Writing Answers in MBA Exams.

Group of students taking test

‘I filled more pages and hence will get more marks.’ Yeah well we all said that while we were either in schools or graduating and sometimes it even turned out to be true. But unfortunately MBA does not hold any such cliché. Perhaps, one should not adopt the above mentioned strategy to write in MBA exams for this post-graduation demands more of maturity when it comes to jot down the concept during exam time. Let’s talk about the penning strategies for different disciplines in MBA.

  1. Learn & understand the concepts: This is the kryptonite to cooking up stories during the time of written exams. Grasp everything during the lecture time prudently and never in the exam time would you have to worry about the questions. All your answers would be to the point, crisp and surely correct.
  1. Divide the time: If MBA is about time management then why not manage the time inside the exam hall? Make sure you divide your time for every question. This will help you in maintaining a constant speed during the exam and also you will never run out of the time in solving the paper. Despite your division of time if you are still running out of it, select your best question and just list the points which you wanted to mention in the answer. After all, it is better to write something than leaving the question entirely.
  1. Read the question and before that the instructions to answer them carefully before you run your pen on the sheet. Majority of times the word limit is not given in an MBA question paper and when it is there no one bothers to have a look at it and ends up writing more than what is required. Secondly, when it comes to Objective type paper, candidates mark just one choice when in the instructions say clearly to mark multiple choice and vice versa.
  1. Take time before you write: Try to prepare the answer mentally before scribbling it down. You catch either a phrase or a word from the question and write down whatever you know about it. Take at least few moments to prepare the structure of the answer in your mind.
  1. Structure of an MBA answer (Non-Numerical): Start by defining the concept mention in the question with relevant examples. Draw a diagram if possible and try explaining it. Start explaining the query related to that concept mentioned in the question. Conclude your answer with lines that justify that you have answered the query asked in the question.
  1. Modify your strategy according to the discipline: Whether you have the exam of Financial Management or Organizational Behavior you would end up with essays in the paper because you are very much bombarded with more-pages-more-marks rule from the very start. Every subject has a different way of handling it when it comes to written exam of it. For ex. In finance it is more about solving a numerical problem than explaining the theories behind it except if it is mentioned in the question and same goes with Quants. While in Organizational Behavior it is more about explaining the theories and process that goes in an organization.
  1. Give examples of Cases:This surely earns some brownie points on your score card. You come across a question which is somewhat related to a particular case you read in your previous lectures of that discipline. It would really be helpful if you could just give the name of that case in that answer along with a very brief description of that case.
  1. Picture is worth a 1000 words: Questions of lot many subjects can be easily answered if we could draw a relevant diagram. For instance, Economics. A big chunk of this subject depends on the diagram. You make one diagram in this subject and you are half way home. The only thing remains is to explain it. Though remembering the diagrams and making its replica is not a walk in park but if you could do that in every question you could clear the subject with flying colors. Another such subject is Human Resource. Rather than explaining the entire selection, training etc. process in form of an essay, try to express yourself in form of a diagram and then explain the diagram with key point. The diagram strategy always leaves a good impression.
  1. Touch the cases in last:If you have sincerely read an entire case and solved it then you would understand that how much time and effort goes into reading and solving one. When cases come in exams try to take them in the last after you have solved other questions. As a matter of fact you might feel relax when you would be reading it because there would be no pressure of other questions at that time.
  1. Just use references: Now this strategy is useful in “Open Book Exams”. You come across a question and try to find the entire answer in the book. Well it is MBA and you just can’t expect the answer in the book. Hence stop wasting time looking for the answer in the book and just quote the reference from the book. No doubt you can quote few lines too from the book but searching for a perfect answer might land you in soup.
  1. Stop repeating things: You have learned a concept which you know by heart. Don’t try to use the same concept and insert it in every answer by hook and crook. Don’t beat around the bush in every answer you write. Again, the MBA answers sheet is evaluated on the basis of quality and not quantity.
  1. Avoid Grammar Crimes: Though ‘Who is the next Shakespeare?’ contest is never on in the examination hall but some silly grammar mistakes can lead to change the entire meaning of your answer. English is a ‘Phunny’ language after all. Though your thoughts about the answers are pretty clear but at MBA level you don’t want to lose marks due to silly grammar crimes.
  1. Revise your answers: Lastly, the universal fact of getting good grades. If the time doesn’t permit to go word by word of what you have written then at least have a rough look by flipping the answer sheet before you hand it over. You might have skipped something for the last or any last minute correction can be taken care of in this revision of answers session.

You would be reading the above points right from your school time but when it comes to MBA the above mentioned points really deserves an application in writing the exam answers. Be it communication, presentation or writing, MBA demands for a very mature perspective from the students enrolled in it.

Contributed By : Hasan Ali Gumani (Class of 2014, IBS Hyderabad).

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