Comments 17

How to prepare for WAT-GD-PI – I

Now that the CAT scorecard is out, the time to start preparing for WAT-GD-PI has come. But how does one go about it? It all seems like a vast sea with no beginning and no end. A single post covering all the three — WAT, GD & PI — will be unwieldy to say the least, so I will do a series of posts that will help you kick-start your prep for the second-stage.

What is the common thread tying WAT, GD & PI?

On the face of it it might seem like WAT, GD & PI are different beasts altogether and besting each one of them requires different skill-sets. Well at some level they can be equated to the different formats in cricket — Test Cricket, ODIs & T20s (not in any order) — while the format is different and there are specialists in each format, the core skill tested are cricketing skills.

Over the years the core skill tested in each of GD, WAT  and PI is your awareness of Current Affairs.

That GDs and WATs test GK and Current Affairs is something that need not be stated. But even in PIs interviewers want to test how aware you are of the world around you. For example, they might ask you to

  • name all the districts in your home state as you travel from North to South
  • the names of CEOs of leading companies in your sector
  • your view on recent political events in you state or sector
  • your view on events of national importance or policy

Your knowledge of people and important trivia about what you call your hobbies (it is trivia because it is just a statistic but it is important because you have mentioned something as your hobby)

So what you need to first understand is that at some level the second stage is closer to preparing for the Civil Services, albeit a very watered down version.

In this post, we will deal with how to go about preparing for the WAT.

What kind of topics crop up in GDs & WATs?

The topics for GDs and WATs broadly fall into four categories:

  • Policy-based
  • Issue-based/Topical
  • Lateral-Abstract

Policy-based WAT-GD topics

These are the kind of GD-WAT topics you do not want to encounter in the second-stage since their focus is on important policies or legislation that has been in the news in the year past. For example, what were the big policy-based debates in the last year?

  • The Sabarimala Verdict
  • Uniform Civil Code
  • Privacy and Aadhar

All the three topics above revolve around policies/legislation/agreements that have been passed/inked or are in the process of the same.

The challenge as it will be obvious is that they don’t lend themselves to easy opinion-making. A lot of the discussion or the essay has to revolve around the facts and only from there can a position be argued.

For example, with regards to the climate change bill you need to know what was the bone of contention India had.

Some institutes such as IIFT, tend to favour policy-based or economy-based topics over general issue-based topics.

Thankfully every year there are only one or two heavy-weight policies such as these. So this year, the key policy-related topics will be the one listed above.

Issue-based or Topical WAT-GD Topics

Every year there are a few issues/events that capture both public and media imagination, generate a lot of debate and hence become topics worthy to be discussed in a WAT or a GD. The IIMs and other premier b-schools would like to see how prospective students view this issue, what sort of a perspective they have and how well they are able to put forth their arguments.

What have been the big issues over the past year? To name a few

  • #MeToo Movement in India 
  • Intolerance in India — Rising or Magnified?
  • RBI versus GoI — who holds the reins to manage the economy?
  • Kerala Floods — India’s natural disasters made by man or wrought by nature?

It is important to note that the topics might not always be presented in such a straight-forward manner.

While these are specific issue-based topics. There are other topics that are based on wider debates of a more topical nature. For example,

  • Can India overtake China in terms of  GDP?
  • Economy versus Ecology
  • Should capital punishment be abolished?
  • Entrepreneurship and India

Lateral-Abstract WAT-GD Topics

And then there are topics that do not test your knowledge of current affairs or policies. For example,

  • It is better to trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason.
  • If there was one invention/discovery from the past(recent or distant) that you would have liked to have made which one would it be and why?
  • A true traveller is never bothered about the destination and is not intent on arriving.
  • Space.

How and where does one start preparation for WAT-GD-PI?

Well, if there was a pill or an injection or a book that would deliver all the information you would need neatly packaged, I would give that to you.

But from this point on, the point after you have cleared the written test, your success in life will not rely on your ability to reproduce things from books or the ability to solve problems that have nothing to do with the real world.

The road to success is not paved with MCQs and past papers, it will be more hard to win.

So I would want you to start your WAT-GD-PI Prep by putting in the effort to gather information/opinion/analyses from various sources.

And if there is one place to really get in-depth information around the Indian economy, industry reports, policies, future roadmaps, it is this

You might have to create an account to download PDFs but do it.

