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Ashish Chowdhary | Wednesday 7 November 2012 ( 0 Comment)


A short story:

A guy in a distant land wanted to go to a jungle and stay there for some time. He wanted to explore something new, discover his abilities, take a break from his routine life and meet new creatures. After much reluctance from his parents, he was allowed to go to the jungle. In the jungle he became friends with many animals. A few months later when he finally departed for his home, the animals wept for him.

His parents were shocked to see him - they had expected him to be "Junglee" just like the animals. In fact, he looked just the same as before. His mother asked him, "You look just the same. I don't feel that you've learnt anything new. You've wasted your precious time."

"You may think I am the same, but I am not", he replied. "I haven't spent these few months of my life in the jungle, I have actually lived a few months of my life there," he further added. Taking a pause, he continued,



I've learnt from the dog to be loyal.

I've learnt from the rhinoceros that no matter how ugly you are, there is some quality in you.

I've learnt from lion that every group has a head - an influencer.

I've learnt from owl that you may sleep during the day and still work/enjoy at night.

I've learnt from monkey that there would be people to imitate you. If they do, don't go nuts.

I've learnt from elephant that no matter how giant you are, even the tiniest of thing can disturb you.

Finally, I've learnt from zebra that sometimes you're just plain black and white. You don't know what to do.


"While you may think I am the same, I am not. You may think I am the same, I am not."

 P.S.: Here "jungle" refers to life changing experience and "animals" refer to social animals a.k.a. friends.

If you have already cleared your Post Graduation or Graduation, you would be able to relate the story to your experience in the college. If you're still appearing for some competitive exams and seeking a seat in a college, you will experience this. Even if you're doing your own business or job, you will still be able to relate it. If not, see here:

The dog teaches us to be loyal - being loyal to our friends, our studies, our work, our jobs.

The rhinoceros teaches us that no matter how ugly you are, there is some quality in you - we all have one ugly friend but damn he has got that one quality which makes us forget that he is ugly.

The lion teaches us that every group has a head - an influencer - one of your friends or employees is always able to influence the entire group to do something crazy, something weird, something new.

The owl teaches us that you may sleep during the day and still work/enjoy at night - we may need to work for 12 hours a day, how does it matter if it's the first-half or second-half?

The monkey teaches us that there would be people to imitate you. If they do, don't go nuts - your friends may copy your dressing sense or your employees may copy your working style, why should you be worried? This shows that they like something in you.

The elephant teaches us that no matter how giant you are, even the tiniest of thing can disturb you - no matter how good you are at your work, you need to do something new always else someone will outrank you.

The zebra teaches us that sometimes you're just plain black and white. You don't know what to do - sometimes you're just stuck between mind and heart and don't know what to do. Go ask your friends, mentor or relatives, find out pros and cons of the two things and act accordingly.

The story is for all entrepreneurs, college students, aspirants - go learn from your experiences. CATapp is not only building products, we are building an experience. Live it here.


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Ashish Chowdhary | Wednesday 7 November 2012 ( 0 Comment)

 CAT exam is one of the toughest management entrance exams in the world. CAT exam tests various skills in a candidate passing which, the candidate secures an admission into the prestigious IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management). The IIMs are known to produce top-class managers. With the changing demands of the world-class organisations, the managers are required to be equipped with various skills and devise their own strategies to tackle the situations. The IIMs know this very well and perhaps this is the reason for the IIMs changing the pattern of CAT exam regularly.


Changing CAT Patterns Over the Years

We, at CATapp, present below a bird's eye view of the changing CAT exam patterns and see the impact of the latest changed pattern of CAT exam (CAT 2011).




The Skills Tested by CAT from 1994 to 2011

Over these two decades, the IIMs have shifted their focus from speed to accuracy, from saving time to managing time, from being Jack of all (and probably master of none) to being master at one, from IIMs being dominated by engineers to giving equal chance to non-engineers to be in the IIMs, from decreasing the questions to increasing the time, and finally from being simple questions to being logic based test. Two most significant changes in CAT patterns that we can see are:

  1. CAT is increasingly becoming a test of logic alone.
  2. While the range of skills tested at CAT are still limited to 10th standard, the level of logic tested has increased tremendously.

CAT 2011 Paper Pattern

Considering the CAT 2011 paper, the pattern is a welcome change by many stakeholders. IIMs have tested how the candidates would strategise when they have only two sections. The two sections at CAT 2011 were:

  1. Section 1: Quantitative Ability (QA) and Data Interpretation (DI)
  2. Section 2: Verbal Ability (VA) and Logical Reasoning (LR)

Each section comprised of 30 questions with 70 minutes. The total duration of CAT 2011 was 140 minutes (a 5 minutes increase over CAT 2010). The specific weak areas for any candidate were at advantage due to combination of areas. This enabled the IIMs to enhance the diversity of student background.


Regular changes in the CAT exam patterns is keeping the coaching institutes on their toes. CATapp being a mobile app, is very well adapted to change rapidly with changing patterns since there is no infrastructure cost involved. Download our CATapp mobile application on your Android smartphone today, if you haven't done already.

