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

The Thematic Apperception Test or TAT allows the aspirant to project his personality in the form of free verbal ‘Responses’ when face with a ‘Stimulus’. The person has to see and weave a plot behind the picture, which is based on emotion, value, opinion, and attitude of the person, and not facts. Even the simplest and most trivial aspect of your response is noted and analyzed, including the color and combination you give to the story, the dominating aspects, the characters values, emotion, attitudes, sacrifices etc. your imagination should be boundary-less and you should go beyond the obvious to enhance your chances. It is correctly said, “Your imagination can take you places, which you can’t even imagine!”

TAT- What, Why and How?

The Thematic Apperception Test is fully based on your ‘Perception’. A far as the definition goes

Perception- It is the process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment.

The test basically wants you to perceive a ‘thema’ or a story. The story needs a hero who is faced with challenges and obstacles, but carries on and does not fail. Based on the situation, the hero may face failure for the time being, but in the end, he should triumph.

There is no courage without challenge and risk; there is no Motivation without failure and setbacks.

Basic Requirements of the story

The hero of your story is your alter ego. Therefore, you should have a set of similarities with your hero. The similarity can be in form of age, sex, and character. But there should a gap between you and your hero. You can have a difference of perception, emotion, and ability with the hero, but not in terms of achievements. The hero’s achievements are a manifestation of your own.

Let’s see a few sample stories

In this picture, a man is pointing at another man who is running. The scene is either that of the evening or the night.


Due to the meager representation of the youth in the recruitment drive conducted by the army, Suresh Kolte, a sports coach decides to train the youth of Satana village in Maharashtra. On February 12, 2008, he started with one boy. In a week’s time, the strength increased to five. He scheduled hours in the morning and evening for exercising and racing and the hours during the day for written training, which left 6 to 8 hours for the remaining activities. For the first month, he made them all familiar with the written and physical test. From the next month onwards, he made the test competitive. He inspired his students and motivated them to work hard on both the physical and written part of the test. In the month of April, 4 out of the 5 boys got selected at an Army recruitment drive organized at Pune. Getting word of the results and dedication of the coach, more and more youngsters from all around started to arrive at the center and takes training for the next batch.


  • The hero undertook a challenge which was undriven in that locality. For the said ability, one has to go beyond duty and reach a sense of responsibility. In many cases, the sense of responsibility is dubbed with the ability to take risks, which the hero showed.
  • His punctuality, dedication to the planning and fixing of a proper schedule and his training regime shows his skills in planning and organization.
  • The story shows the hero as an influential and motivating character who wants his students to showcase their best.
  • With hard work and dedication, he was able to create great result which shows his leadership skill
  • Seeing the results, more people from nearby joined his institute. This also shows a clear sign of motivation and inspiration.

What Separates A Leader From The Rest?

A leader is the most important member of a group. He is the one his subordinates look to in the case of a challenge or emergency. These are also the requirements of a Defence Officer.

The ‘IT’ signifies the demands or the job requirements of the Armed Forces. And it is only possible to get there with adventures that are filled with challenges and risks and undertaken with willingness from the individual.

For writing a good story, you have to plot the thema and find clues for it as imagination do not occur in a vacuum. You need some clue to get your imagination going.

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