Crack SSB: Thematic Apperception Test


TAT is the first test that is conducted as a part of the Psychological Testing Series. It is a perception based test. The candidates are free to imagine and perceive a theme around the picture shown and weave a story around it.


Apperception means the mental process by which a person makes sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses’.

The test has nothing to do with facts rather it is based on one’s opinion, morals and the attitude of the candidate. The candidates are assessed on the qualities that they project through their stories. Remember this is not a test of English rather it’s a test of perception. The stories are never wrong, correct or incorrect they are only assessed as desirable or not desirable.

The Psychologist will brief the candidates about the flow of the story and how it should be framed. The flow or the breakup of the story should be coherent with the understated.


  • What lead to the situation?
  • What is currently happening?
  • What is going to be the final outcome?

Key aspects of TAT
  • Test Duration: 54 minutes.
  • 12 Slides will be shown (11 Images + 1 Blank).
  • Each image will be shown for 30 seconds.
  • You don’t have to write the number of characters, their age, mood and gender nor the action you just have to start directly with the story.
  • After 30 seconds the image will be removed and 4 minutes will be given to write a story based on the image shown.
  • After 4 minutes are over a buzzer will sound and the next image will be shown. 
  • This will continue for 11 slides and then a Blank slide will be shown for 30 seconds.
  • Any story can be written for the Blank Slide.

The best way to weave a story would be to imagine yourself in the image if possible. Not directly but the values, qualities and the process by which you achieve something in your story should be coherent to what you can actually do in real life. The story should be a manifestation of your qualities, your problem-solving skills, your approach, your imagination not someone else’s perception or coached responses.
Not framing your own stories is the sole reason for rejection because you are trying to project yourself as someone who you inherently are not. 

Key points to remember while weaving a story

  • Observe the image carefully. See the number of characters, their age, mood, gender, what they are wearing and see if they are running, standing or sitting, what they are carrying.
  • Then observe the landscape around them. If it’s a city, a village, a house, a public institution or a school.
  • Then observe the environment if it’s raining, cloudy, sunny or stormy. If it’s day or night.
  • This will hardly take 12-15 seconds and will give you enough clues to write a good story. For the balance of the time form a theme around it and weave a story.
  • Observe if there are any other resources like cycles, cars, bells, fire extinguishers, etc. which can be used to solve your problem.
  • As you go along writing you’ll get more ideas to write the story.
  • The theme of the story should not solve a long-term crisis. It should solve a short-term crisis. As leaders in the Armed Forces are expected to solve short-term problems not long term as conflict doesn’t last for decades it’s a short event.
  • It’s a good practice to give a short introduction about the character of your story. Please do not give speculative qualities like very hard working, honest and brave to your character as these qualities should be shown by the actions carried out by the character, not by the words.
  • Give a general introduction of who the character is and the educational qualification and where they stay.
  • The story should be relatable to real life and it must be something which can happen on a day to day basis anywhere, anytime. 
  • Your character should have the will, knowledge and courage to accept the challenge (which can be done and is not something which is impossible) and the skill and determination to see it through and get it done.
  • You have to project yourself in the stories as a leader who is reactionary not a visionary. You have to set a problem, solve it and then end with achieving it.
  • Please do not make negative stories which revolve around death or suicides. The stories should be positive and should have a good motive.
  • For the blank slide write any story that comes to your mind, it can be anything. You can even write an incident which happened in your life and how you overcame the odds to achieve something.

TAT will be tough if you go with pre-conceived notions. If you go with a free mind and perceive the images with the right mindset and set your imagination free then only you’ll be able to weave desirable stories that project your qualities efficiently.

Stay Put for the Sample TAT Sessions...

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