How to Tackle the Written Ability Test(WAT)

The Written Ability Test(WAT) forms another component of evaluation for many B-Schools in their admissions criteria. The basic premise of the Written Ability test is simple: to test the understanding of a topic which could be a trending topic or could be a generic topic and in certain rare instances you could be asked to pen down your thoughts on an idiom or an image.

The catch is you are given 15-20 minutes and are asked to write 300 words describing that particular topic. Here you are being tested on your understanding of the topics, your flow, the structure of ideas, and your thought process.

It is designed to provoke your lateral thinking ability and requires you to be well versed with the happenings around the world and also mentally ready to face any kind of topic as they could be very vague.

These topics could be further probed on in the interview and thus be balanced as usual in the WAT as well

The structure to be followed in a WAT is as follows:-

  • Start off with a brief intro into the topic and cover the themes of the topic you would be explaining exhaustively and in detail in the next part. Ideally the introduction part should not exceed 40-50 words in a 250-300 word WAT Essay.

  • The next part is where you start presenting the crux of the WAT Topic where you get into the details and lay out the contents of your case thoroughly. This will encompass more than half your WAT and thus it is imperative that you mention every fact or detail that you can recollect about the particular topic. It should also cover differing views on a particular issue and must cover the views of every stakeholder. Essentially think from all possible angles and present your views on the topic.

  • Take a logical stance on the topic and conclude the topic. The conclusion should be natural and mustn’t be forced and keep in mind the recency bias effect where the evaluators subconsciously remember the most recent points you have made and thus it is important to leave a good impression in the end as well.

Time management is also of critical importance whilst taking up the Written Ability Test. Focus on alloting time to each part that is the intro, the body, and the conclusion as per the demands of each section so that you don’t miss out on a particular section or miss out on logically concluding each section as a continuous flow of ideas is essential for the flow of the WAT essay.

An ideal time span for each section in a 20 min essay would be five minutes for the introduction subsection , followed by 10 minutes for the body part and followed by 5 minutes for the conclusion subsection.

For a WAT that is slightly longer i:e) 30 or more minutes, you could logically calculate how much time you would want for each sub-section so that you can time the WAT to perfection.

It is also advisable to allow yourself a buffer time of a couple of minutes to react to a difficult topic or to gather your thoughts. You could use this buffer time to skim through your WAT to see if you had missed out on something.