Belling the CAT is a task and many candidates turn to coaching classes to find right guidance to crack one of the toughest entrance exams — Common Aptitude Test (CAT) — the gateway to the country’s best B-schools.
The market is flooded with coaching centres promising a bright future but does they really have the right faculty? To answer queries of students, Delhi’s Rahul Sharma, a teacher in a private coaching institute appeared in CAT 2016 and scored a perfect 100 percentile.
“I took the test because it had been a while since I wrote CAT and thought this will help sharpen my knowledge,” said Sharma who had given the paper twice before.
The first time, in 2007, he passed with a 99.89 percentile and got a seat in the Management Development Institute in Gurgaon, where he studied for a year. “I studied in MDI for a year and got the confidence to appear for CAT again,” said he.
In his second attempt in 2008, he scored a 99.99 percentile and finally got a seat in IIM Ahmedabad. This gave him a chance to be a part of a two-year course for a Post Graduate Diploma in General Management (2009-11) which, he says, were some of the best years of his life.
Before heading into the field of management, when he had not yet attempted his first CAT paper, Rahul Sharma was a B Tech student at the YMCA University of Science and Technology, Faridabad, but felt, the engineering was not his true calling. “I like talking to people and realised since my communication skills are good, I should pursue management,” said he.
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“When I wrote CAT before. It used to be a written examination and the 2007-08 question papers were easier to read as it was in ink and paper. During those days, you just had to score just 100 out of 300 to get a 99 percentile,” said he.
However, an aspirant will not get a 99 percentile, in the current years, unless he scores at least 150. “Though the level of difficulty was higher back then, sections like English were much easier to crack,” he said.
“My intent was not to get a 100 percentile,” he said talking about his result in the CAT 2016 paper, “I just gave the paper so that I can be up to date when teaching my students.”
The IIM Ahmedabad graduate currently takes coaching classes in Gurgaon and Faridabad. When asked what advice he would give to CAT aspirants, he gave three points:
1) Mock tests – Student generally focus on the content but this will only help them to get through 40-45 per cent of the preparation. The best way to prepare is by taking mock tests. This will give them an idea about the kind of questions they must attempt.
2) Revision – Students usually try to switch to a different book once they’re done with one. Sticking to the same book will help you a lot more as it gives you “depth”. Revising one material repeatedly will help you more than switching between three-four books.
3) Don’t panic – Understand that CAT is a simple paper. There is no need to panic because you are in control of those three hours. Just give your best attempt and stay calm.