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Gear up for CAT-2011

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Managing Director of Prometric- India Soumitra Roy gives some tips on the last minute preparations. SUMIT BHATTACHARJEE lends an ear

Take a chill pill: Avoid any last minute stress to do well in CAT.
Take a chill pill: Avoid any last minute stress to do well in CAT.

With less than a week left for the start of the CAT-2011 examination window (October 22 to November 18) the Managing Director of Prometric- India Soumitra Roy gives some tips on the last minute preparations. Prometric-India is the organisation that conducts the computer-based CAT for the IIMs.

He points out that a firm grip on the test content is definitely the most important cornerstone, but at the same time familiarity with the testing environment also plays an important role.

He says, “it is for this reason that we have equipped the IIMs with preparatory tools in the form of information, videos and a practice test, for their CAT website. Candidates are encouraged to take the practice test on www.catiim.in and familiarise themselves with the exam screen layout, navigation tools like “Next”, “Previous”, “Mark” etc., review screen and on-screen timer. This would also enable them to understand the concept of the timed sections and alleviate any apprehension they may have regarding the new format.”

General tips

Mr. Roy advises the candidates to check their test centre location, travel time and traffic conditions in advance, and plan their travel accordingly. “A map with travel directions is available for all test centres on the CAT website,” he informs.

He also advises the candidates to keep all their documents in place a day or two before the test day to avoid any last minute stress. The documents include: Admit card for CAT-2011 and valid original photo identification. “SC/ST and DA candidates should also bring along supporting documents with them. For a list of acceptable forms of photo identification, visit the CAT website. If in doubt, candidates may bring a notarised affidavit in English,” he informs.

At the centre

The MD of Prometric suggests that candidates must make it a point to arrive at their scheduled test centre at least an hour-and-a-half before their scheduled test time.

He also says that candidates must present their admit card and photo identification at the entrance and carry those with them at all times. Doling out information on the checking process, he says, “As part of the biometric check-in process, a candidate's digital image as well as fingerprint will be captured. This will allow the IIMs to verify a candidate's identity during the follow-up interviews. Once the check-in process is completed, candidates will be escorted to their assigned seats. For the full test day procedure, a video is available in the CAT website.”

Taking the CAT

There will be a 15-minute tutorial prior to the commencement of the actual test and candidates are advised to listen to the tutorial seriously.

Giving a detailed explanation on the procedure thereafter, he says, “All candidates will be provided with scratch paper, pencils and an eraser for use during the test. After reading and accepting the non-disclosure agreement, the test will begin.

All candidates will first be presented with the section on Quantitative Ability (QA) and Data Interpretation (DI). A countdown timer set at 1 hour 10 minutes (i.e. 70 minutes) will appear on the top-right corner of every screen. Candidates can navigate within this section using the “Next”, ‘Previous” and “Review” buttons. Since the two sections are separately timed, test takers can focus all their energies on one section at a time. Once the time ends for the first section, candidates will no longer be able to go back to it.

“The second section on Verbal Ability (VA) and Logical Reasoning (LR), will then begin, with a fresh timer counting down once again from 1 hour 10 minutes.”

Talking of the security measures in place he says: “All testing areas will be audio and video recorded and any suspicious or disruptive behaviour could lead to a candidate's test being invalidated by the IIMs. For any issues during the test, candidates may raise their hand to notify a test centre administrator. A technician will also be on stand-by at every location.”

Checklist

• Carry the right documents - admit card, original and valid identification, SC/ST and DA support documents

• Plan your travel time, check map/directions on the CAT website

• Arrive at least one-and-a-half hours before scheduled test time

• Make use of the practice test to get a feel of the functionality and navigation of the actual test

• Pay attention to the 15-minute tutorial


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