On Saturday, HT Horizons, in partnership with MBA Universe.com, organised a CAT (Common Admission Test) preparation workshop at the FICCI Auditorium. The session was attended by dozens of students who listened intently to the speakers such as Dr Himadri Das from International Management Institute, Delhi; Arun Sharma, IIM – Bangalore alumnus and CAT expert; and Amit Agnihotri, chairman of MBAUniverse.com.
The speakers shared last-minute strategies with participants. Aspirants were advised to revise what they had already learnt, rather than starting out on something new at this stage.
An extremely useful tip came from Arun Sharma who emphasised the need to understand the fundamentals properly instead of working on problems endlessly, which many students adopt as a practice.
To explain this, he shared an anecdote. “While I was preparing for GMAT, I realised that my preparation in English grammar needed improvement. So, I sat down and solved three mock papers. As I had expected, I scored around 17-18 out of 25 in all of them,” he added.
“Even if I had looked though a book, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. But later, I analysed each and every mistake and pondered over those answers that had evoked even the slightest bit of confusion in my mind. After a long phase of introspection, I improved my score to 24-25 in the next mock tests the very next day.”
The central message thus is that one should learn from the question more than the answer. “Even if you are able to solve a question, you can still learn a lot from it. For that, you must have an analytical approach,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, Das focused on the need to develop strong character traits to be able to make it to a good B-school.
“You prepare for CAT for a year, but what they (IIMs) look for is, in fact, learnt in the 21st or 22nd year of your life. You need to demonstrate those qualities – for example that you are a curious person, have good general awareness and are academically good as well. Even if you don’t make it to an IIM, there are many good B-schools that test you not purely on the basis of your CAT score but also consider the scores you received in Class 10, Class 12 and graduation, your performance in group discussion, personal interviews and work experience. I am not saying don’t take CAT seriously, but don’t get very serious about it,” says Das.
Echoing that thought, Agnihotri said, “Take CAT as a journey, not a destination.