The "Combined Defence Services"Examination (CDS) is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission for recruitment into the Indian Military Academy,Officers Training Academy, Indian Naval Academy and Indian Air Force Academy. Only unmarried graduates are eligible to sit for the exam. Successful candidates are admitted into the respective Academies after an interview conducted by the Services Selection Board (SSB). ELIGIBILITY : For Indian Military Academy/Officers' Training Academy: Degree from a recognized university or equivalent For Naval Academy: Bachelor of Engineering For Air Force Academy: Degree of a recognized University with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level or Bachelor of Engineering AGE LIMIT : Indian Military Academy 18-24 years
Air Force Academy 19-23 years
Naval Academy 19-22 years
Officers’ Training Academy 19-25 years


Indian Military Academy / Air Force Academy / Naval Academy

Subject Marks
English 100
General Knowledge 100
Elementary Mathematics 100
Total 300

<Officers' Training Academy

Subject Marks
English 100
General Knowledge 100
Total 200

Candidates successful in the written exam are then called for an interview by a Services Selection Board which evaluates a candidate's suitability for a career in the Indian Armed Forces.
Air Force academy candidates are tested for Pilot Aptitude Battery test [PABT]. After these tests, candidates undergone medical examination before finally admitted into the above mentioned academies, and after successful completion of training, they are inducted into the armed forces.

SSB TIPS : Two important factors of the Interview which play a decisive role are the candidate’s Knowledge and his power of Expression. He should be able to speak fluently and express him-self clearly, will score high marks. While answering the candidate should take the lead and cover as much as possible. In other words, simply saying “Yes” or “No” to a question will not suffice. The candidate should explain convincingly why he agrees or disagrees to a given proposition. He must logically and forcefully substantiate his views with valid arguments.
At the SSB Interview they lay much emphasis on qualities or leadership and not merely on academic or textual knowledge. The candidate should therefore, know what the various qualities of leadership are, and how they could be highlighted by him during the interview.

Leadership Qualities :
The board takes note of the following qualities, when it tries to assess the leadership ability of the candidate, as the same have been generally accepted as leadership attributes :
Intellectual Attainments :
The extent of knowledge in different subjects. The depth of knowledge – How deeply the candidate has studied a subject of his choice of interest? Practical Knowledge How the candidate has applied his theoretical knowledge in practical situations or how best he can solve problems. To find out this questions put forth ( Example ) may be :

1. What will you do, when you find after boarding the bus that you had forgotten to bring the money purse with you? How will you organize a Picnic?

2. What will you do if you were not selected at this interview?

3. General Knowledge – Current Affairs, Everyday Science, Burning Topics, Sports, Newspaper headlines, etc. Grasp – How quickly the candidate understands the question or the subject?

1. Fluency – No stammering, gape, etc,
2. Forceful – Lively, enthusiastic and arresting. No monotonous or dragging voice. Not speaking very fast. No affectations.
3. Logic in argument – Rational, clearheaded, analytical, systematic, proceeding step buy step and no contradictions.
4. Practical approach- Realistic and sensible, use of commonsense, alive to facts and existing limitations.
5. Convincing Ability – Speaking with sincerity and faith.
Personal Traits :
1. Cheerful, pleasant and smiling disposition.
2. Liveliness – Eager, alert, inspired by urge, fired with ambition.
3. Enthusiasm, keenness and interest.
4. Dress and Turnout – Smart, clean and suited to the occasion.
5. Poise – Graceful movements. Confident approach, straight walk.

What To Do’s and Don’ts for various stages of SSB:- Firstly, as I told you its not a competition. So when you go to ssb you meet new people, so its better you make friends and not rivals. Because what I felt, if you have better understanding and cooperation between your group then there are higher chances of more number of candidates getting recommended.

Stage 1 1. PPDT –
a) Story writing –

i) Observe the picture carefully (which many of us ignore because we are all in hurry to start making story.)
ii) Make a blue print in your mind as to what you see in the picture and what will be your story.
iii) The story making secrete: Cause/problem(main issue) + Solution(action oriented) + hero(that’s you).
iv) Keep your story short, sweet and simple.
v) Don’t waste time in writing a story for The times of India. From my side write in most layman’s language.

b) Discussion –

i) For god sake! Its a discussion, so discuss and don’t try to put each other down.
ii) Aim is to come to a common story. Its better to cooperate or because its of no use cursing each other after getting S/O.
iii) Don’t become a spectator there(I have seen people speaking nothing at all in discussion). Speak up, give chance to judge you.
iv) And for those Heavy Machine Guns(that’s what I call them) who open fire like anything even before asked to. Hold your horses. You are doing more harm than any good to your self. Let others speak.
v) Be creative, think out of box and try to make a common story by merging maximum two to three stories.
vi) Don’t narrate a different story from what you have written. You can add few points, in case you could not write due to lack of time.
vii) Be confident! Here you can show your communication skill and convincing ability also, if required. viii) One should know when to speak, when to give chance to others and more important of all : when to keep one’s mouth shut.
ix) The more one speaks; the more one tends to exhibit “bond like” traits in his personality.

