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Psychological Test in SSB

Last Updated - January 18, 2018

Services Selection Board (SSB) conducts the psychological tests on the second day of the five-day testing schedule for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam. Only those candidates are allowed to attempt the psychological tests, who had cleared the tests conducted on the first day of CDS.

The psychological tests are formulized to evaluate the qualities of the candidates and determine the subconscious and non-conscious states of their mind. These psychological tests are written test based. These aim to assess the potential and personality traits of the candidates that are required in a potential defence officer. Candidates need to complete the psychological tests in a limited time frame.

Such a time constraint enforces the candidates to bring out their actual feelings. Psychologists use this chance to go through the candidate’s actual personality. The CDS psychological test is divided into four parts - Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), Word Association Test (WAT),

Situation Reaction Test (SRT) and Self-Description Test (SDT). This article discusses about these parts of the CDS psychological test and helps you in preparing these.


Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

In the TAT part of the CDS psychological test, you are shown 12 pictures sequentially on a screen. You are provided with 30 seconds to understand each picture. Post then, you are required to write a story on these pictures for which you are given four minutes each.

The 12th picture is simply a blank screen related to which you can write any story coming from your mind. You need to ensure that this story is linked with a momentous incident of your own life that has ever touched your heart.

Note that while assessing each of these pictures, you understand its background before setting a related story. For example, whether the story relates to a rural or an urban place. Additionally, if it is about a market, personal place, building or office.

Then observe carefully the other aspects such as the number of characters, the things that they hold, the activities that the individuals are doing and the kind of work going on. Then baseline one main character, and closely relate your story near to it. You may also name your character in your story, it gives an additional impact.

Understand that it will not be possible for you to write a long story in the provided four minutes. Rather, you may write about 4-6 summarized lines related to the presented scene explaining your whole story’s idea clearly.

Each story should clearly explain what is going on in the shown picture, and what is the final logical outcome of the story. Narrate your story in the past tense and ensure that you write positive, constructive and mature sentences.

The evaluators observe your mind state, general awareness and observation level based on the stories you would write. So make sure that the main character you choose is empowered. For example, some officer, leader, professor or some other authorised person.


Word Association Test (WAT)

In this round, you will be shown 60 words sequentially on the screen. You are provided with 15 seconds to understand each word and then to write the thought coming to your mind related to the word.

Note that you are not required to make a sentence using the provided word. However, it is a word association test through which your approach to deeply understand a topic is assessed.

These 60 words mainly focus to penetrate your intellectual quotient, social attributes, effectiveness as a team member and dynamism. You need to understand that your responses in this round are analysed by psychologists.

Since the timeframe of this round is shorter, the sentences that you create are reflecting your immediate and spontaneous responses. So you must practice a lot for this section before going for the exam.

The individual responses of every of the 60 words are not taken into account. However, your responses are assessed cumulatively by the experts to understand your true and general behavior.

Ensure that your sentences apart from relating to the words, also belong to the distinguished observations of your life. Avoid writing simple sentences that show normal processes.

Avoid sentences beginning from nouns and pronouns (like ‘I am…’), as those represent a biased or possessive personality. If you do not know the meaning of a word, better is to leave it. But try to attempt all the words belonging to the personality traits.


Situation Reaction Test (SRT)

In this round, you are expected to give instinctive and continuous responses in various stressful, unfamiliar and real-life situations. It has 60 situations with required actions that you need to address in 30 minutes.

So for responding to each situation, you are provided with 30 seconds on an average. The situations presented to you here are mainly those which you may go though in your daily lives. For example, what would you do if you see an accident when going to appear in your college exam.

These are provided to you in a work booklet form, in which you need to fill-in your reactions. Because of the stringent time provided, you do not get a chance to think much before providing a response.

So it will grab your actual reaction considering to face such a situation in your real life. The best way to ensure that you will attempt it well is to practice as much as you can, before the real exam.


Self-Description Test

This section aims to assess your ability to self-analyse. Here, you may be asked to write down your opinion about your parents, teachers, friends and yourself. You will be instructed to write both positive and negative things about yourself and the people in your touch.

Note that you must not write more than 2-3 negative lines in each category. Additionally, those should be written in a very positive tone. For instance, instead of writing down simply a negative line, write it as an improvement scope. That too should be supported with a positive quality.

Then while writing about yourself, you must not write the appreciations from others. Like – “My teachers say that I am the best scholar in the class”. Instead, write about how are you the best student. Like - “My teachers always include me in presenting the topics in the class”.

So to summarize, remember that the responses you give in these stages of the CDS psychological tests are compared with the information you would provide in your Personal Information Questionnaire (PIQ) Form. This is done for cross checking your honesty with your projected behaviour by SSB.


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