My SSB Selection Story

My SSB Selection Story

I got selected from 20 SSB Bhopal in Oct 1978 for NDA in my first attempt. I was keen to get selected for 2 reasons:

  • I was very fond of games and exercising and NDA was supposed to offer that lifestyle.
  • If I got selected I had the benefit of skipping 12th class & still get a graduation degree.

Overall SSB was a fun experience. I have hardly any memory of OIR test. The boring parts were the psychology test and filling up of the PIQ form. In psychology test I remember writing a large number of SRTs which were very similar and I kept wondering the reason for asking such questions. After the test I remember some of the coached and ‘Sainik’ school candidates discussing as to how they could excel in writing prepared sentences in WAT. I could not make out as to what great job they had done. Since they were so pleased I felt that they must have done well.


I remember some parts of GTO. We had one repeater and one coached candidate in our group. They were the leaders in PGT. I was initially impressed by them. By the time we reached the HGT I had realized that they will not get selected and the more sensible among us had taken over. There was one boy from Manipur who performed better than me in individual obstacles (repeated 3 obstacles) & I felt that he was the best in GTO!

One boy from Mumbai & I got difficult Command tasks & we felt that the GTO was intelligent in allotting tasks as per IQ.


Interview was the most interesting part. By now I had decided not to follow the advice of the coached and ‘Sainik’ school candidates. They shaved & wore full sleeved shirts & ties. I wore a round necked T-shirt & did not shave.

The first thing the interviewing officer asked me was as to why I did not wear a shirt and had not shaved. He was actually admonishing me but I did not realize that. I told him that these things were not prescribed in the instructions and I felt comfortable presenting myself as I was- usual dress and unshaven.

He asked me about my Tennis, athletics and asked me to plan a Tennis tournament. I had been involved in organizing a national level Tennis tournament and had also umpired matches. So answering such stuff was no problem. I could comfortably answer whatever other questions he had about studies, GK, etc.

He then asked me that if I won a Rs One lac lottery what would I do with it. I told him that I would put the money in bank and keep enjoying the interest. He tried to extract some methods of utilizing the money from me but I did not budge and gave no plan to utilize the lottery amount & stuck to my first response.

He then asked that if he did not select me this time then what would I do? I told him that I would not come again because if I did not join NDA now then I would be doing 12th & would then plan to do English (Honours) from St Stephen’s College in Delhi on the basis of my Tennis skills and try to make a career through Tennis. He had nothing more to ask.


I remember the following points about the conference:

  • As expected by me the repeater and the coached candidates were not selected.
  • Surprisingly for me the best boy from our group from Manipur was not selected. I attributed this decision to ‘human error’ on the part of the selectors.
  • I was confident of being selected and was happy to be selected.

Medical Test

Medical tests were a great fun time. We really enjoyed our time in Bhopal to include kite flying and kite fighting!


I am more experienced now than I was in 1978. My comments on the performance are:

  • Psychology: I would not do anything differently. With age my language and expression have improved so the performance now would be better.
  • GTO: GTO performance was okay. I would perform almost similar even now. Better knowledge & expression would improve the performance.
  • Interview:
    • My performance lacked maturity. I would have now gone for the interview after a shave & worn a full sleeved shirt.
    • I would have given a plan to utilize the lottery prize and not stuck to the plan of putting it in the bank when insisted upon by the interviewer.
    • My answer to my actions if I was not selected would have remained the same even today because that was the honest answer. The answer showed inadequate motivation to join the services as compared to so many other candidates. I would still not compromise on this truth!
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