With most management entrance exams out of the way, the next step in the selection process of most top Business schools in the country is the Personal Interview (PI) and the Written Ability Test (WAT) round. While CAT is the first step towards gaining admission in the institution of your choice, the WAT-PI rounds have a high weightage in determining the final admissions. The weightage given by some premier institutions to this stage in the final admission process is as follows:
|Colleges||PI (%)||WAT (%)||Overall (%)|
As can be observed from the table, colleges can give up to a whopping 60% weightage for this selection phase. The trend is similar in many of the newer IIMs, and hence, performing well at this stage is immensely critical for admissions.
One question most candidates have after giving CAT and other management exams is regarding when to start preparing for the interview rounds. The call letters for interviews usually begin arriving a few days after the CAT results are announced. Irrespective of whether you start preparation immediately after CAT or wait for your call letters to come, it is necessary to keep your motivation levels high. Similar to CAT preparation, the first step to preparing for the WAT-PI round is to prepare a schedule. Make a list of all things you need to read up or prepare for and make sure to allocate some time every day for preparation.
Written Ability Test (WAT) round
The WAT round tests not only the candidate's knowledge on the topic but also the writing ability, clarity of thought, and structure in writing. For scoring well in this round, it is essential to have a grasp of current affairs and trending topics and practice improving writing skills. Topics for WAT can come from any relevant trending topic, which for this year might include topics around the impact of the Covid19 pandemic, online education, the new education policy, etc. The topics might also be general knowledge-based, which all candidates will likely be familiar with.
Read 65 Topics To Help You Crack The WAT Round for a list of some WAT topics.
Usually, the time given for the WAT round varies from 10-30 minutes with 5-10 minutes to collect and organize ideas. The word limit could be around 200-400 words. Before you start to write the essay, give some time to organize your ideas, and make a mental picture of what you are going to write. Write your ideas in the rough work, select the top 3-4 ideas, and start writing. Remember to keep track of time and finish writing a few minutes earlier to recheck your essay before final submission.
Personal Interview (PI) round
Through the PI round, the interviewers try to judge candidates on their personality, knowledge, and attitudes. Institutes look for students who can be moulded into future leaders. Hence you must prepare well for this stage to project the best form of yourself to the panel. It is impossible to predict the direction that an interview will take, but you can often try to direct it to some extent. You need to be well-versed with current affairs as well as be able to talk about your experiences. Preparation for WAT will help significantly in the interview round as well. You are also expected to be thorough with your undergraduate subjects and area of work experience.
The duration of the interviews would be around 10 to 20 minutes depending on the panel. The kind of questions asked will differ for different institutions but will broadly be around previous academic knowledge, general awareness and work experience along with some behavioural questions. While preparing for the PI round, be sure to go through interview experiences of past years.
The WAT-PI rounds are considered crucial steps towards IIM selections. With CAT out of the way, ensure that you put your best foot forward and make the most out of this opportunity.
All the best for the process!