Common Admission Test, or CAT is a standardized computer-based test to break into one of the country’s most premier chains of institutions, the Indian Institute of Management, or the IIMs. IIMs are a chain of twenty public autonomous colleges across India for Management Education.
The IIMs, which are also considered as institutes of national importance very similar to IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) permit only the most meritorious students, whose counselling and selection process starts from around February to May.
The Common Admission Test screens candidates on the basis of their Logical Reasoning (LR), Quantitative Ability (QA), Reading Comprehension (RC), Verbal Ability(VA) and Data Interpretation (DI). This entrance is conducted every year for screening and selection of students for their business administration programs.
The CAT results generally come out on the first or second week of January and within two to three weeks, all the Institutes of Management release their shortlist for Writing Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI). The interviewing process mainly starts from the month of February and can go up till the month of May, and it varies according to the different IIMs.
The steps involved in the entire procedure of selection is as follows:-
● The CAT entrance test, which is a pan-Indian entrance test, just like the Joint Entrance Exams or JEE for IITs. It happens on a particular pre-decided date announced by the council, after which the IIMs announce their cutoffs, of both sectional and overall.
● On the basis of their performance, the candidates would be nominated for more advanced rounds.
● Every IIM then releases their individual CAT cutoff and then calls the students for round two, which is the Group Discussion (GD) and/or Writing Ability Test (WAT).
● Candidates who are chosen and clear the said cut-offs for the respective institute are then called in for a Writing Ability Test and a Group Discussion.
● In the Group Discussion and Writing Ability Test, the candidates need to discuss or write about topics pertaining to abstract, factual, opinion-based, case-based, argumentative/controversial, static and current scenarios.
● The selected students are then called in for a personal interview where they are judged on their knowledge, communication skills, their overall performance in academics and the performance shown in the previous rounds coupled with common sense.
● The individual criterion of admission for every IIM is uploaded on their website.
● On the basis of the following factors, the IIMs release their finalized merit list:
1. CAT examination score of the candidates
2. Their overall performance in WAT, and GD-PI rounds.
3. Their marks from the 10th and 12th board examinations.
4. The candidates’ previous work experience.
5. The gender diversity factor in every IIM.
6. Reservations based on the candidate’s caste.
Is the CAT a tough exam?
CAT is pretty much like the Olympics, the questions are from school, but it is the competition that makes it so difficult. But something that makes it even more difficult is that, we’ve been told into believing that one has to be a topper from a NIT or very smart to crack CAT Exam, but that is not the case, to ace this exam we need only four things:
1. Excepting at least 60 mocks, a tremendous hard work for a lowest of 300 hours
2. The quality of paying attention, which needs to be culminated while preparation and tested to its ultimate during CAT.
3. Strongly believing in yourself and attaining emotional control which should not be daunted by external criticism or low scores in mock tests.
4. A firm grip in the mindset that CAT puts to test your managerial skills, and the ability to put your ability of time and ego management. If you are unable to answer a question, don’t waste time pondering over it.
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