This is the season for CAT, you will see people scrambling around to find a college suiting their score and gushing about how difficult the GD/PI is. It is a very common sight to see aunties saying with pride “My beta has gotten into IIM-B you know”. To aspiring MBA students, ABC means a whole different thing doesn’t it? In case you’re still in the dark about this, it stands for the best IIMs in the country: Ahmedabad(A), Bengaluru(B) and Calcuta (C).

After watching all this fluster and hullabaloo over the recently released scores of CAT, you might have a few questions in your head. We will attempt at answering them after a brief introduction to CAT itself.

So what is CAT?

CAT stands for Common Admission Test. It is a Computer-based standardized test and is jointly conducted by the IIMs. Technical support is provided by TCS.

CAT tests you in the following areas: Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation, Data Sufficiency, Verbal Ability, Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, and Analytical Reasoning. The duration for the test is 3 hours.

The scores of CAT range from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 450. It is valid for 1 year. The eligibility for taking the test is a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with at least 50 % marks or equivalent GPA (45 % in case of SC, ST, PWD candidates). Final year undergraduate students also eligible.

What are the Universities that accept CAT scores?

Apart from the present 13 IIMs and the six new IIMs at Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Other significant institutes that accept CAT scores are:

• S.P. Jain Institute of Management Research
• IMT Ghaziabad
• NITIE
• K. J. Somaiya Institute Of Management Studies And Research
• Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) Delhi
• MICA Ahmedabad
• MDI Gurgaon
• SJMSOM (IIT-Bombay)
• VGSOM (IIT Kharagpur)
• Department of Management Studies (NIT Trichy)
• DMS (IIT-Delhi)
• TAPMI
• IMI Delhi
• XIM-B

Here are a few tips to crack CAT: (Source)

1)Understand your positives and negatives: It is necessary to start with the preparation of CAT by getting a thorough understanding of your weak areas. You could then focus on strengthening them. You can start off with trying out the solved examples from the book and then move on to the unsolved ones. It is also important to practice with the question papers of the previous years.

2) Understand the basics: Revise all the basic concepts. They are extremely crucial and will enable you to consolidate your preparation for the exam.

3) Keep a schedule: Always plan a good schedule ahead of your preparation. It keeps you from diverting and keeps you on target. It is important to complete portions according to the timetable you have prepared beforehand.

4) Improve your vocabulary: Solve more complex versions of topics such as parajumbles and reading comprehensions.

6) Get to know the changes in the question paper: It is necessary to acquaint yourself with changes in the question paper, the actual time duration of the test is 3 hours (180 minutes) instead of the earlier 170 minutes. Each section has a time limit of 60 minutes.

7) Practice shortcuts: In order to crack CAT, it is extremely important to understand and know various shortcuts to probable questions you will have to answer. It is as significant as the fundamentals.

8) Prioritise personal time: It is indeed a daunting task to prepare for CAT, but you must take care to not be consumed by the expectations that rest on your shoulders. You need to realise the importance of the phrase “A healthy mind in a healthy body”. Add some personal space into your schedule. You can exercise at this time to keep yourself mentally, physically and emotionally fit.

9)Keep the big picture in mind: You need to remind yourself from time to time that CAT is not the end of the road for you, it is just an exercise to get you to the goals you’ve planned for yourself. This test will require perseverance and practice, but it is not all. Make sure you don’t get caught up in the exam fever and falter when you have to take the next step.

10) Keep Calm: It is usual for students to get flustered, nervous and anxious during the preparation for CAT. A confused head will do you no good. In order to succeed you need to keep calm.

This can be achieved with a little help from CAT Coaching Classes which are instrumental in prepping you for the examination.

Written by Sangeetha Alwar

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