Month: November 2019

CAT 2019 Analysis: Same bottle, stronger wine

The last time I took the CAT was in 2017 when I was heading IMS Pune (I had to go all the way to Nasik to take the test, and that was the reason I was fed up and did not take the test last year. This year I took the test yesterday in the afternoon slot at Pune, after two years of not teaching at all and the rustiness was more than visible. The toughest Verbal section in a while At an overall level, keeping the whole test-taking population in mind, the Verbal section was definitely one of the toughest in recent years. One of the big reasons for the toughness was the nature of the passages itself. Pound for pound, each of the passages was tougher to read than those of the preceding years. When students used to fret over the Verbal in the SimCATs, I used to feel that they will find the actual CAT easy, but this year in terms of the passages and the questions the CAT was as tough …

Are you ready for a real test?

From very early on in our lives we are exposed (or subjected) to this word called TEST. As we enter the higher grades, the role that TESTS play or are supposed to play in our lives steadily increases. If we look back, for most of us, tests have always been part of a trinity, they have always been concomitant with two other things —  fear and prayer. At some point of time all of us, when faced with a test (including yours truly), have felt at the least a sliver of fear running through our bodies prior to a test and even most unbelieving of us have muttered a tiny little prayer under our breaths.

Getting ready for CAT D-day

I did something yesterday that I do not normally do (a few colleagues have been asking me to do this for a long time) — make a video log. Marshall McLuhan, a visionary sage whose predictions and analyses have mostly stood the test of time, famously said that the medium is the message. What he meant is that the nature of the medium ends up changing or determining the message. One of the reasons why I have never done a video log is that in a visual medium the focus is on engaging the eyes of the viewer — photography, ads, movies — and my message is just words. So no wonder that after editing the video my colleague came and told me that at 40 minutes it is way too long and asked me if I can tone it down to 4 minutes! I ended up giving him a short sermon — if my goal is to engage the eyes of the students then I have to start performing in front of the camera, …

How to manage your 180 minutes

We have reached the last stretch now. If you are in a track and field race, you have turned the last curve and hit the straight. We have done enough concepts, practice & strategy. We have now crossed an invisible frontier, we have moved from the general to the specific, from what is outside of you to what is inside of you, to that space between your ears. Those who have taken the CAT before will attest that how well you manage your 180 minutes, how well you react to tough set or a section, how well you are able to execute Plan A or switch to Plan B, everything, depends on how well you manage the space between your ears. So let’s take it section by section, let’s look at each of the 60 minutes, let’s look at what you need to do right, what you need to watch out for and most importantly what can go wrong.

CAT 2019 Miscellany: Morning Slot, Nervous Insomnia

I was (though I should not have been) surprised that the post on the afternoon slot blues elicited requests for a post on how to handle the morning slot for those who are not morning people at all. It is natural that given the binary nature of tendencies at a broad level, for every aspirant who is a morning person there will be a corresponding night owl. I can’t say I have a cure for this but I can put forward a tentative plan that those uncomfortable with a morning slot can try out over the next few weeks. Personally, I am not a morning person either, I would call myself a mid-morning person (I work best between 11 and 2). My natural time to wake up without an alarm (irrespective of when I sleep) is 7, the real waking up time is between 7:30 and 8:00.  Whenever I have to wake up earlier than 7, usually to catch an early morning flight, I end up not sleeping that well since I am aware of having …