Teach an old CAT new tricks: CAT 2006

Education, IIM

If you have come here searching for ways to enhance your performance in the forthcoming CAT 2006 exam — the post ends for you right here! It’s time to get back to more and more practice/mock tests. There’s no better preparation than match-practice!

There are some experiences from CAT 1996 and CAT 1997 that I remember.

CAT 1996:

I prepared from an IMS package for about three months, including two months of intensive efforts. Saw a clear pattern in my performance picking up as I went along, and then the d-day came. The examination centre, mercifully, was a school close by. All aspirants were seated in classrooms based on their serial/admission numbers. There are a few absentees. The OMR answer sheets are distributed first; and then the question papers — which are in 4 sets labelled A, B, C and D. These are supposed to be distributed in a pre-designated manner, with different people getting different sets. If there is any absentee, the invigilator is supposed to leave his/her designated question papers on his/her empty desk and distribute the remaining papers sequentially. However, our invigilator passed on this question paper to the person seated next and broke the sequence. Ouch!

Soon someone realizes that he/she has been handed over a question paper set other than that meant for him/her. The invigilator panics. All of us panic. And then begins a frantic exercise of passing around the question papers till everyone gets the question papers meant for them! By then 15 minutes are over.

In the remaining time, we vacillate between trying to answer as many of the 150 odd questions as possible and asking the invigilator to compensate us for the lost time. Considering that it was her gaffe, she agrees. However…

…as soon as the 120 minutes are over — the IIM representatives at the venue walk-in and we are refused any extra time. We plead, we sulk, we petition (impromptu, hand-written), and then we leave — resigned to our respective fates. Ruing the 15 minutes lost — which equals 20+ questions. This in one of the most competitive of exams in India!

Predictably, no call from any of the IIMs.

CAT 1997:

Prepared for only two weeks, from my previous year’s IMS package. The preparation consisted of getting into the mock-test routine at the earliest. Having been through the rigmarole a year earlier, certainly made it a little easier while preparing. The actual exam though, is a blur in my memory!

Unpredictably, got a call from IIM Indore!

Morals of the story:

1. IMS package is a good help
2. There is no better practice than match-practice
3. CAT is just a freakin’ two-hour performance, you need to peak for it
4.
The best-laid plans of mice and men
Gang aft agley (=often go wrong).
And leave us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy
— Robert Burns

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