CAT Exam – Common Admission Test

CAT Exam – Common Admission Test

Most of us have heard about the CAT Exam. CAT stands for Common Admission Test. So what is it actually about? To know CAT we have to know what is MBA. Masters in Business Administration is a Master’s degree in Business Administration or Management. There are top MBA Colleges in India and also private colleges that provide proper education. CAT is an entrance exam to qualify to get a seat in these colleges. Students can gain admission to these colleges after cracking the CAT exam.It is a computer based exam started and held in India since 1950 and is the basis for selection of students for business administration programs by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). The Test is conducted by one among a group of 20 IIMs all over India based on the policy of rotation. It was written based conducted in a single day for all candidates until 2009 when it was converted to computer based on 1 May 2009. A candidate scores marks on the bases of Quantitative Ability(QA), Verbal Ability(VA), Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR).

Lakhs of students appear every year to qualify for the exam. If you are one of them you would be interested in reading this article. Preparing for the Common admission Test (CAT) exam is a process in itself that includes concentrated studies, joining a good coaching institute and giving Mock CAT Exams. First we shall see what is the eligibility criteria to appear for the exam.


CAT Exam Eligibility

To be eligible for the CAT Exam, a person has to be a Bachelor Degree holder with minimum 50 % score. Final Year undergraduates expecting results can also apply for the exam. Please understand that prepare and appear for the exam only if you are serious in making a career in Business Administration and are fully prepared mentally, intellectually and academically. For trying to give the exam just for the sake of it without putting in the right efforts is a waste of time, energy and money.


Cat Exam Syllabus

The CAT exam syllabus is unpredictable and not predefined. It is not officially released by any IIM. CAT is about delivering under high stress and pressure. It is also a test of time management and presence of mind and ability of student to combine speed and accuracy. These skills can be acquired by the student through expert preparation. Focus must be on revising the important topics before starting with the new one. Practice comprehension as much as possible for VARC. For LR learn arrangement of puzzles, tournaments and investment bettings. Logic and Calculation should be your focus for DI. Number theory, geometry, mixtures, streams, permutations and combinations for QA.


CAT Exam Pattern

There have been numerous changes and variations in the CAT Pattern, Questions, duration of the CAT Test, over the years. It is computer based consisting of 100 objective type questions. There are multiple forms or versions of the test and there are two types of scores involved a Raw score and a Scaled score. The Raw score is calculated for each section based on a number of questions attempted by the candidate. Plus 3 Points for every correct and Negative 1 mark for every incorrect answer. The Raw scores are then equated and placed on a common scale or metric through a process called scaling. The two sessions are to maintain equality in scores.

Questions are asked from any of the sections of Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) & Quantitative Ability (QA). Total duration of the exam is 3 hours with 60 mins alloted for each section.

Verbal & Reading Comprehension (VARC): This could be the most scoring section and a huge percentage booster because more than 70% of the questions asked are in front of you in the paper itself in the form of a passage. 12% of the questions are non-MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) which have no negative marking and thus prove to be scoring. The rest 18% are Odd sentence out which need comprehensive skills and give a fair chance of scoring.

Data Interpretation: In CAT Data Interpretation is the process of understanding and analysing data out of a collection of data and make decisions based on it. DI consumes a lot of time to interpret data. You need to know the tricks to solve these systematic DIs.

Logical Reasoning: This requires using logical abilities and interpret and solve a particular problem using logical thinking. Students mostly tend to neglect this section but if practised properly can turn out to be a game changer.

Quantitative Ability (QA): Unlike VARC & DILR, Quantitative Ability consists or Quantitative Aptitude consists of questions based only on mathematics. It is the most important section of them all. QA contribute 34% share in a CAT Exam with 34 questions from arithmetic progression and modern mathematics. Some candidates with a non mathematical background find this section a bit tough. But as always this can be overcome. The syllabus for it is vast and not predefined.


