation in the picture. Naturally every one has till now had a different story to tell, but in the discussion, the group reaches a consensual story. One odd candidate is selected by the group, to narrate the consensus story to the whole group. Via this test, a candidate is tested for, clarity of thought, fluidness of expression, clarity and propriety of language , logical thought, rational presentation, confidence, volunteering spirit, social participation, ability to accept ideas from others, body language, and attitude etc.
The result of screening test is then announced, and some candidates are asked to leave gracefully. Also remember that stage-I performance is not relevant during the stage 2 tests, although some folks insist it is, atleast in context of psychological testing.
Stage-II of SSB is devoted to 'Psychological Tests' and ground tests. Naturally these tests are taken by those, who have successfully sailed through the first day tests. This stage comprises of three different
1) Written psychological tests.
2). Group Ground tasks.
3). Personal interview.
The aim and purpose of these tests is to judge a candidate's intelligence and personality for 15 OLQs (Officer Like Qualities), which are, Effective Intelligence, Reasoning Ability, Power of Expression, Self Confidence, Determination, Organizing Ability, Initiative, Courage, Cooperation, Sense of Responsibility, Stamina, Group Influencing Ability, Liveliness, Social Adaptability, Speed of Decision making.
Let's look at the tests designed to test these OLQs, one by one.
1). The Psychological Test. Comprises of SRT (Situation reaction/response test.)
TAT ( Thematic apperception test.)
WAT (Word association test.)
SD (Self description test.)
SRT:- In the 'Situation reaction/response test', a booklet with 60 different situations is given to you, and you have to write your responses to them in 30 seconds each. Total time for the test is 30 minutes.
TAT:- 10 pictures are shown to you on a projection screen, for 10 seconds each, and you have to write a story on each picture in 4 minutes flat. Not a single extra second is allowed. Tenth projection is not a picture but blank screen, and you are supposed to write a purely imaginary story.
These stories must cover
1. Character/characters in the story, you being subconsciously linked to one of them
2. What circumstances the picture portrays.
3. What led to the situation in the picture.
4. How the situation is resolved.
WAT or Word association test is a test of many things rolled in one. Logic, vocabulary, language, perception, prejudices, fixations, phobias, and what not. 60 words are given to each candidate, on a printed sheet of paper, a candidate has to respond by building a simple but logical sentence for each word with in 10 seconds. Again total time for the test is 30 minutes.
SD (Self description test.) In this test you have to write a synopsis on yourself. It is just about a paragraph that you are supposed to write. The para must cover, how your parents perceive you, how your friends, peers, colleagues perceive you, how your teachers, mentor or boss (if already employed) perceive you, and how you perceive yourself, in light of who you are and who/what you want to be.
REMEMBER that the psychologist is not interested in your external personality, your looks, your religion, height, colour of your skin or any other bullshit. He/She asseses your, mind, based on inputs given by you on your answer sheets. A candidate's answers must be natural, and free from any preconception.
In 98% of the cases, one can not cheat an SSB psychologist. The army psychologists, are trained and well qualified, trained and retrained by the Army Psychological Research Institutes in Delhi and Mussoorie.
The tests are so designed, and so tightly timed, that if you think and try to manipulate your answers, you are bound to run out of time or give flawed responses. Large gaps in your responses will make the psychologist assess you negatively, so you must respond to psychological tests in an absolute natural flow, to be consistent.
Any candidate can achieve proficiency in completing these tests through adequate practice. Various books, apps, websites, and blogs are available which explain the essentials of these tests and may help you. Let me assure you but, you can not cheat, or try and cheat, or project who you are not, to the psychologist. Although if you are a Charles Sobhraj clone, and compulsively obsessed with cheating or out smarting the system, you may succeed , but than why waste your life in army ? Better you fuck it up in politics or crime, enjoy as long as you can, until some honest man or woman, who has genuinely cleared the SSB, or the IPS, puts a bullet in your cheating heart.
On the second day the personal interviews also start, in sequence of your chest number allotted to you by the SSB. So some candidates may also face their personal interview. Later on this.
3rd and 4th Day of SSB are devoted to GTO Tests. Most simply put they are Ground Testing Officer's Tests. Specially trained officers, test the candidates in light of tasks allotted to candidates, as group tasks or command tasks.
For these tasks, some pre-training may help, but sincerely speaking, your chances of enjoying these tests and getting selected are much more, if you go in to them, untrained and fresh in mind.
GTO TESTS are divided in to four types. These are 'GD', aka Group Discussions, 'Progressive Group Tasks', 'Group Planning Tasks/Exercise', 'Command Task' and 'Group Obstacle Race/Snake Race.'
