Entries Tagged 'CAT' ↓

Your Preparation Schedule For CAT

Doing well in the test, will help you because:
1. After the GD, a CAT score is an important factor to decide your final admission.
2. If you don’t perform as well as you would have liked, then it may not be possible to get into the institute of your choice.

The sections in the CAT tests the level to which a candidate can apply skills that are extremely important in daily life first and thereafter in management. The preparation schedule morphs from the needs of one student to the other. Balancing your preparation pattern is particularly useful for sections like Verbal.
Several students appearing for CAT also juggle their jobs, education etc. Hence, intensive preparation for too long (while managing a hectic schedule) can be tiring and can take the fun out of the process. Your preparation pattern needs to incorporate enough time to manage all these activities without being overly burdensome.

Quantitative Ability
Thanks to modern technology, we no longer have the need to calculate everything mentally. Relying on gadgets to constantly solve our calculations causes the mind to become sluggish. Practice simple calculations mentally. The time taken to solve questions on distance-velocity, area-volume and similar questions will be reduced and you will have more time to spend on tricky questions. Try understanding the theory behind topics like probability or Permutation/ Combination. Till August, it is alright to commit less time to Quant and use it to develop your speed of solving questions.

The second half of your preparation schedule must be spent on practice. Practice material that covers all the important topics from CBT CAT point of view. A maximum of 10 per cent of the questions might require a unique tactic and exceptional ability. Avoiding solving these questions would be in your best interest.
Some of us are better at Math than others. If you just can’t seem to ace this section, concentrate on doing well other sections.

Logical Reasoning / Data Interpretation
This section is usually made up of five-six sets of questions. Each set relates to a primary idea. The key to solving a problem is to recognize the structure of a question. Some data are only represented in a certain structure like tables or trees. Once the structure to a question has been identified, the next step is to deduce more data from the given data.

Questions, such as Venn Diagrams, reading tables, are already structured. To exercise deducting new data, puzzles like the Sudoku help. These consist of information in a structured format but inferring difficulty varies. Sorting through available information and inferring more data quickly is critical. Practice as many questions as possible to improve speed and accuracy.

Verbal Ability
The best use of one’s time till August needs to be made for this section. Students who are voracious readers outperform other students in this section. Ideally, the first two months should be devoted exclusively to profuse reading.

Reading regularly has the following advantages:
i. Reading long stories or articles, will increase your reading speed.
ii. Reading helps you stumble upon new words and hence increases your vocabulary.
iii. It is imprtant to understand not only the text but also what is likely to be leading up to it and what will follow.
iv. Since the CAT is now computer-based, get used to reading a lot of material online.

Read argumentative articles from reliable sources. British magazines are a good source of this kind of writing. Practice fast reading and pay attention to how the writer structures the article and reaches a conclusion. Discuss the article with your colleagues who have read it and discuss the passage.

Exams like GRE use a standard set of word lists. Get hold of these lists and try to finish them. Planned and sincere study during this time will take you far in improving your Verbal section score. Read as much as you can online. Online newspapers are a good start.

In the last 15 weeks, conscientiously solve questions. Passages may contain two answers that are similar and hence confusing. Knowing which the right answer is comes from regular practice.

Read argumentative English, increase your speed and solve as many different puzzles as you can. Starting September, practicing questions will hold the key in each section.

5 Golden Rules You Ought To Know About CAT

When you are in the final leg of CAT preparations, you need to strike a fine balance between ‘requirements’ and ‘time’. You can master the below mentioned golden rules to better your performance on the D-day:

1) Start mock tests right away: Many students harbor the notion that one should start taking mock tests only after completing the full syllabus. Unfortunately, what they forget is that CAT is a lot about basic English and basic Math. The key is begin. To take action. Start with mock tests right now. Don’t procrastinate; don’t put away anything. Begin right now.

2) Expect the unexpected: You must acclimatize yourself to different patters of CAT. This is because CAT is all about expecting the unexpected. Though the IIMs have consistently maintained that the CAT pattern would be similar to the previous year, you still need to prepare yourself for the unexpected. It is like the survival of the toughest.

