The hype about management courses continues unabated.
This year, newspaper reported unheard of salaries for
graduates of Indian Institute of management (IIMs). To
the tune or Rs. 4-5 lakhs per month. Students and
working executives from all over the country thus want
to clear the Common Aptitude test (CAT) for admission
to the prestigious IIMs. In this issue we give an
analysis of CAT ’99 and also a success strategy for
this year’s CAT and other management tests. Follows
the instructions step by step in order to make a
serious attempt for the CAT. We wish our readers well
for their preparations. Traditionally the CAT has four
sections, consisting of Reading Comprehension,
Mathematics, English and Data Interpretation. In 1999,
however the pattern was changed as follows:
paper had to be attempted in two hours and one was
free to do it an order. The level of difficulty
varied: some questions were easy while others were
difficult. Students who had done different types of
papers stood at an advantage; compared to those who
expected four sections as had been the pattern of
previous years. Many students became confused when
they saw the changed pattern.
graduates running coaching centres in big cities
proved many pundits wrong, these days it has become a
fashion for newspapers to carry articles. All of them
were proved wrong. The question paper was unlike
anything described by these ”experts” in their CAT
countdown series in newspapers. Readers wrote that the
paper published by The Competition Master was closest
in difficulty to the actual paper.
are some standard questions, which are asked in CAT
every year. Students who did the Mock-CAT published in
the Competition Master in November ’99 were familiar
with these. These were:
jumbles consisting of 4,5or 6 lines, with at least 15
questions. There were some questions on sentence
correction and about 10 questions of inferential
reasoning, in which a short paragraph is given and the
candidate has to make out what can be inferred from
it. The section also contained Reading Comprehension
with 5 passages with about 27 questions. Earlier,
Reading Comprehension used to be a separate section
with 45 questions, so the emphasis on Comprehension
was reduced somewhat this yea. The passages varied
from 800-1500 words and each passage had 5-6 questions
each. The topics of the passages consisted of :
a) Oriental strategies of war
b) Art-Abstractionism Vs Realism
c) WTO, GATT and European Union
d) Creativity-Structured and Unstructured and
e) Nation-State and Identify crisis.
is obvious that the candidate should have been well
read to be able to make meaning of the above topics.
55 questions in these sections were like riddles. They
required some thought but a student could de about
20-25 questions easily. There were 35 grouped
questions, in which some instructions are given
followed by some questions. The topics covered were:
a) Number, Theory, about 12 questions
b) Time, Speed and Distance, about 4 questions
c) General Arithmetic, about 5 questions
d) Algebra, about 8 questions
e) Geometry / Mensurations, about 6 questions
f) Permutation and Combinations, set theory, 3
g) about 15 questions on Verbal Logic and Reasoning.
importance given to Maths has increased in CAT, as the
number of questions has increased form 45 in previous
years to 55 last year. The weightage to this section
has also increased from one-forth to one-third.
Students preparing for CAT 2000 have to ensure that
their Maths and Reasoning are above average
part consists of tables, line charts and pie diagrams
with about 30 questions. There were 25 questions on
Deductive Reasoning in which candidates lad to deduce
conclusions from statements provided.
Strategy for CAT 2000
above analysis gives an indication about how to
prepare for CAT this year. First, it is quite obvious
that CAT is a test of nerves. It is just not possible
to do 165 questions in 2 hours, and many candidates
would tend to panic as time runs short. The change in
pattern can add to their woes.
is clear that CAT preparation is not something, which
can be done in a few months. What is also required is
a sustained effort at building skills and developing
mental toughness. Thus, it is advisable to start
preparations well in advance. While extra reading and
English usage can be started while you are in the
First year of college itself, start serious
preparations when you enter second year of college. A
sustained effort over two years is required to build
up speed required to crack the CAT.
student must develop the habit of extra reading. Read
a lot of material, which is not necessarily of your
interest. Read science, art, economics and other
topics, besides the latest books. Learn the art of
putting ideas across in a crisp manner, because
several questions are based on verbal skills. Do not
waste time on mugging up formulae or word lists.
preparations should follow the following pattern.
First, the student should revise basic concepts from
class 10 textbooks. After revising these, the student
should do section tests, consisting of topic wise
questions. Thereafter, the candidate should do
full-length test papers based on different patterns,
by limit in to the time prescribed. At every step, the
student should review mistakes and learn from them.
Above all, an attitude of toughness must be developed.
areas in which a student fails are
management: Allocation of time is of utmost
importance, but a student is tempted to go back and
forth in the sections when difficult questions are
encountered, thereby losing precious time.
formulae: Many students resort to short cut and
formulae, but here are few questions, which can be
mugging formulae. What is required is logical
thinking. Panic: As one is attempting the paper, panic
sets in because one has done very few questions
compared to the time spent. Once this happens, the
candidate marks answers blindly or hurriedly.
on one section: The candidate tries to do all the
questions in one section only. Getting trapped in
difficult questions: Some question is too difficult.
Students keep trying difficult questions hoping to get
the answer, ignoring the easy question that may lie