Misconceptions of Coached Candidates about TAT

Coached candidates have been provided fixed rules for TAT. This inhibits the free thinking of these aspirants. Coached candidates have some of the following misconceptions:

  1. The main character should be of their gender & age.
  2. The stories should relate to the aspirant’s life experiences.
  3. In case the picture has something clearly negative, like a dead body, then the aspirants will either evade the aspect or write about some drama going on.
  4. In simple straightforward stories on pictures depicting saving of an accident victim, the aspirants will not be satisfied by just the resolution of the problem because coaching has taught them that if they do only as much as everyone else does, then they will not be selected. Thus, they will add such stuff like, “Ram contacted the District Collector and got a speed breaker created near the spot and no accidents occurred at that point in the future.” Why is this point funny? In reality the Road Transport Minister has not been able to reduce the road accidents but the main character of the aspirant’s story will do so!
  5. In case the aspirant finds it difficult to write a story based on the picture shown then he/she will plant the main character from outside and write the story around him/her.
  6. They come prepared with a number of stock stories around stock pictures and write them to show the organizing abilities of the main character. For example: the picture shows a scene of an NCC camp. The coached person will write as to how the main character prepared his team for a drill competition or some other competition and his/her team won it. In reality the picture may be showing some crisis in the camp and an appropriate story would be the resolution of that issue, like warding off the danger of some wild animals or fire or some such threat. In this way, the aspirants will be assessed poorly for their ability to interpret the picture appropriately.
  7. The aspirants write stories about the main character having a number of OLQs, stated as adjectives in the introduction, like, “Ram was an obedient son, who was very good at studies as well as sports. One day while he was going to his college, he saw that an accident had taken place—-. Now, these points, “obedient son, who was very good at studies as well as sports” are inconsequential and a waste of words by the aspirant.
  8. The aspirants go to SSB with minds filled with numerous instructions, jargon and ‘things not to write’ and an overdose of ‘positive thinking.’ As a result, the aspirants often, “go blank on seeing pictures” and cannot construct stories on pictures which uncoached aspirants find no problem at all in writing about.

What is the Solution?

Please be cautious of coaching academies. In case you have taken coaching then, please do not carry the misconceptions that have been discussed above about TAT to the SSB.


By: Col MM Nehru