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GD, PI, and WAT Preparation Tips for CAT: How to Crack in First Attempt

Cyril Titus Zachariah
Cyril Titus ZachariahUpdated On: February 03, 2023 02:32 pm IST | CAT

Group Discussion, Personal Interview, and WAT are the final selection rounds that come as part of the admission processes through the CAT exam 2022. Here are some CAT GD, PI, and WAT preparation tips to crack them successfully.

GD, PI and WAT Preparation Tips

CAT GD, PI & WAT Preparation Tips: Since the CAT selection process, which typically includes the Group Discussion (GD), Personal Interview (PI), and Written Ability Test (WAT) rounds, are crucial phases that determine whether a candidate will secure MBA admissions in their preferred B-schools or not, candidates must get all the help they need to ace these rounds of admission. Following the advice and suggestions of toppers, mentors and CAT experts is an effective way of enhancing the performance of a candidate during the CAT selection process. Thus, we have provided some of the most important GD, PI & WAT Preparation Tips for CAT aspirants right here!

MBA aspirants across India prepare for months before appearing for Common Admission Test (CAT) to get admission into IIMs and other B-Schools in India. However, CAT is just 40% of the entire selection process for Management courses in MBA colleges in India. Apart from a good CAT percentile, counseling and admission committees look for candidates with the capability of presenting their knowledge, in a manner different from others during GD, PI, and WAT rounds. Candidates who meet the minimum CAT cutoff requirement set by the specific institute are called for a Group Discussion (GD), Personal Interview (PI), and Written Ability Test (WAT) of the MBA admission process. These are the three factors, that the admission committees in B-Schools assess the candidates’ managerial abilities. Candidates must check out the CAT GD, PI, and WAT Preparation Tips before appearing for the selection process rounds of MBA colleges in India.

Also Read: 

CAT Result 2022 LinkCAT Cutoff 2022 for IIMs
CAT 2022 Toppers' ListCAT 2022 100-Percentile Scorers
CAT 2022 Score vs Percentile

CAT GD Preparation Tips: Questions Asked in the Group Discussion (GD) Round

Maximum questions in the GD round are asked from the following topics:
  • GD Topics on Business and Economy: The present state of the economy, significant legislative measures, and current business trends are all covered under this category. These developments have an impact both internationally and domestically.
  • GD Current Affairs Topics: The GD current affairs topics are based on local, national, or global political development, policies, and issues that are fiercely debated in the media.
  • GD Topics on Social Issues: Top MBA Colleges are putting a lot of effort into creating socially responsible MBAs. As a result, topics like gender and environmental sensitivity, ethics, and so on are given more attention.
  • Abstract Group Discussion Topics: These are the topics that allow for a variety of interpretations and allow candidates to demonstrate their creativity and intellect.

CAT GD Preparation Tips for MBA Admission

Group Discussion is the first step of selection after the CAT exam. Candidates are first formed into a group, where each group is given one or more topics and a specified time period to select and research the topic. At the end of the research time, candidates are asked to mention their points and come up with a fruitful conversation or discussion between the group members and come to a conclusion at the end.

Seems easy! Quite the opposite. It helps the admission committee to narrow down its candidates at a large scale. Many students, unaware of the presentation's dos and don’ts, get themselves kicked off at the end of the group discussion. Here are some CAT GD preparation tips you should keep in mind while taking part in a group discussion:

Listen

Group Discussion is not just a process of talking and speaking out their opinion and thoughts. The reason why listening is important here is that some of the other members may make points that you can counter or add to, thus, indicating to the judge in the group to take note of your abilities.

Be Courteous

Being courteous to the other members of the Group Discussion may project you as a team member. In other words, waiting for them to finish their statements, or giving members of the team who haven’t had a chance to speak out, will give the indication of a team leader and team-spirited individual to the judges

Try to be the Leader

Carrying on from the previous point, you must try to be the leader of the group. However, do not force yourself upon the group. One of the greatest opportunities to show yourself as a leader is to begin the entire Group Discussion. Many times, participants feel shy or are too afraid to begin the discussion, which leaves the position of the leader in the group, wide open for leaders.

Do Not Interrupt

In addition to the first pointer, when another member of the group is speaking his/her point/statement, try not to interfere or interrupt the person with your opinions and thought processes. Let the speaking member finish their statements, after which you can put in your point by either saying, “adding to that” or “Contrary to the point”, etc.

