CAT 2013 Review: 'High on risk and errors, but thrilling!'
IIM-K alumnus Shubhesh Pandey who attempted the Common Admission Test on Day One provides a detailed analysis of the nation’s most competitive management entrance exam. The CAT is an important test, performance in which helps determine admission to the IIMs and leading business schools in the country. The exam commenced October 16 and will be held across a 20-day window across India up to November 11, 2013.
A thrilling two hours and 20 minutes is what one expects from a CAT paper and this year's exam didn't disappoint in this regard at all.
A first look at questions did not infuse any kind of fear as the language was straight-forward, nice and simple; albeit solving it was not.
Let me first analyse what could have possibly gone wrong with most candidates who took the exam on Day One.
The risk of calculation errors and reasoning mistakes loomed close -- so, a slight loss of focus could cause the candidate to lose track of time and the solution could get lost in the wilderness.
So, not losing focus and maintaining composure would be essential to clear the cut-offs.
The good news here is that this year, sectional cut-offs will not be high under any circumstances.
We've always believed that, out of three given sets, two sets of Data Interpretation should be comfortably attempted.
This involves you to focus on questions that need less of reasoning to crack and require direct known variables to be found which demands nothing but a little bit of focussed calculation.
There is no need for any kind of anxiety in solving these 2 DI sets.
All you need to ensure is confirm accuracy of responses.
Making an error in these questions can be a costly mistake.
This year, out of 20 questions in mathematics, 2-3 sitters and 3-4 medium level questions were scattered around and were required to be searched and solved patiently (it would be better if you can attempt these in the beginning while warming up) to ensure that you cross a tally of 13-14 right questions (this is exclusive of 6 DI questions).
Once this is taken care of, you'll be in a comfortable position of nearing cut-offs for this section.
While saying that, let me also remind you that the tricky part is to get three to four questions right.
Some good set of questions makes the task cumbersome but that is where smart ones are separated from the rest.
Be prepared not to attempt a question if you are not certain about the approach in the first go; also, be prepared to attempt questions and not reach anywhere close to the solution despite making the effort.
Be dispassionate about leaving the troublesome questions and look for the ones that can be cracked easily.
It is essential for you to constantly remind yourself to keep track of time so that a tricky question doesn't eat it up along with your composure.
Don't try to over-attempt this section; you'll will end up making errors.
Remember, when the going gets tough in solving maths questions, you have to learn to make the most of 'choose the correct option' kind of questions.
Although the questions in this format are less, they are enough to get you through the cut-off.
Channelised logic + Intensive reasoning = Three very good set of problems.
In this section, the information given is capable enough to confuse anyone and if one attempts them after going through the Reading Comprehension passages, then it would be exhausting for sure.
At the same time, the information given were not full of indirect clues -- in fact, one had to be careful to read it well, comprehend the language and then attempt it. This section requires you to decode the information correctly.
In this section too, attempting more 'choose the correct answer option' can help.
The next step would be to find the next best logical steps starting from definite clues.
If you manage to crack the Logical Reasoning questions correctly, it will give you an edge, and help boost your overall percentile.
We are expecting lower cut-offs in this section, which should also work to your advantage.
We are not expecting many candidates to crack these LR sets (maybe one out of three sets will be fully cracked) under the exam pressure situation.
It can get tougher especially if the candidate is attempting this after trying the verbal part.
In this section, the Verbal Ability sub section did not contain too many surprises either.
The combination of questions was no different from the mocks that any sincere student would have attempted.
An important strategy here would be that the candidate should be conservative about the number of verbal questions that s/he attempts.
Since there is no time constraint in this section, there is every possibility that the candidate gets reckless in attempting a lot of questions that s/he is not sure about. Be wary!
Once again, let me reiterate that the CAT is an aptitude examination and not a mathematics or verbal examination.
In these last few days, it would help if you polish your concepts and improve your understanding of how stuff (formulae) works.
All the best! Godspeed!
A team of faculty from 2IIM Mumbai (Borivli, Ghatkopar, Vashi and Thane) had given the test on October 16, the first day of CAT. The author of this piece Shubhesh Pandey is an IIM-K alumnus from the class of 2009.
Dear readers, if you've attempted the CAT, please share your experiences for the benefit of youngsters who are appearing for the test this year. What was your experience like? Were you nervous? Did you face any problems at the test centre? Did you manage to crack all the questions? Write in to firstname.lastname@example.org(subject line: My CAT experience) along with your photograph, if possible and we will publish the best entries on rediff.com. Keep watching this space for updates.
Image: The Common Admission Test commenced October 16 and will be on till November 11, 2013
Photographs: Rediff Archives