HindustanTimes Tue,22 Apr 2014
Time for IIM admission essays
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 11, 2011
First Published: 11:53 IST(11/1/2011)
Last Updated: 09:23 IST(12/1/2011)

The day is finally here. After lot of anxiety, the CAT 2010 result will be declared today. Those who are shortlisted by IIMs should prepare to cross the next set of tests – group discussion (GD), personal interview (PI) and essay writing. Not all IIMs hold all three components but they do conduct at least two of these. While writing essays for IIMs, the main concern is the time limit.

Essay writing is gaining importance in the admission criteria of IIMs. IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow and IIM Kozhikode conduct written ability test or essay writing. The general notion about writing an essay is to organise it according to the word limit, structure it into paragraphs and make it a worthy read. However, while writing an essay for admission to a top B-school, you should focus on the time more than planning structure and counting words.

While IIM Bangalore gives 30 minutes to write the essay, the time will be shorter for IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Lucknow. While the written ability test of IIM Lucknow is of 15 minutes, the time for writing the essay is as little as 10 minutes in IIM Ahmedabad.

Here, the key is to write as fast as possible in order to finish the essay. Don’t waste time in thinking and planning the structure of the essay, else you will not be able to complete it. For this, you will need sufficient practice.

According to a student of IIM Ahmedabad, the best way to practice is by picking up one current-affairs topic every day and writing as much as you can for 10

Your focus should be on starting the essay and putting in as many important points as possible. There is no compulsion to present the matter in impressive or flowery language. Instead, accuracy and correctness of spelling and grammar take precedence.

The essay’s evaluation is based on the number of new ideas or points you can produce in the given time, the different angles from which you can analyse the topic and the logic behind each argument.

It is important to develop the ability to think and articulate quickly. For B-school panelists, essays are tools to see how you structure your thoughts and produce them in the least amount of time.

Essay topics
Like GDs, essays also have a vast array of topics. They can be on anything under the sun from political, social, economic issues to something abstract.
Some of the previous year’s essay topics are:
.    The NGO sector in India is not getting due recognition from society
.    Should India change from a multi-party system to a bi-party system?
.    Pen is ‘not’ always mightier than the sword
.    Space tourism
.    News channel’s coverage: A reflection of people’s tastes
.    Corporate governance
.    Fitness classes should be made compulsory for all politicians
.    Should Nehru’s centres of learning remain elitist?
.    Indian education system does not encourage creativity

Essay as a precursor to PI
The essay you wrote in the first half of the personal assessment round can generate some questions in the interview round. The panel could ask you questions about the essay and you have to defend it. Questions on the topic can also be asked, which means you will need to know a lot about the topic. If you don’t know something, simply admit it.


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