270,000 appear for ‘doable’ CAT exam

November 16th, 2008 - 6:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Around 270,000 MBA aspirants appeared for the Common Aptitude Test (CAT) across the nation Sunday, an official spokesperson said. A majority of those who appeared felt that while the three-segment paper was fairly ‘doable’, there were a few hiccups in the ‘lengthy verbal’ and ‘tough quant’ sections.

“A total of 270,000 applicants were shortlisted for CAT 2008. Last year, about 220,000 candidates had appeared in the test,” Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) spokesperson Ishita Solanki told IANS over the phone.

“The numbers of forms received was much more, but after screening forms for eligibility criteria, the final turn out was still quite large,” Solanki said.

So what did the applicants have to say after the two-and-a-half-hour test?

“The exam was fine - of the three sections data interpretation (DI) was the easiest; the verbal section although easy was lengthy and the Quant (quantitative analysis) section was really trying,” said Prabhat Taneja, a final year engineering student at Indraprastha University Delhi.

His view was in consonance with the 20 people IANS spoke to.

“Verbal and DI was a breeze - quantitative, math section was a storm,” Kritika Singh, a mass communication graduate told IANS as she emerged from her exam centre in Noida.

The CAT exam is an annual test conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and is the first step in the process of seeking admission to the 1,800-odd seats in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Kozhikode, Lucknow and Shillong IIMs. Besides this year, six new IIMs are due to start.

The IIMs have implemented OBC quota from this year and have increased their seats.

The test this year was held in 230 centres in 23 cities across the country, including 60 centres for 500,000 aspirants in the National Capital Region.

CAT is considered one of the most important national standards for entrance to management institutes. Apart from the IIMs, over 50 other management institutes use the CAT score for short-listing candidates before filtering their admission with group discussions and personal interviews.

Taneja’s college mate Suhas Arora echoed a similar feedback, but added: “The data interpretation (DI) section may have actually been tricky - as there was some missing data, cross checking was necessary. This year unlike the past two years there were geometry questions in quant section - five in fact, that were really hard!”.

Others noticed such anomalies in the pattern of the paper as well.

“In place of the 75 question format there were 90 questions,” said Nitish Rajkhowa who took the test in Bangalore.

“There were 25 questions each in DI and Quant, while the verbal section turned out to be lengthy with 40 questions,” said Rajkhowa, an engineer set to join Infosys, Mysore.

“This time was easier compared to last time - I gave the exam just for the sake of practice while I get job experience,” Rajkhowa added.

Many aspirants like Rajkhowa, used this year’s CAT as a practice routine while others considered it a prelude to other institute exams like the SNAP (for Symbiosis), XAT (for XLRI), FMS and other private institutes, as the IIM dream was a little “far-fetched”.

“This is just a bend in the road, I am preparing for other exams like SNAP - I want to run my own business some day. It won’t be that much an issue if it’s an IIM or not,” Kritika Singh said.

There were, however, a few that had zeroed in on the ‘IIM dream’, wanting to get a ’solid MBA in finance’ despite the recent global economic meltdown.

“I am hoping that by the time I do the degree, markets will be up again, else I can always shift gears later,” said Shagufta Rahman, a final year economic honours student from IP College for Women, Delhi University.

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