It is generally believed CAT is a very difficult exam to crack which is factually true. More than 2 Lakh students appear for CAT every year but far less pass out to fill in 4000 seats in 20 IIMs. CAT has a success rate of  1 in every 200 that means only one out of 200 students passes in the exam. Because of these factors a student has to score really high. But there is nothing to get scared or nervous. It can be passed and students do pass out the exam with flying colours and come out as toppers.


Why most students fail in CAT?


No one single reason can be attributed for failure in CAT but I will try to name a few major ones.

Lack of strategy: Putting efforts in the right direction is the name of the game. But many candidates fail to work on their weaknesses and improve those areas. Another is lack of motivation. Many of them are really enthusiastic in the beginning but the motivation dies out after one or two unsuccessful attempts. So one has to be ready and mentally prepared to embrace failures. And always remember to be calm. Just as in a game one should focus only on the game and not worry about the output, CAT is also just an exam.

Most students focus on Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Ability and tend to overlook and neglect Logical reasoning, Data Interpretation & Reading Comprehension that make up the rest of the 50% of the paper. The bottomline is you have to study all of them and can’t neglect any of it.


How to Crack CAT?


First of first stay calm and do not panic. Lack of confidence is the primary reason for most candidates to fail the CAT. Try solving previous years question papers to get a gist of things and know where you stand. Read financial newspapers, blogs, articles that will help you sharpen your mind and keep yourself abreast. Read a lot and give continuous mock tests to evaluate yourself as you keep climbing the ladder and gain in confidence. Watch debates on TV. Know your weak and strong areas. Understand the mistakes you do in Mock Tests and learn the speed and accuracy needed along with concepts. What is needed is an extensive preparation from the candidate. Giving mock tests are very useful and this system has gained a lot of momentum among students. Many toppers and achievers abide by this rule. Having said that there is no need to overdo mock and learning from it should be used to improve weak areas. Ideally 3 to 4 mocks per week and most important is to revise all the mocks. The best thing of CAT is that it does not restrict you to a particular zone. Choose what is your favourite zone and ace it. The final days of preparation are the most important stage and your mental state during this stage is a determining factor to score in the exam.


Join a good coaching institute that helps to prepare for CAT Test, that coach and guide students to appear for CAT and score well in the exam. They have good teaching faculty and offer students study material that are regularly updated and revised. Many mock tests and exams are conducted by them for students to continuously upgrade themselves. A lot of hard work from your side and guidance from an experienced and expert faculty or coaching institute can help you attain success. If you are from Mumbai I can recommend a top CAT classes in Mumbai  for systematic coaching that will help you to know How to crack an IIM CAT Exam.


Benefit of CAT


In Business Administration CAT is one of the most widely given entrance exam in India for MBA. A large number of colleges including IIMs, IITs and other B schools consider marks scored in CAT a mandatory to give admission to students for various MBA programs. If you want to make it big in the corporate world and land the top job. CAT will be helpful in taking admission in reputed B schools like IIMs, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) Delhi, Indian Institute of foreign trade (IIFT), Management Development Institute (MDI), Xavier School of Management (XLRI), S P Jain Institute of Management, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management (JBIMS), Indian School of Business, National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Shailesh J Mehta school of Management, T A Pai Management Institute, and many more. Remember there are hundreds and thousands of Schools and Institutes for MBA in India, but few of them offer quality education, faculty and are worth the money so make the right choice in finding the good institute.


Key Points to excel in CAT


First and foremost rule is ‘Hard Work’. Arjun jayasimha an MBA CAT alumni is a post graduate from IIM Ahmedabad. He says ‘ HARD WORK PAYS OFF’ . He got a CAT score of 99.52 percentile. He received calls from IIMs and FMS. His name has been in the toppers list of CAT 2007 because of his excellent performance and brilliant preparation strategy. As stated in his interview knowing one’s strength and weaknesses go a long way in achieving success.

  1. Know your strength and weaknesses
  2. Understand the Exam Format
  3. Perfect your basics of English and Maths
  4. Learn to manage time
  5. How much time should be allocated to each question.


To learn more visit this link to a website I recommend which is of CAT coaching Mumbai

So keeping these things in mind gear up for your CAT exam to get admission for MBA program in the college of your choice. All the best for your Future endeavours!

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