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Testing times ahead

Little darkened circles in OMR forms, being clued up on William Shakespeare’s love life, CATE and other entrance exams... HT Education’s writers have a lot on their minds

education Updated: Jun 12, 2012 14:55 IST
Hindustan Times

Siddhi Goel, St Thomas School

I mentioned in the last article that I’m torn between the ideas of pursuing journalism and psychology. But now, I’ve zeroed in on English (journalism ho!), which is why CATE has become my new be-all and end-all, replacing Sheldon Cooper, from whom I picked up the ‘FYI.’ Not only has there been a mammoth increase in the number of applicants (from 11,000 last year to 13,000 this year; seriously, look at the competition these days!), but also, an undergraduate degree in English opens up a plethora of opportunities in a number of fields, which makes it a favourite amongst students.

On a more serious note, the fact that so many people are taking CATE, makes me feel all the more zealous to make my presence felt, to stand out from the crowd – and I hope I succeed. Ignore the balderdash above, pray for me. Note: A personal appeal to the gentleman/lady who sets the paper for CATE: I understand that literary knowledge is important, but I don’t see why we need to know who Shakespeare’s wife was (it was Anne Hathaway, by the way…..not the actress, people!). Yours sincerely,
A distressed DU English (hons) aspirant.

A BA in English opens up a plethora of opportunities

Riti Wig, DPS Noida

One common examination that brings in a lot of hope for the budding writers, who haven’t been able to score a 95 or a 98 in their Class 12 exams, is the Combined Aptitude Test for English (CATE). It seems so much like an opportunity where we could score with a little bit of ‘right’ guidance and the love for the language. But is that it?

While filling the form, I realised that there were enthusiastic aspirants from various schools, which meant huge competition. It was the first Delhi University form to be out this year and I learnt my lesson very well on ‘how to fill a DU form.’ Research before just wandering to get the forms or else be prepared for a ride back home and forth. Beware of any silly mistakes. Preparing for CATE has also been quite a ride for me as I had to travel to Pune for an interview and returned only two days before CATE. The only things on my priority list were to finish my Jeffrey Archer and go through my Wren and Martin and also the recent updates in the country and around. The only advice I’d give right now is be careful, research well, ask a handful of people who are acquainted with the course and also the entrance process, and always carry frozen Tang — you will surely need it while you parade through DU.

Be careful and research well before the admission process

Anam Kazmi, Presentation Convent

On May 29, I went with my elder sister to purchase the CATE form from Miranda House. Even though I’ve been to North Campus a few times in the past, this was the first time I saw it from the eyes of a prospective college-goer. After acquiring the form in exchange for the demand draft, we looked for a seat under the most competently whizzing fan and started filling in the details. In my hurry to submit the OMR form, I ended up darkening the wrong circle in the name column itself! (Well, even the best of us cannot avoid the occasional goof-up!) The little darkened circle weighed heavily enough on my mind to darken my mood for the rest of the day, particularly after the teacher-in-charge told me that using fluid to correct this mistake just might lead to my form being rejected. This quest led us to the admin office, where an obliging office member provided the much-needed whitener, along with a well-meant warning that using fluid on an OMR form was a risky affair; I accepted the former gratefully, and the latter somewhat crankily.

Now with the admit card safely in my hands, I can afford to laugh at little darkened circles, at least until the battle with the next OMR form starts!

Even the best of us cannot avoid the occasional goof-up

Ankita Chander, St Thomas School

While attempting an entrance test, I feel like a warrior, waging a war against lakhs of other student warriors, and trying to kill everyone who comes in my way. Yes, the competition in these entrance tests is massive.

The next (and for most of us, the last) war to be fought is the Combined Aptitude Test for English. Okay, I admit, I used the full form of CATE to make it sound grand! I am sure that most of us perceive this entrance test to be a ‘stairway’ to heaven and a gateway to 21 colleges of DU.

It is said that while a scientist dissects a rose by plucking out all of its petals to examine it, a poet, on the other hand, admires the beauty and the fragrance of the rose and praises it. Wordsworth and Eliot’s romantic poems are able to drift us away into a magical world. They take us into a world where all one can see and experience is beauty: the beauty of the bright rays emitted by the sun, the sparkling water of the mighty water-falls, the beautiful sunflowers peeping out of the lush green grass, the dew on the petals of the poppies, the lofty hills, the swirling mist of the night, the ravishing shades of the sky.

Interpreting and critically analysing such poems has always delighted me in school —which makes me want to study literature! I hope this dream comes true!

Time to rise and shine, buddies!

The competition in these entrance tests is massive

Gargi Roy, Air Force Bal Bharti School

The plight of a science student is quite poignant unlike what the world paints it to be. We have to do back-breaking studies to score good and even after the boards get over, we can’t enjoy. From the last day of the board exams, cramming up for the ‘real’ examinations like the engineering entrance exams begins. For other streams, their respective entrance exams begin a couple of months after but our exams begin within a week and go on till late June.

I reached home after the physical education exam (supposedly the final board exam) and instead of laying back, I picked up the heavy engineering entrance books (people can actually work out in the gym using these books!). Without sparing a minute I started revising notes and solving previous year IIT and AIEEE question papers. After studying the whole course over and over again, I didn’t even know where physics ended and chemistry began. Don’t even ask me about the superior mathematics (it’s like Arabic to me!). After appearing for numerous entrances (and clearing a few), I even lost the feeling of anxiety before any exam. It was like an everyday routine — study, sleep (very little), eat and take an exam. After my last entrance, I felt relieved. But even now, I can’t feel the respite completely as the results are awaited.

Study, sleep (very little), eat and take an exam

Shreya Mudgil, Mount Carmel School

Applying for CATE, is a tedious affair as compared to applying for other courses in Delhi University. You have to walk in the scorching heat for classes, wait in queues to purchase the forms and then again to submit them!

Taking CATE might not be as tiring as preparing for CATE might be. Waking up early just to reach the classes on time, in CP, is a Herculean task and reminds me greatly of school. Blessedly though, the weather has cooled down a little bit, making the efforts a little more bearable.

In addition to the preparation, there is social pressure, coupled with personal pressure. People, including one’s neighbours, uncles, relatives and friends, are calling up to ask what I have planned! It’s a mad world!

The anxiety of not getting into the best college has been gnawing away on our minds. No wonder college is a big deal! The whole country is talking about us!

At the end of the day, though, what matters is the goal that we’ve been striving for. Let’s all sit back and hope that all our hard work pays off.

Let’s sit back and hope our hard work pays off

First Published: Jun 12, 2012 14:48 IST