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Do engineers have an advantage in CAT? Here’s busting all myths

Do engineers and women candidates have an advantage over others?

Mission MBA Updated: Dec 05, 2016 14:17 IST
Ankur Jain
Ankur Jain
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CAT,Common Admission Test,CAT myths
The CAT can be cracked by anyone irrespective of his/her educational background.(Istock)

There are scores of myths about the Common Admission Test (CAT). Candidates often hear that engineers have an advantage over other test takers, women candidates have an edge in CAT and the English section has more weightage. Students often worry about these and how their scores will be impacted. In this article, we bust some common myths.

Engineers are preferred in CAT. Fact or myth?

Myth! The CAT can be cracked by anyone irrespective of his/her educational background. The CAT does not favour engineers. It checks quantitative aptitude based on mathematics of Class 6 to Class 10, which everyone has studied in school.

A large number of engineers crack CAT. Fact or myth?

Fact! However, don’t panic if you are a non-engineer. CAT is a test of aptitude and skills, not a test of knowledge. While it is true that a lot of engineers get through, their engineering degree is not a reason for the same. The fact is that lots of good students in India choose science courses in Class 11 and Class 12. These students either traditionally go for engineering courses or medicine courses. Doctors also appear in the CAT and are fairly successful. However, a bulk of good applicants happen to be engineers. Being an engineer is not a cause of cracking the CAT. A good student who cracks the CAT could be an engineer. Lots of good students who take commerce courses or humanity courses also crack the CAT. In fact, to increase diversity of the incoming batch, the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other good B-schools offer extra points to non-engineers.

I am a woman candidate. I have heard that it offers me some advantage. Fact or myth?

Fact! Many IIMs and other good B-schools, in an attempt to increase the diversity of the incoming batches, offer extra points or official/unofficial reservation to women candidates. Check the websites of these institutes to gain a deeper understanding of the selection process.

I have heard that English will have more weightage in the CAT. Fact or myth?

Can’t say! The CAT authorities have released many details on theirwebsite. Among them is the sectional time limit of 60 minutes each for the three sections of verbal ability/reading comprehension (VARC), quantitative aptitude and logical reasoning/data interpretation. Thus, it is unlikely (but remotely possible) that the weightage of the VARC section will increase. Don’t pay attention to rumours. Prepare well and have a strategy that works in all scenarios. Such a strategy depends on time allocation in proportion to the marks of the section/sub-section.

I tried the CAT last year and was not successful. I don’t think I have it in me to crack it. Fact or myth?

Myth! As discussed above, the CAT is a test of aptitude and skills, not a test of knowledge. If you were not successful the last year, improve your aptitude and skills and avoid silly errors.

My friend prepared for 1.5 years and was not successful. I have prepared for only three months and I am fearful that I cannot crack. Fact or myth?

Myth! The outcome does not depend on the time spent but also on where you started from versus where your friend started. Also, the time spent is much less important than the efficiency of studies. Don’t worry and do your best.

I want to attempt all the questions in the exam but I am not able to. I don’t think I can crack the CAT. Fact or myth?

Myth! The CAT deliberately gives a large amount of work to be done in a comparatively small amount of time so that you need to demonstrate your time management skills by leaving tough (time consuming) questions. Most candidates can choose two out of the following three: Doing all the questions, in the given time, accurately. Don’t sweat over questions left. Make sure that you leave the tougher ones.

The author is chief knowledge expert, Triumphant Institute of Management Education, Delhi

Read more: Instructions out for CAT on Sunday: Remember, no henna on hands and do check the weather

First Published: Dec 03, 2016 19:55 IST