Significance of Abstract and Practical Tasks in SSB By Dr. (Cdr) NK Natarajan

Recently, one aspirant had a long chat with me after being rejected in the SSB. According to him, he had done very well in all the tests but was wondering why he was not recommended. As usual, I engaged with him and probed about various tests. While it appeared that he may have done well in the Interview, my doubt lingered on Psychological tests and GTO and I was keen in knowing more about these two tests. Since there is no way to guess one’s performance based on the number of SRT and WAT they had attempted, I quickly moved on to the GTO tests.

According to him, he initiated in both the GD and contributed a lot. Even in the GPE he initiated the discussion and finally his plan was accepted by the group and he went on to conclude the plan. During PGT, he was mostly outside the tasks and kept giving workable ideas and in GOR he was one of the last ones to finish all the obstacles. The primary reason for this was that he was on the heavier side. During the PGT, even the GTO asked people to exchange places as the ones inside were not able to crack the obstacles but even then he didn’t go in. He was a bit unlucky in the HGT as there was another person in his group who was sharp and also lean and he managed to crack the obstacle. He did very well in the Lecturette and finished about 6 obstacles in the Individual Obstacles. His Command Task was simple which he cracked very fast and once again in the Final Group Task he gave ideas.     

What would you think of such a candidate? According to me he is not a recommendable candidate. Why? Normally every GTO classify the group in to three categories i.e not clear, borderliner, clear. A clear candidate is the one who has ideas and also implements/executes, performs in both abstract and practical tasks and does not have any kink in core qualities. A borderline candidate is normally the ones who will perform either in the abstract or in practical tasks and not in both and does not have any kink in core qualities. The not clear candidates are the ones who are weak in ideas and also execution and the ones who have kink in core qualities.


Abstract and Practical Tasks

The two rounds of GD, GPE and Lecturette are called abstract tasks and all the other tasks are practical tasks. If a candidate performs well in GDs, GPE and Lecturette and remains in the background, it reflects low Factor 3 i.e. Social Effectiveness. Somewhere he lacks initiative, self-confidence, ability to influence the group, speed of decision and liveliness. Normally, candidates who have been academically very good but never played group games and never participated in extra-curricular activities exhibit such behaviour. On the other hand there are some candidates who do very well in practical tasks but remain near silent during the GDs and GPE. Candidates who are not otherwise strong in Factor 1 but due to coaching effect perform very well in the practical task. Both these categories of candidates are not recommended by the GTO. They are at best kept as borderliner’s and dropped during conference.

Hence, it is very important to perform in both abstract and practical tasks of the Group Testing and banking just on one will not help. Hope this clarifies!!!

Jai Hind!

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