We are on the eve of SimCAT 1 and a lot of students (mostly first-time CAT-takers) are apprehensive and understandably so, about taking it. Over the years we have found the self-same reasons that induce this fear, and this post is geared towards addressing them.
#1: I Have Not Finished The Concepts Yet
This is probably the biggest reason why first-time CAT-takers who have just started the CAT prep are hesitant to take the first SimCAT. They tell themselves that they will start taking tests once they finish learning the concepts.
Firstly, this is not a school/college test where taking a test means memorizing formulae from a book and reproducing them in an exam.
Cracking the CAT is only 50 percent about knowing concepts, 50 percent is about knowing how to take a test — managing the 60 minutes of a section, gauging the difficulty of questions and choosing the right questions to solve.
Test-taking is a skill that can be honed only through taking as many SimCATs as possible. So if you decide to skip a few SimCATs till you have covered the concepts, you might still perform poorly whenever you take your first SimCAT since you do not know how to take a test!
So even if you feel you do not know a thing, go ahead, take the test and solve whatever you can!
#2: I Do Not Want To See A Poor Score
There is nothing called a poor score, only percentiles matter.
Those who are re-taking the CAT or are aware of CAT folklore, would know that in CAT 2013, a test-taker with a score of 0 would have secured the 55th percentile. Imagine, even if you slept through the whole test you would still have done better than 55 percent of the test-takers!
In the same CAT (2013), one of our students attempted only 16 questions in each of the sections and secured a 99.89 percentile (and did his MBA from IIM-C).
Whereas in 2014 the CAT was a relatively easy and test-takers had to get a much higher number of questions right to hit the 99th percentile.
So, even if you attempt only 15-20 questions in each section and get 12-15 questions right on SimCAT 1, you will still get a respectable percentile on your first outing.
#3: CAT is tough and I am aiming at other tests
Most students want to do an MBA from a decent school and are probably looking at cracking tests that have a reputation to be easier than the CAT.
If you imagine all the MBA entrance tests in India to be stacked up on a dart board, then CAT is the bulls-eye. And anyone who have ever tried his/her hand at darts would know that you should always practice by aiming at the bulls-eye.
By giving your best shot at CAT you automatically put yourself in a position to maximize your chances on the non-CAT tests for there are very few people who prepare for the CAT alone.
Serious aspirants would be aiming at the IIMs and taking other tests as a back-up, so even if you do not aspire to ace the CAT, you will be competing with those who do and having prepared for it they will give you a run for your money on the non-CAT tests.
If there is one thing that all test-takers should keep in mind during the whole test-taking season it is this — Never Miss A SimCAT.
SimCATs offer you the best possible simulation of the CAT in terms of test-structure and level of difficulty, so you should always be not just ready but greedy to take a SimCAT.
All the best!