The GTO interacts with you throughout the tests, and each and every action of yours is observed.
GTO tests are tests of your 'body mind coordination' along with your physical and mental strengths and weaknesses. your command and leadership qualities, your ability to be a team player aswellas a team leader, and much more.
The key to go through these tests is, be natural, but be neither passive, nor hyperactive. These tests are opportunities to project your strengths to the GTO. My advise is to be bold but civil both, at the same time. Project your imagination and work ethics.
Be cooperative, be always ready to help, take initiative where you should and also be a volunteering team member. Do not let down your team leader, or team members, and also remember, that in your command task, do not be too dominating. Team leaders dont just order their teams around, but they also be there to work in the front line.
These task are like football matches. Pass the ball to others, move ahead with the ball where you should, and score a goal, as a team. If you are a positive personality, the team members will cooperate.
Be cooperative and ensure cooperation where necessary. Do not be shy of putting your foot down, or digging in your cleats, but be polite always. Do not think that leaders don't ask or request for cooperation, but do kick some ass, if you have to, without ever being a stubborn mule.
In these tests your creative and out of box thinking, get tested too. Just make sure that your ideas are workable, logical, and acceptable to your team members. Be a good and proactive communicator. Explain your ideas to team members applying the KISS (Keep information simple and straight to the point) rule. Be willing to accept other team member's ideas as well. Your being a team leader is not about your being a ring master in a circus.
As a special teaching by your Guru, do not let the HQ (Happiness Quotient) ever go down. Smile, and your friends will cooperate. Another specially emphasised point by me is to be a good listener, and a good imparter of instructions. Listen to the GTO well, listen to your team leaders instructions well, comprehend instructions and ensure that no rules are violated. Your overall performance in all the GTO tasks is extremely important.
Your physical and mental fitness is very important in GTO tasks. Remember that, these tests are like golf at an individual level but football or hockey at team levels. Like golf, you do not compete with others but your own ability to play well. Be a good team player and an excellent individual performer.
Personal Interviews, if you remember, as I told you, start on day 2 and go on till day 4. The IO, or interviewing officer is mostly a senior officer, and is mostly the head of the board. He will quiz you, most gently but surely about the opportunities you have had, and results you got out of them.
Do not feel shy of talking about your slips and falls in your life, but do remember to see the light at the end of the tunnel always. Talk when talked to, be respectful to not just the brass your IO carries on his shoulders, but also the experienced head that he possesses.
IO can ask you questions about your parents, friends, teachers, society, current affairs, general knowledge and awareness, your physical and mental strengths and weaknesses, and almost any thing considered important by him to asses you as a would be officer. Also remember that this man is not interviewing you to reject you, but to select you, so remain positive throughout.
IOs are mostly kind and large hearted gentlemen, who will give you margins for your errors, but also remember that they are not there for charity. Let them grill you over a point if they want to, but do not let your smile and hope fade. Also remember Sri Krishna's teaching, that you are to perform your duty, as you let the result, award or reward take care of itself. Lying or acting to be who you are not, are the most despisable traits seen in this situation.
Be civil, be honest, be strong, be who you are. Your fortunes and misfortunes are yours to claim. If you got less marks in matric, you have no one but yourself to blame, but if you are born poor, or your father died when you were young, you dont have to blame yourself. Be bold, humble and brave, to accept who you are. If you can be, who you are, you are in. Army is looking for a few honest yet intelligent men, and not for Papus or Gapus. If pretence is what you think is your forte, do not please even enter the gates of any SSB. Why waste your time and that of SSB.
By now, the Psychologist, the GTO and the IO, have all assessed you through and through, but remember that they have not exchanged any notes on any candidate. This is the beauty of SSB. But it is natural for them to compile their results and take a final call on you. This is done on the last day, when all the members of board sit together, compile the results and finally call you in for a 'final take' on you. This is when all the board members and the candidate, face the 'Moment Of Truth'.
Also called the 'Judgement Day', this is the day when the members of 'Service Selection Board' interact with each other aswellas as with the candidate, all in a longish room, called the conference room. The candidate's plus points and weak qualities are deliberated upon, in detail by the board members. This is the day when it is finally analysed, if the candidate has the required qualities to be trained as an armed forces officer. Conference terminates in finalizing the results, and their announcement.
In my opinion there is no better final selection procedure than SSB, in India, including the Civil Services. None can match the SSB approach.
NOW LET'S LOOK AT DE-NOVO SSB. (starting from 2019).
