• The written tests are conducted by the Psychologist. Time factor in these tests is of paramount importance. Candidates are given time limit for writing answers to various given questions. The candidates are required to complete the tests within the stipulated time frame.
  • The psychologist at the SSB explains to the candidate about various tests one by one, along with illustrations to enable the candidates to understand exactly how each test will be conducted and what is expected from them. In case of doubts, candidates are at liberty to ask the testing officer to clarify, before the commencement of every test. The candidates are advised to give correct answers (not false answers) and not to use hit and trial method. It is better not to waste time in attempting difficult questions; rather a candidate should switch over to next problem.

The psychological tests are grouped as under :-
Projective tests
  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • Word Association Test (WAT)
  • Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
  • Self-Description Test (SD
  • TAT is the first test administered by the psychologist. Through the stories written by the candidates in this test, the psychologist gets an opportunity to explore the subconscious mind of the candidate. Picture shown to the candidate stimulates his imagination and the story written by the candidate serves as a medium, for the psychologist to investigate and scrutinize closely the basic characteristics of a candidate. The test is a specialized technique to bring out various traits of the personality of a candidate. The stories written by the candidate reflect his personality in various dimensions. The psychologist interprets the stories to find out whether the candidate is endowed with the qualities that are required for an officer of the Defence Forces.
  • The candidate’s response to the pictures in the form of stories yields sufficient material with the help of which temperamental make up and emotional attitude can be judged. The process is based on the principle that the individual thoughts are woven around the object relationship.
  • The candidates are advised to weave a story which is realistic and interesting. The candidate must respond to each and every part of the picture including characters, mood and the objects.

Tips to Improve the Quality of the Responses:

  • Never write a story in a hurry. Always try to critically analyse the picture which will help you to organize your thoughts systematically.
  • Observe carefully what characters are there, what material is there, why it is there and how it can be used gainfully.
  • What is the theme/ objective in the scene. How you can be involved in the picture. Try to relate the theme of the picture with a day today problem. Do not write stories about impractical situations
  • The pictures shown are real life situations, do not write that the picture is a scene from movie / TV or it is a painting hanging on the wall/ it is a scene from a drama or a rehearsal of a play.
  • The story should end on a happy and healthy note. The outcome should be success, achievement or joy.
  • The hero or leading person in the story must have acquired abilities and qualities which you think are necessary for the outcome you have planned. That out come is what the situation should lead to automatically.
  • Keep the leader in high spirits, helpful and decisive. He should not be at the receiving end eg he is poor, he was helped, he was not able to do well in the exam , he was unable to get a job, his business failed, he struggled then succeeded etc. He was implicated falsely or beaten up or failed or got involved in a fight or is unable to solve the problem or was confused or he solved only by the help of others
  • Candidates should not use, OLQ Terminology, in the story. (E.g. He moved because of his self-confidence, He succeeded did this because of his sense of Responsibility, he completed his job because of his initiative and cooperation etc.)
  • Do not write memorized stories taken from books or told by someone else. Always make your own stories.
  • Do not perceive Army/Defence/War in every story. This leads the psychologist to believe that you lack imagination and have no new ideas.
  • Do not perceive hero as a villain in the story or give a negative character to the hero. ( e.g. Accident took place because hero was driving very fast or carelessly or was talking on mobile etc.)
  • Do not try to complete the story after the time. Just leave it as it is and move on to write next story.
  • Do not practice writing story in 3 minutes or so. Your story will lack details and will be sketchy.
  • Try and Keep the word limit of 100 to 120 words(10 to 12 lines)
  • Do not worry if your story is different from others, in fact it will be to your advantage.
  • Never try to copy a story of someone else. If you have faith in yourself then this test will become easy for you

Word Association Test (WAT) is a specially designed second Psychological test. Words shown to the candidates in the test are not selected at random. They are specially chosen and arranged in a definite pattern. The psychologist on the basis of the responses comes to conclusions about the traits of the candidate. WAT brings out the real and latent qualities of the candidate to the surface and then psychologist assesses his suitability as an officer in the armed forces.

  • In Word Association Test an individual is shown a word for 15 seconds. He is required to write the first idea that comes to his mind in the form of a meaningful complete sentence.
  • The candidate is not required to write or describe the word. He is not expected to use it in a sentence. He has only to write what the word reminds him of. Candidate has only to show his mind’s association with the word. He should write down the first thought that comes to his mind on seeing the word. The same word arouses different ideas, feelings and emotions in different persons. Therefore it is wrong to cram up reactions, noted down from readymade SSB guides and books, since these suggestions mostly mislead the candidates.
  • The conclusions are drawn by the psychologist, about the type of personality of the candidate, considering several reactions together. It may be noted that singular sentence written by the candidate does not portray his personality traits. Numbers of responses help the psychologist to form an idea of the pattern of personality of a candidate.
  • The words picked up in WAT are related to certain officer like qualities. Many similar words are included in the test for judging each quality. Writing memorized reaction to any word will only give an indication of confused personality and lacking originality.

