WAT and PI are the next stage in the selection process once you clear the cutoffs and both of them form a significant percentage of the final decision.
What you make of these two stages will decide if you make it into the top 200 who make it into the programme out of the shortlisted 800-900.
If you believe you have scored high enough, you have no reason to slack now, and if you are someone who thinks your score might not be up to the mark, you will have to go the extra mile and make the best of these two components.
In this article, we will look at what exactly WAT and PI comprises of and the preparation structure one can follow.
WAT (Written ability test)
WAT is where you will be asked to write an essay on a particular topic in a specified amount of time.
The purpose of having WAT as a selection criterion is to judge your thought process, expression of ideas, awareness and writing skills.
Categories of topics that can be tested:
Abstract topics are open-ended. They can have multiple interpretations and hence do not have any particular framework that needs to be followed. These are the topics where you can show your creativity and distinct thought process.
These topics can either be a single word, an idiom or proverb, or anything else. Some of the examples are Blue, Roots and wings, dot etc.
Current Affairs and News
This category can include anything significant that has happened in the past year. These topics test your knowledge and awareness, your ability to analyze data and opinions on the issues that affect the entire society.
If you are reading this a few days before your WAT, make sure you go through all the significant political, economic, social happenings of the past year.
But if you are someone who has months on your hand, it is advised that you read newspapers and editorials on a regular basis.
These are topics that usually pose a question, and you are required to express your opinion and beliefs. Some of the examples can be ‘Should minors vote?’, ‘Hard work vs Smart work’, “Should healthcare be universal?” etc. In topics like these, you can completely support one side – yes or no- and you can also write a balanced essay highlighting both the perspectives.
How to prepare for WAT
- It is advised that you start preparing for WAT alongside your entrance preparation. This would provide more time to educate yourself on crucial topics and improve your writing skills.
- Start reading newspapers and editorials on a regular basis. Reading on a regular basis will provide you with data, help you expand your knowledge base, and give you insights into the different ways in which you can frame your answer.
- Keep writing essays regularly, and look out for any spelling and grammatical errors.
- KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: In case of an opiniated piece, keep in mind the generation and plausible qualifications of the person who will be reading your essay and write accordingly. Don’t end up writing something that the previous generation might completely be alienated to.
- Ensure that your writing is high on logic and low on emotion.
- While writing the essay, try to substantiate your points with examples that others might be familiar with. This would further strengthen your point and show clarity in thought.
- Keep sentences short and to the point. Avoid superfluous vocabulary and make your essay as easy to understand as possible.
- Plan your essay first by jotting down the major points and then elaborate on them.
- Focus on keeping your essay short but thought provoking.
- Try to write a balanced essay-highlight the positives and negatives. But at the same time, avoid ambiguity and contradictions.
- In a few lines, sum up the crux and conclude well.
PI (Personal Interview)
Personal Interview is wherein you will have a one-on-one interaction with usually, the faculty members and you will be asked questions. You will be judged on your communication skills, composure, prior academic knowledge, general awareness, and your eagerness to be a part of the programme.
What is asked?
1. Academic Questions:
Under this category, you can be asked questions from the subjects that you studied in your 11th and 12th grade. If you have been consistent in your +2, answering them shouldn’t be a hassle. In the time period between the shortlist for the interview and the actual interview, you can pick up one subject and brush up all the concepts first, as many a times, students are asked their favorite subject and are then questioned accordingly. But preparing just one subject won’t be enough, and hence you will be required to go through the others in the remaining time.
These questions are asked to examine whether you have been attentive and consistent throughout school, because if you haven’t, the interviewers might consider surviving an extremely rigorous curriculum beyond you.
2. General Knowledge/Current Affairs:
A wide range of questions can be asked here.
You can be questioned on any major political, social or economic change that occurred in the country or outside in the relative past.
General questions about India that every citizen should ideally know.
Eg) Vice President of the country, how is the president elected, seven sister states, capital of different states, languages spoken in different parts of the country, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Chief Justice of India and many more. The list is never ending.
Questions pertaining to the state you reside in.
Eg) Chief Minister of State, ruling party, capital, prominent industries of the state, GDP, number of districts/constituencies, tourist attractions, any conflict that broke out in the recent past or any recent achievement etc.
3. HR or Personal Questions:
These are questions that are centered on you, your aspirations, your hobbies, strengths, weaknesses, your purpose behind applying, your expectations from the programme.
Some of the questions often asked- Introduce yourself, why do you think you are a right fit for our institute, why IPM, your role model, hobbies and extra-curricular participations, future plans, what industry you plan on getting into.
Almost every student was assigned an extempore in 2021, considering WAT was cancelled due to the pandemic. WAT happens or not, extempore is a recurring element in IPM personal interviews. In general, you will be assigned a topic and you will be expected to speak on it for a minute or two. You will get about 30 seconds to structure your answer. Make sure that you are composed and confident while you speak, irrespective of how much or how little you know about the topic.
I personally believe that you can never fully prepare for an interview, because there are no restrictions to what can be asked. The most we can do is analyze the pattern of previous years, understand what is majorly asked, and prepare accordingly.
Understand that it is more than fine if you can’t answer all the questions. No one is expected to know all the questions asked, but how you respond and react to a question you know nothing about, can make all the difference.
Stay calm throughout the interview, no matter what. Sometimes, its little things like these that can make all the difference, because you never know what trait of yours is seen in what light.
The gap caused by the inability to answer a few questions can be filled by exhibiting self-awareness, confidence, and a penchant desire to learn.
The WAT and the PI round can and will make all the difference. You have to ensure that you are prepared for them to the best of your capacity.
If you are looking for personal guidance and insightful feedback of your WAT-PI performance, you can look into AceIPM’s PI workshop.