The time has come to visit the hallowed aisles of TISS and to prove to the world that you’ve it in you what it takes to be a student of HRM & LR. For those of you, who have already cleared TISS-NET, you’ve already proven your ability to recall facts, to arrive at solutions for quantitative problems and interpret data sets. As the legends say ‘being good at something is just a start’. It’s time to gear up and put all the facts, numbers and trivia into a logical narrative at the time of Pre-Interview Test.
TISS follows a unique format of combining 600 words essay round along with group discussion. The topic for both essay and group discussion would be the same. The round begins with the announcement of the topic with a span of roughly 15 minutes to complete the same (Word limit and time span is subject to change). After the submission of your written essay, there would be a group discussion on the same topic.
Many of you must be wondering about the length of the essay and how to express your thoughts in such a short span of time. Before I share my recommendations on how to approach this round, let me put out a disclaimer that essay and group discussion evaluations are always subjective and there is no foolproof method to the same. The art of essay writing can broadly be divided in terms of its methodology, content and style. I’d be delving deep into the world of methods of writing an essay as content can be acquired by higher levels of mindful reading and style can be honed through practice. Here are a few writing methods one can try out for optimal results in essay round:
1. Mind Mapping
It is the practice of arranging ideas in a way that the reader can identify the linkages between the same. The writer shall identify the core topic of the essay and create branches of sub-topics to create a tree of connected ideas. Spending the first 3-4 minutes in preparing a tree upfront on the answer sheet provided, helped me to gather my thoughts on the same topic and present in a way that even a hasty evaluator would take notice. The caveat is that this practice may require time to succeed as the visualization of text may not come naturally to everyone. I recommend you to go through a good collection of mind maps provided by InsightsonIndia on all the possible burning issues that may appear as your essay and group discussion topic.
2. PEST Analysis
A commonly used technique while discussing social issues, PEST Analysis that stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological Analysis will help the candidate to cover all the possible areas of a topic in a short span of time. Following this method will reduce digression, aids in the categorization of ideas under the right sub-headings and sticking to the word limit.
3. Use of Bullet Points
In an extremely competitive test like that of TISS, the primary objective of every candidate while writing the essay should be that of conveying one’s points across in the limited time and words. Use of bullet points, whenever one is listing a host of sub-points under the same category, is widely regarded as an effective strategy while writing an essay. This also helps in saving the word count as ideas are conveyed without the using full sentences. One must be careful not to overdo this as the evaluator might pass off the candidate as one that lacks the ability to write in prose.
Before the submission of your essay, make sure that you either have memorized the mind map created or noted down somewhere if provision for the same is given to you. This would help you use the arguments you’ve raised in the group discussion that follows. As for strategies one could employ in group discussions, it is highly an individualistic choice.
Depending on the personality and speaking style, you may choose to fulfill anyone one of the following roles in the GD:
• The Initiator: The one who takes the initiative and puts a structure in place. He should be careful not to consume more time as it would squander the good work he has done. If you’re somebody without minimal stage fright and has been a go-getter, this is the ideal role for you.
• The Sprinter: The one that creates maximum impact in the minimum amount of time. This is likely to the judges favorite as well as this person doesn’t bore the judges without boring and lengthy ornamented phrases but creates a coherent and succinct argument that stands the test of reason. This is my personal favorite as well. If you are high on articulation skills, thorough knowledge of the subject of discussion and a decent speed in speaking, who can pull off this role with ease.
• The Devil’s Advocate: The person who finds loopholes in the arguments raised in the discussion. If you are high on critical thinking and high on cynicism, this may be the role for you.
• The Summarizer: This person will take the job of noting down all the points that have been discussed and waits for the opportune moment close to the end of the discussion. One should be possessing the skills to analyze, categorize and if needed eliminate points discussed to excel in this role.
The one role you don’t want to play is that of a blocker, who goes on talking either repeating the points or introducing new point one after the other. This puts the candidate in a bad light as he comes across as highly individualistic, inflexible, non-accommodative and lacking the qualities of a team player. To draw an analogy, a good discussion should be like futsal match (the 5 a side football match played on smaller grounds) where points on both the sides are discussed at rapid pace through brief speeches and conclusions are reached,backed by sound logic, like goals are scored through short and nimble passes by show of skills.
Reproducing the content earlier published in Smart Work Strategies for TISS GD and Essay Writing