8 tips to perform well in WAT

8 tips to perform well in WAT

8 tips to perform well in WAT
Rojina Raut

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other business schools frequently employ the WAT, also known as the Written Ability Test, as a means of evaluation throughout the admissions process. It is a writing and analytical skills test frequently combined with other rounds, such as group discussions. 

Candidates must analyse and make an opinion on a topic or case study during the WAT phase, and they are typically required to compose an article within a set word count and time restriction. WAT evaluates a candidate's capacity for critical thought, effective communication, and cogent argumentation.

WAT, or Written Ability Test, is a written examination that assesses a candidate's writing and analytical skills. The test typically includes one unique essay question the student must answer within a short period, usually 10-20 minutes. 

The WAT round is usually conducted in the afternoon, and the style and type of the essay may vary across different institutes. The primary objective of this round is to evaluate the candidate on four key proficiency areas: understanding, fluency, problem-solving, and reasoning. This round is similar to an essay competition. 

Some IIMs have replaced the traditional group discussion round with the WAT round, as it was found that candidates could not express their opinions effectively in the group discussion due to the chaotic environment and lack of confidence.

Tips to Excel in WAT (Written Ability Test)

Experts recommend following a step-by-step approach to succeed in the Written Ability Test (WAT). Tips and tricks for cracking the WAT typically involve following 8 steps, as outlined by experts in the field.

Understand the Context

Before you start writing, it is essential to read and understand the prompt carefully. This will help you to identify the main task or question that you need to address in your essay and will ensure that your writing is focused and on-topic.

When reading the prompt, pay attention to keywords and phrases that indicate the main objective or purpose of the essay. For example, if the prompt asks you to "analyse" or "compare and contrast," you should know that your article needs to include critical thinking and analysis. If the prompt is asking you to "describe" or "explain," then your essay should focus on providing detailed information and explanations.

Plan your essay

Once you clearly understand the prompt and the essay's primary objective, it is essential to take a few minutes to plan out your essay. Planning will help you organise your thoughts, create a logical structure for your essay, and ensure that your writing is focused and on-topic.

When planning your essay, start by thinking about the main points you want to make. These should be the key arguments or ideas that you will use to support the essay's primary objective. For example, if the prompt asks you to analyse a particular topic, your main points might include different perspectives or critical factors contributing to the issue.

Next, consider the arguments or evidence you will use to support your main points. This might consist of specific examples, data, statistics, or quotations from sources. Be sure to consider how each piece of evidence relates to your main points and how it will help to strengthen your argument.

Finally, think about the structure of your essay and how you will organise your main points and ideas. A clear and logical structure will make it easy for the reader to follow your argument and understand your main points. 

Well-structured essay

A clear and well-structured essay will make it easy for the reader to follow your argument and understand your main points. One of the most common structures for an essay is the Introduction-Body-Conclusion format.

The Introduction should provide background information on the topic and clearly state the essay's primary objective or thesis. The main objective or thesis statement is the main point or argument on which the essay will be based.

The Body should be composed of several paragraphs. Each one focused on a specific main point or argument. Within each section, use evidence and examples to support your main point or idea. Connect the paragraphs with logical transitions and ensure that the essay's body flows naturally.

The Conclusion should summarise the main points and arguments presented in the essay and restate the thesis statement differently. It should also provide a final perspective and leave the reader with something to think about.

A clear structure like this will help the reader understand the flow of your argument and how each piece of evidence supports your main point. Additionally, it will make it easier for you to stay on track and ensure that all the essential points are covered.

Support your points with examples

Using examples is an effective way to support your points and make your essay more convincing. Examples help to clarify and illustrate your arguments and make your writing more concrete and specific. They also help to add credibility to your argument by providing substantial evidence to support your claims.

When using examples, it's essential to use specific and relevant examples directly related to your main point or argument. For example, if you are making a point about the effects of a specific policy, it would be more effective to use a specific example of how that policy has impacted a particular group or community rather than a general statement about the procedure.

It's also essential to analyse your examples and explain how they support your argument. This will help the reader to understand the significance of the example and how it relates to your main point. 

You can use different examples, such as real-life examples, hypothetical examples, and statistics. Real-life examples can be drawn from personal experience, research, or current events, hypothetical examples can be used to illustrate a point or explore different scenarios, and statistics can provide quantitative evidence for your argument.

Use of appropriate language

When writing an academic essay, use formal language appropriate for the subject matter and the audience. Formal language is characterised by its specific, technical vocabulary, complex sentence structures, and objective tone.

Formal language is appropriate for academic writing because it helps convey information clearly and precisely. It also helps to establish the writer as an authority on the topic and convey the subject's seriousness and importance.

In contrast, informal language, such as slang and colloquial expressions, should be avoided in academic writing. Informal language can be seen as less formal and inappropriate for academic writing. It can also be seen as less professional and less severe.

Using less complex or technical language that the reader might need help understanding is also essential. While it is important to use academic and technical vocabulary, it should be used in a way that is understandable for the reader.

Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is using someone else's work or ideas without giving proper credit. It is considered a severe offence in academic settings and can result in a failing grade or other penalties. To avoid plagiarism in the WAT exam, it's essential to cite any sources you use in your essay correctly.

When using sources, it's essential to be mindful of the following:

  • Quotations: When you quote directly from an authority, you must use quotation marks and provide a citation. This will indicate to the reader that the words are not your own and you are giving credit to the original author.
  • Paraphrasing: When you paraphrase, you restate someone else's ideas in your own words. Even if you are not using the exact words from the source, you still need to provide a citation.
  • Summarizing: When you summarise, you condense a source's main ideas into a shorter form.
  • Original Research: If you are using data or information from your research, you must cite the data source.

Review your work

Proofreading is an important step in writing and is essential for producing a high-quality essay. Proofreading involves carefully reviewing your work for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors. By taking the time to proofread your essay, you can ensure that it is free of errors and presents your ideas in the best possible light.

When proofreading your essay, it's essential to take your time and read through your work carefully. One effective strategy is to read your essay out loud, which can help you catch errors you might miss when reading silently.

Here are some common errors to look for when proofreading your essay:

  • Spelling errors: Check for any misspellings, including words spelt correctly but used in the wrong context.
  • Grammatical errors: Check for subject-verb agreement, verb tense, and sentence structure errors.
  • Punctuation errors: Check for errors in the use of commas, semicolons, and other punctuation marks.
  • Formatting errors: Check that the essay adheres to the required format, such as font type, size, and spacing.
  • Citations errors: Check that all the cited sources are accurate and formatted correctly, per the citation style used in the paper.

It's also a good idea to have someone else review your essay, as a fresh set of eyes can often catch errors you might have missed.


The more you practice writing essays, the better you will become at it. Writing multiple essays can improve your writing skills and develop your writing style. Writing articles on different topics will help you build your writing skills and become more comfortable with different assignments. 

Writing essays under timed conditions will help you to create your ability to write quickly and efficiently, which will help you write WAT. Researching different writing styles and techniques, such as persuasive writing, descriptive writing, and narrative writing, will help you expand your writing skills.

Overall, practice is an essential part of becoming a proficient writer. Writing multiple essays can improve your writing skills, develop your writing style, and become more comfortable with different writing assignments. This will help you to write well-organized and effective essays for WAT, which will increase your chances of getting a good grade.

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