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Writing Ability Test (WAT) is an important part of selection process at many top B-schools including the Indian Institutes of Management. Over the past few years, Group Discussion (GD) has slowly been made redundant and WAT has made its way at top B-school admission rounds. This article of Careers360 brings to you expert advice and toppers' insights on cracking the WAT rounds at top B-schools.
According to experts, B-schools evaluate your WAT performance on the basis of quality of your content and writing style. Gautam Puri, Vice President, Careers Launcher says, “WAT tests the candidate's knowledge on the given topic along with the writing style. To build on these two, students must read newspapers and magazines, and cover a wide variety of topics ranging across the domestic and the international circuit.”
Experts believe that regular practice and evaluation is key to cracking WAT.
Gautam Puri says that a regular practice may get candidates into the habit of building opinions rather than merely collecting facts. “Practice is very important. The students must focus on their language skills- good grammar, appropriate vocabulary, correct punctuation etc during their practice sessions. Also, the students must practice putting pen to paper and work on their handwriting. It is important that one writes at least one or two essays on a daily basis and seek expert opinion on them,” he adds.
Evaluation Parameters for WAT
Arks Srinivas, MBA expert and CEO, VistaMind shares the evaluation parameters on the basis of which B-School Admission Committee assess the essays written by candidates.
Quality of content – Facts, Interpretation or Analysis, Conclusion/Opinion/Solution
Quality of Logical arguments - Support your Conclusion
Clarity of Language
Basic Spelling and Grammar
Topper Experiences on WAT Rounds
CAT toppers also believe that writing on different WAT topics and expert feedback on the same must be a part of WAT preparation strategy.
Shubhra Pratim Halder, an IIM Lucknow student shares his experience of the WAT round at his B-School as, "My WAT topic was – ‘East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet’. As I had practiced some abstract topics beforehand in strict time limit, I didn’t have much difficulty in attempting it."
Another IIM student Akshat Modi shares his preparation experience, “After getting the IIM call, I made it a habit to write at least five articles per week. After I wrote an article I would mail that article to three of my very close, able friends belonging to different domains (engineering, arts, and medicine). Their inputs always helped me and I always tried to incorporate their inputs into further articles.” He adds that regular practice also helps you to manage your time during WAT. I strictly adhered to the clock with clear focus on first five minutes for thinking and last five minutes for conclusion.
IIM Kozhikode student Akshay Jayaprakasan says that mock WATs develop thought process on approaching different topics. “My preparation for WAT was limited to reading current affairs. However, in cases that such abstract topics are received, the best way to go about it is to find some analogy to some topic that you know well about. That was how I approached it.”
Careers360 brings you toppers’ insight on steps you should follow to crack WAT.
Here follows 5 key steps to crack your WAT:
1. Understand and analyse the topic:
After you are assigned a topic, you need to first understand the topic and analyse different angles around the topic. This helps you build your thought process and bring quality to your write-up.
Akshay Jayaprakasan who secured admission to IIM Kozhikode shares a deeper analysis of the topic helped him build the essay. “My WAT topic was a very abstract one- ‘The solution to a problem is a problem itself’. Initially I was devoid of any thoughts. I was waiting for a spark to pop up. I thought about the various issues about which I had read in the recent times and corruption popped up in my mind,” Akshay says.
“I started writing about corruption and the Lokpal Bill by the government as a possible solution to it. I drew a contrast between the Jan Lokpal and the Governments version of Lokpal bringing in as many facts as possible. I concluded by saying if the right solution to a problem is sought then it will lead to solving not just the problem at hand, but also many interlinked problems,” he recalls.
Jayesh Ruchandani, who cracked common admission process of new IIMs, explains how he built his thought on the WAT topic. “My topic on WAT was ‘Road traffic has been a growing nuisance in urban and metro cities. What solutions would you suggest on individual level to tackle the problem?’. I wrote about the problem of heavy traffic in cities, understanding of the problem and causes, followed by the solutions and impact of each.”
Sharing her experience, Prakriti Sharma, who secured admission to IIM Kozhikode, says, “My topic for WAT was ‘All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery’. I wrote about the importance of democracy and talked about the 13th amendment brought by Lincoln. I talked of the Indian context as well and tried to touch upon as many different angles as possible.”
Akshat Modi also explains how his clear understanding of the topic helped him analyse the same during his WAT paper. His WAT topic was: ‘Since there have been talks on formation of Telangana, analyse on the socio-economic impact on the newly formed states in India.’
“I broadly classified the three newly formed states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand on their relative sizes and respective parent states. Since I hailed from Ranchi, Jharkhand, I focused only on Jharkhand and its transformation vis-Ã -vis socio-economic condition before and after its inception as a separate state. I then explained the social and economic changes that I had witnessed in the area since last 15 years and how it has changed the lifestyle and behavior of people, and what is the hope it has given,” he says, adding, “I supported my arguments with specific examples and finally concluded my viewpoint.”
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.
Deeksha S, who cracked WAT-PI to enter IIM Kozhikode, shares, “My topic for WAT was ‘a single rose can be a garden, a single friend my world’. I approached the topic by first explaining what I understood by the topic and then taking a side. I was FOR the topic and gave relevant examples regarding the same.”
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. Akshat Modi says, “Continuous reading of articles in the newspaper and online was a must to maintain and improve the quality of the write-up. Also, I believe it is always advisable to support your arguments with facts and I tried to do the same and newspaper reading came in handy there.
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 Vinayak Kudva, Head – PG India & Mumbai Region, IMS, adding,“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.”
“I framed a clear structure in mind of how my flow of thoughts would be before putting pen on paper. That helped in conveying the idea in the best possible way,” says Akshay Jayaprakasan.
Prakriti Sharma says that writing a rough structure helped her develop on those ideas.
CAT topper and IIT graduate Akshat Modi who secured 98.72 percentile and secured admission to IIM Rohtak, believes he clearly communicated his viewpoint on the given WAT topic and presented it in an interesting way. I defined a proper structure in the beginning and gave the proper roadmap as to what I wanted to convey. Use of simple language and short sentences was something I focused upon.”
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 time frame.
According to the toppers they divide 10-15 minutes on understanding and analysing the topic, and spend remaining time on writing the same.
Jayesh Ruchandani of IIM Kashipur says, “Allotted time for WAT was 25 minutes. I spent around 13 minutes towards thinking and structuring the points and utilised 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.”
5. Make it Short and Simple:
Last but not the least; 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, Head, PT Education says, “As in life, so in WAT. Follow the K-I-S-S-S principle. KEEP IT SHORT AND 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, figures. Start well. End better. Be crisp.”
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see the basic eligibility criteria for cat is candidate need to have a graduation degree in any discipline with 50% marks from a recognized university. marks percentage should be calculated as per university norms, and for any university students who are in graduation or already passed 50% marks criteria is applied.
According to the eligibility criteria for CAT the candidate must have completed their graduation. Although the candidate who is in final year of graduation can take the test but will be admitted into the course only if he/she clears graduation with at least 50% marks .
You can checkout the detailed information about CAT here.
The CAT exam for the year 2020 will be conducted on the last Sunday of November or first Sunday of December 2020.The registration for the exam will start by the first week of August and will end by the last week of september.
to get a call from iim bangalore not only depends on cat score but also it depends on your academic curriculum, work experience etc. iim bangalore has 40% weight age to cat score and 50% weight to academics and 10% is on gender diversity and work experience. see as per previous years cutoff and students review you need to have more than 95 percentile in cat exam to get a call from iim's if you belongs to general category.
so study hard and best of luck.
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