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    Acing the Written Ability Test

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  • Dec 18, 2016

How to ace the Written Ability Test


1. The emergence of SMS language and texting has rendered most college going students unable to write grammatically correct arguments in coherent language. To check the same, almost all IIM’s feature a written ability test(WAT) to evaluate a students ability to write structured coherent arguments on a topic. Topics are usually simple and almost anyone would have enough knowledge to write 300 to 400 words on the same.


2. Topics which have been featured in past years include

  • Advances in technology have made the teacher irrelevant ( IIM Indore)
  • Corruption can neither be eliminated nor be mitigated in India ( IIM Indore)
  • India needs US in the present times. ( IIM Ahmedabad)
  • Asian Union- is it possible? IIM Ahmedabad)
  • Should evaluation of students by teachers be made mandatory in colleges? ( IIM Lucknow)
  • Entrepreneurs cannot be made/produced in a B-School. (IIM Lucknow)
  • The real Knowledge is gained outside B-School. (IIM Kozhikode)
  • For the success of a team everyone should be held accountable.(IIM Kozhikode).

  • 3. An IIM WAT is typically written in about 40 minutes and in writing a good response one needs to structure the same as much as one needs to write well. Therefore the timing of a good essay would ideally be split in the following manner

  • About 5 to 8 minutes for ideation and planning.
  • About 30 minutes for writing.
  • And 2 to 5 minutes for revising, correcting spelling etc.


4. Writing the actual essay

As all of us have known since high school a good essay has three parts- an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Ideally in terms of number of paragraphs they should be in the ratio 1:3:1. I.e for every paragraph for the introduction there should be 3 for the body and 1 for the conclusion. The following are some tips to write good introductions and conclusion


4.1 A good introduction may begin with a quote, a short anecdote, an imaginary newspaper headline, an interesting statistic or number.


4.1.1 For example if the topic is “Electoral corruption can never be fully eliminated in India”, one could begin with the following quote


The first lie that an elected representative tells is that of his campaign expenditure to the Election Commission”- A B Vajpayee


4.1.2 Or if the topic is the above “Corruption can neither be eliminated nor be mitigated in India”. We could begin with the following statistic


A study conducted by the Transparency International in 2005 shows that more than 62% of Indians had a first hand experience of paying bribes or influence peddling to get jobs done in public offices successfully.


4.1.3 Or if the topic is “Female foeticide is harmful to India’s social harmony”. We could begin with the following imaginary newspaper headline


40% of men of marriageable age lack brides due to female foeticide. India to ask Chinese Government to facilitate immigration of women to India”- Indian Newspaper headline of 2030


4.2 A good conclusion is usually a restatement of the introduction but in very different words. By concluding with a similar idea as the introduction you can give a circularity to the entire argument which gives the essay a sense of completeness.


For example a good conclusion to the topic “Female foeticide is harmful to India’s social harmony” based on the above introduction would be-

Do we want an India where women are killed off in childhood leading to a social crisis? Or do we want an India where women have equal rights and are respected. The answer is clear before us, provided we open our eyes. There are no two ways about it if we want an India where there is social harmony- female foeticide should be stopped.”


In totality an essay is an expression of your ideas. Make it authentic while using crisp, coherent language. That is what would ensure a top grading in the WAT for you at the IIM’s!

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