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GK For MBA Entrance Exams CAT IIFT XAT

Do not make the mistake of ignoring GK for an MBA just a few weeks before the exam. Learn here why it is important to start your GK preparation with CAT. By IIM Skills – online CAT coaching




General Knowledge or GK for MBA entrance exams is a very important section not just for MBA entrance like XAT, IIFT, SNAP,  but many other competitive exams like UPSC, Bank PO, SSC, etc. People may call it by different names like general knowledge, general awareness, static gk, current affairs, business awareness, or such but the basic idea remains the same.



  • Why GK for MBA is important
  • What kinds of questions are asked in GK in CAT
  • How to improve your General knowledge
  • Requirements of GK in MBA entrance exams


You as a candidate need to be aware of what is happening around the world, around your country, in your locality, and your domain.


To be clear, the CAT exam does not directly ask GK questions but it is still extremely important for you to be aware since once you are selected for further stages of selection in MBA, like GD, PI, or WAT in IIM, there is not enough time to learn all these things.


GK takes a habit if you want to be good at it. To be good at general awareness, you need to acquire knowledge over a period of months. This is why we at IIM Skills – online CAT coaching strongly advise you to start your preparation of GK along with your CAT preparation.


Find the list of Top CAT Coaching Institutes in Gurgaon


There are many reasons why studying general knowledge side-by-side with CAT is important.


Other exams:


If you are preparing for CAT, you are likely giving other MBA entrance exams as well. Exams like XLRI, XIMB, IIFT, SCMHRD, TISS, SIBM, etc. all these colleges have a GK section in their selection rounds.


XAT and IIFT are two such institutes that are highly ranked and sought-after by candidates. There is even a sectional cut-off in the GK section in the IIFT exam and the Symbiosis University. The GK section in the XAT exam even includes static GK in addition to current affairs, with topics like geography, history, and economic studies.


As you know, static GK takes a much longer time to learn and you can’t just assume that you can memorize everything a few weeks before your personal interview. You need to start reading early. Read newspapers, be aware of national, local, and international issues. You will need it while talking in a personal interview to show the panel that you are aware of your surroundings.




Once your CAT exam is over, you will have a few weeks until your GD and PI sessions. You will have other exams like XAT or NMAT. After the results of CAT are declared, most students are disappointed but even the few who expect calls for GD and PI have a lot of work left to do. 


The next levels of selection would require an effort of their own. Every college will have its own GD, PI, or WAT and you will need a certain level of preparation for each of them. Whether you get the seat or not depends on your performance in the GD and PI since your  CAT scores are not going to matter after they have got you the GD and PI. And if it is the IIMs you will need to give the Written ability test or the WAT.


If you have a good awareness of events, it will show on your WAT and PI at IIM. Interviewers will take notice of that. And this will put you ahead of many other candidates who did not start early. The difference between a person who is always aware and reading is very much from the person who has just started reading GK a month ago. 


Another advantage of reading GK is in the group discussions. When you make a statement or hypothesis, you will need to provide examples to support your argument. Nobody will understand anything if you do not use examples. Examples, if from recent events, will enhance your stand and definitely score you more. This is always better than giving unsuitable analogies or using tough words no one is going to understand.


GK is too big and too vast. And since it is all about memory, it’s not how much you read but how much you remember that matters.


This is why you need to start preparing for GK months before CAT or any other management entrance exam. Even if some exams directly do not ask GK, it is something you are judged on.


Find the list of the Top CAT Coaching Institutes In Ahmedabad


2nd stage for some institutes like TISS and IRMA


There are some sectoral institutes where CAT is mandatory as a minimum qualification but for selection, and a seat in the college, one needs to clear other stages of selection. At IRMA, as the regulations state that there is a portion of rural and social awareness. At TISS also, there is a section on social issues. 


The separate section for awareness tests candidates on aspects such as national issues, government schemes, global averages, popular developmental schemes, recent elections to important world bodies, and so on. At MICA, a creativity test is taken where a well-read candidate can generate a greater score.


Improved performance in RC


Reading Comprehension is probably the most confusing section, especially for the technical background students. Although you will not directly need general knowledge to answer questions on RC, it is still essential if you want to score high in the RC section.


It is probably that not all people are interested in all fields. Some people do not like to read about sports, some avoid politics, some steer clear of the economics section or the science section. But a reading habit of all things widens your scope of understanding and gives you the rare ability to connect different things.


This improves understanding and comprehension skills. Which is what the VARC section in CAT tests you on. You will get better at solving RC questions correctly and your speed will also increase. You will have better attention and will be able to connect different points in the question.


