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CAT 2009 Review -
December 1st, 2009
Rumors, gossips, media firing all cylinders, students cribbing & complaining, faculties trying to motivate their students …. All this started on 28th November 2009 and will continue till 7th December, and who knows maybe even after 7th December.
IIMs are having a hard-hitting time with servers crashing all over India & their reputation in serious danger. While IIMs outsourced the Online Testing Project to Prometric, Prometric till date has done every possible thing to mess up the entire proceedings. I understand that the platform is a huge one and that no one is perfect. But this is not about perfection; this is a question about the future of CAT being online. Is it a question of misplaced trust on IIMs part or is it a question of clumsy execution on Prometric’s part? However we will leave all these for a moment and concentrate on the big game CAT.
Tutorial (optional) : Duration - 15 minutes. My personal suggestion that, you should go through the tutorial once, even if you have seen it before.
Test Duration : The actual duration of the test is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Sections covered : Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Ability, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning but not necessarily in that order.
Test Format and pattern : A total of 60 questions with 20 from each section. The break up is 20 + 20 + 20
Negative Marking : Though not mentioned on the day of the exam, the IIM DEMO player does state that “Wrong answer carries negative marks”. Therefore you would be in a better position if you answer every question correctly. If you are unsure of your answer, you can MARK the question for review if time permits. However, the marks per question & the actual negative marking is not known hence it is of no use to speculate about the cut-offs.
Highlighting Text: You can highlight text in group questions like RCs. You can make multiple highlights in a particular screen, which gets erased once you move to the next screen.
Reviewing Questions : You can mark a question to come back to it later. You can then Review either all the questions or review only the marked questions or review only the incomplete questions. The review shows a list of all the questions, but it will not directly give you a count of the questions attempted or to be attempted. You will need to manually count the number of questions for such data. So the Online CAT interface is not a very user-friendly one. You will have to live & adjust with this fact.
Rough Work : Pencils, eraser and a paper booklet of 4 A4 size papers will be provided. You will not be allowed to take your own stationary into the computer lab. In case of broken or blunt pencil points, your pencil will be replaced immediately.
The END Button : If you click the END button at the bottom of the screen, you are immediately logged out of the test. There is no popup box asking you whether you are sure about quitting the test. This button is very close to the NEXT button. Hence, while giving the test DO NOT click on the End button at any point of time, other wise your Game is Over. Also when you click on the review button and the pop up appears; you will once again see the END button. This END button does not end the review but it will end the test, so make sure that you keep away from this button.
Exam Timer : The timer is present on the screen at all time and shows the time remaining till the end of the test. Wrist watches are not allowed into the computer lab. At the end of the test, when your time runs out, you will be automatically logged out of the test and a screen with “You have run out of time” text will be visible.
WHAT WAS NOT STATED ?: (1) Weightage of a question was not mentioned (2) Till now there have been 60 questions (20 x3 format) but there is no guarantee that it will the same structure in the coming days (3) Amount of negative marking has not been mentioned.
PERSONAL ADVICE : Here are a few wisdom nuggets from my kitty:
1. As marking system or pattern is unknown, the best possible strategy that can be applied is to attempt as many questions as possible without compromising on accuracy.
2. I agree that the level of difficulty of CAT was not as high as expected. But cribbing about that is not going to help. Instead frame your line of action according to it. Hence attempting more questions correctly will give you a definite edge over others.
3. It is recommended that a break up of 40 minutes for Verbal, 45 minutes for Quant and 50 minutes for DI LR is optimum. (This is the generalviewpoint of the paper)
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