So the CAT’s out of the bag and you may have heard your seniors and/or friends talk about the CAT. If you’re curious about what all the fuss is about, this article should be of great help to newbies and veterans alike. Read on, and you may just be on the first step to unlocking the next chapter of your life!
What is CAT?
Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based selection test conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) for their Business Administration programs. It is conducted every year by one of the IIMs on a rotational basis.
Why take it?
If you are planning to pursue an MBA or a PGDM course in India, you have to take the CAT. Currently, all IIMs and more than 100 different management institutes across the country accept CAT scores. Here is one list we found of the participating institutes that accept CAT scores.
- General & Non OBC category – Registration fee is Rs. 1700
- Scheduled Caste(SC) / Scheduled Tribe(ST) / Persons with Disabilities(PWD) category – Registration fee is Rs. 850
CAT score is valid for one year.
After the results and cut-offs are declared, shortlisted candidates appear in the selection process which is held separately by each of the Institutes. Furthermore, the selection procedure may consist of a Group Discussion and/or Written Ability Test round and a Personal Interview.
Candidates applying for CAT should meet any of the following criteria:
- Completed Bachelor’s degree with the required percentage of marks*
- Completed Professional degree (CA/CS/ICWA) with required percentage*
- Be in the final year of Bachelor’s degree with required percentage*
*SC / ST / PWD candidates should have minimum 45%. For General and Non-OBC candidates, minimum is 50%.
Additionally, you are required to carry a government-approved identification proof such as Pan Card, Voter ID, Aadhar Card, Passport etc.
CAT is conducted annually by one of the IIM’s on a rotational basis. It is held in two sessions, morning and afternoon on the same date. It is usually scheduled in the month of November or December.
There are around 138 test cities where you can take the test. You can find the list of all the exam cities here. Furthermore, at the time of registration, you have to select four test cities according to your preference.
Pedagoge Baba’s advice:
- Brush up your basics: It is very important to understand the basics of all mathematical concepts taught till class 12.
- Read the editorial column of newspapers especially The Hindu, The Wall Street Journal everyday. Additionally, you can use Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis to improve your vocabulary.
- Practice, Analyse and Revise (PAR) is the key to cracking CAT.
- Practice at least 2-3 mock tests per week. Therefore, give as many full-length mock tests as possible.
- Analyse the mistakes in each section to identify your weaknesses. In fact, check if all ‘Easy’ and ‘Medium’ difficulty questions were attempted.
- Revise important questions from all the mock tests, past papers and practice material.
- For mocks, you can refer to the test series by Endeavor, Career Launcher, Jamboree, Olive Board, Bullseye, IMS, Ravi Raja’s Classes, etc. These Institutes are very useful as they are treasure troves of past questions, tips, tricks, different levels of questions and lots of diagnostic tools to gauge your performance.
- Concentrate on your weaknesses. Look for the problems that were marked ‘Easy’ and took more time to solve than usual. Also, learn to segregate your strong and weak areas. Above all, know which type of questions take more time and accordingly devise a strategy. Since arriving at the answer in minimum possible time is as important as finding the right answer.
- YouTube has a wide array of videos which are of great help. Video tutorials like Takshzila shikshak are extremely useful in building key concepts.
- Additionally, make a timetable and stick to your schedule. Also, try and attempt mock tests as per your allotted CAT exam time. It builds the pressure and eventually helps you to tackle those 180 minutes in a better way.
- Finally, don’t lose hope if your mock test scores are low. With a proper study strategy and dedication, you will be successful in belling the CAT!