3) There is more to CAT than difficult questions: Students have this misconception about CAT that the more difficult the practice tests, the better the preparation for CAT. This is the general view of students and it is wrong. There has never been a CAT paper with only difficult questions. Mild twisters should not be mistaken for tough questions. Roughly, about 40% of every CAT test consists of very simple questions. You just need to identify them and get them right.

4) Practice indeed makes you perfect: This adage holds true as far as CAT is concerned. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate way to describe the best way to prepare for CAT. Optimal practice is the way out. There are no short cuts as far as CAT goes. Never reach out for short cuts. Practicing is far more beneficial in the case of computer-based CAT exam. Also, relax yourself. Self belief is a must. Unless you believe you have the potential to succeed, you will not succeed. Remind yourself from time to time that you will make it to your dream institute.

5) Pay attention to your English skills: If you are fairly good at DI and Math, but bad in English, you need to extensively work on it. Do not overlook this section. If you do so, your chances of cracking CAT are not promising. Poor vocabulary impacts your English scores. Spend quality time working on your weaknesses.

How Online CAT Affects Your Preparation Strategy

Any aptitude test involves two crucial stages-
1) test taking practice and
2) concept learning

Concept learning requires about 3-6 months of preparation. Test taking practice demands about 3 months of preparation prior to the actual test.

Concept learning requires you to first concentrate on building a strong conceptual foundation before fine tuning your test-taking skills. The basic skills and other areas assessed in the CAT are still the same. It is the test taking mode that has been changed. So, you need not change your preparation strategy as far as concept learning is concerned.

You need to compile a list of concepts previously assessed in CAT. With reference to these concepts, make a preliminary analysis of your weaknesses and strengths. Work on your strengths and weaknesses by taking sufficient tests. Practice as much as you can. Look up solved examples, solve other exercises and time yourself accordingly. You need to get comfortable with the computer, so try to attempt tests in a computer based format.

Online testing should not be mistaken for online learning. Just because the test is online, it does not mean the concepts have to be learned online.

Test Taking Practice is a key area. Now that the CAT is online, you need to acclimatize yourself to a computer-based testing environment. You need to be comfortable while using the mouse and keyboard. Your preparation plans should include taking tests on the computer. You need to be at ease while using the computer. It should not hinder your scoring potential.

The computer skills required for online CAT are very basic and minimal. The mouse is required to navigate between sections and questions. You need to use buttons like help, tag question, save, etc that are a part of the test format. You might have to use the keyboard for word processing, and of course for the registration process.

Remember that you need not be a computer wizard to crack online CAT. The CAT has been computerized to ease logistics and not assess your computer skills. Attempt a lot of comprehensive tests to benchmark your performance and improve your test-taking skills. Analyse your performance to fare better in the next test.

Online CAT: Preparation Strategy You Ought To Know

Your study preparation for online CAT does not depend on the medium of CAT. Whether CAT is a computer-based test or a paper-based test, the basic nature of your preparation does not change. The CAT certainly undergoes some changes every year. CAT 2009 has changed with regard to the mode of the test. However, there are no changes as far as preparation of the concepts are concerned. Nonetheless, you need to get familiar with the online testing process.

You require material that covers basic concepts explained in an understandable way. Check up with reputed MBA institutes for their study material and preparation techniques. You need not be a computer wizard to take an online test. That is you need not be computer savvy to appear for online CAT. You just need to be able to use the mouse and the keyboard. You need to be familiar with a few basic keys. If you practice 4 to 5 hours a day, you will reach that level of comfort.

You can prepare for CAT in two phases. In the first phase, you need to get your fundamentals right. You need to thoroughly familiarize yourself with problems and chapters. Remember that speed-solving does not work. Moreover, time management is a must. Allocate your time in a way that it leaves you with one hour for reading magazines and newspapers. You also need to update yourself on current affairs. A properly planned study structure increases your efficiency and confidence.

