Strategy for Combined Defense Service (written stage), already given in a separate article click me. This current article deals with the interview stage (written by a guest author Mr.Ketankumar Patil.)

  1. Information Letter
  2. Date of reporting + Absentee Batch
  3. Travelling Allowance
  4. @the SSB centre
  5. Day#1: Two Tests
    1. #1: Officer Intelligence rating Test (OIR)
    2. #2: Picture perception and Discussion Test (PPDT)
    3. #3: Discussion Round
    4. Elimination after Group Discussion
    5. PIQ form
    6. How to behave in the center?
  6. Day#2: Four Tests
    1. Test#1: TAT thematic appreciation test
    2. Test#2: WAT- WORD Association Test
    3. Test#3: SRT-situation reaction test
    4. Test#4: SDT- Self description test
  7. Day#3 and 4: GTO Tasks (nine)
    1. Task#1: Group Discussion (GD)
    2. Task#2: GPE or MPE group/military planning exercise:-
    3. Task#3: progressive group task (PGT)
    4. Task#4: Snake race
    5. Task#5: Lecturette
    6. Task#6: half group task(HGT)
    7. Task#7: Individual obstacles
    8. Task#8: Command task
    9. Task#9: Final Group Task (FGT)
  8. Interviews

Information Letter

After the CDS results, there are three ways to confirm your Service Selection Board (SSB) interview:

  1. Common call up letter…(e mail) or Personal email
  2. Letter at your address
  3. you can find your name on the website
  • In either case you must preserve your hall ticket and roll number till complete procedure gets over.
  • Before SSB interview, they will provide you information letter
  • You can see the copy here:

This letter contains information on

  1. Where to come
  2. When to come (timing of reporting)
  3. What to carry with you
  4. tests procedures
  5. instructions
  6. forms and formats of documents
  7. Every information you needs will be provided in that letter

So, read this letter like bible-koran-geeta and use it to check requirements before leaving you home for SSB. It’s first step towards success. Before leaving home, also make sure that you’re fullfilling all the medical standards required in CDS. Medical standards given in a separate article (click me)

Date of reporting + Absentee Batch

  • There are with two dates of reporting one is primary, secondary and last is absentee batch:  which is common for all absent candidates.
  • I will suggest go on primary as it will be easy to compete with 140 than 300 from absentee.(because bigger Crowd can give unwanted stress and tension!)
  • do utilize your absentee date if and only if you are having sufficient ground to go on absentee date.
  • There will no problem of assessing you even at absentee batch… “Do You Have It In You?” If you have it in you, they will find out. That was given in advertisement of CDS: so be sure of success if you have it!
  • If you are going for absentee batch carry, then your certificate (social-educational problem) with original reason. That’s only extra thing you need to carry with you.

Travelling Allowance

  • They will be providing you TA if you are going for that specific entry first time only (for that you need to keep all you original tickets with you and hardcopies only.)
  • Habitual visitors are paid by papa bank only!
  • Take wishes from family for success and journey. Real journey begins now.
  • CDS… keep it it mind… really in mind… you need to be “cultured –dominant-still-social” (cds) now onwards ….

@the SSB centre

  • When You reach the station, you will find mela of compatriots who came from pan India and everybody is waiting for officers vehicle to receive you.
  • Time of arrival of bus may be late by nearly  1 hour to collect all  future officers at a time!
  • Warning-!! don’t mess up with gyani babas who visited SSB many times. Listen to their advice but proceed with your own ways. But don’t neglect/avoid/disrespect others because some of them will be with you for various GTO tasks after the screening day, and to succeed in those tasks, you need to be a team player.
  • When you are entering bus take a pinch on yourself and warn you will be fellow who will be there for next 15 days. (Those who clear all process are stay for near about 10-15 days ).
  • So be sure about your success. When you reach there, they will show up you all your rooms
  • After getting refreshed, you all will be called up to one big hall for instructions, documents collection
  • At that time they will provide you some forms like identification form ,TA form for first timers,etc and photos on forms
  • so go prepared from your room with all necessary things with you.
  • They will provide you chest numbers(that’s your identity now. Yor going to get 3 numbers in complete process)
  • Then afterwards you will be given nashta (samosa-wadapaw-cake) you will enjoy this but boss this is paid thing, the vendor will note your chest number and ask you money when you will be leaving!

