Monday, June 23, 2008

Will the CAT go online from 2009?

See what the official IIM website has got to say on this:

"An article appeared in Business Standard dated February 4, 2008 which gives an impression that a decision has been taken that IIMs will introduce online CAT from CAT 2009. This is totally incorrect. In view of increasing number of candidates IIMs are considering various alternatives for modifying the process of conducting CAT, if necessary. Online testing is one of those alternatives. The proposals are at the preliminary stage of discussion."

While talking to newspersons earlier during this year after the news of the CAT going online from next year first surfaced in the media, the IIM-A director appeared to be pretty confident about the possibility of the CAT going online from 2009. What had strengthened the belief in this stand further were reports of the IIMs approaching various organisations for the conduct of an online CAT.

Various established players added to the rumour by publishing unconfirmed reports. This is an excerpt from the website of Career Launcher.

Career Launcher Online CAT articleLook at the story in the bottom half of the image above (cached from It says without a hint of doubt, " The common admission test(CAT) will finally go online from 2009. " This is utterly irresponsible journalism. Making things funnier the last line of the story ends saying, "According to sources, the IIMs are contemplating conducting CAT" !!! There ain't a full stop there, so obviously someone forgot to complete the sentence, and no one at Career Launcher has bothered to have a second look at the page, i guess.

So, is the CAT going online from 2009? The answer is "no one knows for sure yet, and if somebody at the IIMs does, he ain't coming out with a forthright answer". My take is - the IIMs are highly interested in going online, but are not sure yet if they will be able to put the required infrastructure in place by the next year end.

Watch this space for more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Preparing for CAT 2008?

It has been quite a while since I wrote a general post for students planning to write CAT 2008 or any of the other MBA Entrance tests towards the end of the end of this year or in the beginning of 2009. Now that November 2008 is just six months away, it's time to take stock of your preparation.

Have you taken your first MockCAT for CAT 2008? (or SimCAT or AimCAT or CopyCAT, whichever be your preference) What was your score like? More than the absolute score, what was your percentile score like?

But even before you start gloating over your 99th percentile or feeling saddened that in the rat race called CAT 2008, you are left far behind with your 60th percentile, think things over in the overall perspective.

When did you start preparing for CAT 2008 seriously? May 2008, November 2007 or January'08 ? You surely can't compare apples with oranges, can you? If you started your preparation in early 2008, then you surely had a headstart over quite a few other competitors and they will soon be better geared to give you a tougher fight in the next mock-cat. So, stay happy, but don't get over-confident. Similarly if you started your preparation as late as May 2008, then don't worry if you haven't fared as well in the mock cat. Afterall, you are still on with your quant and verbal fundamentals, and by the time the second mock cat arrives, things will have changed drastically. You can now attempt that permutation and combination question, which you couldn't last time, simply because you know now the formula!

Now, for them, who started early, yet are lagging behind now. Surely, you can't give up on your hopes. Not so early, dear. Maybe you won't make it to the IIMs, but I won't be so sure, not just yet. What you need to do is stop, and spend time understanding what went wrong.

1) Re-open the Mock CAT paper, alongwith the answer key. Group your responses under these heads - did not attempt, attempted and got right, attempted and got wrong. Now, try and see if you can form some clusters. For instance, did you get a bunch of RC questions wrong? Or did you not attempt all quant questions of a certain type?

If that is the case, then all you need to do is go back to the fundamentals in this areas, study hard, and take another Mock 10 days from now. But before that, I'd suggest you should take sectional tests for those areas.

2) Where did the Mock CAT go wrong for you? Did you make too many mistakes, or was it simply a question of not attempting enough questions?

3) Did you attempt too many RCs? ( for instance 7 questions from 3 RCs, out of the total 10 on offer) - See, there are no hard and fast rules here: but if a certain approach is not working for you, you need to re-think, that's all. If you still think that this was the best approach, great. Now get the answers right. Somehow!!

Now you know the line of thinking - every once in a while, spend time analyzing. The CAT is a thinking manager's test. It's not a test of quant or verbal only. Remember you are not applying for a M.Sc in Mathematics or a MA in English. It's actually the MBA - and it's all about managing it well. Maths and English are mere tools.