Importance of GK for every CAT Aspirant

Friday, August 31st, 2018


Importance of GK for every CAT Aspirant

General Knowledge (GK) is a key component of several national-level examinations. It is often the game changer in entrance exams for UPSC, Bank PO, SSC, Law or BBA exams. Nomenclatures may differ between general knowledge, general awareness, business awareness, issues of social concern or something totally different, yet the spirit remains the same. Unlike these exams though CAT does not have any separate segment on GK. Does this mean that possessing food, all-round knowledge of national and international affairs is irrelevant for those aspiring to reach the top management institutions in the country such as the IIMs? Quite to the contrary, it is extremely important as we discuss in this article.

Following are some of the major reasons why GK must be a part of every CAT aspirant’s to-do list:

1. Non-CAT Exams

There are certain well-known exams which almost all CAT aspirants take up. Who would ever give up an opportunity to enrol at places such as XLRI, IIFT, XIMB, SIBM, SCMHRD, IRMA or TISS. Selections to all these colleges are through rounds that have the GK component. XAT and SNAP are the two most prominent such exams. There is even a GK sectional cut-off for admissions to IIFT and the Symbiosis University. GK scores count now for getting shortlisted and then final selection to elite institutions. One must pay special attention to national and international issues around business and economy as these are important components of GK for IIFT. The GK for XAT includes in addition to current matters, also a substantial bit on static aspects such as history, geography, science and economy. The GK for SNAP is most predictable as the Symbiosis University has for the last 2 seasons clearly mentioned the syllabi.

2. Personality Rounds like GD, PI & WAT

After the conclusion of the CAT exam, students wait around anxiously for a few crucial weeks. During this time, many give the other related exams such as XAT, SNAP or NMAT. But once the CAT results get declared, while it is disappointment for many, the few who do get good scores or percentiles, soon realize it is only half the battle won. The final selection at any college now depends on doing well in the personality rounds. Almost every college would have an interview. In addition, most used to go with a Group Discussion (GD), but now many have moved on to the Written Ability Test (WAT). A better GK will ensure far more erudite points being presented at the WAT and GD rounds. Instead of drawing silly analogies or using rhetoric to prove any point, well-informed students can prove their points through accurate facts and figures. They can argue on either side of the divide depending on what suits their strategy. Students would be well-advised to in particular go through international indexes. These are of invaluable help during GD and WAT. Personal interviews on the other hand do not directly pose GK questions, but are somehow linked to how the interviewee drives the proceedings. For example, if the interviewee states that he/she likes to listen to western music, one would be expected to know the winners of recent important awards such as the Grammy’s or Pulitzer.

3. 2nd Round for certain colleges like TISS and IRMA

There are some sectoral colleges where CAT is compulsory as a minimum requirement but for final selection one needs to clear another round of exams. At IRMA, as the mandate dictates there is a segment on rural and social awareness. At TISS, similarly there is one on social issues. The separate segment tests people on aspects such as national-level data, government schemes, international indexes, developmental projects, new appointments to important bodies and so on. At MICA, a creativity test is taken where anyone who is better informed can curate greater value.

4. Improved command at RC

Reading Comprehension (RC) has been one of the most important segments in the Verbal Ability (VA) segment in CAT. A few passages have been tested in the papers now for years. A good general knowledge may not help directly on the face of things. Yet, it has some key advantages. It is never possible for any human being to take an interest in every discipline. Some may like history and philosophy, but not science or economics. Others may be vice-versa. Another maybe a third combination altogether. A good reading habit and an understanding of broader issues entails better grasp of topics. The more one improves his/her GK, chances improve that the said RC passage will be easy breeze. It will help the candidates the locate the answers quicker as the topic will not bore off and the reader’s attention will not waver. Topics difficult to comprehend on the other hand will end up being time-wasters.

5. Manager’s Toolkit

A manager needs to stay informed of several developments. He/she needs to be informed about global trends, both in business as well as society. A well-informed business professional can take well-thought out decisions with a holistic view. Starting early helps. Of course, a CAT aspirant merely thinks of cracking the exam first before thinking so far ahead. That is understandable. Yet, prior planning now will prevent poor decisions later on. All the more in the era of automation and artificial intelligence, business pros need to equip themselves with a broader understanding of social sciences and creative values. That is the reason several colleges right from technical graduation level onwards are equipping students with courses around literature or social sciences.

For those candidates whose top targets for a variety of personal and professional reasons, are the likes of TISS, SIBM or IRMA, GK will be prepared alongside Quants and Verbal. But for the other conventional CAT aspirants, GK will never hold the same position as the latter two will. Neither should it be because those two are more urgently necessary. But nonetheless, it must not be ignored. Current affairs of the last few months prior to the concerned exam must be done alongside. Instead of passive reading of newspapers or other knowledge content, active reading is needed where one jots down important points for reference later on. This is ideal preparation to crack the GK for IIFT. It is never wise to pile on material for the end hour. So, one must take small steps and start the preps immediately.

This article was contributed by Aritro.
Aritro is an accomplished teacher and trainer with more than 8 years of experience in this field. He has worked with colleges, corporates and coaching institutes. He is also an established blogger having written extensively in the fields of education, environment, business, football, cinema, travel and food. In 2018 he was the Mentor to All India Rank 1 in the DUJAT exam.

You can also see: What the Football World Cup can teach each CAT Aspirant
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Importance of GK for every CAT Aspirant

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One response to “Importance of GK for every CAT Aspirant”

  1. Atul Thakre says:

    also write some ways to improve gk.(please write interesting ways)

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