CDS 2018: All you need to know about SSB Interview

Updated On -

Feb 7, 2018

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Shivani Tiwari

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After getting through the written exam of CDS, candidates are called for further selection process, i.e., CDS SSB Interview which runs over the time frame of 5 days. In the interview process, candidates are examined on the basis of various Officer Like Qualities.

Those whose names appear in the CDS Results have to register for CDS SSB Interview Process. The interview is conducting over a span of  5 days. There are two stages of CDS SSB Interview, Stage 1 is OIR and PPDT test. Those who qualify this move to the second stage, which includes, Psychological Test, Group Test, Personal Interview and Conference.

The Main aim of the CDS Selection Process is to test the Candidates for the required Aptitude that Indian Army, Indian Air Force or Indian Naval Services demand in their Commissioned Officers. The details of each day of the selection process have been given below.

What is SSB Interview?

Service Selection Board is the personality & intelligence interview which analyses potential and compatibility of each candidate for the employment into the Armed Forces of India.

There are in total 13 SSBs across the nation setup for selection process of Indian Army(4), Air Force(5) & Naval Services(4). The Purpose of the Service Selection Board is to test candidate aptitude in the 5 day CDS Selection Process and decide whether they at par with the intelligence required for Officers at Indian Armed Forces.

The SSB Interview Process is described in detail below. Candidates can refer the following. The in detailed Day to Day process will help the candidates prepare well for the Process.

Day 1: Screening

CDS SSB Interview is a grueling 5-day process. The first day of the interview process screens the candidates on the basis of verbal and non verbal abilities along with some memory retention test via PPDT. The series of tests on the day of screening include the following:

  • Aptitude Test
  • Picture Perception & Description Test
  • Group Discussion
  • Selection Of Screened in Candidates
  • PIQ Form Filling

If the candidates are called early morning at the test centre, the Selection Process begins the same day. In case candidates are required to report on or after 1200 PM at the SSB Centre, the CDS SSB Interview begins from the next working day.

Officer Intelligence Rating Test

This test contains questions regarding Verbal and Non – Verbal Reasoning.. The count of Verbal questions is 50 to 60 to solve in 30 minutes and Non – Verbal around 50 questions to be solved in 40 minutes.

Verbal questions are asked from the topics like series, odd one out, speed/ distance/ time and blood relations. In the case of Non – Verbal: seeing the picture, mirror image, and picture distortion. 

Read  What is Officer Intelligence Rating Test in SSB

Picture Perception & Description Test (PPDT)

Following the Aptitude Test, candidates are shown a hazy/unclear Picture for 30 seconds and candidates are provided next one minute to write a story. The Main point of PPDT are mentioned below

  • You will be shown a black & white, hazy picture for 30 seconds
  • Record the number of Characters, their Age, Sex & Mood in the answer sheet.
  • Identify the main character & build the story around him/her. It is convenient to name the character (helps in discussion stage).
  • Describe what the scene in the picture depicts (what is going on?)
  • Visualize & write, what led to the present scene (what happened in the past?)
  • You have to foresee the future & write it. (What will happen in the future?)
  • The entire story has to be written in about 3 mins & submitted.

Group Discussion

Candidates are invited into groups of 15-20 candidates to discuss their stories and come to a conclusion after narration of each candidate. The group is allotted 15-20 minutes to disccuss and reach to a decision about the sense of the story and the message that it delivers. The main aim of the Group Discussion is to filter the candidates who can converse their thoughts in groups and is able to project their ideas in a group.

The Medium of group discussion is preferably English but candidates can discuss in hindi if they feel more comfortable and can switch back to english as soon as possible.

Selection Of Screened in Candidates

candidates are shortlisted based upon their performance in Aptitude Test, PPDT and Group Discussion. The Screened in candidates are then allotted fresh Chest Numbers and is sent to their SSB to settle down with their lugguage. The Selection Ratio in the Screening 

Personal Information Questionaire Form

Post Screening Round, and selection of candidates, they are required to fill out Personal Information Questionaire Form that includes basic information about the candidates’ personal background, education history and other details about candidates’ life. 

The PIQ Form is the most important document that at times proves to be basis of Personal Interview prior to the conference Round. Candidates should fill the information in PIQ Form with utmost accuracy and in no case provide any false information.

Documents Verification 

Documents are required at the time of SSB interview. Candidates must bring the following original documents for verification. the Document Verification is scheduled after candidates fill out the PIQ form after screening in.

  1. Matric/ Higher Secondary or Equivalent certificate.
  2. Provisional degree from recognized university along with the mark sheets of all semesters.
  3. Identity proof with the photograph such as a voter ID or PAN card or driving license or passport or UPSC admit card.
  4. 20 copies of the latest passport size photograph with the negative in white shirt (not in coat).

Day 2: Psychological Test

The psychological test is a tool helps in the recording of candidates various emotional and behavioral reactions.

Candidates have to clear the four psychological tests during SSB which are as explained below:

Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT)

The Test pattern of TAT encompasses 12 writing stories on pictures shown one after the other on screen. Time allotted to complete this task will be 30 seconds to view the picture and 4 minutes to write a story on each picture. The 12th one is black and candidates can write any story from their own mind which somehow reflects candidates own life.

Word Association Test (WAT)

In Word Association Test (WAT) test pattern will be like 60 words will be flashed in front of the candidate and they are required to write his/her first thought comes after reading that word. The time given for each word will be 15 seconds.