SSB tasks and tests

Day#1: Two Tests

Next day will be of screening tests. It is made up of following:

  1. Officer Intelligence rating Test (OIR)
  2. Picture perception and Discussion Test (PPDT)

#1: Officer Intelligence rating Test (OIR)

  • OIR test will consist of verbal and nonverbal tests
  • 40 or sometimes 50 questions with multiple options
  • time 15 to 18 minutes
  • These questions will be of class 10 level. so don’t worry and bang it with good set of skills.
  • No negative marking so solve max. questions.
  • There are chances your paper will be marked by previous students but neglect it and have your own answer.

#2: Picture perception and Discussion Test (PPDT)

  • As you finish the Officer Intelligence rating Test (OIR), they will provide you blank sheet and you will shown a blurred picture and you need to write story on the basis of picture you saw.
  • The test paper looks something like following:

SSB CDS PPDT testpaper

Area What to write?
A1 Your personal details
  1. about characters location
  2. age,sex,mood of character
  3. in opposite to this you need to mention what is action you saw in picture
B writing story here.

this complete process will be done in just 4.30 minutes.

How to write the story?

  • your story must be good in grammatical sense
  • It should portray message from your personality
  • It should speak about human emotions and actions
  • Must be written in officers way
  • Good expression, artistic touch will be appreciated
  • your need to weave story about hero and team. He must be accompanied by team.
  • your story should convey three phases:
  1. What has happened?
  2. What is happening?
  3. What will happen?

And they will collect your answersheets and call you in groups for the discussion round.

The Discussion Round

The seating arrangement of the discussion round, looks like following:

SSB CDS discussion sitting arrangement

This is only test where you will be in front of psychologist and GTO for the first time so behave yourself!

  • Ground testing office.
  • GTO will try to analyze your qualities of leadership, gentleman behavior and confidence ,clarity of thoughts
  • Before the test, he’ll tell you not to look towards assessors. Do obey them. Tt’s utmost important that you obey whatever  he spoke
IO interviewing officer
Psychologist Psychologist will try to analyze your personality from various angles within short period of time.
  • Go with confidence in discussion room
  • your group will consists of 8 to 14 person, so make your mark with every move but don’t show off things.
  • First GTO will ask you all to read your own stories
  • When the last candidates finishes narrating his story, GTO will say start to group discussion
  • and here you need to come to common conclusion-  which is very difficult so try to talk very constructive.
  • Also praise who comes with good points, at least when you talk 5 times in GD  you makes some good points, it makes some sense to take you granted that you will be screen in..(try to initiate discussion only if you have some valid points or you may help good person to narrate groups storey so observe ,analyze and perform well)
  • don’t construct your story in negative manner or don’t provide hero a superpowers- Make him team man and observer, leader and person with emotions but overriding his work principles.
  • After entering hall make your pose in confidence sense and be positive becoz if you have done something wrong in test you can improve now
  • He will ask you to  come at common conclusion of your everyone’s story so it is going to fish bazaar. Time will be 15 minutes

Elimination after Group Discussion

  • As soon as you will finish with screening you can have your lunch in canteen and you will be called up to testing area again to hear result of screening tests(it will be around 3 hours after your screening)
  • GTO will come and read out results. He will read your chest number and in reply will ask you your UPSC number and name and rest of people who couldn’t make that he will send back them to barracks to packup.
  • He will give them consoling message like you are very good persons and there are many avenues in life bla blabla..bla… but in nutshell he will say you goodbye guys…we got optimum hard luck.
  • Those who cant clear SCREENING go home write complete procedure ,containing schedule to each word you spoke or mistakes what you did in process which was evaluated and show it to expert person. Please don’t go some baba asking why my planets didn’t support me or what ratna (Gem) should I wear? It won’t help you. Prepare harder for the next time and bang on.

PIQ form

  • Now those have cleared the group discussion round.  They’ll be provided with personal information questionnaire (PIQ) form which is very important for you and for them too.
  • They will tell you all the details on how to fill, what to fill, where to add please don’t make haste.

How to behave in the center?

