Simple Solutions to Common CAT Preparation Myths and Mistakes

As far fetched the CAT exam may seem, the myths and mistakes that were associated with it were, on the contrary, are familiar among students. But have you ever wondered if there is any truth in these claims?

Here are myths and misconceptions about the Common Aptitude Test that we generally are deceived into believing.

1. CAT is extremely difficult

There have been many claims as to how difficult CAT exam is, giving it the title of being one of the most difficult entrance examinations. But this is not fully right! CAT is a competitive exam that mainly focuses on testing your verbal and mathematical aptitude.

It measures how well you are at comprehending numbers, analysing data sets, verbal comprehension and your reasoning capabilities. CAT exam is rated moderately for its attempts to filter out candidates having these capabilities which are undeniably essential for a manager to excel at his work.

2. Question Paper depends on the Institute setting it

Another false notion is that the difficulty level of the question paper will depend on the IIM that is in charge of conducting the CAT. You need to understand that there is no relationship between the institute setting the exam paper and the CAT exam itself. A similar theory that is to be clarified is regarding the question paper you get.

The question paper IS THE SAME for everyone. CAT follows the comparative model, and this is the reason why the final result is in percentile. So, if the question paper was difficult, remember that everyone was given the same paper and it is your position amongst your counterparts that is reflected in your percentile.

This is why exactly you need to stop fussing over other details and channelize your focus on nothing but your CAT preparations.

3. Joining Coaching Classes are the only way to crack CAT

The Coaching classes that claim success stories of the toppers that they have produced may not always be genuine. Before you join a coaching centre for your CAT exam preparations, do not flinch from questioning the transparency of the results.

Be speculative on their success rates and don’t give in too easily to their canvassing. Ask them samples and something that can prove their claims. Also ensure that personal priorities, schedules and other factors won’t be compromised by your taking up the coaching.

Always prioritize your choices and make sure that they are not meddling with, in the long run. After all, your aim is to effectively utilize the time that you had set apart for your goals alone. Don’t let anyone else have a say in hindering you from reaching your ambitions.

4. Luck and Destiny matters

Planning is the most careful process.
A meticulously planned schedule can help you achieve your goals. YOU are the only catalyst that can drive your career to success. This also makes you the sole factor responsible for both your triumph as well as failure. Don’t give into luck or destiny in the process.

5. Worry about your classmates

With over 2 lakhs students competing with each other every year, you should not divert your attention in fretting over others. Remember that there are lakhs of students, amongst whom are even repeaters which have been sacrificing their years to reach the goal.

In this field, there can be no forces that can deter your performance. Use the help of your counterparts and classmates to help each other progress in unison. Make your discussions worthwhile by exchanging tips, helping each other with discussing questions, methods of approaching each question, sharing useful information, link and talking on trends.

Make the competition healthy and wish for each other’s betterment. In the process, don’t be too naive to be the host of your parasitic classmates who will only take from you. Ensure equal participation in study groups which can increase productivity.

Only if everyone shows equal participation and interest will study groups work and results in a healthy discussion.

6. Take a few mock tests during the last days, and you are good to go!

A big NO! Cramming in the eleventh hour and mugging up portions a few days before the exam might have been the trend till now. But as far as CAT is concerned, this is exactly the way, you should NOT have approached the test.

CAT exam tests your aptitude in mathematical, verbal and skills in interpreting data. You are expected to be capable of analysing charts and making conclusions on them based on your logical Reasoning. So you are expected to understand the verbal communications effectively to make your conclusions communicated easily.

And this IS a herculean task unless you have committed yourself to tackle it in a way that only consistent practice can help you achieve. Mock tests are helpful. Actually, they are really helpful. But taking a few tests and giving it a wing is NEVER the way to do it. PRACTICE and CONSISTENCY are the only ways forward. Start as early as you can, and make every moment count.

7. The number of questions to score a good percentile

Nothing more can be as irrelevant as this myth on the number of questions that one needs to crack in order to score a 99 something percentile in the examination.

The CAT exam is a competitive exam, and the result is fully dependent on the percentile! This means that how the paper was for everyone has a say in the score you end up with. If the question paper had been a difficult one, it would have been so for everyone, as the paper is common for everyone.

This does have an impact on how the percentiles vary every year with the difficulty rating. This is why asking to give the number of questions that you need to attend in order for you to attain a 99 point something percentile score sounds pointless. Yes, it all depends on the difficulty of the question paper of the year, because percentile is relative.

8. Using Facebook groups to study is effective.

Facebook is a platform where people use their social media profile to share updates on anything and everything. Even a notification from your previous posts, your memories, or a simple hi message has the potential to distract you.

Using such a platform to form groups and study might not always turn out to be effective as you think it would be. What is more important is that you might only realise that you have been wasting time in the pretext of studying, only after some time when it has been too late.

There may have been cases where you might have really found Facebook study groups effective, but let’s just conclude that you don’t have a chance to spare nor can you afford to waste your valuable time to take a chance. It is always advisable to stay away from social media for as long as you can during your preparation time.

9. Non-Engineering candidates have fewer chances of getting through

According to the Indian trends, all the students who were in the average category, including the above-average students had taken up Engineering for their bachelors. This has exponentially increased the number of engineers in the country, creating a boom of engineering graduates in the past few years.

With these alarming number of engineers in the country, and about 2 lakh candidates applying for CAT every year, just do the math, and there you go with the answer! The general bias in engineering students cracking CAT as it appears can be understood when you clearly analyse that this majority is only due to the majority of Indian students being engineers.

Also, with only a few above-average students who had gone for something which was not engineering, you might also consider yourself in a category that could be even a tad bit above them engineers. Also, the theory that engineers can solve the Quantitative Analysis problems better, for they have had higher mathematics papers in their courses is also baseless.

The Quantitative Analysis problems are purely based on the high school level maths for which everyone had had equal exposure to. If there are any allegations on the Quantitative Analysis section being difficult, you need to understand that the section is usually set to have a difficulty level that high and it is equally difficult for engineers who had been doing integration, differentiation and transforms and students from any other fields, because that is not what you have to deal with, here.

What you have to do is brush up your high school level mathematics like time and distance and number theories and develop your skills on it. You will have to practice consistently to ace and be able to use the right formulas and theorems in the appropriate areas.

10. Having an idea of your chance can improve your preparations

This again is a big NO! Starting preparations having a clear ambition is a good thing. But let’s not confuse it with being blindly confident on it. Asking an expert to predict your chances of getting through in the light of your academic records might make you feel good.

But there are chances that you might not give your 100 percent while being fooled to believe that your calibre and skills are good enough to get you through. This might also have a devastating impact if the cut-off or the admission criteria of the institution changes that year and you were ruled out for not having reached the new cut off.

All you have to do is give in your fullest in your preparation period, without giving yourself into common myths, mistakes and misconceptions.

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