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Ashish Chowdhary | Wednesday 7 November 2012 ( 0 Comment)

What if you're asked a question and you don't have an answer to it, but you know that the answer to the question would decide your future? Probably you'll give a bizarre expression, think a lot and finally give up, bluff or straightaway say "I don't know". When you know that answering a question is critical, the only thing that can save you is the way you tackle the question. There are many qualities that a B-school looks for in a candidate. Among all, perhaps, the most important quality is presence of mind. 

Simply stated, presence of mind is the ability to think quickly, act wisely and solve the problems using the available resources. But why is so much stress laid on presence of mind during personal interviews after B-School exams such at CAT? 

Why is presence of mind so important during the personal interviews and in jobs or businesses

IIMs want students who don't just think out-of-the-box but also act outside the box. Presence of mind can really save you when you're in unforeseen trouble, when you want to impress someone, when you want to make the ambiance lighter, when you want to do something spontaneously, etc. The mind may wander here and there and hence it's necessary for mind to be alert and present. Here's a nice anecdote:

"A person I know in Bengaluru had a habit of reaching late to his college everyday. A few days passed, a few weeks passed, a few months passed - everyday he would come late to the class and would produce new reasons. One day he was late by almost an hour to the class. He asked the cab (rickshaw) driver to directly take the rickshaw inside the college premises. As soon as he got down, the Dean of the college was waiting for him. The Dean was very furious on him as today he was able to catch him red-handed. 

But before he could vent out his anger, my friend said, "Sir 500 ka change he, rickshaw wale ko dene he? (Sir, do you have change of 500 Rs., need to give to the cab driver) The Dean burst out laughing and all his anger drained down." My friend's presence of mind saved him from scolding.

Intelligence is useless if it's not backed by presence of mind. No wonder why presence of mind is a necessity during personal interviews of B-schools and in the life thereafter. 

How to Increase Presence of Mind

"The only thing that grows with human's age is human's mind." 

Having said this, how do you enhance your presence of mind? While there is no sure-shot method of increasing presence of mind, here are a few things that one can do to increase presence of mind and increase the chances of getting selected during personal interviews for b-school admissions or jobs:

  • Read a lot - comics, funny quotes and anecdotes
  • Solve a lot of puzzles - Doesn't matter whether or not you are appearing for any exam or job, presence of mind is required at all ages. Here is one link to get daily puzzles.
  • Make your mind stable through meditation or concentration
  • Take part in discussions on various topics
  • Play a lot of games

Here's a few presence of mind questions that got some people a coveted position in respected institutions (try yourself before scrolling down for the answers):

1) How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?

A. Concrete floors are very hard to crack! (UPSC Topper)

2) If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?

A. No time at all it is already built. (UPSC 23rd Rank opted for IFS)

[This could have been considered as Work and Time problem as well which is tested at the CAT]

3) If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?

A. It will be Wet or Sink as simple as that. (UPSC IAS Rank 2)

4) What looks like half apple ?

A: The other half. (UPSC - IAS Topper )

5) Bay of Bengal is in which state?

A: Liquid (UPSC 33 Rank)

Do share if you have more "Presence of Mind" questions.

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Ashish Chowdhary | Wednesday 7 November 2012 ( 0 Comment)

Many people appearing for various MBA exams are plagued with questions like "how to start MBA preparation", or "MBA preparation tips", or "smarter ways to excel in an MBA exam", etc. So I thought to compile a list that would help students to crack MBA exams like CAT in a smarter way as well as help them in their career after MBA degree. Here are 8 ways (you can say 'tips') in an MBA life - pre MBA, during MBA and post MBA:

  1. Let your Mobile do your Work: Mobile phones have really become smarter - perhaps, that is the reason we have what we call "smart phones". When you're preparing for MBA, there are many other things that you need to do apart from remembering the schedule of MBA exams, venues, last date of filling the forms, etc. That is why a smarter way to excel in MBA exams is to let your mobile do the work of remembering the dates of, let us say, CAT 2012, venue of CAT 2012, last date of filling the CAT 2012 forms, etc. You can subscribe to some websites that would remind you about the important dates.

    You can avail of mobile apps like CATapp for CAT 2012 preparation, reminders to remind you of anything, and other apps that would take care of the rest and allow you to focus on your preparation.

  2. One Puzzle a Day: One puzzle a day opens your mind in every way. Puzzles not only improve your logical skills, it also helps you to look at things from different angles. This is really helpful for cracking the quantitative and data interpretation questions in MBA entrance exams. This can also sharpen your brain and help you analyze things in a better way. 

  3. Vedic Mathematics: The quickest way to solve a problem in MBA entrance exams like CAT is to be able to do calculations quickly and correctly. In 1977, Shakuntala Devi, the "human computer", calculated the 23rd root of a 201 digit number 12 seconds faster than the fastest super computer then (Univac-1108)* If you need to crack MBA exams, this is a must for you. Speed and skill are equally important in MBA entrance exams. Vedic Mathematics helps you do calculations faster than solving it on computer, let alone paper. If practiced regularly, it can really be helpful in Quantitative and Data Interpretation section.

