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CAT: The end or the beginning?

Preeti Ravishankar | November 23, 2004

You are an MBA aspirant.

You think that the most important battle of your life is over, having appeared for the Common Admission Test on November 21.

Right?

Wrong.

As you read this, the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET), the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) test, the Management Aptitude Test (MAT), and the Symbiosis National Aptitude (SNAP) test are all around the corner in December.

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And then, what about XLRI Admission Test (XAT), Indian Insitute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) test, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) test, Narsee Monjee Admission Test (NMAT), the AIMS Test for Management Admissions (AIMS), the Common Entrance Test (CET)?

The point is, the onus to crack one of these tests rests on you.

Why? Because any one of these, in addition to CAT, will help you get into one of the top B-schools in the country. The reason being, each of these exams has a host of good institutes affiliated to them.

If you have already appeared for CAT, you are probably well prepared for the remaining tests, except for certain areas like General Knowledge (GK) and Business Awareness (BA), which need special attention.

Quantitative Analysis and Data Interpretation: A closer look

A few fortcoming tests have an exclusive section devoted to Quantitative Ability (QA) and Data Interpretation (DI):

~ JMET has two separate sections of 30 questions each on QA and DI.

~ XAT, FMS, and IIFT have QA and DI integrated in the same section.

This means that if you are not too confident in QA, you can compensate if you are good in DI.

~ XAT has QA, DI and Reasoning in the same section.

This actually gives you a many options to choose from in a particular section.

~ QA for most of the forthcoming competitive examinations -- except XAT and FMS -- is very easy.

Most of the areas covered are Class X-level Mathematics, with Arithmetic forming the major chunk.

~ XAT and FMS usually have very few questions on DI.

~ XAT tends to place emphasis on Algebra topics like Probability, Permutation and Combination, and on QA questions involving Iteration and Reasoning.

They have not had a separate section on Reasoning in the last three years.

So if you have prepared for CAT already, you have an edge in QA.

~ All you need to do is to put in some extra effort while preparing for XAT, FMS and IIFT.

~ Revise all the basic formulae and concepts of each area.

~ A few sectional tests on QA will also come in handy as preparation.

~ Most of these exams also have a separate section on Reasoning.

~ You must practise a lot of Reasoning questions, and set a time limit for yourself.

 ~ Remember, solving Reasoning problems is time consuming.

A closer look at English

English comprises:

  • Reading Comprehension (RC)
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Grammar

And it lays a lot of emphasis on vocabulary.

RC is usually very easy in terms of the language of passages and the nature of questions asked. So you can score here!

~ Most exams have RC and Verbal Ability (VA) combined in a single section.

But the pattern often varies and you might come across separate sections on VA and RC.

What about General Knowledge and Business Awareness?

This is an area of concern for most people.

All these entrance tests have questions ranging anywhere between 30 and 80.

If you know most of the answers, you can answer them in less than 15 minutes.

So you can actually save time attempting this particular section.

Utilise the rest of your time attempting another section in which you are not very comfortable.

~ JMET has an entire section of 30 questions on BA.

Tips to buck up on GK and BA

  • Do some basic work: Read up newspapers like The Economic Times, and business magazines like Business India, Business Today and Business World.
  • Remember to place special emphasis on facts and figures related to India.
  • Go through History and Geography books.
  • Keep up with the national dailies.
  • Read books provided by most MBA training institutes. This would be of immense help if you do not read newspapers. You can also surf the net for web sites which offer quizzes on these topics. 

During the examinations

~ Remember: Devise a suitable time allotment strategy for each section immediately on receiving the question booklet.

~ Keep in mind that you have to demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency in each section.

~ Do not ignore any section.

For examinations that do not have any negative marking, set aside the last two or three minutes of your time for marking all unattempted questions.

It pays to put in that extra effort in the coming days and go to the examination hall prepared in each area.

Here, then, would be a new beginning. All the best!  

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

Preeti Ravishankar is director, Mumbai, Career Forum.

Career Forum provides training programmes for various entrance examinations for MBA like CAT, XAT and CET.



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Sub: knowledge abt good B-schools under MAT

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