Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) in SSB Interview, Important Tips

By Naveen Singh|Updated : November 11th, 2020

Learn techniques on how to clear the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) with ease. Here we are going to discuss Thematic Apperception in the SSB interview. This article will enhance your understanding of the Thematic Apperception Test TAT in SSB interview

After Clearing the Day 1 of the SSB interview, a candidate goes through a series of tests which are clubbed under the Psychology Test.

The Psychology Test consists of 4 Tests:

  1. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  2. Word Association Test (WAT)
  3. Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
  4. Self Description Test (SDT)

These Series of Tests check the Psychology and intellect of a candidate based on his age and background. Let’s read about it in detail:

Thematic Apperception Test TAT in SSB Interview

The TAT or Thematic Apperception Test is similar to the PPDT test but the number of pictures is more here.

The TAT was developed during the 1930s at Harvard University's Harvard Clinic by American psychologist Henry A. Murray and lay psychoanalyst Christiana D. Morgan.

The reason for which Morgon adopted this technique is that people tend to interpret ambiguous situations according to their own past experiences and current motivations, which may be conscious or unconscious.

Murray argued that by asking people to tell a story about a picture, their defences would be lowered to the examiner because they would not realize the sensitive personal information they disclosed in the story.

This was later adopted by India Armed Force for selection in the SSB Interview.

Picture Perception Test PPDT in SSB Interview

What is the process of TAT?

The Thematic Apperception test consists of 12 slides consisting of ambiguous pictures that are shown and based on each picture the candidate is expected to write a response in the form of the story. Out of those 12 slides, 11 slides have pictures which the last slide is an empty slide where the candidate is free to write any story based on what comes to his mind.

The time allotted for each picture is 4 minutes and another 30 seconds are given to observe the picture.

Elements of TAT story:

Like Picture Perception & Discussion Test, the TAT test is based on the similar lines but the difference here is that the picture being displayed is much more clear and there is no discussion being conducted after one writes the picture.

Some essential elements of the story are:

  1. What led to the story
  2. What is happening in the story
  3. What is the possible outcome

There is also a central character in the picture which must resemble the qualities that are exhibited the candidate writing the story. He must act and behave like a normal human being & not like any supernatural being.

What type of Pictures are shown in TAT?

The picture is briefly categorised into the following types:

  1. Reactionary Story
  2. Visionary Story

Reactionary Story:

Reactionary stories are those stories that demand urgent resolution like an accident, fire, theft, person drowning etc. In this picture the scope of imagination is limited and a quick solution is expected from the candidates' side.

The story written by these candidates will not vary much from candidate to candidate.

Visionary Story:

Visionary stories are those stories that have no problems depicted in them and these pictures are generic in nature like two people sitting, one person talking to the group etc. These pictures are a test of one’s imagination.

A candidate's story will give more insight into his thoughts and imagination compared to the reactionary stories. In the event of such pictures, the stories written by candidates will vary greatly.

Why a Blank Slide in the TAT?

The Blank Slide in the TAT is one of the most important Slides in the TAT. It gives an insight into the thoughts of the candidates. Many candidates tend to write things that they have experienced in the past.

The Response of the candidate for the blank slide varies vastly from person to person.

SSB Interview: A Comprehensive Course

How to write an excellent TAT story:

The TAT is one of the most crucial tests, and he must keep the following things in mind:

  1. The central character resembles yourself. So one needs to portray actions that are on similar lines as the Officer Like Qualities.
  2. As the central character resembles you, the traits such as gender, age, the mood should also be similar to that of yours.
  3. Sometimes the story demands that the central character must have a profession or a qualification, so one needs to carefully a lot these traits and should have prior knowledge of these traits.
  4. The story should be within 8 -12 lines and describe each an everything in short & crisp manner.
  5. Observing the picture is of utmost importance as many students in a hurry overlook small details.

Don'ts in TAT Story:

Sometimes many students in writing a good story get carried away and create mistakes. Here are some blunders that you should avoid while writing the TAT story:

  1. The story should be practical, it should not make the central character a superhero. For eg- If a house in on fire and someone is trapped inside, the central character should not jump inside lift the person and bring him out, what he can do is the must take a cloth or blanket wrapped around him and then go inside and bring out the person trapped inside. The logical application of things would always be necessary for the representation of  OLQ.
  2. Many students think that writing a positive story will benefit them but one must avoid writing a negative story as long as it is not being displayed. Sometimes pictures of Morgue, dead bodies are shown on purpose. This is done to check the response of the candidate in regards to the picture.
  3. The assessor is not testing your domain knowledge, so don’t make stories that are fully technical, instead show traits of a real person doing some action.
  4. In addition to this, one must write the story in legible handwriting with no cuttings as cutting shows lack of clarity of thoughts.

We hope that we might have shared some insights that would have improved your existing knowledge on TAT.


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Naveen Singh
@rambo ram The traits which you are judged upon remains the same however the solution or the response they expect should be much more thought-out & refined. For eg - In case of a fire, the response given by NDA student might be just to save lives.. which can be expected as a fine response depending on the age. But from a much matured person, they would expect details and emphasis on other things like in addition to saving lives.. he will also rally other people and find ways to extinguish fire or to confine the fire to an area... call fire ambulance to check on people... Hope this might give you some clarity on the expectations from assessors.
Balraj Yadav

Balraj YadavApr 26, 2019

Sir ,can I have any picture for its practice?
Komal Footballer
Sir what is olq plzz give detel
Komal Footballer
Sir for ssb kaise preparation kare for screening verbal or non verbal plz ztell me
Abhimanyu Varpe
Sir, my English is bit poor...
Would you give me some suggestions so i can get best in SSB?
Yogendra Singh
Sir video is not available
Naman Dewal

Naman DewalAug 26, 2020

Hello sir , my name is Naman & I belong to Hindi board school . I'm preparing for NDA.after qualifying written exam can I give interview in hindi
Ayana Madhavan
Sir,my Dob is 18-08-1995 can I able to apply for   afcat exam of 2021 .
Neha Yadav

Neha YadavSep 1, 2021

I find..TAT is  difficult but a  person  who is struggle hard can clear it
SSB interview......
I don't understand how  a candidate can  conference out
Anshu Bhadouriya
How can I get subscription for ssb of afcat.

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CDSCAPFAFCATTA ExamACC ExamOther ExamsPracticePreparation
tags :CDS & Defence ExamsInterviewBSF ExamSSB InterviewACC ExamIndian Army TGC ExamNCC Special Entry Exam

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