Common Admission Test (CAT)
Common Admission Test, colloquially known as CAT, is one of the most decorated MBA entrance tests in India. Every year more than two lakh students appear for the examination to get admitted into the top B-schools in India. CAT is conducted every year by one of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) B-schools testing students in terms of Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability. Candidates who clear the written test will have to appear for Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI). Some of the autonomous institutes conduct Group Discussion (GD) in place of WAT. An elaborated description of the institutes and their eligibility criteria will be discussed further in this article.
This article would talk about the necessary strategies and the pain points to approach CAT. Note that this article is written keeping in mind an average student attempting CAT for the first time.
The Five Golden Rules: The following five points will give a holistic picture about CAT and would provide a base for an aspirant’s preparation.
1. Mentally prepared: CAT is such a competitive exam where not just your knowledge but also your presence of mind is tested. So, before you begin your journey to crack CAT it is suggested that you be prepared mentally to face the ups and downs in your preparation and not deviate from your aim at any stage.It is common that most aspirants give up during their preparation. It may be due to lack of focus, inability to face the fierce competition or lack of proper mentorship. As future managers, this is your first challenge. So, let the problems not hinder you to reach your goal.
2. Exam pattern: It is quite important to know the examination pattern before you start your preparation. Although most readers know the pattern, a recap would clear any uncertainties ifpresent. CAT is a computer based test given in India. Following is the pattern of CAT.
|Section||Number of Questions||Duration|
|1||Quantitative Aptitude||34||60 mins|
|2||Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning||32||60 mins|
|3||Verbal and Reading Comprehension||34||60 mins|
CAT does not test one’s ability to solve the toughest questions rather it tests the ability of the aspirant to score the highest marks in the stipulated time. So, as the aspirant take on his journey to crack CAT, he/she should start identifying the areas of strength and weakness simultaneously. This will give a direction to one’s preparation. The aspirant will have an idea on the areas he mustfocus. Identifying the weak and strong zones further helps the aspirant to try or move forward with a particular question.
Certain tips which might help you:
Other MBA entrance Examinations
The above-mentioned analysis would also help crack other MBA examinations on a broader perspective. But it’s advisable to change according to the requirement of the examination.
Xavier Aptitude Test (XAT)
The exam will consist of two parts, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Paper 1 is objective paper with multiple choice questions. The sections of this paper are Verbal Ability, Decision Making, Quantitative Aptitude, General Awareness.
For Verbal Ability and Quantitative Aptitude, the preparation for CAT would be sufficient. The exam differs from the other MBA entrance exams as it features a section on Decision Making. This is an area that checks your management aptitude by presenting different situations and cases, and asks you to identify the correct recourse in these situations.
Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning: It consistsof various business situations and you are expected to give a solution as a stake holder. In general, the questions have a dilemma for the parties involved and most of the choices involve an analysis of the possible gains and losses with each course of action adopted. Questions can be based on the following: ethical dilemmas, financial issues involving sales, revenues etc. of a company, employee management issues and general management scenarios. As far as what kind of decisions you should make, ensure that the decision taken is unbiased and does not favouranyparty. An ethical, balanced and answer from the perspective of all stakeholders involved is expected.
General Knowledge: To crack this section there is no better way than to read newspaper daily. There are many web pages which provide a gist of monthly news. It can act a booster to your daily preparation. Emphasis can be given on economics and business-related facts. Preparing current events for the last 6 months is essential. In static GK part, focus on awards, books & authors and geography.
Essay Writing:Most of the XAT essay topics are abstract in nature. The topic is based on either a common phrase or an idiom with a philosophical hint implied within. The examiner is not only looking for language skills here, but is also evaluating coherence of thoughts, ability to provide logical arguments and your knowledge level. Reading the editorial page of national newspapers may be of great help in this section. It is recommended that you write sample essays and get them assessed on content and style.
Concept strengthening should be followed by a solid practice. The aspirant can start taking mock exams regularly. While attempting the paper, keep in mind the basics of time management, prioritization and striking a right balance between speed and accuracy.
Symbiosis National Aptitude Test (SNAP)
SNAP test is entrance test for colleges under Symbiosis University. There are 15 B-schools under Symbiosis banner and all these institutes consider SNAP scores for their admission process. The questions in SNAP paper are mostly moderate in difficulty level. What makes this examination challenging is that candidate must attempt and answer 150 questions under 120 minutes. It tests the quick decision-making ability of the student, time management and conceptual clarity along with aptitude. Candidates preparing for SNAP should work on their time management and identifying strong-weak zones in stipulated time. SNAP has an additional Current Affairs section. This section is considered to be the deciding factor by MBA Gurus as most students feel comfortable answering the remaining sections but face challenges answering this section. The section had questions based on Science, Business Awareness, Geography, Awards, Technology and majorly on Personalities. Students could have attempted 10-12 questions with 60-65 percent accuracy to score well in this section.
The preparation for CAT would be sufficient to score well in QA, LRDI and Verbal Ability section for SNAP.
NMAT is the official entrance test for NMIMS University and 23 other B-schools across India.The computer-based test is conducted in a 75-day long window from October to December.
The exam has three sections: Language Skills, Quantitative Skills, Logical Reasoning. A proper preparation for CAT would suffice for NMAT. Candidates just have to work on their time management and few mocks to get a sense of the examination.
Tips to score well in NMIMS:
B-schools in India:
The following table provides some of top B-schools in India with their qualifying examinations
|IIM Ahmedabad||Ahmedabad||Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)||CAT|
|IIM Bangalore||Bengaluru||Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)||CAT, GMAT|
|ISB Hyderabad||Hyderabad||Post-Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)||GMAT|
|IIM Calcutta||Kolkata||Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)||CAT|
|XLRI Jamshedpur||Jamshedpur||Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management (PGDBM)||XAT, GMAT|
|IIM Lucknow||Lucknow||Post Graduate Programme in Management||CAT|
|SP Jain||Mumbai||Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM)||CAT, XAT, GMAT|
|MDI Gurgaon||Gurugram||Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM)||CAT, GMAT|
|IIM Kozhikode||Kozhikode||Post Graduate Programme in Management||CAT|
|IIM Indore||Indore||Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP)||CAT|
|IMI Delhi||New Delhi||Post-Graduate Diploma in Management||CAT, GMAT|
|NMIMS Mumbai||Mumbai||Master ofBusiness Administration (MBA)||NMAT by GMAC|
|FMS New Delhi||New Delhi||Master of Business Administration (MBA)||CAT|
|IMT Ghaziabad||Ghaziabad||Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGPM)||CAT, XAT, GMAT|
|SIBM Pune||Pune||Master of Business Administration (MBA)||SNAP|
|NITIE Mumbai||Mumbai||Post Graduate Diploma in Industrial Management (PGDIM)||CAT|
|IIFT New Delhi:||New Delhi||MBA in International Business||IIFT|
|All New IIMs||Raipur, Ranchi, Rhotak,Trichy, Udaipur, Kashipur||Post-Graduate Programme (PGP)||CAT|
|JBMIS||Mumbai||MBA||CAT, MAT, CMAT|
|IIM Shillong||Shillong||Post-Graduate Programme in Management||CAT|
|XIMB||Bhubaneshwar||MBA in Business Management (MBA-BM)||CAT, XAT, X-GMAT, GMAT|