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Most Important FAQs On CAT Preparation

Common Admission Test (CAT) is prestigious exam conducted by IIMs for admission to PGDM Courses. CAT scores are accepted by most of the reputed Business Schools in the county. CAT has been regarded as one of the toughest exams in the world and dedicated preparation with excellent strategy only can give you good results. As a fresher who just came out of an Engineering College or with other graduation, you may have so many doubts on the Online CAT. Following information is useful for you and will be handy to go through quickly.

1. What IIMs test in a candidate through CAT?

The key abilities tested are quick thinking, smart thinking, hard work and determination. How you may wonder? The test is impossible to complete. Nobody has done it. What differentiates the winners is their ability to think quickly and identify those questions that they are capable of solving. Therefore the best way to prepare is to practice as much as you can. Hours and hours of solving sample question papers will make you realize that eventually all the questions fall into a few standard types and those who have solved the most number of such questions will be able to answer the paper easily.

The IIMS test a candidate’s ability in three areas:

A. Quantitative Ability: This is the ability to do numerical work quickly and accurately. The subjects tested here are arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry and geometry – all that one learns in school maths.

B. Verbal Ability: Here the emphasis is on Grammar, English usage, Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension etc. In effect the CAT checks whether your command over the English language is good and whether you can quickly read, understand and interpret a written passage.

C. Logical & Data Interpretation skills: The ability to understand the data that is given and draw meaningful conclusions. Often the data is insufficient and in some cases there is excess information. The ability to identify and use only the relevant data is critical.

2. How to approach the exam in the short time?

It is difficult to prepare for CAT in such a short time. However it is not impossible, particularly if you already have good numerical and language skills. It is very essential to get hold of about 25-30 sample (mock) CAT papers and start working on them every day. You will need about 4 hours daily for the next 40 days. Solve each paper and then go through the solutions to identify the kind of knowledge that is necessary. As you solve the papers and understand the nature of the questions you will gain skills and eventually the CAT will consist of similar questions, maybe worded differently.

3. Tips on facing online / computer based CAT?

A. This is the first time that CAT is online. So it is new for every candidate. While the methodology of the test is online, the basic abilities required remain the same.

B. Reading on a computer screen is a bit different compared to reading from a sheet of paper. Candidates must practice reading on the computer screen so that they get adjusted to it.

C. On a paper test usually candidates can use the tables/graphs or diagrams on the question paper itself to work out the solution. On a computer that is not possible and you will have to use the rough paper to draw the figures and then use the data. This is time consuming and you must practice to solve questions without using a rough paper to the extent possible.

4. What sections are perceived to be tough for more candidates and how to handle them?

The difficulty varies from year to year for the various sections. There are minimum marks to be scored in each section. Over the last few years, quantitative and verbal section have been more difficult to score compared to data interpretation.

5. Percentiles needed to get into IIMs and other reputed B-Schools?

In general a percentile above 99 is required for admission into the IIMs. IIM Bangalore has a lower cutoff as other factors like academics and work experience are given higher weightage.

6. Guidelines for CAT aspirants?

Remember that CAT does not test the depth or width of your academic knowledge like the IIT or IAS tests. The only way to get through CAT is adequate practice. The more you go through mock tests the better you will become. Nothing else matters as all the basic knowledge that is required is school level English and Mathematics.

7. How candidates from Andhra Pradesh are doing in the CAT?

About 20000 students take the CAT from AP but the number selected has generally been lower compared to Delhi, Kolkata and other Metro cities. Studies have to be undertaken to discover the reasons for this. It is possible that the focus of AP students has been on going abroad rather than on doing an MBA. Also, except for the cities there is a general lack of awareness about the benefits of doing an MBA at the IIMS and other top institutes. The job opportunities in the IT sector during the last few years also diverted the students towards a good job. Over and above these factors, a lack of good communication skills and social skills has been reported in general about AP students. This is a matter that should be addressed by the state administrators. English medium education is a very decisive factor in getting through MBA entrances.

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