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CAT Exam - Game Plan for Last 30 Days

CAT, Common Admission Test is a computer-based test held by IIMs for admission in to MBA and Fellowship programs at the 20 IIMs and various other top-tier management colleges across India. Different IIMs conductCAT on a rotational basis withthis year's CAT being conducted by IIM Calcutta on 25th November 2018. For CAT 2018, the registrations closed on 26-Sep, 2018.
CAT 2018 will be held at about 4000 exam centers in 147 cities across the country. While 2.32 lakh candidates appeared for CAT 2017 last year, 2.5 lakh plus candidates are expected to register this year. The results of CAT 2018 will be announced in the second week of January 2019.

Different IIMs have their own admission processes and CAT Percentile scores are an important part of the process. Every IIM fixesits own cut off scores to screen candidates in addition to other parameters such as Class X, XII and graduation scores as well as score for work-experience. The cutoffsat IIMs remain high every year (90 to 99%tile) and also include sectional cut-offs, i.e., the candidate is expected to cross minimum scores across each section as well as with regards to the overall score. Basis the performance in the CAT exam, the candidate is invited for the next round of assessments – GD-PI and WAT (Written Evaluation).The final offer of admission is based on the composite score of the candidate’s academic performance, CAT score, WAT/GD and PI score and other parameters.

Candidates applying should have a bachelor's degree from a university or educational institution recognized by the Government of India. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum percentage of 50 or equivalent CGPA. For reserved category candidates such as SC/ST/PWD, the minimum percentage is relaxed by 5%.Candidates who are in the final year of their graduation or waiting for their results can also apply.

CAT Exam evaluates the candidates on three sections –
  1. Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (34 Questions)
  2. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (32 Questions)
  3. Quantitative Ability (34 Questions)
To attempt these 100 questions, the candidate has 3 hours of time (1 hour for each section). The order of the sections is pre-fixed and so is the time limit, i.e., the student cannot use the time saved in one section in another section. Questions are of both MCQ and Fill in the Blank type; while MCQs attract 1/3rd negative marking for wrong answers, the fill in the blank questions do not carry negative marking.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
This is the first section in the CAT which tests the language abilities of the students. Out of the total 34 questions, 24-27 questions are MCQ type. Over the last few years, Reading Comprehension formed a major part of this section with 24 questions. In addition to the Comprehension, you can expect question types such as Para Jumbles, Para Completions and Summaries that evaluate a candidate on his logical skills. A good Vocabulary and Grammar – though not evaluated directly, help you perform better in this section.

Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
Previously, LR questions were part of the Verbal Ability sections and DI, a part of Quantitative Ability. However, since LR and DI have been clubbed and made into a separate section, it has become the deciding factor in many cases. Last couple of CAT exams have seen difficult to very difficult LRDI sections.

The LRDI section of CAT has 32 questionssplit into 8 sets consisting of 4 questions each. You can expect 10 questions of Fill in the Blank type and the rest are MCQs.

Quantitative Ability
This section consists of 34 Questions (24-26 MCQs and 8-10 non-MCQs). Over the last couple of years,the level of difficulty of questions had been moderate. You are expected to be proficient at topics such as Arithmetic, Numbers, Algebra, Geometry & Mensuration and Probability / Permutations and Combinations. You could also expect question types such as Data Sufficiency etc.

Game Plan for Last 30 Days
One month away from CAT 2018, most candidates busy themselves in taking a mock CAT every day. Emphasis should not just be on attempting tests but analyzing your test performance as well. Examinations such as CAT do not evaluate you on your knowledge/intelligence alone but also on your decision making and time management skills.

A good understanding of which kind of questions to attempt and which ones to leave – basis your own strengths and weaknesses is key to cracking the CAT exam. Do note that a score of 160+ often takes you to 99th percentile score; i.e., getting half of the questions correct can allow you to get in to the next round of the admission process.
Good luck! Fight On!!
(Rama Sasank-Alumni IIM-Calcutta,CPO- ConduiraOnline)
Published on 10/19/2018 6:37:00 PM
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CAT Common Admission Test Preparation plan Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation Quantitative Ability
 

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