National Defence Academy or NDA is located in Khadakwasla, Pune, Maharashtra. It is the joint forces academy of the Indian Armed forces. Being the first tri-service academy in the world, the NDA offers placement in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, where shortlisted cadets train together before they go on to respective service academies for further training.
The NDA hosts national level entrance exam which is conducted by UPSC twice a year for recruitment in National Defence Academy and Indian Naval Academy. Candidates who clear the NDA written exam are required to go through an Interview. The five-day Selection Process (which has now been changed to a three-day process) is scheduled at the Armed Forces SSB Centers spread across the country.
Under the SSB or Service Selection Board interview, a candidate’s skills are tested intellectually, physically, psychologically and through group activities. There are three major ways of testing a candidate’s potential as per the SSB standards:
Recently, the Defence Research and Development Organization (commonly referred to as the DRDO) came up with a proposition to cut down the selection phase from five to three days. Known as the De Novo Selection System, it will be a three-day selection process with almost the same amount of tests and screenings.
New techniques of behavioural testing will be implemented.
Fair and transparent screening system by minimizing human subjectivity and reduce the time taken for SSB and medicals.
It will result in an easier and more efficient selection process for the candidates.
All the major screening techniques will be there with minor modifications to save time and energy.
Screening and Psych tests would be held online.
Candidates who qualify the preliminary rounds are required to face the Board Officers including the President and/or the Deputy President in their final rounds or commonly known as SSB Conference Day. The final interview round will consist of:
Closing address by Deputy President of the Board
Announcement of results
Conferences, in general, are meeting of people where opinions on a particular topic are exchanged. All the assessors of the exam like - Psychologist, GTO, the Interviewing officer and the President of the Board meet each other to discuss and prepare the results of candidates for NDA exam.
This is the final stage of the three-day testing process. Candidates will be interviewed individually before the board. You will be asked questions during the conference & your answers will make an impact on your performance. The board makes a final recommendation about the suitability of the candidates as well as final marks to be awarded to each candidate.
Being one of the toughest interviews to crack in India, SSB requires sheer dedication and patience. Here is why candidates generally get rejected in NDA SSB interview-
Overconfidence - Whether you are a national level sports champion or an outstanding public speaker, the exam pattern and questions will be the same for everyone. Thus, candidates are supposed to walk that extra mile in order to be selected. This includes any extra preparation for the SSB interview.
Poor General Knowledge - An officer in the armed forces must know what is happening in and around his country.
Self Centred Attitude - Candidates should try and work like any other determined team member, rather than trying to be an extraordinary individual.
Negative Attitude - Candidates should avoid being too concerned or judgmental about the procedure at the SSB interview.
Inappropriate Body Language -The way candidates speak and/or walk, says a lot about them. The assessors are very quick to catch these minute details of an individual's personality.
Generally, the conference lasts for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. However, if you are one of those candidates whom the Board wants to verify for further proceedings, then it might last for 10-12 minutes to 1 hour which is an exceptional case. Candidates are called in the conference as per the order of their chest numbers assigned to them. Candidates are supposed to wait for their call or bell, to enter the room. There are few questions which are generally asked in SSB interview:
How are you? How was your stay, food and accommodation here in the last 5 days?
How do you rate your performance in these 3 tests?
What you will do if you are not selected this time?
What is your next plan?
How many friends did you make in these last few days?
Rate your performance out of 10?
Why you were not selected in your previous attempts?
Rate yourself in a group?
Which test did you enjoy most in SSB?
In which test you think you could have done better?
Any changes which you felt in yourself in these 5 days?
Have you been out with friends? What all places you visited the city in which your Board is Located.
Compare your performance with previous SSB attempt?
Some SRTs or Situation Reaction Tests if you are a borderline case.
Any suggestion for improvement of SSB?
After all the candidates have appeared and the result compilation has been done, the technical officer of the board announces the result. All the shortlisted candidates who are recommended by the board are asked to stay for the medical examination which takes place almost a week later.
NDA candidates are examined both for Army and Navy unless otherwise instructed. It takes 4 to 5 working days for the concerned Military Hospital to complete the Medical Examination and the approval of fitness status is made accordingly after that. Later on, candidates are dispersed with the President of the medical board guiding the candidates for Appeal/Review Medical Board procedures. All candidates are asked to seek advice from the President of Special Medical Board for review/appeal in case they have been declared unfit.
The process of selection is maintained with the addition of a Closing Address. In this addressing speech, the officer highlights the merits of the selection system, explains the qualities of being in the Armed forces and provides clarification to any doubts or question that may arise. This is also an interactive forum for you to put forward any problem complaint or any suggestion that you may have experienced during your stay at SSB.
This ends the interview procedure by matching candidate’s actions, thought process and words.
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.