How to Prepare for SSB – Indian Combat Guide

Clearing the Service Selection Board is one of the primary steps in order to achieve your goal of becoming an Indian Army/Navy/Air Force Officer.

However, it requires you to do a good amount of preparation, have confidence, and follow some key important steps.

This guide will explain to you how to prepare for SSB effectively and efficiently in order to achieve your goal of joining the defense services and serve the nation

Overview of Service Selection Board (SSB)

how to prepare for ssb

Indian Defense Forces offer a very exciting and professional career to young and energetic men and women in different fields according to their educational background.

Two basic types of manpower will be selected or recruited into Defense Forces such as Officers and Men(Other Ranks or PBOR).

Personnel Below Officer Rank(PBOR) in different trades will be recruited through Recruiting offices spread all over India.

The officers of the Indian Armed Forces will be selected through Service Selection Boards.

There are a total of thirteen Service Selection Boards located in various parts of the country.

The important service selection Boards are located in Bengaluru, Bhopal, Kapurthala & Allahabad for Army.

Bengaluru, Bhopal & Coimbatore for Navy and Dehradun, Mysore  Varanasi,  & Gandhinagar for Airforce. (The thirteenth SSB be ascertained).

Role Of Service Selection Board

Service Selection Board is a combined defence service and defense civilian organization.

A group of experienced and qualified gazetted officers is responsible to evaluate the suitability of shortlisted candidates for becoming defense force officers after successful completion of training

A panel of the team is appointed for assessment, consisting of Psychologist, Ground Tasking Officer & Interviewing Officer carry out several tests directly or indirectly by an individual or a team.

The specialized tests are psychological, ground task, and interview will be conducted at the Service Selection Centre at predetermined time and day.

The tests help to assess the teams to identify the potential and identification of Officer Like Qualities(OLQ) in a candidate who appears for selection.

Due to a large number of applicants every year in the recent past, the Service Selection Centre has adopted a screening test on the first day of reporting.

Types of candidates at the Service Selection Board. 

1. The first category is from successful candidates who have passed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination under the Government of India with the consultation of the Defense Department.

2. The second category is from Direct Entry schemes such as Technical graduates & Law graduates for Direct Interviews.

3. The Third category that serving personnel will face interview after departmental scrutiny.

The Commandants of the Service Selection Boards are generally Major General of Indian Army or equivalent rank of Navy & Airforce.

With more than 20-30 Officers from various arms & services serving under him to assist during the selection process.

Facilities extended to the candidates at Service Selection Centre

  • Free officers entitled messing
  • Furnished accommodation
  • Medical & Canteen facilities
  • Recreational corners
  • Third class AC  train fare for freshers &
  • Pick up & drop at the railway station..etc.​

Note: No insurance coverage will be given in case any mischievous happened during Ground Tasking Test.

Service Selection Board Activities in a Nutshell

ssb first day screening

Stage I (Most Important Test)

Screening test on the day of reporting

  • Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR)
  • Picture Perception & Description Test (PP & DT).

Stage II (3-4 days)

​Psychological Test

  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • Word Association Test(WAT)
  • Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
  • Self Description Test (SDT).


  • Group Discussion (GD),
  • Group Planning Exercise(GPE),
  • Progressive Group Task (PGT),
  • Half Group Test (HGT),
  • Individual Obstacle Test (OT),
  • Command Task (CT),
  • Group Obstacle Race(GOR),
  • Lecturette,
  • Final Group Task (FGT).

Personal Interview 

(Based on your submitted Personal details at the time of reporting at SSB)

Be truthful and frank- the way you are …face and enjoy the interview​

This will be conducted by the Interviewing Officer (IO) for 15 – 45 mins interaction.

Final Conference

All candidates have the opportunity to meet in a formal interaction with the complete team of officers responsible for selecting the potential officer.

Stage III (Medical)​

The selected candidate will be retained for Medical Test at Defense Hospital

( I believe if you are regular in games, sports, and extracurricular at your school, Need Not Worry. Enjoy the coming days with various tests held at Defence Force Hospital under specialized doctors.

A board of officers will declare your Medical Fitness (sometimes they may tell you to carry out some medical treatment if required, and report to service hospital for finalization


SSB requires a good amount of preparation to crack various test

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This Book will give you a deeper insight into the various stages you would undergo during the 5 days SSB test. Read a Short Review Here

For More, Check the Best SSB Book You Need to Crack SSB in First Attempt

Key Tips on How to Prepare For SSB

1.  Good scoring in written tests is the main aim of the defense force aspirants because of the limited vacancies in the Training Academies.

2.  Personality development, communication skills  & character building are the prerequisites for the Service Selection Board.

3.  The correctness of documents including tallying personal details with original certificates is mandatory.

4.  All your activities and behavior at SSB must be truthful and natural.

5.  Defense Force is a group of people living & working together and consider as a family with a motto of “ONE FOR ALL, ALL FOR ONE”.

6.  Self-realization including accepting the strengths and weaknesses of individuals is the baseline of the Service Selection Board.

7.  Service Selection Centre will test your individuality, social adaptability & adjustment with others.

Besides, the Service Selection Board will assess your ability to handle and perform under stress & face the enemy.

As you know that the primary responsibility of the Armed Force is to fight against external aggression.

8.  Always ask and find out an answer “Why I want to join in the Defense Force”. Is it a mere dream or actual determination?

9. All of us are same but some people are thinking about themselves.

But very few of them involve doing something differently.  So the Service Selection Board will give you the chance to realize whether you are an employee or an employer.

10.  “Service before self” is the motto of the Indian Army.  The service selection Board will have a huge responsibility to identify your character & approach towards life.

So that you fit into the category of the requirement of Defense Force to deal with safeguard the country.

Hence people always say, “The Defense Force is not a career but way of life”.

11. Lastly, Although Defense Force has always looked after your well being but you have always calculated & anticipated risk in your career to perform as compared to civilian counterparts.


The Service Selection Board is carrying out their professional competency by recommending suitable, potential leaders of the defence force, who can motivate & lead from the front without care about their own safety.

Hence the Field Marshal Philip Chetwode’s words carried by the Defense force always and every time:

“The safety, honour and welfare of your country come first, always and every time. The honour, welfare & comfort of the men you command come next.  Your own ease, comfort and safety come last, always and every time”

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