Airforce Selection Board – Introduction

The Services Selection Board (SSB) is responsible for conducting the selection process for candidates aspiring to join the Indian Armed Forces as officers. The SSB assesses the candidates’ suitability for leadership roles based on a comprehensive testing procedure that spans multiple days. Here is an overview of the testing procedure in the SSB.

Stage 1 – Screening Test:

Officer Intelligence Rating (OIR) Test

This test assesses the candidates’ cognitive abilities, logical reasoning, and problem-solving skills through verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions.

Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT)

Candidates view a picture for a short duration and then write a story based on their observations. This test evaluates their imagination, storytelling skills, and ability to grasp details.

Psychological Tests by a Psychologist

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Candidates are shown a series of ambiguous pictures and asked to create stories based on them. This test provides insights into their thought processes, imagination, and personality traits.

Word Association Test (WAT)

Candidates are presented with a set of words, and they must quickly write a sentence or phrase that comes to their mind in response to each word. This test assesses their thought patterns, attitudes, and emotional responses.

Situation Reaction Test (SRT)

Candidates respond to a series of hypothetical situations by writing the actions they would take in each scenario. This test evaluates their problem-solving abilities, decision-making skills, and judgment under pressure.

Self-Description Test (SD)

Candidates write a self-description, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This test assesses their self-awareness and ability to reflect on their personality.

Personal Interview by an Interviewing Officer

Candidates undergo a one-on-one interview with an Interviewing Officer (IO). The IO assesses their personality, leadership potential, communication skills, general awareness, knowledge, and suitability for a career in the armed forces. The interview explores various aspects of the candidate’s life, experiences, aspirations, and values.

Throughout the testing procedure, the assessors evaluate the candidate’s officer-like qualities, such as leadership potential, effective communication, problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, teamwork, and social adaptability. They also assess attributes like determination, initiative, responsibility, courage, and integrity.

Group Tasks by a Group Testing Officer

Group Discussion (GD)

The candidates are divided into small groups and given a topic for discussion. They need to discuss the topic and put forth their views within a given time frame. The GTO assesses the candidates’ communication skills, ability to articulate thoughts, and the capability to work in a group.

Group Planning Exercise (GPE)

In this task, the group is presented with a simulated situation or problem, and they have to collectively come up with a plan to address the situation. Each candidate gets a chance to narrate their plan to the group. The GTO evaluates the candidates’ planning, reasoning, and organizing abilities.

Progressive Group Task (PGT)

The group is taken to an outdoor/indoor obstacle course. They are required to tackle a series of obstacles, which may include physical barriers and challenges. The group must work together to overcome the obstacles within a limited time. The GTO observes the candidates’ teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving skills.

Snake Race/Group Obstacle Race (GOR)

The group is divided into two teams, and they compete against each other in an obstacle race. This task emphasizes teamwork, coordination, and cooperation.

Half Group Task (HGT)

Similar to PGT, but in HGT, the group is divided into two halves. Each half has to perform a different set of obstacles. This task provides an opportunity for candidates to take on more leadership roles.


While not strictly a group task, the lecturette is often conducted in a group setting. Each candidate is given a topic and a limited time to prepare a short presentation. They then deliver the presentation in front of the group and assessors. This task assesses the candidates’ confidence, clarity of thought, and ability to articulate their ideas effectively.

Individual Obstacles

In this task, each candidate has to tackle a set of individual obstacles. The GTO looks for qualities like determination, courage, and confidence in candidates as they tackle the obstacles individually.

Command Task (CT)

In CT, each candidate is given a chance to be a commander of a small group. They are required to lead their team through an obstacle. The GTO assesses the candidates’ leadership qualities, decision-making, and ability to influence their team positively.

Final Group Task (FGT)

Final group task is similar to the PGT as well as HGT. The group must work together to overcome the obstacles within a limited time. The GTO continues to observe the candidates’ teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving skills. This is the last chance for any candidate to prove his worth to the GTO.

The SSB aims to identify individuals who possess the qualities required to become successful officers in the armed forces. The selection process is designed to evaluate not only the candidate’s intellectual abilities but also their psychological suitability and compatibility with the armed forces’ ethos and values.