IIM WAT 2021 is one of the crucial parts of the IIM Selection procedure. The WAT, or the written ability test is conducted through the common admission procedure of IIMs. Overall, IIM WAT weightage accounts for over 10% of the selection procedure. The result of the 10th board exam and graduation marks each carries 10 percent weightage as well. Check IIM Selection Process
- WAT is a pen-paper-based writing test of 15 to 30 minutes duration conducted to test the writing skills of the candidates after they qualify for the final selection round.
- Many of the IIMs have replaced the Group Discussion round by WAT in the final selection round.
- Any topic can be given in the WAT test in relation to the present situation or past trends.
CAT 2020 was conducted on Nov 29, 2020, and the results were announced on January 2, 2021. As the CAT response sheet has been released along with the Answer Keys, candidates can use both for CAT score calculation.
Written Ability Test - Evaluation Criteria
Topics for WAT can range from any Current Affairs issues to static topics, case studies, or for that matter even abstract ideas. While the basic evaluation criteria for WAT assignment remains the same for all B-Schools, the change in evaluation comes with the direct proportionately of the allotted time with the content given. Greater the time, greater the expectations for a good write-up.
While evaluating the assignment, the panel primarily focuses on four parameters:
- Clarity of Thought in the Written Ability Test
- Simplicity of Expression
- Comprehensiveness of Perspective
- Robustness of Reasoning
It is true that not all can write an essay satisfying all above standards. Thus what all test takers advice is Proper Background Preparation. A candidate who writes on a continuous basis with a clarity of thought and is well aware of all that’s happening in the surroundings, will surely ace through the test.
IIM WAT Preparation Tips
While writing for WAT assignment, one does not know who will be reading it further. Of course it will be a panel of learned beings, and for sure every candidate wishes to impress them with their thoughts expressed via writing. As numerous essays are presented in front of the panellists, writers should make sure that the very first paragraph is able to catch the attention of the reader. Following are the tips on how one can prepare to write a good essay in WAT:
Step 1: WAT topic can range from any subject. While practising make sure of drawing an outline of the given topic as it will help in writing the essay in a coherent manner including all aspects. Maintain knowledge of quotes/pieces of information that can be utilized for various topics. Backing up your arguments/ pointers with data will increase the strength of your statements
Step 2: Introductory paragraph shouldn’t be general but reflect your ideas clearly as to what all will you be discussing in the essay. Follow through on your perspective, do not provide contradictory statements. Try to avoid generalized or ambiguous statements
Step 3: There is a possibility that a topic may contain different standpoints. It is upon the writer how clearly you portray the different points of view. Do not incorporate separate/contradictory ideas in one paragraph. A paragraph should reflect a single standpoint.
Step 4: Avoid quoting or paraphrasing points that you are ambiguous about.
Step 5: Some may suggest using heavy vocabulary in WAT to generate a good impression. However, since there is time constraint it is advised to use lucid language and focus on presenting ideas clearly rather than decorative writing. Make sure that the piece is grammatically correct and proofread it at least once before submission. If you decide to use complicated jargon, make sure it is placed correctly and in the right sense. Instead of using connecters such as ‘and, but’ etc, try using better transition words such as “Nevertheless/ Hence/ Therefore/ However”
Step 6: Correct use of grammar and punctuation is a vital part of WAT, as a wrong usage can change the entire meaning of the sentence or paragraph. Keep the reader in mind while preparing your written task. Make sure that you are not nervous during the writing assignment since it will affect your handwriting. Your handwriting should be legible and coherent. Keep your ideas and pointers structured and consistent
Step 7: The concluding paragraph should summarize the entire essay and present your concluding remarks. Use of quotes from leading personalities can be used to support your viewpoint. Make a mental structure of your entire essay so that you have a semi-structured outline to reduce ambiguity. It is better to have a simple structure that can be elaborated well rather than a complicated topic that has very little substance
Weightage of WAT in IIM Selections
Different IIMs allocates different weightage to the Written Ability Test factor. While appearing for multiple IIMs, a candidate has to attempt only one WAT. The IIMs share the WAT score with each other, which helps to speed up the process. Although, the interview process is distinct for every IIM.
