What Is Seen During The Screening Test PPDT At SSB [Secret Revealed]

I have been repeatedly asked by aspirants as to what we see in a candidate during the screening test. Screening test being most dicey in the entire selection process such doubts are very natural and I find it important to address this question in a holistic manner. The Screening test comprises of two intelligence tests namely Officer Intelligence Rating I & II (OIR I & II) followed by Picture Perception and Discussion Tests. Let’s understand these, one by one.

OIR I & II Test.   OIR I comprises of verbal reasoning questions and OIR II comprises of non-verbal reasoning questions exclusively developed by the scientists of Defense Institute of Psychological Research, a DRDO organization. Using this test the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of a candidate is assessed. If you know, reasoning is part of almost all employment examinations, be it in the Defense, Banking or for that matter any government and most private sector organizations. This is the standard method of measuring IQ. However, in the Defense selection we go beyond assessing IQ to check your applied intelligence named as Effective Intelligence during the phase II testing.

Often aspirants ask me as to how many questions are there in this test. There are no fixed numbers and it may vary from 25 to 35 questions depending upon the difficulty level of the questions. Normally, a test comprising of certain number of questions are prepared and is then administered to a trial group. Depending upon what is the average time that’s taken by the trial members to solve all the questions is noted. Obviously, if the average time is more than the time allotted for OIR test in the boards, a certain number of questions are knocked off from the test and adjustments made in such a way that any person with average intelligence will be able to solve all the questions within the allocated time.

The raw scores of both tests of each candidate after manual evaluation, are fed into a computer system to obtain OIR on a scale of 1 to 5, one being the best and five being the worst.


Picture Perception and Discussion Test – In the picture perception, you are required to write a story from the image shown. Once this part is over you all have to narrate your story individually to your group and thereafter discuss among yourself to evolve a common story of the group. During the story narration and discussion, the OIR of all candidates is available with us. Mostly, we don’t read the story written by you on the sheet of paper. Hence, your narration and discussion are most important.

What do we see?   When the whole purpose of the SSB is to analyze you psycho-metrically, how can the purpose of the screening be different? Our yardstick is the same 15 OLQs and in the screening, we pick candidates who deserve a detailed testing. All those who have been to the SSB would have seen that there are several candidates who just can’t even narrate their story confidently. Such candidates are surely eliminated even if their OIR is 1. Then comes the discussion part where there are several weak candidates who hardly participate, leave aside contribution to the discussion. The third category is that of disruptive and selfish candidates who display their negative traits more than clearly for us to eliminate them. What is left is a small group of candidates who are reasonable in their narration, did participate and contribute meaningfully and thereby reflected their qualities like intelligence, reasoning, power of expression, adaptability, cooperation, sense of responsibility, initiative, ability to influence the group, self-confidence, determination, mental stamina, courage etc. Such candidates are taken in and put through the detailed testing to see their suitability.

Thus, screening is a broad filter to remove the undesirable and retain only the ones who have some chance of making it. This is a collective decision of all the three assessors. After the discussion is over, each assessor gives out his assessment of each candidate in terms of “Yes”, “No” or “Doubtful”. After a short discussion, a final decision is taken collectively. It’s normally at this point, the OIR is considered.

Hence, I always say a good story, confident narration and a solid discussion is very important. OIR doesn’t make much difference as most candidates are within 1 to 4 and as per law of averages most candidates have OIR 3.

Hope this clarifies…

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