The next phase is about analyzing yourself and coming to terms with your strengths and weaknesses. Once you are done with your fundamentals, it would be easy for you to focus and work on your plus points and weak points. Section tests can be taken in the second week of August. You should also alternatively revise your topics. Comprehensive tests should be undertaken at least by the beginning of September. Avoid getting stuck up on solving a particular problem.

The key areas you need to analyze are as follows: Speed is an important concern. It should improve with every test that you take. It is important to take as many comprehensive tests as possible, so that you get used to sitting for hours at a stretch. Comprehensive tests train you and increase your attention span. Accuracy is as important.

No Alternative For Reading

CAT is now a computer-based test. In the Reading Comprehension test, you will see a split screen which will have a passage on one side and question on the other side of the computer. Alternatively, the passage could be given first, followed by questions later. You are required to scroll the screen and thoroughly read the passage and then the questions.

More than reading passages on paper, you need to familiarize yourself with reading passages on the computer screen. This could be a little problematic for those applicants who are not used to working on the PC. But such reading habits can be developed. It will be taxing initially, but it is worth the effort. An important point to note is that you won’t be able to underline or highlight words or sentences in the passage. You can’t even jot down any points in the margin. Hence, if you think you need to remember anything, you will have to commit it to your memory. Jotting it down on a piece of paper is like wasting your time.

Furthermore, you need to thoroughly comprehend the passage to be able to correctly answer the questions. You will have to ‘infer’ the answers because they won’t be directly available in the passage. You are required to read between the lines, to understand the hidden meaning of what the author is trying to convey. You need to be well versed with the nuances and the usage of English language. Get yourself acquainted with common phrases and idioms usually used in Reading Comprehension passages.

There is no substitute for reading as far as CAT Reading Comprehensions are concerned. To get totally comfortable and well versed with this section, you need to read as much as you can. And try to read passages online; on the internet. Reading articles regularly on the computer is a must.

CAT passages are generic in nature. Topics could range from politics and current affairs, science and technology, psychology, art and architecture, economics and business, social issues, etc. So you need to basically incorporate ‘variety’ in what you read. Moreover, understanding the author’s point of view is paramount. You need to also understand his style or ability. For instance, is he being critical, judgmental, sarcastic or prescriptive while discussing an issue or a place or person.

3 Tips To Develop Verbal Ability

Mastering any ability or skill is no joke. It does not happen overnight. It has to be developed, worked upon and acquired through hard work, practice and persistence. A lot of applicants fail to understand this and they adopt the rote way of learning. This is certainly not the right way to crack Verbal Ability. The good news is that you can master this ability in 3 simple steps:

1) Practice vocabulary questions: Unlike comprehension passages, other CAT questions need to be dealt with differently. It makes sense to divide this section into other sub sections like sentence correction and pure grammar. Once you have it classified, stick to one sub type at a time and practice problem solving. Keep taking notes to refer to problem areas.

GMAT guides are very useful for solving questions. Not only do you learn a great deal from your mistakes, you also avoid committing those mistakes. A point to be noted is that the vocabulary section guarantees high returns with minimum time investment. Pay adequate attention to the vocabulary section because it makes all the difference between a great score and a good score. This could further impact your overall CAT score.

2) Reading non-fiction: Usually students like to read fiction. However, CAT passages are rarely fictional. For improving your reading speed and comprehension, you need to read those passages that are similar to the ones asked in previous CAT papers.

You need to develop a knack for comprehending non-fiction passages in CAT. Make sure you read a lot of non fiction. Cultivate that habit even if you prefer ficition to non fiction. Reading biographies, analyses and even opinions helps you develop your reading skills. Group studies and discussions are also very helpful.

3) Increasing your reading pace: Sometimes, those who are good at comprehension suffer when it comes to quickly reading the passage. You need to be able to read quickly to attempt CAT passages. It is highly recommended that you read similar passages in magazines and newspapers. This way you can increase your speed gradually. You need to strike a fine balance between ’speed’ and ‘comprehension’. This is where your managerial skills come into play and this is exactly what is tested by the examiners.