  4. Talk to Toppers: 'Agar bada ban na he to bade logo se baat to karni padegi'. One very smart way to excel in MBA exams or become big in life is to follow the footsteps of the toppers in those fields or people who have been there and done it. You can know the strategy of toppers, how they managed pressure, how they were able to reach there, and most importantly what to do and what not to do if you want to achieve something.

    Steve Jobs in his eighth grade decided to build a frequency counter for a school project and needed some parts to complete it. Someone suggested that he call Bill Hewlett. He sifted through the telephone directory and found a William Hewlett in it. The 12-year-old Jobs called up and asked, "Is this the Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard?" "Yes," replied Bill. Jobs made his request. Bill was intrigued enough to spend nearly half an hour with Jobs over the phone. Several days later, Jobs went to HP and picked up a bag full of parts that Bill himself had put together for him.Subsequently, Jobs landed a summer job at HP.

  5. Read Daily: This habit will take you to heights no matter what you do - MBA, job or business. Firstly it improves your communication skills, secondly it enhances your knowledge, thirdly it increases your confidence and fourthly it helps you take informed decisions in your career. Reading can include newspapers, magazines, articles, etc.

  6. Engage in Discussions: Brainstorming is probably the best tool to see where you stand. It can help you crystallise your idea, give you more inputs on a subject, increase your confidence and help you face people. This is really useful in your group discussions, team meetings, launching a new product/service, etc. The more you discuss with people, the crispier your thought process becomes.

  7. Manage People/Business: College is probably the best time to start a business. It doesn't really matter if you have a cool idea or not, because whether you fail or succeed you have your friends to help, professors to mentor and college premises to give you roof to stay.

    If you're working somewhere, manage a team and lead them well. This will help you add credentials to your resume as well as give you confidence of doing MBA or job/business successfully. If you don't get a chance to manage a team, then form a team and organise an event. This way you will be on your own and managing a team.

  8. Take a Break and Think:  Introspection is better than retrospection. All your efforts are a waste if you don't think what you need to do further and how you can improve what you did the last time. We all are so busy with routine chores that we rarely take time out and see deep inside ourselves. We all have immense potential inside us. All we need is to take a break and think how we can improve our lives. This is important because it rejuvenates your mind, it helps you think from a new perspective,  it helps you apply your mind to newer ideas and it helps you focus on other things too.

This article is not just another article in the series of tips to crack CAT and other MBA exams. All the 8 tips are coherently arranged above after taking inspiration from the lives of many successful people. Here is a figure representing these 8 smarter ways to excel as an MBA - pre MBA, during MBA and post MBA:


8 Tips to Excel as an MBA

Hope this helps all the MBA aspirants.

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Ashish Chowdhary | Wednesday 7 November 2012 ( 0 Comment)

Anyone who is thinking to write one of the toughest MBA exams in India - the Common Admission Test (CAT) conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management- must be thinking to burn the midnight oil to crack the CAT. But there are better approaches. Read below to know the best approach to crack the CAT exam.

Why is CAT considered to be the mother of all MBA exams?

  • Is it because the IIMs only want the elites to be a part of their college?
  • Is it because IIMs expect you to cram a lot in order to bell the CAT?
  • Is it because the IIMs want to prove that they are the best in the country and no one else can produce an exam as tough as they can?

No. In fact, graduates from any stream can write the CAT and the range of skills tested at CATare of the level of 10th standard. CAT appears tough not because it is tough, but because one does not prepare for the skills being tested at the CAT. Once the logic is in place, CAT would appear to be a simple exam.

CAT does not expect one to solve every question mechanically but logically. No matter how fast one is at Mathematics and reading, logic and interpretation is what are needed to crack the CAT exam. The level of logic tested at the CAT is, indeed, of very high order. Hence, the best approach to crack the CAT exam is to go and see what is asked in the previous papers of CAT. Only real questions from the past CAT papers can give one an idea of what the CAT is really designed to test. There is unnecessary hoopla about solving the mock papers. Why not solve the original papers when the IIMs itself have made them available? No other MBA colleges in India are as transparent as the IIMs in terms of making the original papers available for use by MBA aspirants.

CAT is not unpredictable. In fact, the IIMs itself say it loud of what they want from students by making their papers available in the public domain. The IIMs expect you to be world class managers and not someone who can cram well and read fast. You have to devise your own formulae and solve the problems. There is nothing tried and tested that will ever work at the CAT. Only your logical skills can help you sail your boat.

Keeping this in mind, we present you CATapp - the first of its kind mobile application that makes all the original papers of CAT available right on the mobile phones. Original CAT papers from 1994 to 2008 are available in test format with lucid solution to over 500 questions. So now you can get the feel of CAT exam right on your Android or iPhones/iPods/iPads. See the solutions and you will realise that in very rare occasions would a mathematical formula come in handy.

No matter what the pattern of CAT is, the level of logic required is increasing. Solve all the original papers of CAT, by using CATapp, to crack the CAT exam.

Good luck!! And yeah we would love to hear from you at [email protected]

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