Until this year, engineering students have been dominating the campus of top B-schools in India. The common theory is that MBA aspirants from the engineering background have a better chance of cracking the Quant section due to their familiarity with mathematical concepts. However, with the recent buzz of the IIMs emphasising more upon bringing academic and gender diversity on their campus; non-engineering MBA aspirants has been smiling from ear to ear. But, despite all the best efforts on the part of top management institutes of India; CAT still remains the key differentiator when it comes to the final selection to IIMs and other top B-schools in India.
However, as future business leaders, CAT 2016 aspirants are required to solve this problem as well with an innovative strategy. Here, we have presented some of the key factors that non-engineering MBA aspirants can employ to ‘bell the CAT’ this year.
One of the biggest criticisms against CAT has always been their prime prominence accorded to the Quantitative Ability (QA) section in the exam format. However, it’s a common misconception that the Quant section of CAT 2016 helps engineering students more over others. The Quantitative Aptitude section is designed using basic concepts of mathematics that are learnt by all students until Class 10. The common topics or mathematical concepts that are covered in the quant section include trigonometry, time- speed-distance, number system, basic arithmetic, proportionality tools, algebra and geometry. The only difference here is that the questions are asked in a complex way which makes the application of these basic concepts a bit difficult.
calculations that engineering students are used to are way more complex compared to what the CAT questions will focus. So, the application of these concepts will be equally problematic for them as well.
As a rule of thumb, non-engineering candidates must follow three basic steps to solve any quant related question in CAT 2016:
- Step 1: Understanding the question
- Step 2: Analysis of the requirements for the answer and deciding the method
- Step 3: Solving the problem
While familiarity and comfort with basic mathematical concepts certainly help in solving Quant questions in CAT 2016 but that is not the only thing that matters. In addition this, candidates should also be able to perform under pressure, must be adaptable and flexible to situations, have exceptional observational skills and should be able to comprehend the questions at hand. These qualities can only be developed through repeated attempts and practice.
If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, then the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation sections will surely appeal to you. While, many engineering and non-engineering MBA aspirants tend to take this section quite lightly, it is surely one of the toughest one to crack. Being a skill oriented section and not a knowledge oriented section; DI/LR doesn’t hold any advantage for engineering students. Because it is skill based, this section requires a lot of practice and ability to deliver performance under time pressure.
Just like the quant section, even the DI/LR section deals primarily with basic concepts like proportionality tool, percentages, averages and alligations. However, because you would be dealing with a lot of data, comfort with fast calculation, familiarity with shortcuts that can save some valuable time play a very important role in championing this section. If you are a Vedic Mathematics, DI section can be quite fun for you.
Another aspect that can help you during your DI section would be to focus more on the interpretation of the data rather than lengthy calculations. The prime requirement for DI questions is to infer key assumptions from the given data; how you arrive at them is not really under scrutiny. To tackle DI section questions, you might want to practice application maxima-minima concepts to different problems, logical reasoning and comprehension ability.
As far as Logical Reasoning is concerned, fluency in core concepts like binary logic, circular arrangements, order & sequencing, linear arrangement and others might play a very important role. To crack LR puzzles, you should rely upon three tried and tested tools i.e., comprehension, interpretation and case analysis. You should also try your hands at Venn diagrams, cubes and puzzle games to improve your chances.
Everyone including the top 1% MBA aspirants that score above 99.9 percentile would agree that VARC is one of the most neglected sections when it comes to CAT 2016. And if you are a non-engineering student vying for a seat in India’s top B-schools, it should come as good news to you. As a person who is more comfortable with non-technical questions, Verbal and Reading Comprehension should be one aspect that can easily act as your biggest strength. If you focus on your strength well enough, it will help you to cover up some of the limitations from the other two sections.
In general, all the competitive exams including CAT 2016, are a test of your ability to perform under pressure. Therefore, the key thing to keep in mind is to manage your time well, practices rigorously, build upon your strengths and eradicate your weaknesses. Remember, the top MBA colleges in India are looking for a problem-solver that has the winning combination of skills and aptitude to become a successful business leader.
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