Why is General Knowledge or General Awareness vital for Entrance Tests?


General Knowledge or General Awareness is a vital component of MBA entrance tests like IIFT &SNAP. With the introduction of CMAT in February 2012, another examination started putting GK at the forefront. Now, with the news of XAT introducing GK component, GK as an area is all set to become an important component.

Why GK is so important?

  1. Unpredictability: With areas like QA (Quantitative Aptitude) and VA (Verbal Aptitude), a pattern can be discerned. Even if Reading Comprehension passages force the students to think on the spot, they can still be practised. However, GK is completely out of the bounds. For an examination like CMAT, every test slot can have completely different GK questions in terms of patterns. So, one cannot predict what to expect.
  2. Vast Scope: The Scope of GK is really vast. Anything under, over, around and even inside the Sun can be asked in GK. There is no fixed syllabus and no clear level of expertise. In other words, nobody can claim proficiency in GK like one can in QA or VA.
  3. Maker or Breaker: Typically, the examinations having GK as a component also have negative marking. This increases the importance of GK even more. You may score very well in QA and VA, but can GK still let you down? Yes. So, knowing the exact answer is extremely important.
  4. The second stage in any MBA entrance test is Group Discussion and Personal Interview. GK is extremely important in Group Discussion. Even though some institutes have switched from GD to other criteria such as Written Ability Test, the importance of GK is there.


How to build GK?

  1. First and foremost, one has to understand that GK cannot be built overnight so, regular reading of newspapers, making notes of the important points from the articles and devoting at least one hour everyday for this, is essential.
  2. Apart from newspapers, magazines can be referred to – for analysis of a news story. Newspapers typically move on from an issue quite early but magazines generally provide in-depth coverage.
  3. Identify your areas of interest, e.g. Sports and start working on that. If the area is your favourite, your efforts to build knowledge about that will be less and that saved time can be utilized for other areas. Having said that, I’d also say that no area in GK should be considered as a taboo.
  4. Making notes on the basis of the information is a must. We are more likely to remember the things which we have written down as it’s a conscious process as compared to just reading.
  5. Start the preparation early. In fact, from day one – as there is no limit for what can be asked in GK. Your examination is in February’ 13 and therefore, you start preparing for it from December’12 – is NOT an approach for GK.
  6. Whenever you read any topic – imagine these 6 questions: 5Ws and 1H: Who, when, where, why, what and How.

For Example, if you are reading about the Euro Crisis – Try to find out answers to these questions: Who are the personalities when we mention Euro Crisis? When did the crisis start? Where is it happening? Why the situation culminated in a crisis? What exactly is Euro crisis and How the crisis has unfolded?

The answers to these questions will clear your concept about the topic and making notes in the form of these answers will actually help you remember the topic well.

  1. Refer to the notes after a definite time period – say 15 days or a month – as it will help you staying in touch with all the content that you have created. The major reason for people getting bogged down in front of GK is its vastness but it can be overcome only with continuous and sustained efforts.
  2. When you look at any information, think about it in terms of all possible questions which can be asked on that particular information rather than just reading that information. We can remember better if we know something as an answer to something – e.g. ‘Former Telecom minister A. Raja from DMK was arrested in connection with the 2G scam’ is a fact. We can create following questions from it: a) a) Who was the minister that was arrested in connection with 2G scam?

b) What was A.Raja’s portfolio when he was arrested?

c) Regarding what A.Raja was arrested?

d) Which political party did A.Raja belong to?

When we prepare all these questions, the likelihood of remembering this fact  and therefore the likelihood of answering the questions whichever way they get twisted, is definitely high.

  1. Last, but not the least: Refer to selective resources, online as well as offline – for reading and reference. More resources creates confusion and also unnecessary duplication of the information.


To sum up: Yes, GK is a challenge but if prepared well and properly, it’s also an opportunity as in this area, all students are going to be at par. So, one has to take the initiative and start preparation.

Some SNAP 2011 Questions:

  1. Who among the following directed the movie ‘Peepli Live’?

(1)   Ashutosh Gowarikar

(2)   Kiran Rao

(3)   Anusha Rizvi

(4)   Seema Chisti

Here, the answer is (3) Anusha Rizvi.

Out of the options, Seema Chisti is a columnist and not a filmmaker so it cannot be the answer. Remaining are all filmmakers. Ashutosh Gowarikar has made films like Lagaan, Swades and Jodha Akbar in recent times. Kiran Rao has made Dhobi Ghat. So, the answer is (3) Anusha Rizvi.


Which of the following is not a member of SAARC?


(2) Bangladesh


(4) Maldives

Here, the answer is (3) Burma. SAARC refers to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It has South Asian countries as its members and all the countries are part of Indian Sub-continent. When we say Sub-Continent, we do not include Burma or Myanmar as it is known now. So, the answer is option (3).


Which of these countries has been added in the (BRIC) (Brazil-Russia-India-China) grouping of emerging economies?

