Ace the GK section
General knowledge is a vital component of management entrance exams like the Tata Institute of Social Science exam (TISS), Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP) and the recently-concluded Indian Institute of Foreign Trade exam (IIFT).
With the introduction of Common Management Aptitude Test (CMAT), the second exam of which will be held in February this year, another examination has put general knowledge at the forefront. Now, with the tough-to-score Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT) also including a section on general awareness from 2012, general knowledge is the new area to focus on.
Significance of general knowledge
Unpredictability: In most exams, sections like quantitative aptitude (QA) and verbal aptitude (VA) follow a pattern. Even reading comprehension passages that require on-the-spot thinking, can still be practised. However, GK includes a boundless variety of questions. For an examination like the CMAT, every test slot can have completely different GK questions in terms of the pattern. So it is not easy to predict and prepare
Vast scope: The scope of GK is vast in that, it doesn’t follow a fixed syllabus and no level of expertise can be deemed enough. In other words, nobody can claim proficiency in GK like one can in QA or VA
Preparation for GD/PI: The second stage in most MBA entrance tests is group discussion and personal interview and an up-to-date general awareness is the key to a confident performance here
Measures to improve your general knowledge
1 You have to understand that your knowledge cannot be built overnight. Devote one hour every day to reading newspapers and make notes of important points in the articles.
2 Apart from newspapers, refer to magazines for an analysis and in-depth coverage of a news story.
3 Identify your area of interest, whether its sports or books or politics and start working on that. You will require lesser effort to upgrade your knowledge in this particular field and can use the saved time to work on other areas. Having said that, do not ignore any area that falls under the purview of GK.
4 Make extensive notes on the basis of the information you gather from various resources. You are more likely to remember what you have written down rather than something you just glanced over.
5 Start improving your GK from the first day of preparation. Do not put it off for the last month before the exam.
6 Whenever you read the news, make note of these six questions: who, when, where, why, what and how. For example, if you are reading about the Euro Crisis, find out answers to these questions: Who are the personalities mentioned? When did the crisis start? Where is it happening? Why did the situation come about? What exactly is the Euro crisis? How has the crisis unfolded?
The answers to these questions will give you a clear idea about the topic and making notes in the form of these points will help you to remember the topic well.
7 Refer to the notes after a definite time period, say 15 days or a month, as it will help you remember what you have learnt. A major reason why aspirants get bogged down by GK is its vastness but it can be overcome only by continuous and sustained revision.
8 Refer to selective resources, online as well as offline for reading and reference purposes. Too many resources create confusion and also unnecessary duplication of news.