2. Psychology Test :-

a) Word Association Test(WAT) –

i) Write short and simple sentences.
ii) Don’t give second thought, once the word is flashed. If you try to think and write, you will miss a word or two.
iii) Just be positive.
iv) be careful about handwriting, that does matter.

b) Thematic Appreciation Test(TAT) –
i) Follow the points given for PPDT.
ii) Just remember that write your story in brief.
iii) Don’t make it complicated.
iv) Blank picture: In this write a story which relates to you in real.

c) Situation Reaction Test(SRT) -

1) Be sensible, write practical situation.
2) Show action happening, explain.
3) Do not act like a superhero.
4) Do not skip a situation in between, it projects that you are trying to avoid or run away from that situation.
5) Do not waste too much time thinking on a single situation.

Good e.g: She calls for help and ties her scarf on leg to stop bleeding.
Bad e.g: He will jump out of the window and save the falling cat.

d) Self Description -

1) Write the truth, project yourself in the best real way.
2) Take help from your friends, teachers and parents. Ask their opinion about yourself.
3) Can prepare in advance.
4) Introspect, to know about your strength and weaknesses.
5) Do not copy what you read in some book or website.
6) Your only chance to communicate with psychologist and tell about you in simple words.

This is the most easiest phase of ssb as far as I think because for this step you need not prepare or practice anything. Interview always revolves around the candidates past, present and future. You will be questioned about your studies, hobbies, like & dislikes, friends, enemy, some social problem(not always),
why army?, your views on politics.
In interview your memory, communication, honesty, reaction, way of expression, understanding, is checked. Before going for interview drink a glass of water and take 5 deep breathes it really helps to relax you and say to yourself “I will do good” and enter.

During Interview -

1) Interviewer is not a monster from fiction movie, calm down and communicate freely, who knows this might be your only chance.
2) Speak truth and only truth. No bluffing, beating around the bush.
3) Try to answer question in the sequence asked.
4) It is right to say “I don’t know” rather than telling fairy tales.
5) You are not required to know all the answers, as interviewer will not ask all the questions from you.
6) Do not try to be someone you are not.

If your interview is after GTO, then:

1) Talk about your group, team and not only how well you did in individual obstacle and command task.
2) Do not project yourself as a hero and the only hero of team, that you did everything.
3) Do not criticize anyone.
4) Appreciate and acknowledge others’ help in your team’s victory.
During my interview, I was very relaxed and throughout interacted with IO as a friend. It went very smooth.
Didn’t realise when three quarters of an hour flew.

GROUND TASK – In this phase of ssb you are observed on ground. How good you are as a member of team, as an individual, as a commander, as a subordinate in achieving the goal. Things observed are practical application of theoretical knowledge, orator skill, physical robustness, intelligence, problem solving ability, time management.

a) Group discussion -
1) Follow golden rule – Speak and let other speak.
2) Add quality to discussion not quantity.
3) Pay attention to what others have to say, by nodding(not like a maniac) or maintaining eye contact.
4) Don’t disagree with other, don’t try to prove them wrong instead put your own point across.
5) Subject knowledge – very much required.
6) Don’t be in hurry to end or conclude the discussion, GTO is there to end it.

b) Lecturette -
1) Prepare the outline of your lecture in the given 2/3 minutes.
2) Be brief.
3) Utilize time completely and don’t overshoot your speech.
4) Maintain eye contact with your groupmates & not the GTO.
5) Be firm and loud enough.
6) Controlled use of hand and overall body language.

c) Group Planning Exercise(GPE) -
1) Keep the time and distance factor in mind, most of us ignore this easily.
2) Use the resources available in situation.
3) Prioritize the problems in order of importance.
4) Be reasonable in your solution.
5) Avoid red heir or take care of it in the end.
6) Follow basic rules in discussion.

d) Command Task -
1) Observe and understand the problem once for all.
2) Do not take help of subordinates.
3) Do not allow subordinate to break any rules, at all.
4) Do not give up, on average a obstacle has 2/3 solutions.
5) Call for good subordinates and not good commanders.
6) Resourcefulness of subordinate can’t be used but they have to be good in obeying order.

e) Half Group Task, Progressive Group Task and Final Group Task -
1) For god sake stop don’t run behind the Balli(stick), fatta(plank) and rassi(rope).
2) Help others in crossing.
3) Give your ideas when everyone is busy thinking.
4) Think for next obstacle if you couldn’t help in the previous one.
5) Don’t fight or snatch the helping materials. (Yes, people do that.)
6) Don’t keep on shouting like a maniac to get them to use your solution or for helping material.

f) Individual Obstacle -
1) Try to do as many as you can.
2) More than 10 obstacle will give you sure advantage.
3) Go in an orderly manner(sequence), you will not miss any.
4) Plan your order of proceeding in advance.
5) Don’t get hurt unnecessarily.
6) Don’t hesitate to jump, or leap.