Brush Up Your GK

Keep up with global events to get ready for a group discussion. Being informed about current affairs, problems, and events that impact our lives, directly or indirectly, demonstrates a well-rounded personality. To gain a broader understanding of issues, make it a habit to read English newspapers and magazines and to watch intriguing documentaries and interviews on television.

Prepare the Most Important Topics that are Often Repeated

Be knowledgeable about the topics that keep coming up with little alterations and changes well in advance to give yourself time to prepare adequately. For instance, GD topics frequently include gender inequality, poverty, terrorism, liberalization and privatization, and reservations in educational institutions. Get acquainted with these topics and become able to offer some original, thought-provoking arguments supported by facts.

Develop Your Communication Skills

You ought to have a decent vocabulary and be able to speak and write English well. Practice extensively before tour actual group discussion. You can choose a topic and participate in a fascinating group discussion while sitting with friends. By the time your GD comes around, not only will your knowledge have increased, but you will also have improved as a speaker.

Improve Your Body Language

Because your body language reveals a lot about you, body gestures are crucial. Avoid leaning back onto a chair or tapping the table with a pen or your fingers. Sit straight. Also, try not to get easily distracted.

Be Mindful About Speaking Time

This is one of the points of failure for a candidate. While it may seem like you are showcasing your knowledge and understanding of a point, it may also indicate to the judges that you do not really care for what others have to say or even believe in giving an opportunity to the other members of the team.

From the above-mentioned points, we can see that a group discussion requires the candidates to be team players as well as team leaders, all the while displaying their presentation skills on a given topic. Experts and recruiters claim that they look for participants who can lead as well as present themselves and their points clearly and consistently.

Above all, candidates should always be factually aware of the topic before making sudden opinions and statements. It is humanly not possible to know every single thing in this world. There may be situations where you will have no information and the limited amount of time given for preparation may not be enough to understand a topic. In such situations, participants can take up leadership roles, listen carefully to what is being said, and tactfully create their statements on the topic.

Related Links:

How to Start, Lead and Conclude a Group Discussion (GD)?65 Group Discussion (GD) Topics for MBA Admissions 2022

CAT PI Preparation Tips: Questions Asked in the Personal Interview (PI) Round 

Here are a few examples of previous MBA Personal Interview questions asked during admission to IIMs and other eminent B-Schools.

  • Why MBA?
  • Tell us about yourself
  • Questions on past academic questions
  • Questions on prior work experience 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Questions related to your city or state
  • Why did you choose this B-school?
  • Which specialization you are opting for and why?
  • Current affairs events & your perspective on them
  • Questions on extra-curricular activities

CAT PI Preparation Tips for MBA Admission

Personal Interview is the process where a panel of members from the administration will sit and assess your qualities as an individual. Unlike Group Discussion, a Personal Interview is a platform for the candidate to present themselves in the best possible manner. Here, the panel members will judge the candidate based on their knowledge, experience, and the way the candidate presents themselves to the panel. Here are some CAT PI preparation tips to keep in mind while partaking in a Personal Interview.

Prepare Your Answers

Even though one can never be certain about the questions that an interviewer may ask, you can always prepare your answers for general questions, like current affairs, subjects from the course that you pursued as your higher education degree as well as your previous work experience, if applicable.

Be Confident

One of the last things that you should do in an Interview is to be unsure and unconfident in yourself. There is high competition, especially when you go looking for a job. Therefore, confidence will be your friend during the entire process.

Do Not be Over-Confident

This requires a separate pointer as this can really make or break your case in a personal interview. Knowing your capabilities, skills, and knowledge is one element, however, exaggerating them will lead you to your downfall. Interviewers have a knack for knowing when an interviewee is telling the truth or just exaggerating their actual resume.

Good Body Language

As cliched as it may sound, a good posture will take you a long way in building a good first impression in front of the panel members. A good posture like sitting upright will create an impression among the judges that the applicant is confident and aware of his/her surroundings. Therefore it is important for you to ensure that you have dressed up appropriately for the occasion, i.e. wear formal, well-groomed, with a fresh look.

Write Your Statement of Purpose Carefully

The panelists in the PI round may ask questions based on your statement of purpose. In other words, you should concentrate on your SoP and be prepared with your responses to the questions you have filled out there.

Keep Yourself Updated

Watch the news on TV, read the papers frequently, and take notes on anything you consider significant. You are expected to be completely knowledgeable. 

Revise Your Academics

Read through your coursework carefully, paying particular attention to the topics in your area of specialization.

Analyze Your Work Experience

If you have experience in the workforce, you should be fully aware of your roles and responsibilities and the operation of the system in which you and your team participate.

