8 Mantras To Crack The Word Association Test By Dr. Cdr. NK Natarajan

Work Association Test is one of the psychological tests conducted at the Services Selection Boards. It is a very powerful tool in understanding the personality of the candidate. In this, 60 words are flashed on the screen one after the other with each word appearing for 15 seconds each within which a candidate is required to see the word and write a short sentence using the word. While it may sound very simple, it is not very easy as the ability to think so fast is a great challenge.

Several candidates manage to just write some sentence that is grammatically right but that may not interest the psychologist. After all, the assessor is trying to read your personality using the random sentences that you write and hence it is important to know what will appeal to the assessor or to put it in other words, what will reflect about your personality.

As a principle, ensure you follow the under mentioned rules:-

  1. The sentence you make must contain the word given and not its synonym. For example if the given word is ‘Love’ the sentence must include the word Love or its other forms like loving, lovable etc. Many academies and so called SSB Coaches with no background of selection teach their candidates wrongly and suggest that they can use a synonym which is incorrect.
  2. Do not use idioms and phrases as they are not your own idea but someone else’s imagination. WAT is not a test of English but a test of your imagination. It is your imagination that reflects about you and hence if you write idioms and phrases it will reflect the imagination of the other person which you are not.
  3. Never make suggestive sentences. For example, for the word ‘Lie’ if you write, ‘one should not lie’ this will not mean much to the assessor because this sentence is suggestive in nature and one may or may not follow the same in real life. In fact, we hardly follow what we profess or suggest to others. On the other hand, if you write, ‘Lying is a bad habit’ it reflects your belief that lying is bad and hence you are not likely to lie and hence as an assessor, I may deduce that you are a truthful person which means you have a high ‘Sense of Responsibility’ which is one of the Officer Like Quality we are looking for.
  4. Do not make sentences using celebrities. If you write sentences like Sachin Tendulkar is humble, Amitabh Bachchan is hardworking etc. it reflects nothing about you and instead reflects your limited imagination.
  5. Convert negative words into positive sentences. Several words shown in the test will be negative in nature. It is important to convert the negative words into positive sentences. I have shown several examples in my video lectures for your benefit.
  6. Do not use I, We, They etc. in forming sentences as it tends to generalize. If you repeatedly write, I love my country, I am a hardworking person, I am obedient etc., it shows your obsession with the self and also reflects limitation of imagination.
  7. Do not use fictitious names as the sentence thus formed is meaningless and fictitious. For example Ram is a god person, Shyam is cunning etc., it makes no sense to the assessor. Remember, it is the test of your imagination and not the test of English and grammar.
  8. Do not reflect bias towards people, gender, caste, religion etc. If you say, ‘all women are physically weak’ that shows your belief and it is likely that you will look down upon them reflecting poor adaptability.
  9. Never write sentences that will reflect that you are stress prone, have suicidal tendencies, fear or phobias.
  10. Never write sentences that will reflect that you have strong craving for power, wealth etc.
  11. Do not write meanings of the words given.
  12. Make sentences that will reflect your beliefs and values. For example, when you write a sentence for the word ‘Dirty’ as ‘wearing dirty clothes reflect poorly about a person’, shows your belief and it is most likely that you will not wear dirty clothes and will be better organized.
  13. Make sentences based on current affairs and general knowledge. That will reflect that you are up and about and inquisitive which are signs of intelligence.
  14. Make sentences showing cause and effect. For example when you make a sentence for the word ‘foul’ as ‘foul mind gives poor decisions’ shows reasoning that are logical.


My Video Lecture on SSB Interview is the most effective tool for aspirants who are preparing for the Interview to join the Defence Forces. It does not only talk about the do’s and don’ts of the WAT, it also gives practical examples of what a good sentence is and how the assessors in the SSB assess the personality of the candidate based on WAT. Once you understand the process of assessment it will become fairly easy for you to crack it with little bit of practice.


Dr. Cdr. NK Natarajan

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