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Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a Psychological test conducted on day 2 of the SSB interview. TAT is a test of imagination where 12 pictures are shown to the candidates including a blank slide. The candidates have to write a story based on the picture shown. Each slide is flashed for 30 seconds and 4 minutes are allotted for story writing.  First 11 slides contain a picture each and the 12th slide is always a bank slide


Technically TAT is a projective Psychological test wherein a stimulus is projected in the form of a picture. These pictures stimulate the thought process of the candidate, he/she perceives the picture according to their imagination and weaves a story around it. The response reveals his underlying motives, perception, thought process, the way he looks at a problem and how he overcomes that problem. This response helps the Psychologist to draw a picture of his/her personality and judge his/her OLQs. The chart will simplify it further.


  • PERCEPTION: TAT is purely based on your perception. You must be able to perceive the problem in the picture, the surroundings, the characters shown, their mood and the resources available.

Observe the picture carefully for 30 seconds. Look at the background of the picture to figure out the setting of the picture, it may be a scene of a road, room, fields etc. Also figure out the number of characters and their activities.

  • HERO IDENTIFICATION: The story requires a HERO to solve the problem identified. Remember the HERO represents you therefore  the character that  resembles you the most must be made the HERO of your story. The HERO must resemble you in age, gender and action. Your HERO must overcome the challenges and solve the problem.
  • ACTION: Plan your story on the following three verticals-
  • What has led to the situation?
  • What is currently happening?
  • What is the final outcome of the story?

THE BLANK SLIDE- The 12th slide is always a blank one, the candidates get the freedom to write any story of their choice. If you feel like you were not able to portray certain qualities of yours in the previous 11 pictures, you can do it here. You can write your past experiences where you helped someone or solved a problem. You can also prepare and practice a story for the blank slide beforehand.


  1. Observe the picture carefully and note down the minute details that come to your mind. Identify the problem, choose a HERO and solve the problem with the HERO as the central character.
  2. Break your story into subparts- Introduction, Body and Conclusion.

In the introduction part write what has led to the situation and what is currently happening. The body must include the action performed by the HERO, pay more attention to the body as it carries the main message. The conclusion must convey what is the final outcome of the story.

  1. Whatever be the nature of the picture, the story must end on a positive note or atleast try to improve the standard of the situation.
  2. Your story must be realistic and practical. Don’t write a fancy and wishful story.
  3. Don’t use adjectives like “intelligent”, “hardworking” etc. for your HERO. His actions must describe him.

NOTE: A candidate must not confuse between Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) of stage- 2 with Picture Perception and Description Test (PPDT) of stage- 1 or Screening.

Sample Of TAT