MY 'CAT' EXPERIENCE
Common Aptitude Test was considered as one of the toughest entrance exam few years back. Last 2-3 years the trend is changing gradually.CAT 2011 had different format. There were two sections 1) Qauntitative Abililty and Data Interpretation and 2) Verbal ability and Logical reasoning. Each section had 30 questions and time allotted for each section was 70 min. Apart from 140 min. of CAT exam, 15 min of EXAM tutorial was compulsory before actual exam so as to understand online examination method. It was made mandatory to appear 1 and half year before the scheduled exam time for checking and bio-metric identification in prometric centre. I can understand that materials like watch, pen, bags and mobile are not allowed in examination hall,but the worst thing was even the hanky was not allowed in side prometric lab. I felt bad for those student who were suffering from the cold and were sneezing continuously in the air-conditioned exam lab.Neither they provided water during exams and nor they allowed to carry water bottles. Some of the disadvantages of online exams.
Despite of this, I really liked the way CAT was systematically carried out this year. Few students per batch, good arrangement of biometric check-in points, and the new format of CAT paper.The section 2 of the CAT 2011 was perhaps the easiest paper in the last few years of CAT history. The comprehension part was scoring as the length of passage was less and the question on passage were very straight-forward. The logical reasoning past was quite easy (easier than Logical reasoning of CET exams). The most important thing is that there is no need to mug-up word list for cracking CAT now. The section had 3-4 questions on arrange the sentences to form meaningful paragraphs and 3-4 questions on choose the correct sentence which can complete the paragraph. The first section of CAT was tough. Whatever may be the format of CAT,the Quantitative Ability section remains toughest part of CAT paper since 2004. Data Interpretation sums were little confusing,but once understood properly, could be solved easily. There was no scope of trial and error in section one as 70 min. for 30 problems was quite a tough ask (considering the level of problem).
I appeared my previous CAT in 2007. There were 3 sections carrying 25 questions each. Then too Quant was even toughest part of CAT paper. DI was not confusing, but had massive calculation requirements. Earlier English section in CAT was equally tough,making overall CAT paper challenging. There were difficult vocabulary related questions for which rattofying word list was must. The passages were very lengthy and the questions on paragraphs were tricky and also some of them were vocabulary based. Also grammer part was tested in those CAT papers.
My mind set was different on both the occasions. During 2007 CAT I was tensed and very nervous as I wanted to do MBA by hook or crook. In 2011 CAT I was bit relaxed and composed as entering FPM (Fellowship Program in Management) is not necessity for me. Both times I chose same exam centre Thakur College of Science and Commerce in Kandivali (E). But in 2007 CAT I reached 3 hrs before on centre and did quick revision of some mathematical formulae. In 2011, I reached dot 15 min. before biometric identification and not even touched any book. In 2007 I still remeber CAT was like 'Kumbh ka Mela', and after exam due to heavy rush most of us had to walk till Kandivali railway station starting from Thakur College. In 2011; I returned to Wadala in Air-conditioned 440 ltd. bus. My both experiences were really completely different so as my approach to CAT. I really feel that the current MBA aspirants are quite lucky that they have easy papers for CAT exam.Before 2004, the CAT exam was as easy as it is today.But after CAT 2004 papers got leaked; the entire level changed. Those who cracked CAT from 2004 - 2009 have seriously seen how the real CAT looks like and how difficult is to bell that wild CAT. I leave this post on a note that CAT 2011 was 'Bhigi Billi'. Hopefully IIMs will improve standard of CAT in coming years.