WAT Preparation

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SK Agarwal
SK Agarwal
Editor, MBAUniverse.com

Update on: December 12, 2022


WAT, the Writing Ability Test in final selection round is an important component of PI round in IIMs and other top MBA colleges in India. During the MBA admission 2021 and 2022 WAT component was dropped by many IIMs due to Covid-19 pandemic, however, for admission 2023, WAT has become an important component in all IIMs’ selection process.


If you are your preparing for MBA Admissions 2023, it is important to prepare for WAT as all the Exams CAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT, CMAT have objective type questions and do not provide opportunity to prove your writing skills on paper. As such WAT is the mode by which IIMs and other top B-schools assess your written and communication skills. How you write in WAT on international, national, social and business events reflects your writing skill.  


Well worded writing skills always make good managers who reach the top corporate positions, with this thought, not only IIMs but also other top Management B-schools like XLRI, IIFT have started the WAT process in PI round to select the suitable candidates to their flagship management programmes. IIMs earlier focused on Group Discussion (GD) and Personal Interviews (PI), now most of them have substituted the Group discussion with Essay Writing and some of them have added WAT along with GD for admission to their various Management programmes.


Once shortlisted by IIMs on the basis of your CAT percentile, academic profile, you will have to go through the Written Ability Test (WAT) to be conducted by almost all the IIMs in the second round of admission process. Out of 20 IIMs, 17 will put you to the Written Ability Test (WAT) and others will also make you show your writing skills, although in some other form.


There can be any topic under the Sun on which you may be asked by the IIMs to show your writing skills in 15 to 30 minutes. The broad theme topics on which writing skills can be tested could be the following ones –


Indian Polity; Political scenario; Indian and world Economy; Foreign Policy-current scenario; Management Sector- problems & solutions; Business & Commerce; Current national & international affairs; Technology.


A very important emerging theme topic during the past few WAT sessions has been the focus on Social concern. Besides, there could also be abstract topics on which you may be asked to write an essay in final selection round.


How to Prepare for WAT in IIM? 
WAT 2023 is not going to be unlimited length essay writing. You are supposed to give your best within the given time frame. So in 20-25 minutes, a coherent, thoughtfully written piece could be around 200 to 300 words but it should not lose track on the WAT topic in any paragraph or any line. So, your WAT preparation strategy should begin as below:

  • Purchase a note book of fairly large size, write down the probable WAT 2023 topics on it and begin practicing, at least, one a day.
  • Once you complete writing on the WAT topic, read it again.
  • Try to find out the mistakes, like – punctuation; grammar; spelling errors in it.
  • Find out how many cuttings and cancellations are there in one paragraph of the mock WAT, you have taken.
  • Next time when you write on any WAT topic– minimise them. In a few days, you will be equipped with fine writing skills with fewer mistakes or no mistakes.
  • Read the editorials in the news paper regularly. See how they are written and presented.
  • Go through the short articles and stories written by authors in the news papers and periodicals
  • See if the article or the story keeps you engaged from beginning to end.
  • Try to devise the writing pattern on the same lines and be the winner

WAT Preparation for MBA: 10 mistakes to Avoid
10 key mistakes that candidates usually make while preparing and appearing in WAT as given below, should be avoided. Following mistakes, according to the expert, if avoided can sure improve your writing skill and make you score high in WAT

  • No ambiguous thought: Please remember all the paragraphs must have distinct and clear ideas. No confusion in your thought process should be present in your WAT. One paragraph –one idea- must be the strategy, although all the paragraphs are supposed to be interlinked with continuity of thought.
  • No Repetition: How would you react if someone goes on saying or repeating the same idea in different sentences or in similar ones? A feeling of boredom and lack of interest would occur. Similarly, your reader will also not like such repetition in your WAT topic. So avoid it, since it conveys the message that you know very less on the given/chosen WAT topic.
  • No Heavy Vocab: Vocabulary which is not required must not be used while writing on the given WAT topic. It might unnecessarily stretch your message and may have wrong impression on the examiner.
  • Form Interesting & short sentences & pragraphs: Practice more to form good sentences which may create interest to the reader. You may be knowing a lot about the WAT topic but if the formation of your sentences and paragraphs is not well organized, you may not hit the ball. So, practice more, emphasise on better and brief writing. Sentences must be presentable so that your reader is tempted to go through the entire essay in one go. You might remember reading a very interesting novel, story, article etc. the reading of which you didn’t give-up despite the call of nature. Why? The writer was able to create that much of interest in you, with his/her writing skills.
  • Avoid Grammatical mistakes: In the hurry to pour out more ideas in the limited time frame for WAT, we make more Grammatical, spelling and punctuation mistakes. Despite knowing a lot on the given WAT topic, we might convey a bad impression on the examiner due to such mistakes which could have been avoided with a little careful writing. A hard working person, if written as hardly working person may convey absolutely opposite meaning. Errors in use of articles, nouns, verbs, modifiers, conditionals make the paragraph clumsy while wrong use of vocabulary words, especially in confusing /similar sounding words like ‘imminent’ in place of ‘eminent’, ‘birth’ instead of ‘berth’ etc. make your piece of writing a laughing stock.  So be careful about it.
  • Don’t beating about the bush: A common mistake that we all make in WAT, is writing beside the point and not remaining focused to the main WAT topic. This a typical problem and happens when you have not practiced well. You have understood the WAT topic and also have the ideas but don’t know how to start with? Give a few seconds to outline the thoughts prevailing in the vast arena of your mind. Organise them and then begin to write. Questions may have words like –Discuss, Describe, Analyse, Critically Examine – so take a directional tip – all these aspects are to be taken care of, while writing your essay.
  • Synchronise your ideas, write each point one by one: There is no need to mingle your ideas ending up with a poorly written essay. Get a flow of them as a string goes through the pearls. However, you can add relevant quotes with acknowledgements to emphasise your idea.
  • Avoiding Long Explanations: This is a big problem. Sometimes we go on explaining an idea, a point etc. to more than the desired length. This happens in cases when the person is not sure of his writing skill or ability to explain. So avoid this practice.
  • Avoid cuttings & cancellations: While writing on WAT topic, please make sure that your statements should not nullify or crisscross your earlier made statements. Despite all the knowledge you have put in the writing, this factor will make you lose on merit in final selection round.

Prepare well
So, Practice more. WAT round in IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode, Rohtak, Shillong is independent process. However, the WAT process for admission to 9 new IIMs namely, IIM Kashipur, IIM Raipur, IIM Ranchi, IIM Trichy, IIM Udaipur and for 4 newest IIMs – IIM BodhGaya, IIM Jammu, IIM Sirmaur and IIM Sambalpur is a Common Admission Process (CAP).


SK Agarwal
SK Agarwal
Editor, MBAUniverse.com

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