When Pranay Vats couldn’t do well in CAT last year, he pinned all his hopes on the FMS entrance, which is normally held after most of the other B-school entrance tests. Though the syllabi of both CAT and FMS are similar, the major difference lies in the length of the FMS paper, and one needs to be relatively faster to solve it.
Thus, one must practise as much as one can in the time left after the CAT exam. In CAT, you are supposed to solve 60 questions in two hours and 15 minutes while for FMS there are 200 questions to be solved in just two hours.
“After having scored 98 percentile, I didn’t get a single call from any of the IIMs, but was very happy to have got through to FMS last year. As I am a Delhiite, my parents wanted me to study here instead of the IIMs,” says Vats, now a first year MBA student.
For sections in quantitative and analytical abilities, he suggests only one solution – to practise. “You must understand the concepts well and then practise a lot. You must attempt the test papers of the last three years carefully,” he says. Being an electronics and communications engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering (Now DTU), he didn’t face much difficulty in preparing for the quantitative and analytical section. “For engineers, it doesn’t require much preparation in maths but I certainly did a lot of practise to get the best score,” he says.
While talking about the highly competitive nature of the FMS test, he says: “If you look at the ratio between the number of applicants and the seats, you will find that it is highly skewed (More than 75,000 students are expected to sit for a handful of seats - this year, the number is 226). To be among the select few, you ought to be thoroughly prepared in quant (quantitative ability).”
About verbal ability and English comprehension, Vats relied completely on reading. “For other sections, I read the notes provided by the coaching academy while in English, I did exhaustive reading from multiple sources. From reading a business daily (Mint) to fiction and non-fiction, I laid my hands on myriad styles and genres. From Harry Potter to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, I read everything," he says.
Vats doesn’t approve of the tendency to mug up word meanings from the study material to enhance vocabulary. He resorted to a slightly improved approach – carrying a pocket dictionary while preparing for the exams and referred to it whenever a “new” word in the text caught his eye. “If you constantly refer to the dictionary while reading a book, there are greater chances that you will not forget their meanings,” says he.
Besides reading books and papers, he used to watch the debates on the national English news channels regularly. “These debates help you develop a perspective of your own, which will help you at the time of GD and interviews too,” he adds.
FMS entrance exam for 2011-13 batch
Date of entrance: December 5, 2010
Registration closes: October 15, 2010
Number of seats in full time MBA: 226
Number of expected applicants: More than 75,000
Eligibility criteria: Any graduate with a minimum of 50 per cent marks in arts/ commerce/ social sciences; 55 per cent in sciences or 60 per cent if it's in maths/ statistics/ medicine/ engineering or 60 per cent in the case of second degree