SSB Interviews

It is expected that the OLD 5 day SSB procedure will be replaced by 3 Day SSB Procedure called as De Nova SSB System from 2019. “De Nova” means “A fresh New Approach of Selection Process”. This system has been designed by DRDO's DIPR (Defence Institute of Psychological Research) and is expected to be in place by 2019. However, the official details will be in public domain once the new SSB interview procedure is approved by Ministry of Defence.

Some pointers regarding the proposed De Novo SSB Selection System:

  1. The proposed SSB Selection test will be held in two stages – Stage 1 and Stage 2 as similar to the current process.
  2. Stage 1 testing is proposed to be a screening test which will be held near a candidate’s home at a specified test centre (online in nature), just like the regular competitive entrance exams. After the completion of stage 1 and selection, the candidates will be called for stage 2 at any of the existing selection centres.
  3. Stage 2 selection will have three testing techniques, namely Interview, Psychological Tests and GTO. However, the procedure is a little different.
  4. In Psychological Tests, TAT (Thematic Apperception Test) is proposed to be replaced by Situation Apperception Test (SAT) with 9 pics instead of 12. WAT and SRT are proposed to have a whole new makeover.
  5. In the GTO series, there are 2 rounds of GD, followed by a GPE, being called as Combined Situation Planning (CSP). It is followed by Outdoor Task Execution 1 (OTE 1) which resembles PGT(Progressive Group Task) and Outdoor Execution Task 2 (OTE 2) which resembles HGT (Half Group Task) to some extent. It is then followed by a mix of IO and GOR which is called Combined Obstacle Course (COC). Finally, the test culminates with a Leadership Situation (LS) that resembles Command Task. NO Lecturette and FPGT have been proposed in the De Novo process.
  6. The interview is held on either day 1 or day 2 after the completion of the test of the day. The interview is similar to the current process with just minor changes.
  7. The final day of the De Novo process is a final board conference where the findings of IO, GTO and Psych will be discovered and based on that candidate will be recommended or not.
  8. It is proposed that there will be a 1.6 Km run for the aspirants, it won’t be a competition but one needs to finish the run at a given time. The marks will be given according to the time taken, 5-6 mins is considered as very good, 6-7 mins as average and more than 8 mins not good.
  9. The body working on this new selection system have come up with the new sets of OLQs (Officer like Qualities), so the 15 OLQs we are following in the present system might not match with the new selection system.


First comes the screening.

DAY – 1

Assume Ramesh is appearing for day 1 SSB after being screened in. His day one starts with the psychology.

Therefore Ramesh will go through various tests of psychology. Before this Ramesh and other candidates will go for a 1600m run. A slab will be decided to allot marks to the candidates likewise.

Candidates 5 - 6 Minutes Running Time 6 - 7 Minutes Running Time 7 - 8 Minutes Running Time Beyond 8 Minutes Running Time
Manish & 2 others 15 Marks
9 Other Candidates 8 Marks
20 Other Candidates 4 Marks
6 Candidates No Marks

The slab above is just for representation purpose.

Next will be the Situation reaction Test (SRT). There will be 60 questions each of which has to be answered in 30 seconds. In the proposed system, SRT will no more be a fill ups where you are given a situation and a blank space to write your response. The SRT’s under this system will be that of MCQ based where a set of 4 situations will be given to you.

These situations will be either negative response or a neutral response. You will be given 30 seconds to prioritize your response.

Next is Word Association test (WAT). In WAT candidates are given a set of words simultaneously one after the other and he is expected to write a SENTENCE on it. However in this system a candidate is expected to write 3 words instead of a sentence

Next comes TAT (Thematic apperception test). Here candidate was required to write 11 stories on the pictures shown to him + one blank story. As per the new system he has to write ONLY 9 stories and NO BLANK STORY.

DAY – 2

Day 2 starts with Group Tasks. Following is the list of tests conducted in Group task.

Group Discussion (GD)

Candidates will have a discussion on 2 topics.

Group Planning Exercises (GPE):

In general, the test will be conducted in 5 parts

  • Explanation of model
  • Next is the reading of narrative by GTO
  • Then comes 5 minutes of self-reading
  • Then 10 minutes for writing an individual plan
  • Finally, 20 minutes to discuss the common plan
  1. Progressive Group Task (PGT)
  2. Group Obstacle Race
  3. Half Group Task
  4. Lecturette
  5. Individual Obstacles
  6. Command Task
  7. Final Group Task

Earlier this would have taken almost 2 days. But now the provision is to complete everything in a day.

DAY – 3

Day 3 will begin with Personal interview by the President/Deputy president of the board followed by the conference where a candidate is either recommended or not recommended.

Subject to the outcome of the trials, based on DIPR’s (Defence Institute of Psychological Research) data of parallel run, and its acceptability by the three defence services, the Selection System is likely to be implemented at all Service Selection Boards in 2019.


The De Novo Selection System is undergoing trials at Bangalore SSB and is likely to be implemented at all SSBs by 2019. By reducing the period of SSB testing to three days, the new system will also help in making up for shortages by allowing a greater number of candidates to be tested.