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Is CAT really a hard nut to crack?

MEERA SRINIVASAN

With exactly 13 days to go for CAT 2005 entrance test, aspirants are preparing round-the-clock to tackle the test that determines their future.


Tips for candidates: Give each section at least 40 minutes. (Time needed for each section may vary depending on each candidate's strength and speed.) Do not burden yourself unnecessarily. Be at your examination centre well in advance. Wear comfortable clothing. Ensure a good ten-hour sleep the previous night. Be calm and take the test with courage, confidence and concentration



MANAGERS IN THE MAKING: This year about 7,500 candidates are taking the CAT 2005. Students take preparation tips from an instructor at a Career Launcher centre in Chennai. Photo: S. Thanthoni

With less than a fortnight to go for the Common Admission Test (CAT), aspiring management graduates would be dreaming big and chanting the names of top B-schools of the country.

"About 7,500 students from Chennai will be appearing for CAT this year. Apart from these, students from other parts of Tamil Nadu will take the test in Chennai," said S. Manoj, Assistant General Manager IMS, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

CAT usually consists of three sections designed to test various managerial skills. The aptitude test covers areas such as verbal skills, quant (math-related sections), logical reasoning and data interpretation.

"The in-built safety factors would be operative if one has strived in the past months and achieved a Minimum Competency Level (MCL) in every topic of every section, be it Quant, Data Interpretation or English," said Manish Narang, Head-Academics, Career Launcher, Chennai.

Different training institutes all over the country offer focussed training, which commence a year before the actual examination date.

It is interesting to note that CAT is equally fascinating for graduates, postgraduates and even those with considerable work experience. "Seventy per cent of those taking the exam are likely to be freshers, while 30 per cent would have work experience," said Mr. Manoj. Among those with work experience, at least 50 per cent would have attempted CAT earlier, he added.

The number of candidates appearing for CAT 2005 is expected to be close to two lakhs. Of these, a mere two per cent (4,000 candidates) would get selected for the group discussion and interview levels.

CAT helps to understand how well one works under pressure and stress. Managing time and efficient planning are managerial skills that would be relevant in future, explained Manoj.

After yearlong preparation, training institutes adopt different schedules to help students.

IMS conducts a series of eight SIM CATs (simulated CAT) from August 10 to November 13. After each test, a detailed analysis of candidates' performance would be put up on their website.

"Merely being strong in basics is not the end game, a high amount of accuracy level is vital," said Mr. Manish, adding, " The catch phrase is capitalising on one's strengths."

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