  • Once you’re done filling the PIQ form, the company hawaldar major  (CHM) will give you new chest numbers and do remember your UPSC number in complete process and write this new chest  number as 2nd chest number in form now forgot last chest number.
  • After screening get over and submission of PIQ forms your free to go anywhere ,
  • The CHM will tell you incoming and outgoing timing follow them
  • He will also tell you which are inbound and out of bound area… if your free and no interview arranged then go for outing and have fun and also you can visit anteroom, cybercafé and reading room available inside your camp area.
  • CHM will provide you information about interview schedule and reporting time of next day activities… so listen him carefully, it will help you and if you think there is some genuine problem share with him than directly complaining it with anybody else .
  • He is to help you out. Be respectful with every staff member you come in contact with.
  • Go in gentleman dress in mess and anywhere. Believe in principle of need to know. Don’t go for unnecessary things.
  • Your rooms will be having facility of FM radio ,so listen it. But if you like a song, don’t turn radio to high volume. You might get scolded by the staff.
  • Do utilize net from mosquitos because if you get sick it will not help you to give maximum out of you. And wake up early in the morning to get prepared before time as there will be many batches running at a same time. Breakfast will be ready from 5.30am as most of the peoples will not tend to go for breakfast but go and have breakfast as your going to more mental work as well as physical.
  • Don’t argue with mess staff or don’t ask for extra if you liked anything or don’t waste food at all as you know its DESH KA PAISA and your LOYAL SOLDIER TO COUNTRY.

Day#2: Four Tests

Next day: you’ve to face four psychological tests:

  1. TAT- Thematic appreciation test
  2. WAT- WORD Association Test
  3. SRT-situation reaction test
  4. SDT- Self description test

Test#1: TAT thematic appreciation test

  • Here you will be shown 11 pictures same like in screening test, timing will be same and you need to go through same process. After completing 11 pictures they show one blank slide and u need to make story around it.(But Don’t be yash chopra or RGV)
  • You will be provided sheets with number on it. First 6 pages will be utilized for it.
  • You can write in English or Hindi.
  • This is test of your imagination and skills.
  • Write each story and complete it. No need to describe picture but to write story around it.

Test#2: WAT- WORD Association Test

  • This test is second test in psychological tests.
  • 60 words will be shown to you and you need to make meaningful  sentence with it
  • when you will write sentence with given words it will point out your personality and traits of your personality.
  • As there will be very less time so you will indirectly go to your genuine mode so it will give fair idea about your personality to psychologist.

Test#3: SRT-situation reaction test

  • This is very important test in psychological tests. There will be 60 questions and you will be given space for each SRT response .
  • They will be providing you various life experiences and will seek your response in less time and it should be logical, practical and well planned.
  • Since very less time is given, so you won’t be able to think a lot before writing- these will be only original response coming from your own life or they will be on your past experiences or based on your  thinking style.
  • So no chance for modifications and real person comes out of you and it’s the thing they are going to check.
  • Till now you gave 3 psychological test where only quality matters not quantity so don’t worry about how many you solved and how many marks will you get. Go for the next phase with confidence.

Test#4: SDT- Self description test

  • This is test about you. They will check you, how much you know and how you are known in social and close spheres.
  • all of your responses will matched with psychologists analysis and your performance.
  • In SSB process you are nowhere at advantage position to speak lies or bluff with them.
  • so be careful when you are going to speak lie or bluff with anybody.

In SRT they will ask 5 questions

  1. What you think about yourself
  2. What your friends think about you?
  3. What your parents thinks about you?
  4. What  kind of person you wish to be?
  5. What your enemies think about yoyou?

Questions may differ from ^these, but they will pull you out in any case.

  • Write correct response and pose your image as you are. Be yourself! Otherwise you’ll be out of the race. Your interview will be based on PIQ form you submitted and this SDT you just completed.
  • Don’t exaggerate your good points as well as don’t show yourself as perfect man.
  • Be positive and constructive with views.  After completing this test you will be able to leave the hall. Those who have their interviews they can reach CHM and ask him timings.
  • As soon as you reach your barracks I will suggest to write every word you wrote in SDT it will help you in next few days. Try to remember most of the words which you think shows your character or speaks about your personality.
  • So keep this  words in front of you and try to understand sphere of that word with respect to your personality
  • In meanwhile psychologist will send his/her map about every candidate to GTO, INTERVIEWING OFFICER.
  • This map will contain complete idea about your intelligence, QIR, prospects, traits and any flaws she observed and they will work on it, to assess you on above given points as well as they will have separate analysis and at last they will try to match 3 analysis and if everybody agrees with analysis then you will be selected after conference.

Next day will be GTO TASKS.

