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Published :  Ajay Vaishnav | July 25, 2016 | 2:53 PM IST

In CAT 2016, You Will Compete For Not Getting Rejected

The Common Admission Test (CAT) for selection to the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and other premier business schools is not an ordinary examination. It is arguably one of the toughest exams in India and tests aspirants on various levels for their management attitude. More importantly, the exam measures the perseverance of candidates and their competitive spirit. In that sense, the fundamental objective of CAT has remained same over the last two decades although the regular changes in examination pattern may create an opposite impression.

The CAT is designed to vet aspirants and select the most promising few from a large of pool of talent invariably ranging a few hundred thousands every year. The pattern of CAT and each stage for selection to the management institutes is designed to get the best out of candidates. What is, therefore, required is a focused approach and the will to excel in the competition. The strategy should involve not only getting selected but also preventing rejection. Any examination strategy should consider both best case and worst-case scenarios. The latter keeps aspirants on toes and constantly reminds them to work hard on their grey areas. 

A popular misconception about CAT is that the pattern of the examination favours candidates from engineering background and is tough for non-engineering students. While it is true that a majority of successful candidates and those with higher percentiles come from engineering background, non-engineering students too are faring well, especially in the last few years. That’s because the three sections of CAT, which may change this year again, are designed to test a candidates in their numerical, language, and logical reasoning skills. The pattern requires aspirants to raise their intelligence level and demands application of their knowledge to relevant issues. 

Moreover, a higher percentile is no longer a guarantee of getting a call from one of the top IIMs. Nowadays the top three IIMs are looking at a balanced percentile as well as academic and other qualifications to select candidates. This reiterates our point that MBA aspirants should also focus on their strategy to not get rejected by the IIMs despite a high percentile. Such as strategy will give them a space to reevaluate their strategy, identify weak spots, and plan to score minimum in sectional cut-offs.

Last year’s changes have ensured that aspirants focus on reading and going back to basics. What an aspirant reads and imbibe will be the single most important factor for doing well in the verbal ability section. Aspirants with regular reading habit even just a newspaper will have an advantage over others here. Again, taking regular mock tests over the next course of weeks should help aspirants in assessing their standing. They must ensure that every week their scores improve in a balanced way.

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