SSB Psychological Tests – My Experience and Advice

by Girish Singh on June 8, 2014

testWelcome Back.

In the last article, we discussed how variant the SSB screening could be. Next in the line is the Psychological tests or the psych tests.

Results were declared, and we screened in candidates were asked to go inside the hall and wait. Screened out candidates were sent back home from there. A little hope sparked in every one that we were one step close.

While we were waiting in the hall, the tested JCO sir came, and provided us with PIQ forms.

Let’s see what this PIQ is in brief. PIQ, or Personal Information Questionnaire, is a sheet of paper, carrying various questions, and having spaces in between them. Questions are very simple- Your Hobbies, Interests, Achievements, Sports which you play, and other things among it. Thing is, everyone can write the answers, it’s basic “What kind of person you are” questionnaire. Remember the one they show in the Roadies? Kinda like that, but obviously much better than it.

Piece of advice- Don’t exaggerate, and be honest. The questions in the interview may be directly related to what you wrote in PIQ. You don’t want to explain to interviewer how you have love collecting coins without knowing what this hobby is actually called. Do you?

Also, never ever, falsify an information. Even about the things that are remotely related to you. Trust me, they’ll know. They are professionally trained to do that, to detect liars, exaggerators, and superficial people.

So, once the PIQ is filled (they give you enough time for that), it is taken back. You won’t see it again.

Next we were given instructions to report the next morning at 0700 hours at the testing hall in crisp formals. Yes, you have to maintain the looks. Each and every time. Bring nice formals with you.

Next day, we were all seated and we were explained the procedure for psychological tests that were to follow. The first in the series was Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT). It was like picture perception. The difference is, there was a single picture in PPDT, now there are 11 pictures, same kind, hazy, which are shown one after another non-stop. Four minutes are given to write a story on one picture. Time to see and think is given in extra. It is a tough task to keep writing for a period of half an hour or so but stay cool. Remember how we write in our semester exams? Yes, like that. Don’t write pre conceived or out of the world stories. Be simple, positive, precise, and logical. It is not a story writing competition, it is a psych test. Keep that it mind. Weave nice stories around central characters which should not depict negativity, hatred, or hopelessness. Stay optimistic in your life and you will be optimistic in the stories you write too.

How to structure the story?- The story can be structured in the following way. Describe the story in three parts- past, present, and future. Write what has led to the situation, what is going on, (that is being showed in the picture), and what is the outcome of the picture. This is a standard way to approach and psych problem that is given in TAT.

The second test that follows is Word Association Test (WAT). We were just wondering how well we did in TAT and the officer moved us to the next test. In the next test, 60 words were shown to us one after another on the projector screen, also non-stop with interval of 15 seconds in between. The purpose of giving such a short interval in between is that a candidate is supposed to write down his first response that comes to his mind on seeing the word. The words are pretty easy, vocabulary wise. WAT is used to judge the personality of the candidate in many fields. Remember the scene from the James Bond Skyfall where Daniel Craig is subjected to rapid fire words by his assessor who later deems him unfit? Like that.

So, the best anyone can do is, be honest and try to stay positive. There are a lot of negative words too, coming on the screen, like- Negative, Death, Cheat, Loss, Anger, Useless and so on. It is a real challenge to make something positive out of them. Like- “Reading books help in Anger Management” and “Useless papers can be recycled”

There is no right sentence and no wrong sentence. The officer in fact told us to write down our reaction, it may as well be another word! But, my advice- stick to sentences. A few things that can be noted are- Don’t preach, Use the word “I” as less as possible, it shows self-centeredness. Avoid long sentences, or you will end up losing few next words. Attempt as many as possible if not all. Avoid screw ups in order of the sentences.

This test will be an exhaustive one. You will need all your attention and all your creativity. Keep reading newspapers. You don’t want that a word comes in front of you and you don’t even know its meaning! That will be a dangerous place to be in.

The next test that follow is known as Situation Reaction Test (SRT). This is the most interesting test, if you ask me. 60 situations are written in the booklet, to which we have to react. These situations are simple as well as a little complex. The situation reaction test gives us 30 minutes to react to 60 situations. Simple mathematics, 30 seconds for one problem. In this 30 second only, we have to read the situation, think and formulate our reaction, and has to write it down. Even in my second SSB I was not able to complete all 60. I attempted 49 questions in my first SSB and 52 in my second. Anywhere near or above 50 is pretty good.

