Loratis brings the part -I of BAT THE CAT 2009 Series, on CAT preparation. Any further queries on this section, please comment and you would hear from Mr.Subhash Kasturi.

Santosh: When is it appropriate to start preparation for CAT?

Subhash: The general preparation should be stretched for a period of one or two years. It should include general and business reading. A dedicated and a bookish preparation should start at least four months in advance.

Santosh: What are the sections of CAT?

Subhash: Starting from this year I expect a bit change in pattern of questions. However the format will remain the same. The sections broadly cover Verbal Ability, Quantitative Ability and Data Analysis. Over a period of time, the test covered more or less these areas and I expect going forward these will be the same.

Santosh: How to prepare for each sections?

Subhash: The method of preparing for individual sections is a long drawn process and guidelines need to be discussed in detail. However in gist the following should be the preparation pattern:

Verbal Ability: General and Business reading; Vocabulary building
Data Analysis: A lot of jugglery with numbers and analysis of graphs
Quantitative Ability: Lateral thinking in solving problems

Santosh: Which section do you think, students have to focus more?

Subhash: The uniqueness in IIMs selecting students discreetly reflects from their weightage to each of the section. The exact weightage to individual sections is privy to the institutes. So, in right earnest students should equally focus on individual sections while preparing and writing the test.

Santosh: The previous question was based on lower scoring on verbal. What is your view on it?

Subhash: There is a general bias of students towards their strong/preferred areas. Because of this one detests or neglects other sections. However while in the exam students should perform equally in each section. If someone attempts to perform equally well in different sections, he need not worry about scoring low in one particular section. That section might be a tough nut to crack for general audience. However one should make sure of the first condition that there should be an equal effort in answering the sections.

Santosh: Tips and suggestions to make it more fun oriented preparation.

Subhash: Cracking CAT is not rocket science. One needs to take the preparation at ease and test in his stride. The slow and steady should build enough confidence for cracking the test. I suggest a serious contender to put a daily effort for three hours over next four months. That should be a thumb rule for a confident approach.

Santosh: Year 2009 onwards CAT is going to be Computer Based Test (CBT- CAT). How is this going to be different from earlier version?

Subhash: I believe a CBT based CAT will not be a lot different than Paper based one. The level of difficulty and broad format will remain the same. There might be tweaking in terms of number of questions or nature of questions.

Santosh: For some aspirants this very new compared to the earlier one, what is your insight on it?

Subhash: For students who are attempting CAT for the first time, they come with a clean slate, so they will not have any inhibitions on the new format. They need to focus on the preparation aspects such as timeline, area wise effort et al. For students who have appeared CAT know that the test keeps changing every year. They have to take the CBT just as another change they encounter in the process of selection criteria. Since these guys are already aware of the preparation aspects they should work on maintaining tempo and concentrating on testing aspects like optimizing time and score, equal distribution of efforts.

Santosh: Is it advisable for MBA aspirants to undergo coaching?

Subhash: MBA entrance syllabus is completely different from graduation exams. So any serious aspirant should take a formal guidance in terms of material and mock tests. This will also aid in building a peer group and be motivated and inspired. All said, the coaching institutes will not be able to complete the coaching program as they would not be able to have individual based plan/program. This is where some guidance from institutes like Loratis is needed. They provide a third-angle view, guiding students on how to tailor preparation to one’s ability, how and when to ramp up preparation depending on the opportunities and abilities, how to optimize one’s abilities and not tug along with the coaching institute’s run-off-the-mill preparation.

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