CAT 2018 Convener’s advice to MBA aspirants

CAT 2018 Convener Prof. SumantaBasu shares important information about CAT 2018 exam and also gives advice to the MBA aspirants who are planning to take the exam this year. Right from total number of registrations to CAT exam pattern, type and format of questions in CAT 2018 exam, and IIMs drive to promote gender diversity on the campuses.

CAT 2018 Convener’s advice to MBA aspirants
CAT 2018 Convener’s advice to MBA aspirants

CAT 2018 Convener Prof Sumanta Basu in conversation with

Extracts from the interview:

Number of registrations for CAT 2018 Exam

The total number of CAT 2018 applications that we have received this year stands at more than 2.41 lakhs. It is higher than the number of applications we received last year which was approximately in the range of 2.3 Lakhs. So there is definitely an increase in the number of applicants. However, this count is before we check the duplicate applications, but overall there is definitely an increase in CAT 2018 registrations.

CAT 2018 Exam Pattern & Difficulty Level

The CAT committeeis really not in favor of changing the examination pattern altogether. However, what we seek is to develop an exam that understands the managerial capability and analytical thinking of the candidates. Hence, we are looking towards more fundamental issues related to the questions instead of changing the pattern altogether. We have analyzed the results of the last year’s CAT and accordingly the concerned committee found suitable recommendations for this year’s CAT exam. But, yes, we are not changing the pattern and that does not mean that we are changing the complexity altogether, we are more focused on the fundamentals of every question instead of changing the pattern.

Level Playing field for Engineers and Non-Engineers

The CAT syllabus primarily contains topics which are there till class 10 so in a way the syllabus assigned for the CAT examination creates a level playing field for both, engineers and non-engineers. As far as the examination pattern and the question type are concerned, we do not want any question to be biased towards engineers; that does not mean the difficulty level will change and so on. But the problem context will be familiar for both, engineers and non-engineers. Hence the non-engineers will not struggle as far as understanding the question is concerned but analysis of the question again depends on one’s knowledge and analytical skills and the understanding that one developsof the fundamental concepts that are covered until Class 10.

On Releasing the CAT 2018 Question Paper

Information regarding this will be released by October 18. Currently, we are in the process of finalizing the decision and are hopeful that we’ll be able to do the same as it was done the last year.

Advice to MBA aspirants/CAT 2018 test-takers

Primarily, work on your fundamentals and find out the fundamentals behind each question and don’t rely upon patterns either in the questions or sections. Understand what you are expected to do in every question. Also try to decide the logic behind each question instead of simply trying to solve the problem to answer the question. Picking the right questions and attempting it correctly will play a pivotal role in your success. Because, selecting a question that you are unsure about will only result in negative marking.

So, the three things that every CAT test-taker must focus on are

  1. Selection of the right questions
  2. Attempting the question correctly
  3. Picking the right option from the answer choices

Simply put, instead of chasing numbers or attempting a higher number of questions, attempting the right number of questions correctly holds the key to the CAT exam. Go for questions for which you have conceptual clarity of the fundamentals; for example,Arithmetic progression, Geometric Progression in Arithmetic; instead of trying to attempt 10 questions of a similar difficulty level. Try to figure out the internal logic instead of covering a variety of questions that will help students prepare well in a focused manner.

Role of Educational websites in helping MBA aspirants make informed choices

Currently, wherever India stands as far as management education is concerned, I believe that it has a three stage process which starts from the admission from where the inputs come then it goes to the educational institutes like IIMs and goes beyond that and then finally those participants who are getting absorbed into the industry.This is an on-going process. So, of course, as of now we have a significant number of educational institutes that contribute to management education and we are able to do it successfully for about the past 50 years as the older IIMs and they are pioneers in education so where we feel there is a requirement towards the input side.From my position, admissions play a significant role in getting the right set of candidates whom we desire to be in the management position as long aspiration, analytical capability, decision making capability delivery point of view.So all those things are required and everything cannot be taught in a management institute in a shorter time frame. So we need good input to the institute as well and for that we need good aggregator organizations who will come up and bridge this gap, there is a significant gap between whatever is the input from the market and whatever management education desires in India. And, hopefully if there are organizations who can come up and spread the knowledge to the prospective candidates and who are yet to be prospective have sufficient capability and competency to be absorbed in a management field then it would be advantageous for the nation as well as for management education in India. So we feel that in this premise there should be educational institutes and educational platforms or websites that will bridge this gap in terms of the fact that there is a market potential and there is a requirement as far as the industry is concern, so we need those knowledge aggregators along with the websites so we can connect to the competent and enable supply side to the demand side that the market desires.

About the Expert

Prof. Sumanta Basu is faculty – Operations Management Group, IIM Calcutta. Currently, he also chairs the admissions office at IIM Calcutta. This year, IIM Calcutta has been assigned the responsibility to convene CAT 2018 and Dr. Basu has been appointed as CAT 2018 Convenor. Prior to joining IIM Calcutta he has served as Assistant Professor – Operations Management Group at XLRI, Jamshedpur.

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