GD-PI-WAT 2019:CAT 2018 Results have long been declared and top B-schools, including the prestigious IIMs have announced their Shortlists. Students are fighting tooth and nail to secure an entry to their dream B-school.

The difference between writing the online CAT Exam and appearing for the GD-PI-WAT rounds is that while for the former, you are virtually alone while writing your test and trying to attempt every section to the best of your ability. However, in the latter case, you are physically present with a number of other equally deserving students who are all eager to show what they’ve got! In this case, standing out and proving yourself to be the best from your counterparts is not a very easy feat to achieve.

Therefore, we congratulate you for acing the CAT 2018 Exam with flying colors and bring to you excellent tips to ace the GD-PI-WAT Rounds with flying colours!

The Purpose of a GD-PI-WAT Round


The Purpose of a GD-PI-WAT Round is to assess the personality of the candidate willing to secure an admission into the MBA course. Therefore, for this personality assessment stage, various tools like Group Discussions, Personal Interview, Essay-writing, Case Discussions are used to assess candidates’ interests, aptitude, and personality.

Group Discussion

The objective of a Group Discussion is to appraise a candidate’s ability to critically analyse a given piece of information and collectively work in a group to arrive at a solution or develop a perspective.

Management schools conduct GDs to find out if the candidates possess the necessary qualities which are critical to becoming an effective manager. The rationale behind this round is that when a group of human beings is given a task to accomplish within an unstructured situation, they will try to accomplish it by establishing some kind of order or structure. During this process, they will reveal some of their personality characteristics.

Some B-schools organise a Case Discussion instead of a simple Group Discussion. A Case-Study simulates a real-life situation and instils in you the thought process and action plans to get the best possible solution. There may not be any wrong or perfect solutions to a case study, but there definitely is a best possible solution, which the group is expected to collectively arrive at.

Both the above-mentioned tools evaluate some basic personality traits such as clarity of thought, communication (including listening) skills, ability to critically evaluate and ability to interact in a group.

Writing Ability Test (WAT)

The latest addition to the second stage of selection is the Essay Writing, i.e. Writing Ability Test or WAT. A written essay by the candidate provides the selectors with an opportunity to assess the candidates’ ability to organise, develop, and express ideas about the issue presented; provide relevant supporting reasons and examples: and control the elements of standard written English.

Personal Interview (PI)

A Personal Interview is the last step to getting to know the candidate well. Personality traits, which have been let uncovered through the first three tools are evaluated here. The selectors try to understand the kind of person the candidate is, what are his/her interests, motivation, aspirations etc.

Key Elements for GD-PI-WAT Preparation

The key elements for GD-PI-WAT preparation are:

  • Knowing and understanding the processes for GD-PI-WAT.
  • Knowing how to conduct yourself during these rounds i.e. knowing what to do and what not to do.
  • Working on the skills that will be tested during these rounds.
  • Practising till you gain confidence and are able to perform well.
  • Simultaneously enhancing your background knowledge of various areas to build effective arguments. Any random topics at hand might be flung at you, therefore, you should be ready for whatever topic might be given to you and effectively answer any questions that might be asked.

Click here to know 30 Personal Interview questions!

When to start preparing for GD-PI-WAT?

First things first, students must understand what a GD-PI-WAT is. Most MBA aspirants would supposedly know what it is and it had also been mentioned previously in the article.

Going with the basics, the preparation for GD-PI-WAT involves two steps: gaining procedural knowledge and improving general awareness.

Procedural Knowledge

  • Procedural knowledge refers to knowledge of the processes of GD-PI-WAT, their objectives, dos and don’ts etc.
  • Most test prep companies/coachings conduct training sessions for the students for GD-PI-WAT after the CAT and a few other entrance exams have been conducted.
  • Since these activities involve interaction, it is advisable that candidates join a preparatory course for GD-PI-WAT as soon as they are through with most of their written tests.

