10 Nov 2020 19:52 IST

Guide to prepare for GD, PI, and WAT

Aspirants can best prepare by staying up-to-date with current affairs and reading up on various subjects

An adage that has stood the test of time points to a simple truth — CAT is not over till it is over. Post CAT, management institutes explore the aptitude of the aspirant in person. They probe the entire gamut of the communication paradigm — reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Personal Interview, Group Discussion, and the Written Ability Test form the crux of this vital expectation and they are critical elements to negotiate the final frontier.

Hence, a serious contender needs to prepare well and well in advance for the above.

Personal interview

A Personal Interview (PI) for 10-30 minutes may include broad question categories based on self awareness, academics, personality, career objectives, work experience, general awareness, and hypothetical situations including ethical dilemmas. To prepare for the PI, first and foremost, you should know yourself fully well and also know what people know about you. Create your comprehensive profile diligently. Based on this profile, make a list of possible areas of scrutiny. Prepare an exhaustive list of questions and a possible set of answers on each question category. Mentally prepare for loose ends, grey areas, and traps.

Indulge in role play and extensively interview yourself. Also, ask a friend / colleague / family member to interview you and provide unbiased feedback. Consider the feedback positively and incrementally build traction into possible responses. Meanwhile, you must keep abreast of the latest developments in areas relevant to your profile and the general environment — reading is de rigueur.

Group discussion

A Group Discussion (GD) is a formal interaction amongst a group of candidates on a given topic for 10-30 minutes. Topics can be generic or specific case studies. Competencies evaluated in a GD are based on the “managerial conduct in a team meeting,” including knowledge and diverse skills of analysis, organisation, creativity, communication, group behaviour, leadership and demeanour. To prepare for a GD, reading up on varied subjects is a critical contributor. You must painstakingly follow local, national, and international dailies and newspapers to create timelines for developments in diverse fields. Make extensive notes on various subjects for future reference. On a given topic, begin by generating ideas.

Use the key words in the topic; delve into the perspectives of the stakeholders who can be affected; and identify the social, political, economic, and legal dimensions that emerge from the subject. In addition to content, GDs require confidence and communication skills. Make videos of yourself /speak in front of a mirror — practice speaking formally on one of the possible subjects. Solicit feedback from others, and thoroughly critique yourself- in a way that allows you to focus on course correction. You may gather people and participate in an offline / online GD as well.

Written ability test

Written Ability Test (WAT) is a fairly recent addition to the evaluation criteria. It involves providing a written perspective on any random subject over 20 - 30 minutes. The parameters for judgement include knowledge, clarity of perspectives, well-rounded analysis, organised framework of thought process, effective communication skills, and structured presentation. WAT requires extensive reading because it demands intellectual discipline and diligence. To write well, you need to read stellar pieces of writing, where an idea has been skilfully developed by a seasoned writer. The second vital part is the actual writing of essays.

You should begin writing on diverse subjects on your own with a timeline in mind. Equally, read articles, write on the same subject, and then compare your perspective with the original. You will get a fair idea about the correctness of approach and delivery. While approaching an essay, firstly, generate ideas as recommended earlier for the GD.

Then organise the collected ideas in a logical hierarchy. Develop 3 - 4 main points for inclusion. This represents your final draft. Now, write the essay. Adhere carefully to the structure of a typical essay — separate paragraphs should clearly reflect the introduction, the body of ideas, and conclusion. Finally, proofread the essay for any language errors, do not attempt last minute structural changes. Practice all the above religiously, till the point of exhaustion and expertise — like all processes that the mind tries to learn, this plan must be practised so often that it becomes a reflex response to the task.

(The writer is Senior faculty, T.I.M.E. Mumbai.)