The A to Z of being an officer

OFFICERS IN THE MAKING: National Defence Academy graduates march during a passing-out parade. Graduates who complete the three-year course in NDA will join the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force after one more year of specialised military training in different institutes.

OFFICERS IN THE MAKING: National Defence Academy graduates march during a passing-out parade. Graduates who complete the three-year course in NDA will join the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force after one more year of specialised military training in different institutes.  

DEFENCE GETS the topmost priority in the governance of any country, since its very survival depends on its security and the protection of its territorial integrity. There can be no compromise on alertness or quality of service assured by the armed forces that should effectively swing into action at the shortest notice.

India with her long coastline and borders should necessarily have a strong defence system to protect herself. The quality of the defence system depends primarily on the competence of the men in charge of the diverse responsibilities in the armed forces. In order to ensure the best human resources are available to the system, an effective mechanism for the selection of officers with appropriate qualities has been evolved. This is known as the Services Selection Interview (SSB), which is not just an interview in the usual parlance. The Services Selection Board effectively makes a comprehensive assessment of the personal attributes, usually referred to as `officer-like qualities.' The exercise is elaborate. It is spread over four to five days.

The Army, the Navy, and the Air Force should have officers with qualities such as:

Ability to influence groups; Ability to keep secrets; Alertness; Capacity for right and quick decision; Cheerfulness; Communication skills; Cooperation; Courage; Determination; Discipline; Discrimination; Energy; Fairness; Grit for facing challenges; Honesty; Initiative; Innovative mind; Integrity; Intellectual curiosity; Intelligence; Justice and fairness; Liveliness; Loyalty; Maturity; Optimism; Organisational ability; Originality; Physical health; Positive mental attitude; Reasoning ability; Resourcefulness; Self-confidence; Selflessness; Sense of responsibility; Social adaptability; Stamina;

Team spirit; Willingness to delegate responsibility; Willingness to face criticism cheerfully.

These are officer like qualities of leadership required in the defence forces.

There are different types of entries such as the National Defence Academy and the Naval Academy for Plus Two boys, Combined Defence Services Examination for graduates, University Entry, Direct Entry in various branches of the Navy and the Air Force.

If you go for the SSB interview with a thorough knowledge of its contents and style, you have bright chances of success.

The selection process has the following components.

- Psychological / intelligent


- Group Testing Officer's

(GTO's) tests.

- Personal interview.

- Medical examination.

Reception, roll call, allotment of chest numbers, filling up of forms, including personal resume. In addition to these, some intelligence/aptitude tests may be conducted. Those who perform very poorly at this stage may be sent back and cannot proceed further.

- Intelligence tests: verbal and

non-verbal/matrices items.

- Word association test

- Thematic apperception test

- Situation test

- Self-description test

The Group Testing Officer will be in charge of conducting the tests.

Indoor exercises

Group discussion

Group planning

Short speech

Outdoor exercises

Progressive group task

Group obstacle race

(Snake race)

Half group task

Individual obstacles

Command task

Final group task

Conference: Each

faces the President and

other officers

The President / Deputy

President / GTO speaks

to the candidates

Announcement of results

You will be interviewed personally on any one of the days.

There could be slight changes in the schedule. For selection of pilots, there will be the Pilot's Aptitude Test also.

During the actual tests or otherwise, you would be under constant watch at the SSB interview centre. Every movement of yours should be made with care and caution.

Soon after the introductory address by the President or an officer, you will be given a questionnaire to be filled up. Be honest in what you write. The psychologist, the GTO, and the President would go through it. The following points may appear in the questionnaire.

1. Name of the candidate

(in block capitals)

2. Batch No.

3. Chest No.

4. Place and State you belong to

5. Father's name

6. Father' age

7. Father's occupation

(Mention the last occupation, if he is no more)

8. Father's income

9. Mother's age and nationality

10. Your date of birth, and age in years and days

11. Number of brothers - elder/younger

12. Number of sisters - elder/younger

13. Number of sisters - married/unmarried

14. Your education, starting from matriculation: Name of the examination, university/board/college /school, division/honours/subjects, year of passing

15. Places where you have stayed for more than one year during the last 10 years

16. Extracurricular activities, with positions you have held

17. Scholarships/awards/trophies you have won

18. Games you play

19. Books you have read during the last one year (apart from textbooks) and their authors

20. Newspapers and periodicals you read

21. Your hobbies

22. History of your diseases and ailments

23. Your choice of arms in Services (with preferences)

24. Types of school/college you have attended (whether boarder or day scholar)

25. Details of NCC training

26. Record of service, if any

27. The most interesting/depressing/exciting event in your life

28. What would your best friend tell about you?

29. What are the reasons for your desire to join the armed forces?

30. Briefly describe the happiest day in your life.

Do not blow your trumpet.

The books that you indicate should not be textbooks, comics or any trivial ones.

If you have philately or photography as your hobby, you should be able to answer a couple of questions on them. If you happen to show some preference to a specific `corps,' you should be able to substantiate your statements with reasons.

The SSB interview will have both verbal and non-verbal types of tests in reasoning.

There would be time constraint. You will have to answer the questions as quickly as possible. Prepare well for this.


Recommended for you