3 Focus Areas For Quant

You don’t need to pick up textbooks replete with advanced engineering mathematics to solve Quantitative Aptitude in the computer-based CAT. The QA section in the CAT is nothing but the theory learnt in school up to Class XII. You need to focus on as many practice tests as you can. This is the most important focus area while preparing for QA in CBT-CAT. Every mock test should be taken as seriously as the actual CAT. Pace yourself and time yourself for every test that you take. For those who are in college, you can take tests immediately since you are familiar with concepts and theory. However, working professionals tend to fall out of touch with academics. So they need to brush up theorems and formulae to prepare for CBT-CAT.

You can begin with topic tests when you initially start to prepare yourself. Once you are confident, you can begin to attempt full-length QA tests. Make sure to analyse your performance after every test that you attempt. Mock tests are a great source of feedback mechanism. You can use practice tests to judiciously select questions. It is okay if you are particularly weak in one area but you will still be at a risk. Hence it makes sense to improvise your performance in every area so that you can answer every question effortlessly.

CBT-CAT Quantitative Aptitude can be classified into 3 categories:

Algebra and Number Theory- This section provides maximum questions in any CAT QA section- about 60%. You need to focus on Probability, Card problems, Permutations and Combinations, Progressions, Quadratic and Linear/Simultaneous equations, Logarithms, Functions, etc. The most important being Number Theory. These problems are simple in nature. You can master a few tricks from textbooks to solve them. You can refer to Higher Algebra by Hall and Knight for the same.

Geometry, coordinate geometry and mensuration- Every CAT paper has about 4 questions on mensuration, a few questions on coordinate geometry, but Geometry is given maximum weightage. The topics that you need to cover include basic theorems involving circles, triangles and parallel lines. A general question asked in CAT is to find the length of certain sides or the value of certain angles. So topics like similarity of triangles and congruency need to be covered. Refrain from solving IIT-JEE level questions in coordinate geometry. A school-level textbook is enough to prepare for mensuration.

Arithmetic and miscellaneous- For Arithmetic, you need to cover problems on Time, Speed and Distance and Set Theory. An NCERT textbook will serve the purpose. Miscellaneous problems don’t fall under any specific category. They basically test your mathematical aptitude.

Do You Make These Grammar Mistakes?

Thanks to the internet, email, blogging etc- we have all become very tech savvy in terms of communication. Sending and receiving information has become very easy now. However, along with this development, people have become lax about spelling and grammar in day to day writing. For instance, there is a difference between two similar sounding words that we tend to misuse often. Most of us make horrendous grammar mistakes that are can be avoided by keeping the following information in mind:

1) Your and You’re

Your: It refers to somebody’s possession. It is used while pertaining to something that is controlled or owned by someone. Example- You shouldn’t have forgotten your umbrella, now you are totally drenched.

You’re: It simply means you are. It is often used as a form of contraction. Example- You’re being selfish. Think about others.

2) Than and Then

Than: It is used to introduce the other element in a sentence, or when making a comparison. It can also be used as a source of contrast to show exceptions. Example- As per news reports, this year it rained more than the last year.

Then: It means at that time. It also indicates the same as after that, afterwards or next. Example- Let’s raise a toast first, and then sing and dance.

3) Lie and Lay

Lie: The verb lie refers to a horizontal position to rest and it is not as generic as ‘lay’. Something that remains is also referred to as lie. The noun lie refers to something that is not true, however don’t mistake it for lay. Example- Why don’t you lie on the couch?

Lay: It basically refers to putting something down, or to set something in position. It also refers to the past tense of ‘lie’. Example- Lay your differences aside to be a better human being.

4) Choose or Chose

Choose: This is in the future tense or present tense of making a decision. The extra ‘o’ can lead to confusion between the words- choose and chose. So you need to be careful. Example- I can’t decide between the pink top and black top. Can you help me choose one?