I'll only high light the differences most briefly, as nothing more needs being explained even to the nerds.
1. The De-Novo SSB has been reduced from five days to three days, but that does not dilute the acid test or blunt the cutting edge of this unique system.
2. The screening psychogical test will now be online, to save unnecessary movement of candidates and reduce logistic and financial burden on army. With new developments in psychological testing, as well as advancements in smart devices, and digitisation of India, it is a positive movement forward. The tests are so designed as to beat the candidates even if they sit in a group to go through the screening test.
3. TAT shall now have a battery of 9 pictures rather than 10. The blank screen test has been scrapped.
4. SD, or self description test has been done away with, as there are elements of this present in screening aswellas other psychological tests.
5. WAT has been reduced to 40 words from 60, and now, no sentences need to be written on the words. A candidate has instead to write three words , that, he/she can immediately associate with the given word.
Example:- The given word is Fort,
Three words I thought of are, flag, victory, Battle.
This is an improvement upon the existing system as this is more revealing of a candidate's psychology.
6. There is going to be an endurance test on the first day of SSB. It will be a 1.5 kilometers run (Not Race), which a candidate should ideally finish in 4 to 5 minutes, average in 6 minutes and atleast in 7 minutes. 8 minutes and more ammounts to 0 score.
7. In SRT, situation reaction test, there will be two tests, in one a situation and a pic Wil be shown, in the other only a situation will be given, and there shall be no picture. For answers, 4 optional pre-written answers will be provided. They will all not be very agreeable answers, but the candidate will have to prioritize these answers, as per his/her perception in order of preference. Most likely as number 1 to number 4.
In my opinion the new test is a very big improvement over the previous test as it is mentally more challanging. Rest of the elements are going to be the same.
And as far as need of going to a so called SSB crack academy, Let me say verily, for an eligible and worthy candidate no academy, and I repeat, no academy is required. These academies will only take away your cutting edge, by making you feel burnt out, or falsely overconfident.
People at SSB will know without your telling them that you have been to an academy, and are a synthetically created personality. So if you have it in you, you don't need any academy, and if you dont have it, no academy can help you.
Yes, Institutions like 'Mai Bhago Armed Forces Prep Academy for Girls', Mohali are good, because they are facilitating girls from rural background, not just to train in a better environment, but also provide a three year government paid, stay in an excellent environment.
Even if these girls do not join army, it is certainly going to make a difference in personality of these cadets, plus the Punjab government makes the cadets graduate from Panjab university. So MBAFPAFG is a concept that sets it apart from the normal shops, promising SSB selection.
Yes a short one week course is good, as it introduces you to the physical aspects of SSB. Any thing more than that is a waste of time.
As far as, SSB Crack MANTRAS by me, they are:-
1. Buy a book named 'SSB interview, The Complete Guide' by Dr. Commander NK Natrajan, published by 'arihant publications'. This will give you a beautiful insight in to all the tests. It has practice tests included. For more tests and practice, on logical reasoning and other IQ tests, dive in to the ocean called World Wide Web, net to be simple and you shall have an endless supply of material.
2. Read the monthly magazines competition Success Review, Yojana, India Today and Out look regularly.
3. Read any good news paper regularly. Follow the major stories, specially on international affairs and domestic developement plans. Keep an eye on major social issues, and agitations. Do not miss any headlines and sub titles.
4. Keep your self physically fit. Atleast take a 2 km walk and a 2 km jog every day. Do not forget to build arm and leg strength. 30 pushups, 20 chinups and 30 sit-ups/crunches are a daily must do. If possible put up a rope some where and practice climbing it. Do practice standing long jump. Do what it takes, go to a gym, park, road, school ground, college ground, road, farms, but stay physically fit. You must learn swimming, under supervision. Although this is not a part of SSB, but it does help a lot in building fitness and confidence both.
5. Dont indulge in any illegal activity. Be a law abiding citizen. Avoid smoking, alcohol and any other shit.
6. Do pursue a sport and a hobby regularly. You may just go and play kabadi, wrestling, shooting, football, cricket, hockey, any sport you like or can pursue. Learn the rules of the game well. Similarly pursue a hobby, it can be birdwatching, stamp collecting, painting, blogging, photography, cellphone movie making, music or any thing. Know about it.
7. Be soberly dressed, and maintain personal hygiene. Dont live a fake life. Be your self and love to be who you are.
Best of luck to all young friends. Be original, be yourself, because nothing succeeds like Truth.
🚩तत्त सत्त श्री अकाल🚩
@©✒Guru Balwant Gurunay⚔