Situation Reaction Test (SRT)

In this test pattern a total of 60 situations required to be addressed in time of 30 minutes i.e. 30 seconds per situation. The Candidate has to give immediate reaction from multiple choices given.

Self Description (SD)

In this candidates have to write a paragraph on what their Parents, Teachers, Siblings, Colleagues think of the Candidates. Another question of what candidates think of themselves is also asked.

Also Check Psychological Test in SSB

Day 3 & 4: Group Task

The Group Tasks is divided into two parts scheduled in two days i.e Day 3 & Day 4. In the Group Tasks, the candidate has to perform the tasks along with or without the help of the colleagues as mentioned. It consists of a 9 different type of tests to be performed in the group which is conducted by Group Testing Officer. These 9 tests are mentioned below in order as they are scheduled.

Group discussion

Group discussion consists of two rounds of discussion. GTO announces the three sets or topic in the first round and candidate can select any topic according to their choice. This is a simple step in which each and every candidate can participate. The Second round of group discussion is difficult and only selected candidates can take participate. The time for group discussion will be 30 minutes.

Group planning exercise (Military Planning Exercise)

Group planning exercise is a fun task in which candidate need better thinking and fast mind. Candidate needs to come out with the best plan to reach the goal. They need to follow group planning exercise tips which are as below.

  1. Always keep time limit in mind and prioritize the tasks.
  2. Listen to other’s plan also and try to assume hidden resource.
  3. Divide the group logically and use the safe method.
  4. Always note the situation carefully and note down the correct timings in mind.

Progressive Group Task

This is the first outdoor task in an interview of GTO. It is set of obstacles placed in the ground in the specified area. Helping materials are given by the GTO i.e. wooden log (Bali), Plank and a rope to tie. Difficulty level increases from one level to another that’s why it is named as progressive group task. Check  What is Progressive Group Task

Group Obstacle Race (Snake Race)

This is the fourth task in which all the groups have to complete race through series of six obstacles while carrying rolled tent which looks like a snake. It is also known as snake race. One channel is assigned to four teams.

Rules to be followed by the candidate in the group obstacle race are:

  • Snake should not touch the ground once it picks up before the race is complete.
  • Snake should not be folded or passed from the sides.
  • Snake should hold by all the candidates while running from one obstacle to another and also when crossing the obstacle.
  • If any of the candidates cross the obstacle first then they have to wait for others to do so.
  • Red color obstacles should not be touched by the candidate and they have to follow only assigned the channel.
  • Penalties will be imposed in case of any rule violation.

Half Group Task

It is same as PGT, the difference is only with the division of the group i.e. group is divided into two sets. If group contain total 10 persons, then it is divided into 5 of two groups. Rules for HGT are similar as PGT.


In this candidates are given topics choice and then candidates have to speak for 2-3 minutes on the chosen topic. Candidates confidence, attitude, his/her views are some of the factors to successfully clear this exercise. Candidates are advised not to move too much during the course of a lecture.

Individual Obstacles

In this number of obstacles varies for men and women. Men have to complete 10 obstacles and women have to complete 7 in three minutes. Obstacle type varies from board to board. Some general obstacles are the High jump, double jump, Balance beam, Monkey crawl, double ditch, and Rope climb etc.

Things candidate should know about the Individual Obstacle are below:

  1. Obstacle carries marks according to difficulty level, the obstacle with the highest difficulty contains 10 marks and others have 9, 8, 7…1 mark.
  2. Candidates can repeat the obstacle course but the time remains same.
  3. Candidates called one after the other and candidates have to worry about their own performance.
  4. This test checks the candidate’s fitness but it’s not a medical fitness test.
  5. Candidates will not get any sympathy if they get injured only the selection chances effect.

Command Task

This task is held before FGT with the aim of finding candidate capability. Candidates can choose two members from the group. Obstacle should be completed within allotted time and resources availability.

Final Group Task            

This is the final task of SSB GTO task. There is only one obstacle and the entire group has participated in this task. Groups are provided with Fatta, Balli, Latha around 5 feet, Steel Pipe, 2 rope, and Load of 5 kg.

Following are the rules for PGT, HGT, CT, and FGT. Obstacles are painted in three colors namely:

  • White
  • Black
  • Red

White: Candidate and helping material can touch the obstacle.

Black: Only candidates can touch the obstacle.

Red: Candidates and helping material both cannot touch the obstacles.

Day 4: Personal Interview

In this candidate is in direct conversation with the interviewing officer. Initially, the officer asked about family background, hobbies, studies, friends etc. PIQ form of the candidate is important for the Interview. Officer basically ask for current happenings, view on politics, religion, and nationalism.

On the basis of the answers towards family, friends, sports etc candidate is analyzed. Candidates should be inconsistent in views. The Interview is conducted for 35-40 minutes. Selected candidates list are forwarded to the Medical Board. After clearing the Medical candidates will be in the merit list. Then the candidates join the Medical Board.

Day 5: Conference

The final process at SSB scheduled on the final day. Candidates are required to face the Board Officers. Board comprises of its President, Deputy President, Group Testing officers.

This ends the interview procedure by matching candidate’s actions, thought process and words.  Candidates are sent for medical and then for merit list.

Basically, this article encompasses the whole procedure of candidate’s selection in the Armed Forces of India. The Article contains detailed description about the various mandatory steps in selection. Along with the soldiers respect Indian Armed Forces provides Job Security, Facilities for both candidates and their families, Scope for Higher Education. Candidates will get the full appreciation, respect, regard, dignity wherever they go.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.