CAT treads the expected lines

Relived faces: Candidates who wrote CAT 2007 on Sunday outside a test venue in Kozhikode.

Relived faces: Candidates who wrote CAT 2007 on Sunday outside a test venue in Kozhikode.  


A look at what was in store for thousands of candidates who wrote the Common Admission Test on November 18.

No ‘surprises’ or `shocks’ were in store for the students who wrote the Common Admission Test (CAT) for selection to the Indian Institutes of Management and certain other management schools this year. But the students who wrote the test on November 18 feel that Quantitative Ability (QA) was somewhat tough, Data Interpretation (DI) a lot easy and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VA & RC) a little tough (some consider VA & RC was of same difficulty level as that of last year).

“One could aptly borrow the phrase “but like a Madonna from a Madonna” which appeared in one of the Reading Comprehension passages to aptly sum up what this year’s CAT had in store for candidates. The question paper was pretty much in line with last year’s CAT paper which also had the same number of sections and questions. But this year, the paper was different marginally compared to last year’s paper in terms of the fact that there were no logical ability questions and while Data Sufficiency (DS) questions made a strong comeback considering that last year’s paper did not have a single question from the DS area.

This year’s CAT could best be described as one within the frontiers of naturalised experience and any student who had taken some pains in his/her preparations would certainly have come out of the examination hall relieved,” observes Nishad Gopuram, Director, Triumphant Institute of Management Education, T.I,M.E., Kozhikode.

QA difficult

QA was difficult for most of the students. Some experts pointed out that the reason why QA seemed difficult was the fact that it had been easier in last year’s CAT. “QA was difficult, but DI was easy. The English (VA & RC) was okay, but the reading comprehension section was confusing,” points out Betsy Varghese, an engineering graduate from Thiruvananthapuram, who was in Kozhikode, the only test centre in Kerala, to write the examination.

QA was difficult for another engineering student, Mudassar Nazeer. “We were expecting a very easy QA section since QA in the last year’s paper was very easy. Also for the last several years, QA was not tough. But before 2000, it was the toughest section,” says Nazeer. Some observe that the notable changes in QA were that geometry questions were visibly missing, obviously saving a lot of students some nightmares.

For Anupama Madan, a Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) student, DI was very easy, QA was okay (can’t say it was tough or very easy). The VA & RC section was the toughest for her. Nitul K.Mehta, a B.Com student, found the VA & RC section a bit difficult.

Confusing for some

The answers of the VA & RC section were confusing, says Vinod V.V of T.I.M.E., Kochi.

“The picture will be clear only when the key of answers from the IIMs are out,” he says. Athul Nath, also of T.IM.E. Kochi feels that the question paper was of high difficulty level when compared to last year, especially with regard to QA.

Anupama says her strategy was to spend 40 minutes with VA & RC in which she was very comfortable and then going for DI and spending 30 minutes in this section. Finally she took up QA and spent 50 minutes.

The last 30 minutes she was shuttling between DI and QA. She says that the mock CAT tests she had at a coaching centre helped her a lot.

“Anybody who attempted the VA & RC first would have found the going really tough, what with four passages having three questions each, a total of 12 out of the 25 questions in the section. To complicate things further, only one of the four passages was actually of an average student’s level, the rest were on highly abstract topics.

The saving grace would have been the two new version of questions which appeared that were relatively easier to tackle if attempted,” observes Nishad Gopuram.

A cake walk

The Data Interpretation section was a cake walk when compared to last year’s paper bringing in some cheer among students.

Logical questions were conspicuously absent and what mattered was one’s number crunching (speed mathematics) skills. “The cut offs for DI will be higher this year,” says Dileep Prabhu of T.I.M.E., Kochi.

Preliminary estimates say that the overall cut-off for getting an IIM call will be around 90\300.

But it may go up by a few points. T.I.M.E. website till Sunday night showed the following cut-offs: QA: 19 to 21; DI: 30-32; VA & RC: 18-20. Overall cut-off for an IIM call: 88 to 90. Experts warn that students should be wary of the keys as there were a lot of ambiguous questions which lacked a clear cut answer this year.

The IIMs will be bringing out the keys in two weeks and the keys are likely to be posted on IIM, Ahamedabad’s website.

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