The SD or Self-Description test is another effective and substantial tool in the hands of the psychologist to acquire confirmation of the findings already recorded about the candidate’s personality traits through WAT, TAT, and SRT. Every candidate has their strength and weaknesses, and qualities in the context of the OLQs. These traits are reflected in one’s normal behaviour and therefore, exposed to others. But there are times when we try to conceal or suppress some qualities from the others. However, these are certainly known to us only. The SSBs give candidates a fair chance to assess themselves and write down their strong and weak points, merits and demerits.
Besides the normal technique of writing one’s own assessment and evaluation of oneself, the SSBs have adopted a unique method of assessment for this test. They ask the candidates to write the opinions of themselves given by parents, teachers, friends/colleagues, and self. Self-Description written in the psychology test is important in the sense it conveys a lot about you, like your understanding of relative importance of personal qualities. This information would be required to answer certain questions in the interview for which the above analysis would be relevant.
Let’s have a look at some pointers that will help you in preparing an apt Self-Description.
• Your description should be an emphasis on such points that reveal and reflect traits of your personality. Do not fake it. Gather actual and true opinions from your parents, teachers/employers, friends/colleagues. Talk to them and ask what they think about you, their perspective and impression about you. You can use the Johari Window concept for better understanding of this testing process.
• In your parent’s opinion, you can note and record the reactions of your parents on different occasions and their good and bad viewpoints about you. Write their suggestions and bits of advice to you that you can sum up from routine life.
• You should be alert about your self-description and must never furnish it with contradictory statements with the information you have provided to the board in the questionnaire or in psychology tests. Write valid and genuine points only because your Interviewing Officer reads your self-description before the interview, he has already estimated an all-around image of your personality and so, he may ask any kind of question in order to check those qualities mentioned in SD.
• It’s natural that all human beings have good and bad parts of the personality, so write your virtues and vices as well. But do not write strong negative points about yourself. Know the difference between weakness and negative qualities. Be positive. Write about how did/will you get rid of those vices and improve your personality. Do not write alarming habits about yourself.
• For positive points, write about your achievements and good deeds and actions. Those good deeds must reflect your qualities; you don’t have to boast about them. They can be a very simple day to day activities (For example- Hard work at studies, work, sports, competition; helping out family and friends or stranger; responsible and sincere towards one’s duties; etc.). Your positive and strong points must reflect- Leadership, confidence, social adjustability, punctuality, willingness to help, positive attitude, good at academics or sports, etc.
• Be honest and real while giving your self-description. You don’t have to be an extraordinary or excellent being. Even if you are an ordinary candidate with an average level of skills, don’t lie about it. Be honest about what you write. Bluffing and lying can cost your valuable chance of recommendation. Be real and simple, making an officer out of you is the military’s duty. The focus should be on emphasising such factors that demonstrate your personality traits. Prepare in advance and get sufficient practise by writing it again and again. You should be ready for it and watch that time limit does not exceed. Try finishing it within 10-12 minutes. Maintain good and legible handwriting. Work on your speed of writing too.
Let’s have a look at SD segment-wise that will give you an idea about how to proceed.
This should include the qualities in the context of independence and self-reliance followed by qualities in the context of academic and physical abilities. The next set of qualities should be regarding decision making and contribution in the family followed by the competency of the candidate at certain junctures of the time.
The point about social adjustment and influencing should be stated next as a normal candidate would gain the maturity to adjust with the society, relatives, neighbours, teachers and colleagues and as well as in the comfort zone. The issue of responsibility and good values should be mentioned next along with any misgivings in terms of social adjustment, maturity, and focus on career, time management etc.
Employers’/ Teachers’ Opinion
The first mention could be about punctuality, turnout and overall discipline followed by academic proficiency or general intelligence along with proficiency in extra-curricular activities. Teachers also note the social adjustment dimension of the student. An above-average student would invariably get assigned leadership roles beyond an average student like, monitor, prefect, and sports captain and so on and thus social adjustment and ability to influence should be mentioned in these terms. Pieces of Advice of betterment and improvements should also be included in the self-description.
For professionals, the requirement is to write the opinion of the employers and the first criteria from an employee are punctuality and discipline. The next criteria are the ability to accomplish the assigned work timely and hence the reliability. A higher calibre employee would take additional responsibilities and also be an asset by creating a cooperative work environment.
The perspective of friends is different from parents and teachers as they are more in a comfort zone with the candidates. Trust, supporting nature and understanding personal issues are important criteria for being a friend. How you are as a company also matters, implying qualities like liveliness and full of vigour should be talked about. High competency along with achievements in any field is sought after and people are proud to be associated with confident and competent people. Please include these aspects in the self-description. We must take genuine points for betterment by friends into consideration cognisance as well.
Own opinion is a summation of the opinions of all of the above topics. It should include the major points from the opinions of parents, teachers and friends. The positive points should be covered under your own opinion and the negative points should be covered under the things that you want to improve.