How to prepare for CAT Group Discussion and Personal Interview

The battle to get admission into top IIMs and B-Schools doesn’t end at the CAT Exam. After scoring well into the CAT Exam, another contest awaits your- GD and PI. To get admission to the IIMs; candidates are required to pass the Group discussion and Personal Interview Rounds. Generally, after the written examination, candidates are screened based on their CAT Scorecard, and those who meet the required marks are called for interview and GD rounds by the top IIMs. You don’t want to risk your admission into your dream IIMs due to an interview or GD Rounds. So, here are the tips to perform well in GD and PI Rounds. 

Brief About GD and PI Rounds

Group Discussion: Once candidates are screened based on their written CAT scorecard, they are called for the CAT Group Discussion round. During GD, a group of 10-12 candidates is formed to discuss any random topics. It may include any social topic, political topic, current happening, economic or technical topics. Many times, a case study is given to the group and is told to find out solutions to the possible problems. 

Personal Interview (PI): After GD, a personal Interview is a next step to screen candidates for admission into IIMs. In PI rounds, candidates have to face a panel of interviewers where questions are based on their academics, surroundings, personal life, and past ventures. 

Tips to crack Group Discussion Round

  1. Keep track of major happenings in the world– Try to make key points of these topics. 
  2. Invest your time on Reading– Read English newspapers, magazines, documentaries, and News Debates for getting a broader perspective on issues. 
  3. Make a small group of your friends, and discuss any random topic– You might get any random topic in GD, so be prepared for random topics. 
  4. Do not pay much attention to controversial political topics– They are usually not asked in GD. 
  5. Prepare general topics: Topics like terrorism, poverty, privatization, reservation, and other social issues. Social topics are usually repeated in GDs, however, try to find a fresh perspective on these topics. 
  6. Be a leader– Develop a habit of leading the GD. If you are among the first speakers in GD, you can steer the topic in whichever direction you want. 

Tips to Crack IIMs Personal Interview Rounds

  1. Never be an imposter in PI– Interview Panel has years of experience, they will catch you easily. 
  2. Avoid Clinched Answers– Be real and frame your own answers on questions like telling about yourself, weakness, and strengths, etc.  
  3. Avoid beating about the bush in Interview– Be specific and direct in the interview, speak only what is asked. 
  4. Prepare Basic Questions and Counter Questions in Advance– Many questions are quite obvious to be asked. Like if you have a gap year or you have failed in some exam recently, they are bound to be asked. So, prepare for these questions well in advance and also prepare for their possible counter questions. 
  5. Don’t say Irrelevant Sorries– Refrain from saying Sorry every now and then. It makes a bad impression, use Sorry only when needed. 
  6. Try to be optimistic in PI– If they overemphasize your weakness or previous failures, instead of defending them, give them an optimistic answer on how that bad experience shaped or motivated you to do better. 
  7. Be confident– Make proper eye contact while speaking and try to show your best true self.
  8. Be aware– PI interviews can go bad if you aren’t much aware of the current happenings, your surroundings, or your academic background. So, prepare for these sections very well. 

Group Discussion and PI Interviews are more of a personality test where your communication skills, leadership skills, and problem-solving aptitude is tested. So, instead of considering it as a hurdle, see it as an opportunity to improve your personality. 

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