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UPSC NDA: About SSB Interview and its Procedure

Last Updated - April 04, 2017

NDA (National Defence Academy) is a national level entrance exam which is conducted by UPSC conducted twice a year for recruitment in National Defence Academy and Indian Naval Academy. Candidates who will clear the NDA written exam conducted by UPSC will need to go through an Interview. The 5-day Selection Process will be scheduled at the Armed Forces SSB Centers spread across the country.

The candidate is required to get the prescribed set of documents for the NDA exam interview conducted by Service Selection Board (SSB) which needs to be presented at the time of the interview for document verification and other formalities.

The Main aim of the NDA 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.

All Set to Go? Let’s have a look at SSB Interview


What is SSB (Selection Services Board)?

Selection process in the armed forces is very long, as is done over 5 days. Three different assessors namely the Interviewing officer, Group Testing Officer and the Psychologist test each candidate from three different perspectives and arrive at their respective decision.

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 NDA 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.


SSB 5 Day Selection Process

Following are the detailed information about these 5 days

Reporting Day: On this day, they are given an opening briefing by the duty GTO covering the testing schedule, dos and don’ts etc. after that the candidates are asked to fill up a Personal Information Questionnaire (PIQ) form.


Day 1 Screening Tests

Screening consists of 3 tests:

Verbal & Non-Verbal Tests

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.

Picture Perception & Description Test (PPDT)

P.P.D.T is a projection test, which is a part of the screening.  In this, the candidates are shown a hazy picture for duration of 30 seconds and the candidate has to write down a story in 3 minutes by noting down the basic seven parameters such as

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Character
  • Mood
  • Past (what he done)
  • Present (what is going on in the story)
  • Future (what will he do)

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)Word Association Test (WAT)
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.In this test, a series of 60 words are shown to the candidates one after another for 15 seconds each. The candidate is required to write down the first thought or idea comes to his mind.
Situation Reaction Test (SRT)Self-Description (SD)
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.Candidate is asked to write five separate paragraphs on each context about the opinion of his parents/guardian, friends, teachers/ superiors.

Read About NDA Selection Process


Day 3 Group Task

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.

  1. Group discussion

Two topics of common interest (social issues and current events) are discussed. It is an informal discussion and not a debate. Each topic is allotted 20 minutes each. No definite conclusion is required to be deduced.

  1. Group planning exercise (Military Planning Exercise)

It comprises of five stages viz, explanation of the model, reading of the narrative by GTO, five minutes for self-reading by candidates, 10 minutes for individual written solutions and 20 minutes for group discussion. Narration of the group solution and definite conclusion is required.

  1. Progressive Group Task

This is the first outdoor task in an interview of GTO. A set of four obstacles with progressively increasing level of difficulties are to be completed in 40 to 50 minutes. Structures, helping material and load are provided to the group.

  1. 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. In this task the group is pitched against each other over a set of six obstacles with a snake like load to carry.

  1. 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.

  1. Lecturette

It is an individual task and the candidate is required to give a short talk to the group. Three minutes are allowed to prepare any chosen topic from the four given in the Lecturette Cards for the talk. Candidates confidence, attitude, his/her views are some of the factors to successfully clear this exercise.


Day 4 GTO Session 1

  • Individual Obstacles

A Set of 10 obstacles is set to be tackled individually. Obstacles are numbered from one to ten, denoting the points each one carries. Each individual will be given three minutes.

  • 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. Groups are provided with Fatta, Balli, Latha around 5 feet, Steel Pipe, 2 rope, and Load of 5 kg. Time given to complete this task is 15-20 minutes.

Day 4: Personal Interview Session 2

The Interview is conducted for 35-40 minutes. Selected candidates list is 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 / Final Selection

The final process at SSB scheduled on the final day. Candidates are required to face the Board Officers. This includes the following: -

  • Closing address by Deputy President of the Board.
  • Conference.
  • Announcement of results.
  • Dispersal.

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


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