Details regarding the same are tabulated below:
|IIM Rohtak||30 (PA)|
|IIM Udaipur||21 (PA)|
|IIM Bodh Gaya||10|
(PA - Personal Appearance)
Some IIMs participating in the common counselling process have only disclosed the weightage for personal appearance, which accounts for both WAT and PI.
Time Limit for Written Test (WAT) for IIMs
Every institute allots a different time limit for attempting the test. The following table depicts the estimated time limit allotted by different institutes for the process:
|B-School||Time Limit (in minutes)||Suggested Word Limit|
The purpose of a WAT in a CAT exam is to have a better insight into your philosophy of life, your thought process, and your moral structure. Even in general writing, a person requires a high discipline of intellect. Thus a candidate should be well versed with current topics, leaders, and discoveries, etc.
WAT Personal Experiences
To understand how the entire process of Written Ability Test is conducted, it is necessary to have a look at the experiences of candidates who have earlier appeared for the round. Below given are excerpts from such experiences. Candidates can take a clue from the below mentioned topics about what can be asked in CAT WAT 2020.
Ramraj Nagar - IIM Kozhikode; CAT Percentile: 98.44
WAT Topic: History has taught us enough. Now we must learn our own modern day lessons.
15 Mins for writing and can write on only one side of the A4 page.
Wrote about the vehicular pollution and electrical vehicle adoption timeline and plan. Mentioned the Emission Standard movement time period and wrote about the crop residue burning problem and solution for it. Mentioned the recent frauds and solution for the frauds.
Ruchika Bhartiya - IIM Kozhikode
WAT Topic: Strength does not come from physical capacity. It is derived from an indomitable will.
Suggested Reading List for WAT
The more you read more information you will have on multiple topics. From news and latest updates, newspapers are a useful medium. Reading more will eventually also complement your verbal comprehension skills. Written Ability Test tends to check the reading ability and information processing and presentation of the candidate. Some of the recommended newspapers are mentioned below:
- Economic Times
- Business Standard
- The Mint
- The Hindu
- Wall Street Journal
You can also buy a yearbook, like Manorma to update yourself with the latest trends and topics. Newspaper reading should be a part of daily activity. Focus on the editorial articles. You can also buy some other books or novels, which help you to see from a different perspective.
Books to read while preparing for WAT:
Books are responsible for the overall personal development of a person. For an MBA aspirant, books will help you improve speed, vocabulary, and context. One can start with classics:
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
- The Namesake, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Apart from these classics, the following books can help you to have a general context about different circumstances and situations:
- The monk who sold his Ferrari
- The Freedom at Midnight
- The Argumentative Indian
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Steve Jobs
- The Social Network
A few more books are listed below, which have been recommended multiple times by IIM alumni:
|The Alchemist||Paulo Coelho||Adventure, fantasy|
|The Zahir||Paulo Coelho||Novel|
|The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari||Robin Sharma||Fiction, inspirational|
|Nineteen Eighty-Four||George Orwell||Political satire, social science fiction|
|The Compassionate Samurai||Brian Klemmer||Motivational|
|The Great Gatsby||F. Scott Fitzgerald||Fiction novel|
|The Catcher in the Rye||J. D. Salinger||Realistic fiction|
|The Fountainhead||Ayn Rand||Philosophical novel|
|Narcissus and Goldmund||Hermann Hesse||Historical fiction, philosophical fiction|
|Atlas Shrugged||Ayn Rand||Philosophical, Mystery and Romance|
CAT 2020 - WAT Topics to Expect This Year
Stressed Assets and Banking in India
Stressed assets have been rapidly rising in India, mainly in public sector banks. As per experts, a number of factors can be identified that have led to this situation. Factors like:
- Global slow down
- Governance related issues
- Political factors
- Mal-intentions and misconduct
- Impact of COVID -19
Significant losses are incurred by the public as well as the Union Government which basically owns these public sector banks. The chances of misconduct are substantially large in case of infrastructure projects, especially under public private partnership.
RBI in its report on Trend and Progress of Banking in India mentioned that loans that are overdue between 30 to 90 days, known as special mention accounts (SMAs), have risen in the first half of the current financial year.
For public sector banks, loans overdue by 30-60 days, known as SMA-1 accounts, rose to 1.6 percent of total loans as of September 2019 compared to 1.3 percent six months ago. Accounts overdue by 60-90 days, categorised as SMA-2, rose to 2.2 percent at the end of September from 0.7 percent in March.
