Savvy Indian and foreign businessmen responded to the wave of economic liberalization unleashed in India in the early 1990s by setting up new businesses in Software, Telecom, Banking, Retail and Automobiles. The dismantling of the licensing and quota regime released the hitherto bottled up corporate energies to get a pie of the vast Indian consumption cake.
The significant uptrend in job opportunities engineered by this change led to a spike in demand for qualified managerial manpower. Since the talent pool of professional managers in India was limited, it led to a huge mismatch in the demand and supply equation. Consequently, qualified managers come at a market premium, leading to intense competition among recruiters and bloated pay packages for fresh MBAs.
But getting a berth in the institutes producing such professional managers is not easy as the Common Admission Test (CAT) is a highly-contested entrance test for entry to the 13 IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management), besides 100+ other reputed MBA institutes. The number of test takers has swelled to 2, 25,000 with the skyrocketing popularity of MBA courses, thanks to the boom in corporate growth.
The CAT has experimented a lot with its style over the decades. The kind of test questions, the weightages, time permitted and the format changed quite frequently. But with the CAT now open to non-IIM institutes also, it has gained structure and predictability, making it possible for the candidates to be sure of what to expect. The CAT, in its latest version, evaluates the candidates on Quantitative Ability, Data Analysis, Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability.
In spite of several popular guides on test preparation for the CAT, a one-stop companion is hard to find. Many CAT guides may have good coverage of, say, Quantitative Ability but may be hamstrung by an average part on Logical Reasoning. Therefore, a test taker should avoid relying on a single CAT study guide and would be better advised to refer to various sources for the best possible test preparation material on different test areas.
CAT Study Material Tips A. Quantitative Ability and Data Analysis Memorize 1.tables (Practice reciting from 10-20 in 1 minute), 2. squares (up to 30), and 3. cubes (Up to 15).
Practice doing all calculations mentally as they save you a lot of valuable time in the test. Revise basics of school maths for class 6-10 and solve the questions given in the books. Most questions in the CAT mathematics part are organized around these concepts.
Observe and grasp the tables, pie charts, bar graphs and other data in newspapers. Try to derive logical inferences from the trends. The Data Analysis questions do not ask you to calculate the exact answers, therefore, decimal-to-fraction conversions and vice-versa can aid you in developing better computations and approximations.
B. Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning
This part features questions on 1. Reading Comprehension (3 passages-10 questions), 2. Critical Reasoning, 3. Sentence Correction, 4. Vocabulary Usage and 5. Sentence Rearrangement.
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