Day#3 and 4: GTO Tasks (nine)

  • It will consists of 9 tasks on ground.
  • The GTO will be with you for most time in this complete process.
  • for these two days you will have special complete white dress like your playing Wimbledon match…white short pant and white t shirt without any strips. And  PT shoes or sports shoes
  • While going for GTO task don’t carry anything with you like kada, wrist watch, chains etc.  take pens and after finishing your work with pen submit pens to CHM and take back when you leave the ground.
  • Your GTO tasks will be taken by GTO with the help of 2 CHM all these peoples will very helpful to you.
  • Whenever GTO will give instruction carefully listen him.
  • He will be providing in a way how to behave and what are the solutions for critical condition and what should you do in process of GTO tasks.
  • You need to enjoy these two days as these two days will be thrilling assignment for you and there will be no answers for these situation.
  • Only way to these situations are team work and presence of mind. As these tests will be seen by GTO he will observe you with all angles like leadership skills, courage, initiative, sportsman spirit, etc and he will also observe your facial expression and body language so be positive and avoid unnecessary gestures .
  • He may divide all GTO tasks in two days procedure and there are chances he will try to finish every task in a day.
  • So ready for any situation. As you will start your day from 5 morning he will be there with you on ground  and trying to make you speak loudly
  • he will divide you in groups as per your batch which was screen in(if 40 screen in candidates ­he will divide in 10 or 8 candidates ) now some will get new GTO.

Task#1: Group Discussion (GD)

This is very first test if given in sequence they normally follow. It will be 15 and 15 minutes affair, means you will be going through 2 group discussion
SSB CDS 3_GTO task group discussion

  • unlike the previous discussion round (on day#1), here you don’t have to not to come to common conclusion and you can express what you want (in a good manner.)
  • 1st  group discussion GTO will provide you 2 topic and will give you not more than 30 seconds to decide as you will decide again he will brief what should you discuss and he will ring a bell to start and as 15 minutes will over and he will say ,”well done… gentlemen’’ ! Even if you were not gentle!
  • Then he will throw a subject to you for 2nd GD, and will again brief you by taking seat as opposite to his previous one.
  • Again he will listen to your fish market and will check his fishes.

Task#2: GPE or MPE group/military planning exercise:-

  • In this test, they’ll have a wooden plate map with embossed river, jungle, village drawn over it.
  • GTO will brief you about the situation e.g. terrorists are planning to raid over village or there is an ambush etc.
  • GTO will check your skills in map reading, memory , thinking process, planning, strategy,  teamwork, priority of work and will observe your anxiety and pressure killing tactics.
  • He will give points and target to you while dealing with problems don’t miss target (e.g. to visit caves) and use some methods like use telephones at railway signal, use first aid kit from vehicles and use code language to convey messages.
  • First he will instruct you about given model and then will say see for few time and will give you one sheet where list of problem and situation will be given again he will give you time to see map.
  • then write your own storey on a blank sheet
  • He will collect sheets and will say to discuss among group and decide group plan
  • You’ll have to finish it in 15 minutes, then he will ask who is going to explain group plan to me? So it will be the time to go forward, take the lead and give him plan with the help of pointer.
  • Use pointer in a style, don’t use it as a walking stick.
  • Be confident and look towards everyone and even towards GTO as you are explaining it to him.

Task#3: progressive group task (PGT)

  • you will be given 4 obstacles in a sequence and you need to solve in a group.
  • Provide ideas to solve problem and crossover it with the help of given helping material.
  • Don’t leave any helping material inside problem field, be a leader when working in group
  • if some other candidate is leading in good style help him and provide and praise his decisions. It shows that you put the team before yourself. Don’t give negative signals to GTO and group because of your frustration, if any.
  • When you will be doing this PGT keep in mind GTO rules for PGT like inbound area for you and materials outbound area for both and outbound area for material. And follow them in your time, if you break any rule comeback to your last position and don’t try to hide that you broke rule.

Task#4: Snake race

  • This is very exciting and thrilling work that you’ll enjoy. Each group will fight with each other for number one rank in this test.
  • You will be going through 6 obstacles like climbing wall, walking over web net, etc  each group will have its own channel and you will be carrying one rope like heavy structure and you will be given marks only if you don’t put it down till race is complete.
  • Rule is that when you are crossing obstacle atleast 3 will hold it and rest of the time everyone will hold it.
  • When you will crossing obstacle you need to say war cry and if you break rules here will penalty of two types: time and repeat it…!!
  • If a single member have done wrong move he will ask him to perform it and join group for next obstacle. In this test keep yourself injury-free,but don’t try to protect urself, you are going to get some minor scratch and medical help will b there if anything bad happens.
  • but behave like soldier always ready for josh laga ke but hosh me!

