There are more applicants for the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2012 compared to the numbers last year, and experts warn the difficulty level may go up

Here is some food for thought for all those management seat aspirants: landing a seat in one of the prestigious 13 Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) has gotten tougher this year. The reason? There are as many as 9,000 more applicants for the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2012 compared to the numbers last year.

According to preliminary registration data made available by the IIMs and Prometric, IIMs’ partner in developing and delivering CAT 2012, as many as 2.14 lakh registrations were recorded by the time the registration window ended at midnight on September 19. This is 4.4 per cent above the 2011 figure. As many as 2.15 lakh vouchers were sold by September 17.

This is being seen as a positive development in the wake of debates that had started concerning the decline for demand in management education in India. In 2011, 2.05 lakh candidates had registered for the test to determine who would get the 3,000-odd seats.

CAT 2012 for admissions to the IIMs will be held from October 11 to November 6. It will be coordinated by IIM-Kozhikode.

The pattern of the test is going to be the same as last year with two sections, each of 70 minutes’ duration, on quantitative ability /data interpretation and verbal ability/logical reasoning.

What’s different?

While the pattern may be the same, the composition of the paper may be different, warns Saikumar Swamy, Director, TIME, Bangalore. “Students cannot take the risk of studying a few concepts and leaving some others out as different weightage may be given to different sections. With the earlier CATs, there were a lot more choices. Now, there are only 30 of them (per section), narrowing down the choices.”

Mr. Swamy also warned that students should be prepared for any eventuality and not have set ideas, as the difficulty level may go up this year. “Last year, it was three out of five; this time, it may go up to four,” he said.

Apart from the significant leap in the number of registrations, another number that has gone up compared to last year is that of registration of female candidates. This year, 28 per cent of registrations are of female candidates, one per cent up from last year.

However, not moving away from previous trends, the cities in which the highest numbers of candidates are scheduled to take the test are New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune.

No experiments now

With roughly 20 days left for D-Day, there is time only for some last minute preparations. “Don’t take too many mock tests now. Limit it to about one in five days as it is important to peak at the right time. You don’t want to lose momentum for the real test by doing too many mocks. Also, calibrate on your accuracy. Don’t experiment too much now,” suggested ARKS Srinivas, CEO of VistaMind.

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