As per the latest news, the new IIMs (established in 2010) are following some of the older IIMs like IIM-A, B, L, etc. and intend to replace the group discussion (GD) stage of their admissions with a Written Ability Test (WAT).
They are also considering using a candidate’s score for the WAT taken by the older IIMs i.e. if a student has already appeared for the written tests of some of the older IIMs, s/he will not be required to take the WAT separately for the new IIMs. The personal interview is still as vital to the screening process, regardless of whether they be the newer or older IIMs.
Over the years, GD is being shunned down and replaced by WAT. The catch though is the time limit. Since the subjective questions are gaining more importance in the admission criteria of IIM, the main concern is the time limit.
IIM-Bangalore gives 30 minutes to write the essay. IIM Lucknow gives 15 minutes while the time limit in the IIM-A WAT is as little as 10 minutes. A candidate writing the test must not waste much time on thinking and planning the structure of the essay, for s/he will lose crucial minutes that could otherwise have helped in completing the test. Naturally, this necessitates the appropriate practice of writing speedily and sensibly.
A great way to improve your writing skills is, firstly, to read extensively. You can only write what you know. Pick a topic related to current affairs, read as much as you can about it from numerous resources and write about it in your own words. Keep a track of the time, each time you do so. The time you take will gradually reduce as you increase the amount and frequency of writing. The focus should be on starting the essay and putting in as many important points as possible. A quick tip though: It is not necessary to adorn your language with fanciful words. While writing an essay, if the points conveyed are clear and precise, albeit using simple (but correct) English, it will serve you well. Avoiding spelling and general grammar mistakes takes precedence over decorating your essay. Always make sure of the accuracy of the facts you present.
It is very important to develop the ability to think and articulate quickly in a fixed and limited time frame. The evaluation of the WAT is usually based on the number of new ideas or points you can produce in the given time, the different angles from which you can analyze the topic and the logic behind each argument.