Task#5: Lecturette

  • This is similar to extempore exercise in MBA admissions.
  • This task is for analyzing, how you think, how you express yourself, how you motivate others.
  • You will be given list of 4 topics written on a sheet
  • you need to pick up this from table and go to prepare any topic from that list and give lecture on that topic for 3 minutes
  • GTO will inform you at 2.5 minutes and will ring a bell at 3 mints to stop your lecture.
  • while giving lecture keep your voice tone same and audible to GTO and your compatriots
  • don’t go for tough language and don’t be boring teacher
  • try to show both sides of topic and put your view with some examples that you may know.
  • Before the lecture, he may ask you to introduce yourself so be unique but don’t be too different.
  • Keep smiling face and unwanted facial gestures at a long distance.
  • And when you sitting for others’ lecture, be a good listener, you might get a few indirect ideas to include/exclude in your lecture.

Task#6: half group task(HGT)

  • This test is done by diving your group into half number .
  • If you couldn’t play a good role in previous tasks due to the crowd or some dominating candidates then this is time when you can show your guts and put yourself at top in race.
  • There will be only one task similar to what you did in the Progressive Group Task (PGT), but some what modified in nature .
  • and all GTO rules will apply here as previous rules.15 minutes will be given to you.
  • Give suggestions and work in a group and proceed for success.

Task#7: Individual obstacles

  • This will be test of individuals and you need to complete this within 3 minutes and consists of ten 10 obstacles and these obstacles will have marks as per their number like if obstacle no,7 will carry 7 marks and after finishing all 10 obstacles you can perform more till time permits you.
  • Prefer the obstacles that give more marks at first go.
  • You can start from anywhere and do any task at anytime but you need to complete 10 obstacle have want to repeat these for more marks.
  • There will be colour rule: don’t touch to red colour as it will outbound area. And when you will be there at commando walk GTO will say…” when you reach at top shout out your girlfriends name….!!
  • If you feel okey with it no problem , he will not cut your marks or nor he will increase but it indicates that you have friendship/interest in opposite sex too!
  • Before going for individual obstacles he will show you each obstacle and how to go through each obstacle, CHM will show you how to do that… at that time see obstacles and plan your route so you don’t waste time in unnecessary movements later.
  • Be confident while doing every obstacle. And if you get stuck at any obstacle try once ,twice and still you cant make it go for next.

Task#8: Command task

  • In this you will enjoy authority like a commander!
  • Before going for task GTO will chat with you, he may ask about you friends, girlfriend(s), town you visited etc. then he will give you idea about task.
  • This task is real task as you will be solving obstacle with two candidates as your subordinates
  • but they cant talk or suggest you any idea ,they will only listen you.
  • You will have liberty to call any two subordinates from your group.
  • Here again PGT rules about inbound and outbound areas will be used. I
  • If any of subordinate talk or try to talk stop him and tell not to do so.
  • Be commander and use authority but don’t abuse any of your subordinates.

Task#9: Final Group Task (FGT)

  • This will be last test GTO takes. It is test where complete group will come again and work on one obstacle here you will have last chance to show your talent and make your way to get recommended.
  • Same rules like PGT ,HGT,CT.. and you will be given 8 to 10 minutes.
  • After finishing your all tasks he will have small discussion with you.
  • He will permit you to ask any query related with SSB or anything which you thinks so.
  • Then he will give a lecture like a motivational coach, like You are cream from all over India and how your good than rest of people. And he will count some famous names before you who failed in SSB. That’s only for you all buddys. Its like applying cream before injury or like giving a vaccine hahaha.
  • Enjoy your remaining day on preparing for conference and enjoy at ante room or visit city area or purchase from CSD canteen. Or you can play various games indoor as well as outdoor of surf sites.


SSB CDS ketan patil
Author Notes: I’ve provided the detailed tips on personal-interview/conference in a separate article. click me. In the mean time, what I can say is:

  • Interviews are normally conducted in the afternoon by the interviewing officer.
  • The interviews will carry on from day 1 to day 4.
  • You will be interviewed only once and will be informed about it well in advance.
  • The atmosphere throughout the interview is relaxed and informal.
  • The questions are generally based on your everyday experience
  • You can also watch the movie uploaded about SSB interviews and various tasks: on following page

About the Guest Author

Mr.Ketankumar Patil hails from a very small village Palaskhede Mirache in Jalgaon district of Northern Maharashtra.
He has done B.Pharm and PGDBM in operations.
In past, he has cleared CDS exam, without coaching and appeared for SSB interviews @Bhopal center. But couldn’t clear conference stage.