Have you noticed how the players improve their own performance when the whole stadium is shouting their name in the field!
Have you noticed how you wait eagerly for everyone to comment on your new Profile pic in your groups on social media? Some of your friends appreciate you in the group while some others DM you on your personal wall!
Have you noticed how you are many times tempted to break the signal on the road when there is no Traffic policeman watching you!
All of us love to get an applause from others. At the same time all of us love to be ourselves. All of us love the attention and appreciation we receive from our teachers, parents and friends when we behave appropriately. But sometimes, we just want to do what WE want irrespective of what others would say!
Human being is a social animal. From the times when humans started to live together, they decided to fight and defend themselves from other living creatures in groups. As a result, the personality and character traits of an individual got largely determined by the company of others and the situations that s/he faced. Sometimes, it was this company of others that started to dictate the way a person would modify, shape and expand one’s personality. This became to be known as the group behaviour or mass psychology. When an individual performed alone, it was sometimes a different behaviour while when s/he was in a group with many, it was a totally different behaviour. Many individuals remained the same too in both the conditions.
If we agree to consider the fact that the presence of others makes a change in a human being’s personality, then the next thing that comes to our mind is : If this same person had to lead a group of people, in times of calamities, isn’t it helpful to know how s/he gets influenced by the presence of a group? Is this person the same when s/he acts as the leader of a group? Does s/he influence the group to listen to his/her views? Does this person get influenced by the group and its decisions? Does this leader remain totally unaware of the group’s decisions? Answers to these questions decide the way in which an individual leader would lead the troops in the face of a war-like situation.
Keeping these dynamics of an individual’s behaviour, the Services selection Board decided to include a complete range of Group tests for all the candidates aspiring to get commissioned as Officers in the Indian Armed Forces. Let’s try to discuss and know something more about Group Testing at SSB
Who does Group Testing at SSB?
The very first thing that an SSB aspirant needs to know about group testing at SSB is that it is assessed by an independent officer, most popularly known as the Group Testing Officer or the GTO. S/He is one of the three assessors, the other two being the Psychologist and the Interviewing Officer. The GTO is usually an Officer of any of the three arms of the Indian Armed Forces, Indian Army, Navy or Air Force. One can identify the smart, handsome GTOs from far with the smile on their face and the happy gait with which they carry themselves throughout the Group Testing process. With their Ray Bans always on, the GTOs actually try to disclose their task of keen observation of a group’s each member and also try to reduce the anxiety which their presence may be causing to the candidates.
How is Group Testing at SSB done?
The whole batch of all candidates who have cleared the Level I screening on Day I will be undergoing the Group Testing at SSB on Day III and Day IV. If the batch is big enough, it may start on Day II as well. The batch is broken into smaller groups of (min 08-12 max) candidates who are given chest numbers for uniformity. The candidates may perform most of the tasks on the ground in the outdoors, while 02 major group tasks: Group Discussion and Group Planning Exercise may take place within a Hall or a shelter. All the candidates are given equal opportunity to perform and prove their worth through a series of group and individual outdoor tasks.
How is rating for Group Testing at SSB done?
Rating for Group Testing at SSB is done in the same manner as the other tests. The parameters for the Group Testing remain same as the other tests, that is the 15 definite Behavioural Traits. The only difference being that in case of Group Testing a candidate’s group effectiveness is ranked and rated on the basis of both relative and absolute level. In short, a candidate will be rated based on his/her ranking in relation to other members of the group and in relation to the standard required in the Armed Forces. The relative level of a candidate is reflected in the ranking of his/her group and the absolute level is indicated by rating him/her individually. Then the whole group is ranked in the order of their group effectiveness.
What does the Group Testing at SSB include?
The Group Testing at SSB includes three Phase Group Testing:
- The Basic Series Tasks: Group Discussions, Group Planning Exercise, Progressive Group Task
- The Confirmatory Series Tasks: Half Group Task, Lecturette, Individual Obstacles, Command Task
- The Final Series Tasks: Final Group Task
Does coaching help to excel in Group testing at SSB?
Many times the SSB aspirants ask whether Coaching actually helps or hampers their performance at Group Testing at SSB. As a coach, I would say it totally depends on the individual. If an individual behaves normally at the time of coaching and also at the time of assessment during the SSB, the originality and honesty of the effort of the individual is maintained. The only difference that the coaching makes is it prepares an individual for the forthcoming tasks, but if the individual does not possess the right attitude to behave in a group, no coaching can make any difference in the individual’s personality.
On the other hand, for the totally uninitiated ones, coaching does provide a new way of problem-solving and behaving effectively in a group. It also shows the determination of the individual in trying to achieve one’s set goals in life. Bottomline being: being able to be yourself, use the knowledge gained by coaching effectively and contribute to the group effectiveness tremendously.
How to prepare for Group Testing at SSB?
One of the most interesting yet tiring aspect of the whole process of SSB is the Group Testing at SSB. Unlike the Psychological Tests, one does not need to read or write much while performing at Group Testing at SSB. One needs to remember that even though certain group tasks of Group Testing at SSB focus on the effective intelligence of a candidate, it is still the test of one’s Behavioural traits not just the test of one’s knowledge.
Although, there is a lot one can prepare for prior to attending Group Testing at SSB, Idea is to enjoy in general the process of working in groups and making group effort worthwhile. If you are someone who enjoys making groups become teams and improve your own performance in the long run, there is nothing more required to excel in Group Testing at SSB. The only thing that matters at Group Testing in SSB is how original you are and how effective you are in a leader less group of strangers. Some minor preparations for the Group Testing at SSB can include:
- Building up Teamwork
- Building Stamina and Physical Courage
- Building a knowledge bank on current affairs
- Building up Public Speaking skill
- Building Problem Solving ability
Keep reading to know more about each situational group task included in Group Testing at SSB.