(1)   South Korea

(2)   Venezuela

(3)   South Africa

(4)   Malaysia

Here, the answer is (3) South Africa. BRIC is a term coined by investment banking firm Goldman Sachs to refer to the emerging economies. BRIC has now become BRICS – so here, the answer can be South Africa or South Korea. South Korea is not included in the emerging economies as it is at par with developed countries like Japan in terms of development parameters. So, the answer is South Africa.


Which country has appointed Brigadier General Ravinder Singh as its next army chief, the first Sikh in nearly 30 years to be given the force’s baton?


(2) Singapore

(3) Malaysia

(4) Indonesia

Here, even if one does not know the answer, by using common sense, the answer can be arrived at. Since Brigadier General Ravinder Singh is a Sikh is mentioned in the question – which of the countries has a possibility to have a person of Indian origin as its army chief – the answer is (2) Singapore as it’s a multi-ethnic country unlike Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Here, even if one does not know the answer off-hand, it can be guessed with common sense.


Which of the following country is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?

(1)   Russia

(2)   USA

(3)   Italy

(4)   Iran

Here also, like the previous question, we can arrive at the answer by using common sense. Iran is at the receiving end of sanctions imposed by US and EU due to its nuclear programme. In such a scenario, it can’t be a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group. So, the answer is (d)


Some Sample Questions:

Q.1         Which language has got the maximum number of Jnanpith awards?

a) Hindi

b) Bengali

c) Urdu

d) Marathi

Answer: a

Q.2         Thomas C. Mapother is popularly known as

a) Sean Connery

b) Harrison Ford

c) Tom Cruise

d) John Travolta

Answer: c

Q.3         Who is the first Finance Minister of India who later on became India’s Prime Minister as well?

a) Morarji Desai

b) Vishwanath Pratap Singh

c) Atal Bihari Vajpayee

d) Dr. Manmohan Singh

Answer: a

Q.4         Which country has sent its observers to ensure free and fair elections in Myanmar in 2012

a) India

b) US

c) UK

d) Japan

Answer: a


Q.5         Which of the following old name – new name combination is incorrect?

Old Name

New Name














Answer: a

Q.6         Find the odd one out from the following –

a) Future Generali

b) More

c) Pantaloon

d) Central

Answer: b (Hint: Kishore Biyani)


Q.7         Which of the following initial name of the company and current name combinations are incorrect?

Old Name

New Name


Integrated Electronic Systems Inc.



Blue Ribbon Sports



Tokyo Electrical and Electronic Appliances



Haloid Photoimaging


Answer: b

Blue Ribbon Sports was started by Phil Knight, which later on became Nike.



Q.8         Find the odd one out from the following

a) Helium

b) Radon

c) Polonium

d) Thorium

Answer: a

The commonality here is radioactivity. Except Helium, all others are radioactive.


Q.9         Which company pioneered the invention of GUI (Graphic User Interface) in Computers?

a) Microsoft

b) Xerox

c) Toshiba

d) Dell

Answer: b



Q.10       Which of the following players have represented South Africa in Cricket as well as Hockey?

a) Daryl Cullinan

b) Brian McMillan

c) Jonty Rhodes

d) Fannie de Villiers

Answer: c


Q.11       Who has said this – ‘Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate’

a) Barack Obama

b) John F. Kennedy

c) Abraham Lincoln

d) Martin Luther King

Answer: b


Q.12       Which out of the following is the first movie in which the character of James Bond 007 appeared first?

a) Goldfinger

b) Dr. No

c) Casino Royale

d) Thunderball

Answer: b

‘Dr. No’ (1962) is the first Bond movie.

Q.13       Which telecom company started ‘incoming calls free’ scheme for the first time in India and led to the Mobile Revolution?

a) Reliance

b) Airtel

c) BPL


Answer: d

MTNL’s Garuda was the first mobile phone in CDMA-WLL category (Coded Division Multiple Access- Wireless in Local Loop) which was also the first phone to have incoming calls free.

Q.14       Recreational use of old software and hardware of computers is known as –

a) Past Computing

b) Backward Computing

c) Retrocomputing

d) Trash Computing

Answer: c


Q.15       Which of the following Olympic had cricket as one of the sports?

a) 1896 Athens

b) 1900 Paris

c) 1904 Saint Louis

d) 1908 Stockholm

Answer: b




Manish Salian

Faculty  –  CPLC Pvt. Ltd. 

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CPLC caters for various national competitive examinations like MBA entrance examination including CAT, CET, XAT, NMAT, SNAP etc and International exams like GRE and GMAT. Our students know CPLC as an institute of quality, choice and personalised attention and value our honesty and integrity. CPLC combines the best teaching talent and the most efficient practice processes with constant updating of the content and solving every single doubt of the students to help the student in every possible manner.

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Chitale's Personalised Learning Centre
CPLC caters for various national competitive examinations like MBA entrance examination including CAT, CET, XAT, NMAT, SNAP etc and International exams like GRE and GMAT. Our students know CPLC as an institute of quality, choice and personalised attention and value our honesty and integrity. CPLC combines the best teaching talent and the most efficient practice processes with constant updating of the content and solving every single doubt of the students to help the student in every possible manner.


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