In the case of private banks, SMA-1 accounts were largely steady at 1.9 percent as on Sept. 30, 2019. However, SMA-2 accounts accounted for 1.2 percent of total loans compared to 0.5 percent in March 2019.
Is Net Neutrality essential to Digital India
Net neutrality means that Internet Service providers should treat all content over internet without discriminating or favouring any app or website over the others on the basis of website, content or user as this kind of discrimination will result in the domination of bigger companies (Ex – Facebook, Google etc.) over startups and small companies.
The Net Neutrality issue rose in December 2014 when Airtel decided to start charging extra for VoIP (Voice over Internet protocol) calling apps such as Skype, Viber etc. TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) invited comments from Indian citizens on this.
‘Free Basics’ was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in partnership with Reliance communications in February 2015 in India. Free Basics gave mobile users access to over 30 different websites without any data charges. The aim was to bring more people online and to ensure digital equality. In April 2015, Airtel launched ‘Airtel Zero’, which allowed its customers to access some apps at Zero data charges. App providers will pay the data charges. This resulted in Differential Pricing – giving access to some websites and apps for free and charging the remaining. ISPs can also make some websites load faster and can slow down other websites who cannot pay extra fee to them in future. However, in December 2015, TRAI ordered Reliance to suspend ‘Free Basics’ temporarily by stating that it violates principles of Net neutrality.
The two core issues which are at clash here are – ‘Ease of access to internet’ and ‘Net neutrality’.
In February 2016, TRAI backed Net neutrality and barred Telecom companies from charging different prices for data services except emergency services, thereby banning Airtel Zero and Free Basics.
The debate around Net Neutrality remains to be a hot topic even today and may be asked in GD or WAT rounds as no proper law on it has come into force, and people remain to be on either side highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of Net Neutrality.
EWS Reservation - A new national reservation criteria
On 9th Jan, 2019, the Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (124th amendment) Bill with 165 members voting in favour and 7 against the bill that provides 10% reservation to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in the general category in government jobs and education.
The 10% quota bill was introduced with the aim to help the economically backward people who belong to upper castes sections. In layman terms, if a person belonging from the “general” category, falls into the given definition of ‘economically backward’, s/he can draw benefits from the bill. However, the government has set few conditions as a benchmark to prove the claim:
Agricultural land ownership should be less than 5 acres or
Family income is 8 lakh or less, per annum
Residential house of about 100 square yards in a municipality or
A house of about 200 yards in a non-notified colony.
MBA is necessary to succeed in life?
Whether an MBA is necessary for success, merely depends upon your definition of success. It varies from person to person. If success means having an edge over your colleagues in the corporate then yes, an MBA is necessary. MBA refurbishes your communication skills, body language, uniformity, time management, etc which a non-MBA might or might-not acquire with experience.
|Argument in Favour|| |
According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, on analysis and ranking of the performance of 2,000 CEOs around the globe, 40% of the CEOs in India have an MBA, 60% don’t. That’s a lot to back one degree and maybe these numbers are the reason why Indian youth is seduced by the scope of the MBA degree.
Arguments against the notion
On a personal note, I won’t agree with the statement to the fullest. There are many successful people around the world, who succeeded without any MBA degree. No doubt, an MBA degree boosts your professional skills and give you a holistic perspective to lead life. Moreover, success is a subjective idea that depends upon a person’s own efficiency and skills.
But that doesn’t mean that an MBA graduate is destined to succeed. That actually depends on your career plans. If a person is opting for an MBA just to get a 6 digit salary, then it's worthless. And if someone really has a keen interest in the MBA, then he/she must go for it. So the famous saying "Investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.'' There's nothing wrong with an MBA because it will surely help you get a successful career in life.
CAT Written Ability Test Topics
- Why Dollar is Getting Expensive Compared to Rupees
- Future of sports in India
- How does social media impact human behaviour and society
- Cashless Economy - A Boon or Bane
- India needs a uniform civil code- for or against?
- The success of Swachh Bharat Mission
- Should the Indian economy be privatized?
- Intellectual Property Rights Issues in India
- Is making Aadhaar mandatory a good idea?