Chose: It is the past tense of choose. When you chose, it means the decision of choosing has already been made. Example- I chose the best jacket for myself. I am happy with my decision.

Likewise, there is a difference between the words ‘insure’ and ‘ensure’, ‘it’ and ‘it’s’, ‘less’ and ‘fewer’, etc. There are a lot more words and phrases that confuse us in daily life. Choose your words correctly. Avoid making these grammar mistakes.

Why English Usage Is Important

Are you appearing for CAT this year? It is important to brush up your ’sectional skills’. Don’t get hassled by the questions on ‘English usage’. An MBA from a prestigious institute like IIMs is a dream come true. Some years of meticulous training, and it transforms you into dynamic managers.

As aspiring MBAs, students are usually in awe of corporate leaders. But what if your corporate icon makes a language mistake? If he misuses the word ‘oversee’ for ‘overlook’? The two similar sounding words have different meanings altogether. This is precisely why we have English Usage as an important part of competitive entrance tests and examinations. Competitive examinations like the CAT accept or reject candidates on the basis of certain parameters that are crucial for the candidate to succeed in the career field of his choice.

None of the B-schools prefer candidates who need to be trained from the scratch. You need to acquire some skills by yourself. You need to have the fire within you and the passion to do something. The drive to excel should be present in you. Hence, to assess your potential, aims, goals and capabilities, the questions on English Usage need to be answered, and they form an important part of most entrance tests.

Managers cannot afford to make mistakes when they communicate. It is not enough to just understand the meaning of a word; you need to know about its rightful usage as well. You need to be comfortable with the language in order to have great presentation and communication skills. Your verbal skills are tested to gauge how well equipped you are to deal with a crisis.

As a manager, an MBA needs to communicate effectively with others. Not only that, you need to analyze and think on your feet. You need to be decisive and make quick decisions. Good communication is when you can put your point across and others can understand it and interpret it without any difficulty. Furthermore, as a good manager sitting in one part of the world, you need to interpret communication correctly from any other part of the world. This is why communication skills and interpretation are given so much importance. The English Usage section basically tests your decision making skills and English language skills.

Your Guide To Cracking CAT

Cracking CAT is not rocket science, but it is no cakewalk either. B-school aspirants are likely to feel the pressure as CAT is approaching. You need to manage your time, you need to strategize and you need to attempt mock CATs - everything needs to be done effectively and efficiently. Here are a few tips that you can use to your advantage:

1) The complete package matters: Your complete profile and/or complete package is of paramount importance, as far as B-schools like IIMs are concerned. You should be fairly confident if you have a good profile, good academic record and considerable work experience. Getting 98.5 is not as difficult as going from 98.5 to 99 and beyond. If you have secured a score of about 96-97 in mocks, solving merit problems can help you get a score of 98-plus.

2) Aim: Most IIM aspirants tend to aim very high. This is further aggravated by the competition they witness around them. Suddenly every one feels like scoring at least 50%, and they start to expect calls from all IIMs. Setting goals is important, but you need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as well. You should set realistic goals. For instance, if you score around 90, it would be impractical to aim at 130 or more. Students often feel pressurized as they tend to aim too high.

3) It is imperative to clear cut-offs: Let us assume that you are used to the 95-96 percentile level in mock CATs, chances are you will perhaps clear the cut-off for a section even if you haven’t done very well in that section.

4) Go by the 50-50 rule: Make sure you don’t spend over 50 minutes on the first section. Remember to begin the last section at least 50 minutes before the closing stage of the test. The remaining timelines can be modified as per the requirement. By not spending more than 50 minutes on the first section, you get to spend extra time on the other two sections. In other words, it allows you time flexibility. You never know how much time you would take to solve the other two sections.

Please remember that mock CATs are not the be all and end all. Your mock CAT performance does not significantly impact your performance on D-day. Of course there is some correlation between the two, but it does not guarantee success or failure on the D-day. Use the 50-50 rule to clear all cut-offs.