Improve Your General Knowledge

You must be well-versed in both recent and past events. Reading about something does not suffice; you also need to form an opinion. You must, without a doubt, be well-prepared for the PI round, including the business and social GK around your local area issues as well as the contemporary GK for the interview. The GK questions that are asked during the conversation are based on your profile, statement of purpose, interests, and hobbies that you listed on the interview application.

At the end of the day, it is a Personal Interview. The questions that the interviewer will ask the candidates will be specific to the program, the CV of the candidate, and other different factors that may be important to the recruiters. Therefore, candidates must prepare themselves for any kind of questions, relating to the field or program they will be applying for.

Also Read:

IIM Interview: Important Documents and Tips to Crack Personal Interview5 Tricky Questions Asked in MBA Interviews
Common Mistakes in MBA Interviews and How to Avoid ThemCommon Questions Asked in Personal Interview (PI) for MBA Admissions

Important Topics for Written Ability Test (WAT) Round

Some of the common WAT topics include:

  • Chat GPT
  • Unemployment in India
  • Tech Layoffs
  • Union Budget of India: What is “Budget” and Key Features of Budget 2023
  • Vande Bharat Express
  • ​Moonlighting in India
  • Global Hunger Index 2022
  • India, as the world’s 5th largest economy
  • 5G Telecom Services in India
  • Banks Mergers in India

Also Read:

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IIM Kozhikode Placements 2022IIM Udaipur Placements 2022

CAT WAT Preparation Tips for MBA Admissions

B-schools across the nation conduct a Written Ability Test or WAT to shortlist the students for their management programs. Students are given a short period of time, one topic, and paper or pen to write down their thoughts. Candidates who are able to form a critically analyzed and constructive essay, while clearly communicating their idea will stand a better chance of being shortlisted for the admission process. Here are some pointers that one should keep in mind while attempting a Written Ability Test.

Practice Writing

There is a saying, “Practice makes Perfect”. While you may require years of practice to become perfect, the time that you invest in practicing how to write small essays on random topics will help you greatly during WAT. While most of us have the ability to write essays, it has been difficult to write essays that can attract the reader to your piece. For this, you can learn how to gather your thoughts and compile them into a constructive and informative essay that will help you score well in WAT.

Time Yourself

WAT is a timed testing procedure, where you will be given a small amount of time to write down your thoughts on a given topic. Here the applicants will need to learn how to jot down the important points for the topic without missing out on the gist of the essay. During your practice sessions, practice jotting down important points first and then elaborating on the points.

Compile Your Thoughts

As soon as you are handed over the paper for writing your essay, you must first compile all your thoughts for the essay in your mind. Take a few minutes to think about what you will write as well as the points that will work out to be the best for the essay. While compiling your thoughts, try to give them structure. In other words, jot down your thoughts in the order that is apt for the essay.

Parameters for WAT Evaluation

Experts and evaluators of the Written Ability Tests have claimed that there are common parameters on which the essay, written by the candidates, is assessed. Some of the parameters that have been mentioned by experts are as follows:

  • Basic Spelling and Grammer

  • Interpretation and Analysis

  • Final Solution or Conclusion to Your Opinion

  • Factual Accuracy in the Content

  • Quality of Logical Arguments

  • Evidence for your Conclusion

  • Coherence

  • Language Clarity

The parameters that have been mentioned above are just some of the parameters that the colleges decide upon. However, along with the parameters that have been decided by the colleges, each parameter will carry its own weightage, again defined by the College or Institute you wish to join. Therefore, it is important that you adhere to the parameters that have been mentioned above, as much as possible.

At the end of the day, the candidates need to be confident in their abilities but also be aware of their limitations. Remember the tip “You are your Worst Enemy”. The more doubtful you will be of your abilities, the more difficult it will be for you to ace the various testing phases. Going in with a positive mind and a positive outlook to life will allow you to keep a cool mind and calm personality through the various testing procedures, thus, improving your chances of cracking the GD/PI and WAT Testing processes.

Also Read:

WAT Tips - How to Crack WAT for IIM AdmissionGD/ PI/ WAT Topics to Expect for MBA Admissions 2022
Written Ability Test 2022 for IIMs and Other Top MBA Colleges - Writing Tips & WAT Topics


If you have any queries on CAT GD PI preparation tips or WAT prep, make sure to post them on the CollegeDekho QnA Zone. Stay tuned for the latest updates and best tips to crack MBA admissions.

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