Please understand that you will be facing similar GDs three months into your study at a b-school when faced with Summer Placements.

You need to stop being a student or a techie and start thinking like someone who wants to enter the world of business management and build a great career. And that will not happen if you are not curious enough to read all the McKinsey articles.

For articles on issue-based topics, you need to look no further than these three sites ScrollOpen, Caravan.

If you start reading from these sources straightaway then by the time you get our GD-PI Handbook with previous year’s topics and questions arranged college-wise you will be in a position to tackle them.

So start your WAT-GD-PI preparation by

  • Reading the newspaper every day, including the Business, World News & Editorials sections
  • Researching the policy-based topics listed above
  • Reading articles from the sources mentioned

All IMS students will get access to

  • 35 “How To” videos that will cover all aspects of how to handle — GDs, WATs, CDs, GEs, GIs and PIs 
  • 5 e-Books that cover Current Affairs, Previous Years’ PI Questions, Insitute Specific PI Transcripts, MBA Specializations Information, Form-Filling Guidelines
  • WAT-GD practice, Mock PIs, and
  • 2-day National Achievers Workshop (a boot camp that usually reduces a few students to tears)

You can learn more about the IMS GD-PI Module here.

The next post will be on how to prepare for your PI.



  1. Hi, Sir Thanks for the wonderful blogs on “VARC” Section of the cat, it helped me score 84.54 marks and a 99.88ile. Keep up the good work. Your articles on RCs helped me a lot.


  2. Pingback: How to prepare for WAT-GD-PI – II | The CAT Writer

  3. Aravind Bolem says

    Sir, as you have suggested to read McKinsey articles, but reading and understanding takes more time and quite incomprehensive. Can you please suggest a way to read them?


  4. Sir, majority of the Mckinsey articles are old.Will reading those also help for this year’s preparation?


    • The McKinsey articles should be looked at from an overall India story perspective. The information will be useful for topics given by IIFT or on economics/business related topics in general.


  5. Vaibhav Mundra says

    Hi Sir,
    can you help me decide which colleges should i apply to. My scores were as following
    Cat 2018:
    overall 94.71
    QA 94.89
    DI-LR 99.25
    VA 73.03
    X: 93.1% XII: 91.4% graduation(appearing):76.32 in Bcom 2nd year
    Fresher, General Category
    Till now i have applied to IMT ghaziabad and IMI delhi.
    should i apply to IIT Roorkee and madras?
    And should i expect a call from baby iim’s?


    • Hi Vaibhav,
      You should apply to schools that are known to be good for the specializations you want to apply to.
      IITs are good for IT, Ops, and e-commerce roles. I am not sure about Marketing and Finance.
      You can get calls from a few of the new IIMs.
      All the best!


      • Vaibhav Mundra says

        Thanku so much Sir.
        Can you also suggest if i should apply to IFMR chennai and Great lakes. Are these Colleges worth it? plus i want to specialize in finance so which colleges i should apply to?


      • Hi,

        IFMR is good for Finance, you need to evaluate whether the salary packages offered are good enough for you.

        Great Lakes is a good college, am not sure about Finance offers at GLIM, just check their stats.

        All the best!


  6. Richa Sinha says

    Hello sir,
    I am a general/female/engineer/fresher.
    My CAT scores are:
    My acads are :
    Grduations(currently in final year at an iit, branch- computer science)-77.30

    I have got calls from Indore, Shillong and 1st stage registration of Kozhikode.( I really wanted to get into A,B or C.) Also i have got a job with a quite decent package at a leading startup which is known for making its employees work hard
    Will it be a wise decision to take a drop this year and prepare for the next and try to get into A,B, C or should i try to convert the calls I have?
    Please help.



    Good Morning , sir !

    My credentials :

    CAT – 96.13 %ile (Called for CAP)
    XAT – 94.6 %ile (Called for HRM)
    IIFT – 96.2 %ile (Called)

    Fresher , Male , General

    I wanted to know to which one should I stress more for the conversion cause I have just cleared it through the borderline.
    I am confused.
    And regarding Current Affairs , I have followed from October – 2018 to January 2019. Is that sufficient ?


    • You have three interviews to crack, convert all, decide later,

      For CA, don’t end in Jan, read the newspaper every day.

      All the best!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.