Word Association Test in SSB Interview: How to Approach

Word Association Test in SSB Interview: How to Approach

Word Association Test in SSB Interview: WAT is the second test that is conducted as a part of the Psychological Testing Series. It is a thought based test and seeks to find the values and the thought process of the candidate.

Association means ‘a connection or a cooperative link’.
The test has nothing to do with quotations, sermons or speculative thoughts rather it’s based on the core qualities and values that are reflected through the sentences. WAT is not a sentence making test or a test of English, it’s a test of one’s ideas and beliefs. Nothing is wrong, incorrect or correct, the assessors only find the qualities reflected and the degree and level of your thinking through the test.

Key aspects of WAT
  • Test Duration: 15 minutes.
  • 60 Slides will be shown.
  • Each slide will have a word written on it, which will be flashed for 15 seconds.
  • The candidates have to write a sentence about the word or construct a sentence with the word within these 15 seconds.
  • After every 15 seconds a buzzer will sound and a new word will be flashed.
  • A rest of 15 – 30 seconds might be given after 30 words, or a rest of 10 seconds might be given for turning the pages of the answer booklet.

WAT evaluates the quality of ideas associated with the words. In WAT the idea that comes in your mind is more important than the sentence construction or the beauty of the expression.

Key points while attempting WAT
  • Writing the meaning of the word, writing a borrowed idea, writing quotations or sermons is not what is required. Doing this will mean that you don’t have the imagination or the level of thinking that a suitable candidate should have. The Psychologist is there to review your qualities not someone else’s.
  • Write whatever comes to your mind at the first thought. If you keep thinking about a better response then you’re bound to run out of time and miss the next words as well.
  • Remember there is nothing as positive or negative. You are not the Psychologist, your sole aim is to respond and not to critique your own responses.
  • Just bear in mind not to make sentences involving deaths or suicides. This will give an impression that these things are a part of your psychological make-up and will render a depressed outlook of your personality.
  • There are 15 OLQ’s (Officer Like Qualities) assessed in 4 sets of 15 words each making it a total of 60 words. Each set will have 15 words and each word will be related to one of the OLQ’s each. So, one OLQ will be assessed through 4 words.
  • A good attempt will be 45 words, meaning that each OLQ has been reviewed 3 times. But still try to attempt all 60 words.
  • Don’t worry if you’ve not been able to attempt at least 45 words, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be rejected. You will have to justify it at later stages of the testing that why weren’t you able to attempt more.
  • There will be some words in WAT which are of negative origin, please try to frame a jovial outlook of them. This is equivalent to you finding light in the darkness. People who are able to do this reflect a strong personality.
  • There will be times when you’ll think of sentences based on preaching or commandments like “one should”, “one must” or “one ought to”. Don’t worry it’s natural. These sentences don’t really tell the Psychologist about you and it stands disputed if you really follow them or just preach them. Please try to minimize these types of sentences as low as you can.
  • Limit the use of “I”, “we” or “they”, construct sentences which are qualitative rather than speculative.
  • There will be times when you would come up with quotes and would not be able to think anything else. Just write the quote and move on. It’s natural and it happens. It’s better to write something than to leave the word.
  • If you leave a word the Psychologist tries to find the reason why you left the word and it might go against you if the Psychologist finds a pattern amongst the words that you’ve left blank or missed. This means that you are hiding some part of your personality that you don’t want the assessors to know. If you’ve left a word because of bad time management don’t worry the Psychologist will understand that.
  • You can even write some current affairs or events, if that is what comes to your mind first. But keep it detailed. Please do remember that writing these types of replies will take up time.
  • Writing a reply which reflects your quality is considered as the best response, writing a response related to current affairs or general awareness is considered the second best, writing a known factual response is considered mediocre and writing a response relating to preaching and quotations is considered low level. So please balance the responses accordingly.

WAT will be tough if you go with pre-conceived notions and remember responses beforehand. If you go with a free mind and associate the words with the right mindset then only you’ll be able to construct good sentences that project your qualities efficiently.

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