With CAT results declared, preparation for WAT and PI rounds is the next big step towards gaining admission in the B-School of your choice. Through this article, I'll outline what you can expect from the WAT round and a few steps that have helped me while preparing for it.
What is WAT, and why is it so necessary?
Many B-Schools conduct WAT or the Written Ability Test as one of the rounds for selection. The weightage of the WAT round typically varies between 0-20%. However, many top B-Schools, including IIM Calcutta and IIM Kozhikode, have removed the WAT round altogether in the past year. Despite this, it is critical to prepare well for this round, as these skills can also help you during the interview process.
What does the WAT round test?
WAT typically judges a candidate's ability to put together a coherent and logical essay on the given topic. Having decent vocabulary and grammar abilities, along with a structured thought process, might help you score well in this section. A few other parameters include quality of ideas, critical thinking, and flow of the article. Many candidates misbelieve that using complicated words or flowy language is the key to scoring well in this section. A clear and concise report conveying 2-3 distinct points is more effective than a rambling article, irrespective of the tone and language.
How to prepare for WAT
Since WAT topics are mostly random, you might wonder how to go about preparing for them. To start preparation, go through some topics that were asked in previous years. They can provide a good starting point for practice. Some topics from 2019 include:
- IT Boom in India- a boon or a curse?
- Privacy is dead in the online world
- How can the government help in alleviating farmers' distress and prevent suicides?
- Demographic Dividend in India – Myth or Reality?
- Is Disruptive Technology Sustainable?
You can also practice some topics from 65 Topics to help you crack the WAT Round
Try attempting one topic every day and get it corrected by someone with experience. Also, try inculcating any feedback you get into your subsequent articles. Good practice in writing articles will certainly help you boost your scores.
WAT topics are mostly centered around some current affairs or news of relevance. Being in sync with the current affairs can help you tackle the WAT round with ease. Make sure to read at least 2-3 daily newsletters and gain different views on topics of national importance. Presenting balanced and carefully planned out points of view will help you in this round.
Structuring the articles
The length of a WAT article can be anywhere between 250-400 words, and the time duration given for the same can vary between 15-30 minutes. Some B-Schools provide around 5-10 minutes of additional time after giving the topics to allow candidates to structure their ideas. Even if this extra time is not given, it is advised that you spend some time jotting down rough ideas and structuring your article. During this time, try to make a mental picture of what you will write and write down your key concepts in the rough.
Every article needs three major components – the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Different candidates follow different structures for these components. Here is one that I have used for my WAT rounds.
|Introduction (25%)||Describe the topic and introduce the key ideas you are going to present in the article|
|Body (50%)||The article's body can be broken down into two or more paragraphs depending on the ideas or points discussed in the introduction. Make sure to enumerate the points using words like firstly, secondly, lastly, etc., for clarity.|
|Conclusion (25%)||The conclusion is like a mirror to the introduction. Sum up the points discussed in the article with a sentence or two and give recommendations, if applicable, for the topic.|
Lastly, leave a minute or two at the end to proofread your essay and correct any errors before submitting.
The key to performing well in the WAT round is good knowledge regarding recent news and happenings, combined with lots of writing practice. Be sure to ask a buddy or a mentor to help you out by giving feedback on your articles. I wish you the best of luck with your preparations and interviews!
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