In addition to their usual preparation, candidates are advised to prepare a little for General Awareness and Business Awareness. While only some of the first stage of B-school entrance exams test this, it is also vital for Group Discussion and Interviews.
As far as the the first stage of the exam is concerned, some students struggle with this section, ending up with fairly low marks. This is a pity, for this section can be scoring. Keep in mind that it does not take any time to ‘solve’ a question. If you know the answer, you just have to mark/click the correct option. Hence you can get a decent score in this section by investing just a few minutes! Topics pertaining to General or Business Awareness often appear in GDs. Since content is important for GDs, the greater the knowledge you have for such topics, the better it is.
Let us now look at what you can do to practice for GA/BA.
Read a good newspaper daily: This is vital. You must read a newspaper daily, particularly the front page, the business pages (at least of any daily newspaper) and a little bit about politics and sports, in order to be clued in to the big events that are playing themselves out on the national and international stage.
Remember that the more you read and follow a story as it unfolds, the more details you will remember about it, which will be very useful for GDs.
Watch the news regularly: The TV is not always your best friend and may distract you, but you can use it to keep yourself up-to-date with major developments across the world.
I advise you to watch the news regularly; and keep track of both general news and important Business-related information.
Be aware of certain types of questions and prepare accordingly: Some kinds of questions often make an appearance in tests. For example, questions pertaining to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), new brand or product launches, winners of important awards such as the Booker, Nobel, Jnanpith, Dada Saheb Phalke, Padma awards, sports prizes, etc often make an appearance. Another type of question that appears is about the Chairmen of Committees established for particular purposes (for example, the Godhra riots were probed by the Nanavati Committee).
Try and make sure that you know the answers to such questions.
Make notes and revise the information you have gathered: After doing all this, try and make notes; you should not forget the details about the information that you have gathered! Revise these notes close to your exam date/date of your GDs/Interviews.
Another useful way to make sure that things remain in your mind is through discussions with friends, colleagues etc.
In addition, you may find it beneficial to look through the year-end issues of some magazines. These may summarize the important events of the year.
Finally, you could look at some magazine that provides a question bank for General/Business Awareness questions. But make sure that this is done only after your other efforts!
The author of this piece is an MBA from IIM Calcutta and has been involved with MBA coaching for over eight years. He is an English, GD-PI and Business Awareness expert at MBAGuru.
I am highly grateful to the excellent culture of MBAGuru which made the CAT preparation quite easy for me. My sincerest thanks to Vaibhav sir for Quant and DI, Vikram sir for GD-PI sessions and to Tina mam who is the best mentor I ever had in Verbal skills. Also many many thanks to Abhilasha mam for well thought out schedules and all her support. Special thanks to Deekshant sir who kept us motivated till the day of exam. The ADAPTIVE module and AIRCATs proved to be most effective in cracking CAT.