Why Is Self-Description Test Very Important In SSB – Dr (Cdr) NK Natarajan

I came across one of my follower who sent me her SD for a review and what I read in that prompted me to write this blog. While this test is seemingly very simple, it can prove to be very fatal if not written correctly. Let me first describe this candidate. She is a very well-meaning person and had been interacting with me for some time and hence I have a fair idea about her. She is from the services background and had failed in one SSB already and has been following my video lectures ever since. She is fairly committed and dedicated and has been very methodically preparing for the next SSB.

As you may be aware that you are required to write six paragraphs in this test namely, what do your parents think of you, what do your teachers think of you, what do your friends think of you, what do you think of yourself, what kind of a person you want to become and what improvements you want to bring in yourself. Under the heading what do your parents think of you, one of the sentences she wrote was, “They sometimes scold me for being ‘upfront’ and I have not been able to obey them so far”. Under the heading ‘what do your friends think of you, one of the sentences she wrote was, “They say that I am straight forward and don’t mingle with everyone in the first shot and take time to understand them first”. Under the heading what do you think of yourself, one of the sentences she wrote was, “I get restless whenever I get a task to do and forget everything till the task is completed”.

 Now, let’s do a synthesis of these sentences one by one and understand what it reflects and how an assessor is likely to interpret these sentences.  Let us first consider the sentence “They sometimes scold me for being ‘upfront’ and I have not been able to obey them so far”.  The word ‘upfront’ means being straightforward or blunt which means being insensitive to other’s feelings and all such persons are most likely to be disliked by others because no one likes to be told things upfront. If you carefully read the definition of Social Adaptability, it talks about being tactful and diplomatic in approach.

Coming to the sentence “They say that I am straight forward and don’t mingle with everyone in the first shot and take time to understand them first”, this clearly indicate that she has a limitation in freely mixing with people. This again reflects upon Social Adaptability. A person is expected to mix freely with everyone, people of all class and creed, gender, religion without any bias etc. However, this does not mean all the people you meet should become your close friend.

Coming to the last sentence, “I get restless whenever I get a task to do and forget everything till the task is completed” this shows that she comes under pressure or stress which is not good. This reflects upon her liveliness. When I asked her to explain she said that she is very focused and committed to any task given to her which is a positive trait but the word “Restless” changed the entire meaning. Please note Social Adaptability and Liveliness are both core qualities. When a candidate proclaims himself/herself about these qualities it will require no corroboration and the assessor can easily conclude and reject a candidate.  

Since I know this candidate I can vouch that she is not the person she has described. It’s just that her choice of words were wrong. Hence, it is very important to write the Self-Description carefully and choose correct words to describe yourself.  

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