Cracking SSB: Mastering Narration and Communication Skills to crack the Stage 1

The Services Selection Board (SSB) interview is the most crucial stage in the selection process for the aspiring candidates, want to serve the country through defence forces. After clearing the written exam, it is a big challenge for candidate to qualify all the stages of the SSB interview but a good start will lead the way and it will make the way ahead easier. Therefore, it is very important for the candidate to understand the pattern of the whole interview completely and to start preparing for the first stage to impress the assessors right from the beginning.

Stage 1 of the SSB interview is the screening process that filters out candidates for further evaluation in subsequent stages. One of the essential aspects of clearing Stage 1 is the ability to present oneself effectively through the best narration. Therefore, it is crucial for the candidate to sharp his communication skills and to make his verbal and non-verbal communication and oratory skills strong.

In this blog, we will delve into the most effective way to crack SSB Stage 1 by mastering the art of narration during the SSB interview.

Mastering the art of Best Narration

 The Stage 1 of the SSB Interview is a one-day affair, which comprises officer intelligence rating (OIR) test and the Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT). Through the OIR test, the cognitive abilities of the candidate are assessed through verbal and non-verbal communication reasoning questions. The PPDT involves viewing a picture for 30 seconds and then narrating a story based on it in the next 4 minutes. This test is designed to evaluate the candidate’s imagination, ability to think logically, and communication skills.

Here are some of the best ways to master the art of narration to easily qualify this stage:

Developing the habit of Reading

During the preparation for SSB, the candidate should develop the habit of reading whether it is newspaper or short stories. For the better preparation of narration, the candidate should take interest and should focus on creative reading like short stories, novel etc. It will not only develop the imagination ability of the candidate but also, he will have a vast vocabulary and altogether he can improve his accent, diction and pronunciation. Which will help him during the narration in speaking flawlessly and effortlessly.

The way you represent yourself

The most important thing to notice and assess for the interviewer is your representation and dress-sense. Although it is not something to be judged at this stage, but still you need to be in the attire you feel most confident and presentable.


The candidate should develop the must-have skill of observation. The PPDT involves viewing a picture for 30 seconds and then narrating a story based on it in the next 4 minutes. Pay attention to every single and even little details of the image from characters, expressions, locations and every other possible context.

Imagine a creative and logical story

Once the observation period ends, construct a coherent and logical storyline in your mind. Avoid unnecessary complexities and stick to a simple, clear, and relatable plot. Ensure that your story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Be Positive and Confident

The candidate should believe in himself and stay positive and confident. Maintain a steady and clear voice, avoiding any nervousness or hesitation. Remember that the SSB assessors are looking for potential officers who can lead with determination and self-assurance.

Stay the real You

Staying true to yourself and the assessors is a big thing to achieve for the candidate during this time. Trying to be someone else during your performance can make a negative impression on the assessors as they are experienced officers and can grasp your level of authenticity and honesty.

Practice regularly:

To keep the things on the track, consistency and practice is a crucial thing for the candidate. Practice with different types of pictures, themes, and scenarios. Seek feedback from friends, mentors, or SSB coaching experts to enhance your storytelling abilities.

Time management

Time management is the most crucial thing to focus on after the preparation. No matter how well you narrated the story and how fluent and confident you were, if your narration goes beyond the time limit, you will be disqualified. Make sure to complete your narration within the given time limit. Practice pacing your story so that it is well-structured and covers all necessary aspects without rushing or dragging.

Practice Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial skill during the discussion session that follows the PPDT. Pay attention to other candidates’ narratives and participate actively in the group discussion. Engage in healthy and constructive discussions, contributing positively to the group’s dynamics while respecting differing opinions.

Highlight Team Spirit and Adaptability

Incorporate elements that highlight your ability to work in a team and adapt to challenging situations. Showcase instances where characters in your story exhibit teamwork, cooperation, and adaptability to overcome obstacles. These traits are highly valued by the Armed Forces, and demonstrating them in your narration can leave a strong impression. 


SSB interview is one of the longest and toughest interviews and thus preparing your best is crucial to get selected. Mastering narration in SSB interview is an art which needs excellent communication skills, sharp vocabulary and fluent speaking, time management and more and more practice.

By adopting a structured approach, enhancing your imagination, and embracing positive and realistic narratives, you can excel in the PPDT. Additionally, active listening, teamwork, and staying calm and confident contribute to your overall performance during the Stage 1 process. The candidate should narrate in easy-to-understand words and should avoid complicated words, acronyms and abbreviations for better clarity.

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