Few days ago, I got a call from an SSB aspirant from New Delhi seeking help regarding his selection at SSB. He got conferenced out from SSB Allahabad. Before he was called in for the Conference round, he had to wait for a long time, which usually means that the assessors are having a discussion regarding you.

His story

He performed very well in Psych tests. In Command Task, he was made commander of a difficult task, which suggests that he was consistent and did well in his previous tasks.

However, during the task, he said he couldn’t really execute the ideas he had in mind. The subordinates were waiting for his commands, but he got clueless and blank. He tried to perform, but the ideas just seemed to be impractical. He realised he was taking a long time and got quite embarrassed and stressed in front of the GTO.

Seeing this, the GTO gave him some suggestions, but he couldn’t get the hint. After some time, the GTO literally gave him the whole idea, still, he was hesitant in performing it.

He was then bailed out.

Next came Personal Interview.

During PI, we all know the IO will ask some Stress questions, just to check the temper of the candidate and how he reacts.

By asking continuous questions on the same area, many candidates tend to lose their temper and their lack of knowledge on the field is exposed.

The Same thing happened with him during SI (Stress Interview).

He was asked about the difference between a train’s brake system and Bus braking system. As he answered, the IO grilled him with more questions. As he continued to ask more and more questions, he said he got nervous, couldn’t answer most of the questions and his voice became shaky.


This candidate seemed to perform well in Psych Tests and most of the GTO tasks, except for Command Task. His PI was okay. Seeing his nervousness in PI and Command Task, the assessors must’ve kept him in the borderline category. Which is why they had a discussion before they called him into the Conference room.

During Conference, candidates who lack some OLQs are generally tested through situation-based questions. If their answers confirm their lack of OLQs, they are dropped out.

Same thing happened with this particular candidate. He was not recommended because of his poor performance under “stress situations”.

Managing Stress

As an Officer, you are expected to handle tough situations in life with utmost courage, smartness and efficiency.

During PI, even if you are tested with difficult questions, you are not supposed to be baffled and stressed. Keep a smiling face and show your knowledge on the field without lying. If you don’t know the answer, tell the IO that you don’t know. That’s better than bluffing.

Poor performance under stress, simply means that you are incapable to think practically and act calmly under adverse situations. You get nervous, stressed and your mind becomes blank under stress.

Generally, this suggests that candidate lacks Mental Stamina and Effective Intelligence, which are core OLQs. These OLQs cannot be trained in a candidate, and even if he is trained, the chances of improvement are questionable.

Being an Officer in Armed Forces is not an easy job. You will go through several tough challenges and have to face them without losing your temper and morale. You need to have a solid mental stamina.

Anyone who lacks this OLQ can be easily detected during Personal Interview and GTO. IO will bombard you with Stress Interview and Rapid Fire Questions to check your dynamism and mental stamina.

A candidate who has strong mental stamina will easily pass this hurdle of PI. So, if you tend to perform poorly under stress, you are up for rejection at SSB.

During Conference, he was tested with some situation-based questions. And he said the assessors did not really look satisfied with his answers.