Every year in the March-May period, a lot of CAT aspirants contemplate quitting their jobs to prepare for the CAT, this post is outlines the things that you need to consider before taking that call.
This is a question that I get asked often by students and a very important one at that — how do I build my profile? So before we get on to the answer, let us evaluate what elements of a profile are.
In the aftermath of the CAT, a lot of aspirants who did not make it will be contemplating their next move and the GMAT as an option will be looming large on the horizon. I feel that for those aspirants who have a stellar profile, more than 30 months of work experience as of now, and are aiming at top-tier colleges, the GMAT should definitely be an option to consider.
At this juncture, it doesn’t take a magician to see what kind of anxieties aspirants might be going through. A small fraction of you have got the calls you want and are all excited and nervous about the impending interviews or the results of the same, others have GD-PI calls but are not sure whether the b-schools that have given them the calls are really worth it, and still others knowing that this year is done have hit snooze mode till June. This post will primarily deal with the dilemma of those in between — to re-take or not to re-take the CAT. It is not an easy call to take but your task will become easy if you ask yourself the right questions and give the most honest answers you can to them.
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 …
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, …
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.