Abstract Tasks are those tasks in which a candidate suggests his/her thoughts and ideas to get out of a situation. Two rounds of Lecturette, GD and GPE are termed as abstract tasks.

Practical tasks are those in which candidates are told to resolve a problem. Apart from abstract tasks mentioned above, all the other tasks in GTO are practical tasks.

So, which is more important- performing better in Abstract tasks or Practical Tasks?

Case Study

Recently I had a talk with a candidate who was rejected at SSB Bhopal. He thought his performance was quite good at all tests but still was not recommended.

To dig a little deeper, I asked him to explain his PI, Psych Tests and GTO in detail.

Turns out, his performance in Psych tests and PI was good. But there were some issues during GTO tasks.

  • During Group Discussion, he was able to initiate and provide good points during both rounds. In GPE, he was able to derive a practical plan, which the team accepted and went through with.

The real problem occurred during practical tasks.

  • During PGT, candidates are supposed to work together and cross obstacles with the help of different materials. He was mostly out of the tasks and just suggested some ideas. When GTO asked to exchange places, he did not go in.
  • In Group Obstacles Race, he was not able to perform very well and overall performance of the team was also poor.
  • In Half Group Task, again he was not able to cross the obstacle and his another team member managed to cross it.

Apart from this, his performance in Lecturette was very good. And, in Individual Obstacles, he was able to cross 7 obstacles successfully. In Command task, he was able to provide ideas and cross obstacles quickly. But in Final Task, he just gave some suggestions.


Now considering the fact that he did pretty well in PI, Psych tests and half of the GTO tasks, you might think this candidate was recommendable. But, it’s the opposite!

If you ask me, he was likely to get rejected. Why? Because he was good in abstract tasks, but gave poor performance in Practical tasks.

A recommendable candidate is the one who gives ideas and also is able to execute his ideas practically in tasks.

  • You need to perform well, both in abstract as well as practical tasks. Whoever performs poorly in any one of these, is prone to be in either unclear or borderline category of candidates.

Abstract vs. Practical Tasks:

  • If a candidate performs well in abstract tasks such as Lecturette, GD and GPE, but remains outside during practical tasks just giving ideas, it means that he lacks Social Effectiveness, Liveliness, Decision-making capability and Power to Influence.

All of these OLQs are extremely must-haves in an Officer. Generally, candidates who are not physically active and lead a sedentary lifestyle tend to perform poorly in practical tasks.

Candidates might also fail in practical tasks if they never really participated in group games or sports during their academic studies.

  • If a candidate performs well in practical tasks, but does not speak at all during GDs, Lecturette and GPE, it means that he/she lacks Initiative, Power of expression, Self-confidence and Courage.

This happens when a candidate is not accustomed to speak in front of crowd and has poor communication skills.

Candidates who perform poorly in any one of these two groups, are bound to get rejected by the GTO. They are mostly kept in borderline category and then dropped during Conference round.

To conclude, I would say that it is equally important to perform well in abstract tasks as well as practical tasks. Candidates need to strike a balance. Excelling in just one group of tasks and lacking in another will not help at all !