General Awareness

  • Ideally, candidates should start improving General Awareness (including self-awareness and subject knowledge) prior to writing the CAT exam.
  • Since General Awareness is a very vast area, it makes sense to follow top stories as and when they happen.
  • Post the written exams namely CAT, XAT, SNAP etc, candidates should start enhancing their General Awareness full-time by reading newspapers and magazines like Outlook and Outlook Business.
  • While reading up on news-making events, candidates should consider various aspects and arguments and use their own judgement to decide what their stand should be. Reading a lot of editorials would also help in getting an angle for every story that you read and cover.

Personal Interviews might include questions from the subjects which candidates have studied during their Graduation or Post-graduation. Candidates must remember to revise important concepts learnt in at least 2 major subjects and think about their real-life applications.

GD-WAT-PI: Commonly asked topics/questions

Based on the happenings in 2018, here is a list of topics one can expect for GD/ WAT this year:

  • Will reduced Goods & Services Tax (GST) help the Indian economy in growing faster?
  • Global Warming
  • Is banning of Pakistani artists from India justified?
  • Intellectual Property Rights Issues in India
  • Is making Aadhar mandatory a good idea?
  • Is Net Neutrality essential to Digital India?
  • How is the falling rupee impacting the Indian economy?
  • Future of sports in India
  • Crime against women
  • Banking scams
  • How does social media impact human behavior and society?
  • Bitcoin/Crypto Currency
  • Cashless Economy – Is India ready for it?
  • Impact of technology on jobs?
  • Is India ready for electric vehicles?
  • Does India really need a bullet train?
  • How beneficial is the IIM 2017 bill for students
  • The success of Swachh Bharat Mission
  • Juvenile Justice Bill
  • ISIS
  • Make in India campaign
  • Climate Change Summit
  • Greek Debit Crisis
  • Indian Population an asset
  • India needs a uniform civil code- for or against?
  • Should the Indian economy be privatized?
  • Will Merging the General & Railway Budget save exchequer from unnecessary spending?
  • IT industry is going to create huge job opportunities in India- For or against?
  • Gender bias in portraying Women in Advertisements- give views
  • E-commerce discounts harmful in long run- for or against?
  • Making Aadhaar mandatory is not a good idea- for or against?
  • Law should be an instrument of social change- give views
  • Browsing at workplace affects productivity- for or against?
  • Can we dream of hosting the Olympics?
  • Chinese Goods vs Indian Goods
  • Extra-curricular activities should be made compulsory in school- for or against?
  • Ways in which Technology is impacting the Banking sector
  • Youth of India- confident or confused?
  • Should national anthem be played in cinema halls?
  • Should GD be part of campus placements?
  • Give views on the present system of education in our country
  • Reliance Jio a sustainable business model in a country like India- agree or disagree?
  • Ethics in Business are just a passing fad- for or against?
  • Advertising- a waste of resources: agree or disagree?
  • Globalisation vs. Nationalism
  • Do we need more entrepreneurs than managers?
  • An MBA is necessary to succeed in life- agree or disagree?
  • Hard-Work or Smart-Work- which is more desirable?
  • Women are better multi-taskers- agree or disagree?
  • Is celebrity brand endorsement an effective advertising strategy?
  • Remixing in music- how good or bad is the trend?
  • Should there be a NOTA (None of the Above) choice in voting?
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail sector good for India- agree or disagree?

Tips to crack WAT conducted by the IIMs!

Personal Interview Questions

  • What is the meaning of your name? (typically used as an icebreaker)
  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • Why do you want to do an MBA?
  • What are your plans after an MBA?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Where do you see yourself 5/10 years from now?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Elaborate on your work experience.
  • What are your hobbies/interests? (technical questions on the same)
  • Candidates are questioned about the shift in academic streams if any.
  • Candidates are questioned about a gap year if any.
  • Candidates are questioned about poor academic performance.
  • Some general awareness questions are asked.
  • Academic questions from the subjects the candidate has studied are also asked.
  • Information pertaining to the candidate’s hometown is also sought in many cases.

Therefore, the key to cracking the GD-PI-WAT rounds of top B-schools is simple: Be more prepared than others.