From the experts
What’s your GK!
In your MBA entrance exam preparation, you must be focusing on sections of Quant, Verbal Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. But what about General Awareness or General Knowledge (GK) section which form an integral part of many of the MBA entrance exams?
“To improve general knowledge for written exam as well as the GDPIs keep a close watch on the major political, corporate, sports, economy, national-international events for last one year,” said Manish Saraf, COO, PT Education.
What’s your GK!
There are various MBA entrance exams which have a separate section on general awareness which tests the applicants’ knowledge of the current affairs. The national level MBA entrance exams which have a section on GK are XAT, IIFT, SNAP and MAT. The general awareness questions of these MBA entrance exams are mostly related to politics, history, geography, personalities, current affairs, business awareness and the like.
Let us take a look at XAT first. XAT has a section on general awareness and 20 minutes of essay writing on a topic based on current affairs of 250 to 300 words. “Students have to write essays on a topic based on current value systems. We read these essays before taking the interview. With these essays we try to check the value systems of the aspirants,” said an XLRI spokesperson. The topic for XAT 2009 essay was ‘The Inherent vice of Capitalism is unequal sharing of blessings and the inherent virtue of Socialism is equal sharing of misery’.
IIFT has a section on general awareness as a part of its 120 minutes entrance exam which contains 150 questions. According to the analysis of Career Launcher, the general awareness section of IIFT entrance exam of 2008, the 30 questions were a combination of business awareness and current affairs coving topics like sports, literature, geography, economics, awards and science.
SNAP, which is the common entrance exam for all the Symbiosis institutes, invariably consists a section on general awareness. In 2008, SNAP had total 35 questions of one and two marks out of the total 135 questions. According to the analysis of SNAP 2008 done by IMS Learning, this section contained a lot of questions on current affairs. Apart from these questions on sports, wildlife, diet and nutrition, human biology, music and general knowledge of other topics were also present.
MAT has a section on the general awareness which is called Indian and Global Environment. According to the analysis by IMS Learning, there was a gentle distribution of topics such as National Awards, government schemes, advertisement taglines, location of cities or titles ascribed to them, acronyms of corporations and sports.
Now the question is how to prepare for General Awareness.
Good or bad, there are no quick fixes here! It is a continuous learning process where you constantly update yourself. “Preparing for general awareness section is not a one or two month activity, it is a process. General knowledge and awareness needs to be built in course of time,” said Vinayak Kudva, Product Head, IMS Learning.
According to the experts, the best way to prepare for general awareness is by regular reading of newspapers, political and business magazines. According to Kudva, the MBA entrance exams generally test the current events and happenings over the last six to 12 months. “To improve general knowledge for written exam as well as the GDPIs keep a close watch on the major political, corporate, sports, economy, national-international events for last one year,” said Manish Saraf, COO, PT Education. According to Saraf, the best source can be the Year Books of leading publications.
The experts feel that it is a good idea to prepare for Verbal Ability and General Awareness together. While sharing his own experience, Srijan Pal Singh, Knowledge Advisor, PT Education said, “While preparing for VA in CAT, I made sure that I focus on reading more of news and news analysis, e.g. dailies and magazines. This helped in preparation for VA, GK and even for the interviews.”
Gejo Sreenivasan, principal consultant of Career Launcher spoke on the same lines. “Try and ensure that the passages are from across topics with a special focus on topics that you find challenging,” Sreenivasan said. Since many of the MBA entrance exams ask questions on advertisements, current awareness etc. you should also watch television in a disciplined manner so that you don’t miss out on these details. “Watching informative TV channels like Discovery, National Geographic etc. are also useful in this regard,” said Saraf.
You can test your knowledge by taking tests on general knowledge. But you must ensure that the test you are taking is relevant to the MBA entrance exam you are preparing for. Go by the pattern of the MBA entrance exam paper. “One should ensure that the tests taken are based on General Awareness sections that appear in various entrance tests and not ‘generic GK tests’,” said Kudva.
So according to the experts, what you need to do for preparing the general awareness section of the MBA entrance exam is to read news papers, magazines on current affairs on politics, business, sports etc., watch television and take regular tests on the basis of the MBA entrance exams. So just keep on updating yourself and test your knowledge by taking GK tests.