- Privatisation of Government Sectors - A Critical Analysis and many more.
- Values Challenged
- Media Influence
- President Rule vs Parliamentary Rule
- Corruption in India
- How do you measure success?
- India has a large pool of manpower but still very few patents.
- Allowing foreign universities in India will have a negative impact on the Indian education system.
- Patriotism vs Nationalism
- Demonetization in India: Decision is more appreciated than criticized
- GST: Aim to take the economy on a faster growth path
- "Make in India" Ground realities; India leaps to surpass China
- Rising Population of India could be turned into an asset
- Corruption is the root cause of current economic and social woes in India
- FDI in multi-brand retail is a boon or bane
- Ethics and morals cannot be taught in classrooms only
- Net Neutrality: Very Essential to Make India Digital
- Union Budget: Merging the General & Railway Budget will save exchequer from unnecessary spending
- E-commerce: Unrealistic Discounts are Dangerous
- Aadhar -Utility is more than perceived
- Smart City Project: India’s new urban vision
- Bank Recapitalization: Will it restore faith in Banking Industry?
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao will change the orthodox mindset?
- Law should be an instrument of Social Change
- Browsing at Workplace affects productivity
- Social Activism is necessary for the survival of democratic society
- RERA should win the trust of home buyers
- Moody’s Rating Upgrade to boost the economy of India
A candidate needs to be updated about different sectors of life and corporate in order to be well versed with these randomly chosen topics. Additionally, one should practice attempting one topic with different time limits, like 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes.
Above mentioned are few of the topics which are currently in discussion. Many of the topics have a direct connection with business and economy, and some with politics. All are however interrelated, and students while appearing for WAT should keep in mind to address all sectors and relate a topic to all aspects. The candidates have to prepare numerous more topics mainly pertaining to the Indian and global economy to be able to write efficiently in WAT in 2020 MBA admissions.
Points to Remember for CAT 2020 WAT
While attempting the written test, a candidate should focus on time management. For this test, you have to put a pen over paper, thus an article with a lot of cutting will send a wrong message to the panelists from IIM. Candidates have to visualize the entire article in their mind before they start writing. Following tips will help you to understand the dos and don’ts of WAT for CAT 2020:
|Time Management||Take the first 2-3 minutes (not more than that) to gather your thoughts|
|Structure||The structure should be Concise, engaging, informative paragraph|
|Introductory Paragraph||The idea of the article should be clear in the first paragraph|
|One Idea||Explain one idea in one paragraph. Avoid ambiguity.|
|Vocabulary||Avoid using heavy vocabulary. Use the simplest language to express your views.|
|Cutting||Avoid Cutting. It tends to send a negative message.|
|Explanation||Avoid explaining in detail.|
|Positives||Emphasize more on positives than negative|
|Concluding Paragraph||Your concluding paragraph should summarise your views effectively. Use a quote if you can.|
CAT WAT FAQ
Ques: Are the score of class 10th and 12th also important for admission in IIMs?
Ans: Yes, class 10th and 12th scores are equally important for getting admission in the MBA program in one of the IIMs as the scores are evaluated while selecting a candidate into the program. As per the admission policy of IIMs, candidates are assigned ratings depending upon their percentage score in class 10th and 12th.
Ques: What is the minimum score that IIMs accept for their admission in PGPM?
Ans: IIMs sets a very high benchmark score to get into the program offered by the institute. One cannot define a particular score as every year IIMs release their own cutoff score. Candidates taking the CAT exam must aim to score a minimum 95 percentile score in order to get into IIMs.
Ques: Will the 99+ percentile fetch me an interview call from all top IIMs?
Ans: Getting a 99+ percentile does not guarantee a call from top IIMs since a lot of other factors like past academics, gender, and academic diversity, etc also play an important role.
Ques: Which are the top three colleges for MBA in India accepting CAT?
Ans: Top three colleges in India are IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, and IIM Calcutta. All these colleges accept CAT scores.
Ques. What are some topics asked for WAT?
Ans. Topics like How India is fighting against COVID-19 crisis? Does Arogya Setu App set for COVID-19 breach privacy issues? Why has there been no price cut in petrol/diesel despite US Crude Oil falling to negative? Should India ban trade with China? Have a high probability of appearing in the test.
*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.