Now, the most common mistake that many people do in situation reaction is that they attempt it heroically. They think so out of the box that they end up writing a totally unrealistic solution to many problems. One needs to understand that they don’t seek heroes, they need mentally and logically fit candidates who are realistic in their approach.

I will try to explain this by an example. Suppose a situation like this-

“You are going alone from a dense forest when armed robbers come and they ask you of your money”

One heroic answer can be- “I’ll fight. I will protect my money and will escort robbers to police”

Whereas, the realistic and correct answer would be to give your money! They are armed, you are not. The money is simply not worth putting your life at stake.

Consider another question-

“You are going from the same dense forest with your sister when some armed goons come and start assaulting your sister. What will you do?”

Considering the last answer, many people may try answering that again, I will not do anything. But the correct answer to this situation is that “I would fight till my last breath to protect my sister from those goons”. Now it’s not about the money, it’s about the values to fight for. The value and the will to protect the people you love.

The examples probably cleared how to approach situation reaction test. Just another thing to note is that one should not waste time figuring out the best possible answer. Time is of utmost value here, less attempted questions will automatically mean that time has been spent for producing artificial cleverly though answers. So, it’s all about smart work in less time.

Next test that follow is the Self-Description (SD). A few questions are there which you need to answer-that’s it. Questions are-

  • What do you think about yourself?
  • What do your parents think about you?
  • What do your teachers and faculties think about you?
  • What do your friends think about you?
  • What kind of person you want to become in your life?

These questions may seem simple, but trust me, I nearly went out of my breath answering these. I mean it’s easy to tell about others, but when you need to that to yourself, one require serious contemplating. So, be prepared, that’s the best thing you can do! You know the questions, figure out the answers before sitting there! Only if somebody told me that before I went for my first SSB.

So, the few things you need to keep in mind while writing SD are that you have to be honest and you should tell the truth. Except your weakness, like a mature person and write down as genuinely as you can. Be yourself is the thing to be done here. Anyways, you have a lot of time to prepare for SD, so no issues there.

Hope you guys are finding the articles useful. Drop your feedback in the comment sections and share the article on Facebook, Twitter, the things we guys do nowadays.

Will be back! Stay tuned. Jai Hind.!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

prabhat June 8, 2014 at 11:52 am

Dear Girish,
                    Congratulations for getting select in SSB.I have a SSB of navy at coimbatore on 29 June I just want to know that in screening when group behave like a fish market than What I have to do speak over there or silent over there.


Sid June 9, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Hey buddy,

When this type of conditions occurs, u have to show maturity & stop speaking at that time. After a few seconds, judges will stop everyone and after their appeal u have the chance to start giving a logical point but try to give answer as fast as possible.

Rishi a nair June 8, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Congratulations sir, for the recommendation.
Sir, I noticed in your ‘Qd’ section…you mentioned the questions and then after that you said “so be prepared for the answers before you go” and you also said ” only if someone had mentioned the questions to me in my first ssb” .
Does that mean that the questions you listed for the QD section are the same all the time?
or do they change it?


Rishi a nair June 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Im sorry sir…I meant the “self description” section


Satyvir June 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Dear Girish,
Congratulations for getting select in SSB.I have a SSB of AIR FORCE (AFCAT Entry) at Dehradoon on 23 June. I just want to know that in screening when group behave like a fish market than What I have to do speak over there or silent over there and what is the best strategy to screen in as I am a 6th time screened out guy in my all attempts.


rishabh June 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

Sir I want to know for the coast guard asst. Comm post. How can I do well in mental aptitude test which is conducted on the first day. Plz suggest me some books regarding this..


Abhishek June 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

This tips will very useful in my 1st SSB interview


deependra June 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

sir. .my height is 181 cms….and weight is 74 kg….and I
have my medicals on 14th july 2014 for indian
airforce. .please sir tell me will there b any problem
regarding this.. please sir.


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