Quick Tips for WAT After CAT 2014 Result
Urvashi Dalal, 27 Dec 2014, #CAT
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After appearing in the CAT 2014, you are only half way through towards your endeavor to get admission in one of your dream B-schools. While you display your computing, analytical and logical skills in the entrance tests, your soft skills and writing ability are tested in the next rounds of the selection process, namely Group Discussion (GD), Personal Interview (PI) and Writen Ability Test (WAT).

WAT or Essay Writing is a comparatively new phenomenon for the MBA admission process. Over a past couple of years, the top institutes introduced WAT as a parameter to test the written communication skills of the shortlisted candidates. The six new IIMs namely IIM Rohtak, Raipur, Ranchi, Trichy, Udaipur and Kashipur introduced WAT in the Common Admission Process which was introduced in 2011. Careers360 brings you the quick preparatory tips to crack WAT for successfully completing the admissions process of Top B-schools across India.

What to focus on

As soon as your written exam is over, and you have prepared for your GD and PI, shift your focus immediately on the preparation for WAT. Vinayak Kudva, Head, PG India & Mumbai Region, IMS says, “Immediately after the CAT, MBA aspirants should prepare for the entrance tests they plan to take and simultaneously start preparing for the second stage of selection: the GD/WAT/PI stage.

This article will help you gather information on WAT/GD and PI rounds and the preparation strategy suggested by the experts. Past years’ CAT toppers, who are currently students at top B-schools like IIMs, MDI etc. will share their experience of the final selection procedures.

 

Udit Dhiman from MDI Gurgaon explains the basic of prparing for WAT. “The idea is not to make the topic colloquial and to not drag the same points and bring out some insights. It is important to note that evaluations essentially look for some nuanced points and thus the 10-20% thinking time is required”, he says.

 

Use of examples, from personal experiences or otherwise, relevant to the topic that can substantiate the WAT point, are simple way of preparing yourselves for the WAT.

 

Written Ability Test (WAT)

The duration of WAT varies from 10 to 45 minutes. The challenge is to accumulate your thoughts and present it within the given time frame. WAT is not just a tool which tests your written ability but your general awareness and time management skill as well. Gautam Puri says, “WAT tests the candidate’s knowledge on the given topic along with the writing style.  To build on these two, the student must read newspapers and magazines, and cover a wide variety of topics ranging across the domestic and the international circuit.”

Strategy for approaching WAT

While you may be very much well prepared and well read, but your performance on the D-Day will depend on the factors like topic of the WAT and duration assigned. Here are a few tips and tricks to crack WAT.

1.  Understand, Analyze and Approach: After you are assigned with a topic, you need to first understand what the topic is about and analyze different angles around the topic. This helps you build your thought process and bring quality to your WAT write-up. Once you are done with this, approach the topic in a verystructured way.  Jay Mehta, WAT Topper from JBIMS says, “I was very structured and focused in my approach towards WAT. I put in a lot of facts and figures and included my opinions on the different topics as well”.

2. Take your stand: Based on your understanding and analysis of the WAT topic, you should develop opinion on whether you are for the topic or against it. In either condition, you need to substantiate your opinion with logical arguments and facts.Experts say your arguments in the WAT reflect clarity of your thoughts. Toppers also advise that your write-up should carry facts to support your claims. Shray from SP Jain explains  the importance of strategically dividing the topic and then follow an approach.  “I broke down the topic in four questions I’d ask from the author, and then I tried to answer them with an equal importance. It helped with planning time as well as I allocated an equal share to each question”, he says.

 

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3. Follow a structure:Experts say that a candidate must structure the WAT content before writing it on the piece of paper. They suggest that drawing a structure based on your understanding of topic is important as it reflects how you process information into your communication.“Students need to learn how to analyse the topic, identify or build relevant arguments and finalise their position on the issue,” says Kudva. He also adds,“The next step should be deciding on the sequence in which it should be presented on paper. The candidates need to decide what will be the introduction, body and conclusion and finally, write the essay neatly and coherently.”

Jyotsna Chadda from IIM Rohtak explains her strategy which made her crack WAT and secure admission in one of the IIM’s.My idea was to display my knowledge about the topic in an effective manner and support it with relevant examples. I presented some radical views too, but backed them with strong arguments. I tried to assure that the essay displays a logical thought process and is well organized and coherent. I would rate my essay as 7.5 out of a scale of 10, as I exceeded the word limit”, she explains.

4.  Watch your time: You should do a balancing act while dividing your time between building your thoughts and putting the same on the paper during your WAT. Given that the allotted time for WAT may vary at different B-Schools, you should also be ready with a strategy to complete both the component within given timeframe.According to the toppers they divide 10-15 minutes on understanding and analysing the topic, and spend remaining time on writing the same.

Jayesh from IIM Kshipur says, “Allotted time for WAT was 25 minutes. I spent around 13 minutes towards thinking and structuring the points and utilized remaining time in writing the essay. I was able to complete my writing on the topic in around 20 minutes. I spent the remaining time in proofreading and corrections.”

 

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Nitish Bagai from MDI Gurgaon explains his WAT Time management strategy , “As the topic for WAT was to summarize the GD, no preparation in terms of content was needed beforehand. I was prepared with my strategy to keep jotting down all good points during the GD itself, and then compile them during WAT”.

 

5.  Keep it Short and Simple: Your write-up should be short and easy to understand. You should also avoid using difficult words when it can be replaced with a short and easy word.

Sandeep Manudhane says, “As in life, so in WAT. Follow the K-I-S-S-S principle. KEEP IT SHORT SWEET STUPID. Don't use 11 words if 10 would do. You should not twist the sentence if straight would do. Be active not passive. Be direct not indirect. You should not use 'procrastinate' if 'postpone' would do. Put examples, facts, and figures. Start well. End better. Be crisp.”

 

A Few WAT Topics

  1. Role of Regional Political Parties in Indian Politics

  2. Global warming is a hyped up propaganda

  3. Need of vocational training in today’s education system

  4. Are women in positions of power more aggressive than men in the same positions?

  5. Importance of RTE

  6. sanitation in India

  7. Briefly Describe the GD

  8. Comment on the merits and demerits of online education versus classroom learning

  9. Promoting Hockey in India

  10. Which song defines you

Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:

 

CAT GD-PI-WAT Topper Interview

Life @ B-School Campus

Changes in CAT 2014

CAT Topper Interviews

MBA Internship Series

B-School Placements


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