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Written Ability Test (WAT)

Written Ability Test (WAT) is pen-paper based writing test of 15 to 30 minutes duration conducted by IIMs and other top B-schools to test your writing skills after you are shortlisted for final admission round. In fact most of the IIMs have replaced Group Discussion (GD) round by WAT in the final selection round.


Out of the 20 IIMs except 2 IIMs, all have replaced GD round by WAT round as their final selection process for admission to their flagship programmes. IIMs found WAT a better testing process to assess a candidate than GD as many candidates could not express their opinion and views during GD while who could speak louder made their presence felt during GD round.


In WAT round a candidate can freely put down his views and thoughts on paper coherently without fear of getting disrupted. 

WAT Preparation

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 2017 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.


WAT 2018 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 300 to 400 words but it should not lose track on the WAT topic in any paragraph or any line.

Practice more. Purchase a note book of fairly large size, write down the probable WAT 2018 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.