When you want to get into the defense forces of India (as an officer) i.e. Army, Navy or Air force you have to go through a process called SSB or Service Selection Board. Your chances of getting into the forces depend on your recommendation in this process. SSB is known as AFSB Air Force Selection Board in case of Air force. Hence basically to get into Air force you have clear AFSB.
AFSB is a five to six day process in which various tasks are held to judge you from all aspect. Your personality, psychology, and physical fitness are tested during these days and so is your ability to perform in a group, group spirit, and leadership qualities.
Since AFSB is a process where you are put under pressure and hence only the real you come out. So you have to be genuine. Also the AFSB people are searching for the best and most suitable fit for an officer hence your selection depends on whether or not you have Officer Like Qualities (OLQ’s). Let us see now what exactly the process of AFSB is.
Generally the number of reporting is high and some of the people who report are totally undesirable for the Airforce so this is a broad filter which takes in such people who the Board feels are desirable and can be tested for the OLQ’s. Firstly you are allotted a chest number after the crowd has been divided on the basis of Freshers, Conference outs and Screened Outs. Then groups of 16-18 candidates are made. This tests consists of two tests Officer’s Intelligence and Rating test which consists of simple reasoning questions and Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT) which asks you to write a story along with age, sex and mood of the character which you see in the shown hazy picture (picture is shown for 30 seconds, you have write age etc. in 1 minute and story in 4 minutes). Thereafter you are required to narrate your story in front of three members of the board and then discuss and arrive at a common story there only. Then nominate a person who will tell your group story to the members of the board present there. After this results are announced and around 50% of the people are selected for the further testing rest are routed back to the railway station.
Then you are allotted fresh chest numbers and new groups are made consisting of about 8-9 candidates.
In AFSB’s psychological tests are generally conducted the same day of screening after the document verification. Hence the candidates are quite under pressure after a long day. This is a battery of four continuous tests which continue for about 2 hour without any break. First there is TAT or Thematic Apperception Test in which 11+1 picture slides are shown and you have to write a story on the picture. Each picture is shown for 30 seconds and you have to write the story in 4 minutes, last one is a blank picture. Then you have WAT or Word Association Test where a word is shown for 15 seconds and you have to see and write your response on that word in 15 seconds, total 60 words are shown. Then come SRT or Situation Reaction Test where you have to give your reaction 60 day today situations in 30 minutes. Lastly you have SD or Self-Description Test where you have to write a paragraph each on what your family, teachers, classmates (friends) and you think about yourself.
Group Task Series is again a battery of tests which consists of 9 different types of tests which you have to perform in group and is conducted by a Group Testing Officer. They are conducted in a span of two days. They are:
- Group Discussion
- Group Planning Exercise (Military Planning Exercise)
- Progressive Group task
- Group Obstacle Race (Snake race)
- Half Group Task
- Individual Obstacles
- Command Task
- Final Group Task
A personal Interview is conducted which is taken by a senior officer or the president of the board. In this exercise, the candidate is in direct conversation with the Interviewing Officer and the Interview is conducted for 35-40 minutes. The Interview is conducted on the basis of the Personnel Information Questionnaire Form (PIQ) which is filled by the candidate on their arrival to the SSB Board.
This is like the conclusion of the SSB Stay of a candidate. This is the Final day generally (Except for Flying Branch Candidates). On this final day, the fate of the candidate is decided and thus it is an important day. The candidates are required to appear one by one in front of the complete Board of Officers comprising of the President of the board, Deputy President, Group Testing Officers, Psychologists & Technical Officers.
Then in the end PABT is conducted for the flying branch candidates who are recommended from AFSB.