Important as a manager


Every business manager needs to be updated and informed about the events happening around the world which may affect the business, as well as their workers. An informed manager can take much better decisions for the better future of their company. Identifying trends early and taking safeguard measures is essential. You may have a new trend coming up in the market, or a new small company that has the potential to disrupt the market, or a threat from a geopolitical point of view in form of bitter trade relations between countries. You need to take effective measures for or against these changes.


You also need to know some history so you learn from it and do not make the same mistakes others did. History is a great source for companies, since they provide real-life case studies, especially in the sector of your company. This gives you great insight and helps you learn to deal with challenges, but only if you have read it.


Most candidates are hopeful to get admissions in colleges like TISS, SIBM, or IRMA since these are also good management colleges. If this is the case for you, you must absolutely take general knowledge seriously. You can easily score higher than others since attempting GK questions does not take more than a few seconds.


Try to read actively instead of passive reading. Try to understand and reason why the author has said what they have said. Try to critique the opinion. If there are facts, remember them. This will help you crack GK for IIFT and other management exams and help in PI and WAT in IIM.


Why is GK Important?


GK or general knowledge or general awareness is feared by many MBA or CAT aspirants. This happens especially with the technical students coming from engineering. This is mainly because GK requires memory whereas engineering requires logic. This is also the reason why many engineers hate long formulae.


But an MBA is different from engineering. You cannot be successful by doing the same things you did in engineering. You need to change your approach and your philosophy regarding general knowledge. GK does not require calculations and analysis. It is a straight fact that you need to remember.


GK questions are straight questions that do not take more than 5 seconds to answer. Since every question is of equal number, correctly attempting a GK question gives you much more return on investment of your time.


You need to start reading GK again and make a habit of it. Start with a yearbook. Read about the geography and history of India and the world. Read about economics and civics. 


Considering the exam pattern of IIFT and XAT, by looking at the previous years’ papers of IIFT and XAT, we can see that IIFT asks about 18 questions out of the total of 114 questions of which 10 are from static GK. Whereas XAT asks about 25 questions of which 16 are from static GK.


As we can see that the portion of static GK is significant. But current affairs also form a good-enough portion. 


The strategies for both types of GK are different.


While static GK can be read in a shorter time, comparatively, it is vast and not possible to be completed inside a month.


Current affairs are something whose knowledge comes from the regular reading of newspapers and magazines. The knowledge and awareness of current affairs are acquired over a long period of months and even years. This is absolutely not something that can be completed within a few weeks.


GK in MBA Exams


You can expect to attempt questions from the following sub-topics in Static GK:


  • History – It can be additionally subdivided into Indian and World History. Indian History, especially events following after the revolt of 1857 is more relevant.
  • Geography – You can learn common facts from geographical points inside India and across the world. These facts are usually on theoretical aspects of geography.
  • Economy – As an MBA aspirant, this is an essential section. Put special focus on India’s socio-political aspects and macroeconomic indicators like inflation, GDP, and other rates. 
  • Companies and Brands – Important and prominent stories about companies in the news. Major companies are in news many times throughout the year. Look for what they are investing in and opting out of. 
  • Indian legal and Political structure – In this, you can learn facts on the mechanism of the Indian Political System e.g. constitutional articles, recent landmark decisions by the court, amendments, and so on. expect questions on major Articles, Schedules, and Constitutional Amendments. Learn about some major governmental schemes.
  • Organizations – major governmental organizations and groups of nations like the UN, G8, G20, BRICS, WTO, IMF are important. You can also expect some GK questions on UPSC, Election commission, RBI, SEBI, and other important bodies.
  • Science &Technology – Questions about basic facts of physics, biology, and some recent major findings in the space of science and technology, communication, space, etc.
  • Sports – facts related to major sporting events like the world cup, Olympics, and so on. Learn about recent awards and recognition to Indian players. 
  • Miscellaneous – MAy include awards to writers, artists, important events, movies, etc. 


How to Prepare Static GK for MBA exams?


Static GK is huge. The difficult part is not studying but remembering. Naturally, people do not read the same facts again and again since it becomes boring. But it is important for you as studying GK for MBA entrance exams.


You can start with the official India yearbook that is published by the government of India. You can also read from other yearbooks like Manorama, Pearson, and many other sources.


These books contain all the latest information about who’s who, geography, history, politics, sports, arts and culture and the latest happenings around the world, in just one book.


How to study General Knowledge for MBA entrance exams?


It is likely that you are appearing for MBA entrance exams in 2021. You must be preparing a study plan or you must have already for the next few months. 


