Written Ability Test (WAT)

Written Ability Test (WAT)

For those who made it through the first round of CAT 2013, results announced January 14, it is time to focus on the Written Ability Test (WAT) and personal interview rounds that take place from February to May.

Key Features 

WAT is a pen and paper writing ability test conducted by IIMs and other top rated B schools. These institutes’ shortlist candidates based on the CAT scores, which tests the knowledge of an aspirant and then judge the writing ability.

B schools place a lot of importance on the Writing Ability of candidates. In the top B schools, weightage of WAT-PI round ranges between 30 to 70%. IIMA assigns 70%, while IIMB, IIM Raipur assign 30%, IIMC 54% and IIML gives it 45% weightage.Most of the IIMs conduct WAT and Personal Interview and have done away with Group Discussion (GD) round. A few like IIM-L, IIM Shillong, have all the three i.e. Group Discussion, Personal Interview and WAT. The six new IIMs at Ranchi, Raipur, Rohtak, Trichy, Udaipur and Kashipur aligned to the CAT in the academic year 2011-13have substituted GD with WAT.

Manifestation Of Attitude 

Management programmes instill qualities needed to manage the affairs of a corporate. This requires good writing skills. The candidate should be able to express her ideas in a clear, logical and coherent manner. The essay writing by the aspirant tests this skill and attitude. The IIMs expect a test taker to understand the topic along with the key words and then form a piece of writing where the flow of thought, rich in contents, is presented flawlessly.

Past WAT topics 

WAT could cover any topics, national and international  – Business, Economics, Finance, Sports, Social, Political or Religious.  The tone could be imaginative and abstract. Here’s a glimpse of WAT topics from the previous years. 

*   The recent financial crisis highlights the perils of Capitalism *  Women's Reservation Bill *  Banning politicians with criminal records from contesting elections is against their right *   India versus Bharat: a divided nation *   Union Budget is a useless exercise and activities like recession put it off-track *  Essential services like water, electricity should not be privatized *  Is disinvestment in profit making PSU's advisable? *  Should Petroleum Subsidy go away? *   Corporate Social Responsibility *  Discuss the role of Public Private Partnership in India's Economic Growth *   Voting should be made compulsory *  IIM should make one year of social service compulsory for all students *  Should there be reservation for women in MBA colleges? *  Bollywood is capitalizing on people with disabilities *  In India mass mobilization can only be achieved through religion *   IPL is a death knell to Indian cricket *   Legalizing doping in sports in modern times *  Cricket is cannibalizing the space of other sports in India *   The greatest tennis star of all time *  Vishwanathan Anand is as good a brand ambassador as Sachin Tendulkar

Key Trends 

To gauge awareness and fast-thinking, the WAT has a time limit, varying across institutes. The IIMs and IIFT, do not set a word limit but a well worded and properly structured essay might be 300 to 400 words long and should be completed in 20-30 minutes, provided is to the point. A good deal of practice is required to meet this goal.IIM(L) usually gives an abstract topic in Written Ability Test. The same topic may figure in Group Discussion. 

Format

Each B-school has its own format in terms of time limit, word limit and expected topics:

*  IIM-Ahmedabad, 15-20 minutes, 300 plus words Current affairs, Finance, Economics, Socio-Political, abstract topics *  IIM-Bangalore, 30 minutes, 400 words approximately, National, International topics*  IIM-Calcutta 20-25 minutes, 400 plus words Current affairs, Business, Science, Abstract Topics *  IIM-Lucknow 15 minutes, 200 plus words Mostly Abstract and National *  IIMs Ranchi, Raipur, Rohtak, Trichy, Udaipur, Kashipur 15-20 minutes, 300 plus words, Economics, Business, Current, Abstract 

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