Now that you have crossed the stage one of the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2019, it is time to start your preparation for the second stage. Whether you got 75 percentile or 90 percentile, the second stage of Written Ability Test (WAT) or Group Discussion (GD) will play a significant role to determine your admission. 18 out of 20 IIMs have replaced their GD round with a short 15 to 30 minutes WAT round. Your performance in the Personal Interview (PI) is also very pivotal to the final selection. One should leave no stone unturned if he/she wishes to secure a spot in the final admission list of one’s dream college. You must ask yourself, then “How should I prepare for the WAT and GD-PI round?”.
Here is a list of tips to help you prepare for your WAT/GD and PI stage.
Focus on Current Affairs and General Knowledge
Be it WAT or GD; knowledge of current affairs is essential for both. To get good marks in either of them, one should be familiar with the topics related to national politics, economic trends, social issues and events of international importance. Try to read newspapers daily till the day of your WAT/GD to stay updated with current affairs. Make it a habit to read the newspaper every morning. This will also prepare you for the PI stage.
Newspapers to read– The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Economic Times
Topics to Read– National Politics, Indian Economic Trends, Social Issues, International Politics, Sports
How Should I practice for WAT
Most of the Indian Institute of Management(IIMs) have replaced the GD round with WAT. The WAT questions can either be on Current Affairs or an abstract statement. If an applicant has a thorough knowledge of recent events of importance, he/she can ace through the WAT stage very quickly. The time given for answering the WAT questions ranges between 15 to 30 minutes.
- Try to take short notes of all the essential topics you are reading in the newspaper.
- Practice makes everything perfect. Exercise answer writing keeping the WAT time frame in mind. You can also use a stopwatch to time yourself.
- Keep your answers well-informed but concise.
- Do not write lengthy explanation if you get familiar topics.
- Do not panic if you get a different topic. It is not possible to know everything. Try your best to recall whatever you can and present it in a good structure.
How Should I Practice for GD
Most top management institutions like FMS, IIM Ahmedabad, etc. now conduct WAT instead of GD. A GD assesses your communication skills, analytical skills, reasoning skills, along with your general knowledge. However, GD still plays an crucial part in the selection of candidates for many top MBA colleges. Usually, an applicant is part of a 5 to 6 members group in a round-table like discussions. What are the factors that can help you to stand apart from the rest of the members of your group?
- Make short notes from newspapers that you can revise before your scheduled GD.
- Try to improve your communication skills by practising for GD in front of a mirror. This might sound cliche, but it can be of great help if you are a shy person or someone who does not feel confident enough to speak in the presence of many persons.
- Try to understand the concept to present your points with clarity.
- Do not shout unnecessarily.
- Do not get into a heated argument. Leadership skills are assessed, as well.
- Do not quote any wrong fact.
- Be confident of yourself. Do not get intimidated if another candidate is speaking for longer than the expected duration.
How should I prepare for the PI?
Appearing for the personal interview is the final step you have to take to ensure your selection. It is also regarded as the most crucial amidst WAT, GD and PI. Why you might ask. It’s evident because it is the candidate who decides in which direction his/her interview will go. One unexpected question and the confidence you have been radiating vanishes away in seconds. If you want to avoid a circumstance that can impact your final selection, you should focus on the following:
- Be thorough and polite with your answers.
- Write a short essay on yourself. Highlight your achievements, recent work experience and hobbies.
- If the interviewer asks you to say a few words about yourself, talk about the things you have highlighted earlier.
- Do not panic if you are unfamiliar with the question. It is much better to say that you don’t know instead of making things up.
Expected PI Questions (General)
- Tell us about yourself.
- Why do you want to pursue an MBA?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you plan to do after the MBA?
- List the things one should not do in the workplace.
- Why do you want to study in this institute?
- How can you contribute to your class?
Tell us about your biggest achievement. Why do you consider it to be so?