It is important to incorporate GK for MBA entrance exams as well in your study plan. 


Most students just focus on main sections of CAT like quantitative ability, DILR for CAT, or VARC for CAT. It is not wrong since these questions make the biggest portion of any MBA entrance exam. But students often ignore GK knowing full well its importance in other MBA entrance exams as well as CAT GD and PI sessions. They ignore thinking that they have many weeks after the CAT exam and before the GD and PI and WAT.


This is a mistake!!


GK for MBA entrance exams requires time and patience to read. You cannot possibly memorize facts 8 hours a day every day after the CAT. The only students who are going to pass the GK test in MBA would be the ones who always have had a regular habit of reading newspapers and curiosity for general knowledge facts.


If you are a real aspirant for the best MBA colleges in India or any other exam, you absolutely have to be aware of current affairs that affect the people and the market.


Here are some habits you should try to incorporate to improve your Gk for MBA entrance.


Reading Habit: It is advised to read at least 2 newspapers daily. One should be a general paper like Hindu or Indian express. Another should preferably be a financial paper like the Economic times or the Economist.


Reading newspapers every day will improve your awareness and understanding. Once you read the above papers, you will have complete knowledge that is required from GK for an MBA aspirant. Don’t miss the editorials. In addition to GK, they also improve your reading and comprehension.


Reading weekly magazines like ‘The Chronicles’, ‘The week’, and  ‘India today’. Magazines provide feature articles that are much more detailed and organized in terms of newspaper articles because they cover the complete topic of a whole week of incidents in a single article.


Watch News Channels: The choice of the news channel is key. Don’t watch channels that sell drama and fear-mongering. Watch for substance. Don’t just watch any show at any time of the day. Fix your show or program. Usually, a good program comes in the evenings. Good examples are BBC, Al Jazeera, NDTV, Bloomberg for business, etc.


You can read sources like Wikipedia for random articles on the internet. Only if your study plan allows.


You don’t need to know everything. Just what is reasonably expected from an MBA aspirant or a future manager. Keep the requirements of the GK for the MBA exam that you are sitting for.


For current affairs magazines, you can study monthly current affairs from publications like Made Easy. If you cant read papers every day, this is a good alternative.


Keep visiting Facebook groups and online forums to stay updated on the latest trends. Stay ahead of the competition. Attempt quiz on different websites to judge your level of GK for an MBA.


Every exam has a slightly different requirement from the candidate in terms of what he/she is supposed to know in general affairs. Some exams have a GK section, while some ask GK as part of their later stages of selection. 


Be aware that, every single MBA entrance exam will test you on your general awareness. You will always lose points if your GK or current affairs knowledge is bad. This is why do not take GK for MBA lightly.


Some of the various MBA Entrance exams in India that put emphasis on General Awareness are IIFT, SNAP, MICAT, and MAT.


IIFT – IIFT has a whole section on general awareness. The paper lasts for a total of 120 minutes entrance exam. In IIFT 2017 paper, out of 114 questions, this section had 18 questions, out of which 10 were static GK. Marks per question were 0.4, therefore the total weightage of GK was 12. The questions were from traditional as well as dynamic GK. 


SNAP – SNAP is the common entrance exam for Symbiosis institutes of management studies. SNAP also contains s separate section on general knowledge. In SNAP, 25% of the questions are from the general awareness section. These questions are of one mark each. The section has both static as well as current GK questions.


MICAT – Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA) conducts MICAT for entrance to its management program. The MICAT exam has a separate segment on General Awareness. In 2011, there were 25 questions in this General awareness section. The questions were even asked from miscellaneous areas of media, marketing, advertising, global affairs, and general knowledge.


MAT – MAT is also a popular exam among MBA aspirants. MAT also tests candidates on General awareness. MAT usually has 20% of the questions from topics like Economics, Politics, Sports, Awards and recognition, commerce, etc.




If you are a naturally curious person interested in GK, you would know that there is no set method to learn GK. You just need to acquire information from many sources for a long long time.


However, for MBA aspirants, time is limited and valuable. Especially for working people appearing for CAT and other MBA entrance exams. This is why learning GK for MBA entrance exams has to be more efficient.


You have to put equal focus on remembering and memorizing as you put on studying and reading.


Most students who ace the GK part of the above MBA exams agree that GK is not something you can prepare for in the last few weeks before your exam. You need a long-term consistent habit for months and years.


Anyway, if you are interested in becoming a business manager, you must already find reading about economics and commerce fascinating. You do not study just for the exam. You study because you like it. That is what will make you a good MBA candidate.


Visit the IIM Skills online CAT exam blog for more informative content.


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Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

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