  • A candidate having balanced personality should consider, self, family, friends, society, environment (sports, adventure, current happenings in country and the world, defence related news and other activities of interest.), while responding to words in WAT. A candidate should write thoughtful sentences in response to many words as well.
  • When a candidate eliminates, I, me and mine, completely from the responses of WAT, psychologist may interpret it as a response of a coached candidate or the candidate who will never think of himself even in obvious situations. This is a negative trait.
  • Many responses in WAT with I, me and mine are not desired as they may lead the psychologist to conclude that the candidate is individualistic in his thought process.
  • Too many responses of any one type are not a good idea and it is not natural in an individual having a balanced personality. It leads to conclusion by the psychologist that the candidate has a lop sided personality.
  • Use of too many Phrases or mere facts leads to conclusion by the psychologist that candidate is short of ideas and lacks original thinking. ( eg Honesty is the best policy, Look before you leap, Time and tide wait for none, one shower does not make a season.)
  • Many wishful responses, where the use of, could, would, should etc. Is not good as it indicates unrealistic approach of the candidate, and trying to advise others instead of doing something himself. The psychologist is likely to conclude that a candidate lacks involvement or action in real life.
  • Avoid too many responses of advisory to others (e.g. Do not tell lies, Keep your surroundings clean, prepare well for the exams, take precautions to avoid accidents, etc.) .It leads Psychologist to believe that candidate will find faults in others most of the time and advise them as to what all should be done. The psychologist will see it as misplaced superiority complex.
  • Using officer like qualities in making sentences gives a feeling of being coached eg. Mohan has high sense of responsibility, Ram has high determination, He succeeded due to high self-confidence, Mohan has high social adjustment, social adaptability, mental stamina, courage etc.
  • Use of facts and History again does not fetch much credit unless it indicates real knowledge e.g. Churchill won double noble prize for peace or Netaji wrote “Divide and rule”.
  • Avoid writing sentences in future tense as it indicates action in future/later on.
  • You may use words as noun, adjective, verb or adverb in making sentences.
  • Small and brief sentences will save time.
  • Situation Reaction Test is the third test given by the psychologist in series of psychological tests. SRT is designed to test the responses of an individual in day- to-day situations. The objective of the test is to judge whether a candidate possess guts and capacity to tackle odd situations with an alert mind. The test brings out the qualities of clear thinking, logical course of action and quick decision making. It also reveals whether the candidate is capable of putting up with stress and strains without losing nerves. As an officer of Indian Armed Forces the candidate may need to tackle such situations during his course of activities. This test therefore helps in determining the suitability of a candidate for selection as an officer. For a good performance, candidate needs the ability to write what he would have done or what he could do in such a situation.
  • A candidate is required to give his reactions to all sixty situations in Thirty minutes. However, if one does not understand any particular situation, he may leave that and proceed ahead reacting to other situations without wasting time. A candidate is required to write only two to three lines in response to each situation. The space provided is only for that much. Therefore for a speedy response with in the time frame, it is necessary that one should avoid details of the actions keeping the response brief and to the point.


  • Think of simple and obvious actions.
  • Normally the reaction depends on individual’s capacity and ability.
  • There is no, correct solution or book answer, for any situation.
  • Do not write answers like - I will solve the situation, I will find out the problem, I will enquire about the problem or I will plan the action as required etc.
  • Do not write answer to the situation if you do not understand the situation or you do not know about it to avoid giving wrong response.
  • Solve the problem as it is. Do not make any assumption and aggravate the situation by adding the problems from your side e.g. if accident is there you add that he will have at least fractures etc. or If someone comes in the dark you add that it has to be a lonely spot and you cannot raise alarm or shout for help.
  • Do not write that I will not do anything, and pass the situation. (If armed men confront you in dark do not write you will not do anything because they can be Defence /Police personnel. Similarly if you loose your purse and have no money do not write that you keep some money in box or in your shoes and you will use that money.). This amounts to dilution of the problem.
  • Do not avoid the situation by writing that this cannot happen eg I do not have younger sister or brother or my parents are not there or all my friends are very good etc.
  • Never permit yourself to be in the begging or pathetic state.
  • Avoid joining strikes and activities creating disharmony.
  • Use money carefully. Do not waste it for parties etc as a student.(It leads the psychologist to conclude, wasteful of resources). If it is big money, use for future plan for self-employment and development.
  • Do not give alternatives eg I will do this and if not then I will do that …...
  • Act smartly and clearly if the situation involves boys and girls.
  • Short and brief answers will save time. Vague answers are not desirable.
  • Self-description test is conducted after the situation reaction test. Self-description test is meant to assess the insight of a candidate. If the candidate knows himself and is conscious of his weaknesses, he will overcome these and improve his personality. In case a candidate lacks insight he cannot improve his shortcomings.

In this test a candidate is given 15 minutes to write 5 paragraphs. Each paragraph should be of 6 to 8 lines. The paragraphs are as under :

  • Your Parents opinion about you
  • Your teacher/bosses opinion about you
  • Your friends opinion about you
  • Your own opinion about you
  • The qualities you would like to develop in yourself.
  • Each of the above paragraphs will include your own understanding in day today life. You will do well to observe and remember the observations, remarks and suggestions given to you by the parents, teachers, friends, relatives and well-wishers. As this test forms part of the psychological tests in SSB. You should practice two/ three times writing self-description before going to SSB. Consider as to what you can include in these paragraphs. You must not memorise the paragraphs from some book or someone else. You should write the paragraphs according to your own thought process, as then only it will conform to your personality and originality.

Tips for improving the Self Description

  • Listen to the instructions carefully.
  • Divide your time to answer each portion correctly
  • Do not hide your strong/weak points. Project a balanced personality.
  • Mention some strong points to bring out OLQ’s but do not mention the terminology of OLQ.
  • Your Self-description should not contradict your PIQ. For example PIQ says you have not taken part in any sporting activity but you write in Self-Description that you are a good sportsman.
  • Do not write negative qualities. You must differentiate between weaknesses and negative qualities.(For example, Beating, stealing or being critical are negative qualities where as bad communication, being extravagant, not a good time user are weaknesses.