CAT 2009 – Second Day, Second Slot Experience
|- By Ketaki (Content Expert, TestFunda)|
This an article written by Ketaki from the TestFunda Content team about her experience attempting the CAT on the second day.
There are two ways to make a test difficult. Make the questions difficult or make the testing conditions difficult. Looks like the IIMs resorted to the latter this year.
I had my test on 29th November at 3:30 pm at Byculla. I reached the centre at 1:00 pm to find the gates of the venue closed. There were reporters and cameramen from a couple of news channels waiting for some bad news in order to generate TRPs for their channel. Many candidates willingly talked to them. I opted to stay away from them.
Gates opened at 1:30 pm and we were asked to deposit all our belongings barring our vouchers, admit cards, mobile phones and money purses at the watchman’s cabin. Understandably, not many candidates were happy about this but they had no choice. Our labs were on the 4th and 5th floors. The climb in was very tiring. We were asked to stand in a queue. After a long wait of about an hour, we were led to a small room where we were frisked and were asked to deposit our mobile phones and wrist watches. They stored these in transparent plastic pouches and gave us cards bearing token numbers corresponding to our pouch. (They frisked me, but forgot to take away my wrist watch.)
We then proceeded to queue up just outside our lab, where a bad piece of news came in. Tests in lab IILQ0 were to be rescheduled! We all reached out for our admit cards to check our lab numbers. Mine, fortunately, was not IILQ0. Those whose tests had been cancelled were justifiable annoyed and tensed and asked for reasons. The Prometric representative at the centre who had broken the bad news was extremely patient and politely explained to them that they had not been given any reasons for the rescheduling and that only Candidate Care at Prometric could give them any extra information. She went on to advise them to call Candidate Care only after 4:30 pm so that lines would be free by then. (This really did not make any sense; after so many server crashes and rescheduling, finding lines free was obviously very difficult.) The affected students had to leave the centre full of uncertainty and anxiety.
For students like me who were to take the test, a long wait followed. We stood in queues leading to our respective labs. The lab had not yet been opened. It was a hot Mumbai afternoon and everyone was thirsty. Most of us had left our water bottles at the gate. There was no drinking water in sight. In addition, the washrooms were stinking terribly and were unfit for human use. I had had a very light lunch so that I would not feel sleepy inside an air conditioned lab, but I had no idea that the wait would be so long and tiring. I started feeling dizzy. There was no place to sit outside the lab—the lab was in an under-construction building with floors full of cement—and I had no option but to keep standing till they let us in.
Students in the queue were getting restless. One of them asked a friendly looking Prometric representative what time it was. He playfully teased, “Kyon Big Boss jaisa lag raha hai na! Ghadi nahi, mobile nahi!” We all had a good laugh.
The lab doors finally opened at 2:30 pm. My turn to go in came sometime after 3:00 pm. I entered and was asked to sit for finger printing and then for a photograph. The staff at the college and the Prometric representatives were again very polite and friendly. The lab was very good. The AC temperature was just perfect. They had also provided water inside the lab, which unfortunately got over before I could reach it. I had no option but to stay thirsty.
Once I was seated at my PC, they gave me a scratch pad, two pencils and an eraser as promised. All the chairs in the lab, quite funnily, had only one arm rest. It took me some time to get used to not finding an arm rest on my left. Other than this, everything seemed perfect.
My test player started very soon. (This was after my scheduled time of 3:30 though.) I was asked to go through the tutorial if I wished to. I did go through it and found a dangerous looking button just to the left of the “Next” button in the demo test. It said “End Test”. I warned myself to be extra cautious while clicking on the “Next” button and not click “End Test” by mistake.
I proceeded to take the test soon after. The test, as everyone knows by now, was not CAT-like at all. The questions looked too simple. One or two questions were so simple that I just read the question and immediately clicked the answer. The thinking was over in a fraction of a second. At times I kept thinking whether I was missing some catch in the questions. (I am hoping I did not do that; only results will tell now.) I got completely engrossed in the test till about half way through the test I noticed both my neighbours trying to peep into my screen. It was quite annoying, but I suddenly realised that their tests had not even commenced. A quick glance around the lab told me that it was the same case with most computers inside the lab. I was plainly lucky that my test started and my God’s grace it continued performing well for the entire 2 hours and 15 minutes. However, I did not get a Log out screen at the end of the test. My screen instead showed a “Resume Test” button. The staff inside the lab said it was nothing to worry about and I am hoping it to be so.
Though my test went smoothly, the long wait outside the lab, coupled with hunger and thirst did affect my concentration adversely. To add to it the restlessness and noisiness among students, whose tests did not start, was disturbing at times. A very funny thing happened just as I completed my test. A lady started announcing admin passwords through a speaker. I am yet to figure out why that happened.
To conclude, my own experience of taking the test was not so good outside the lab, but was very good once inside. It unfortunately was not so for everyone in my batch though. The test was simple but the test taking conditions were not optimum and definitely affected my performance.
I would like to give a few tips to students who would be taking the test in the next few days.
- Please have a good meal before you reach the venue.
- Remember to carry water and some light snacks (fruits, dry fruits, chocolates) to keep yourself and your mind in an optimum condition to take the test.
- Be mentally prepared for a long wait.
- Don’t forget to carry your voucher and admit card. A candidate at my centre had mistakenly taken the application mail instead of the admit card. She had to call up home and ask for her lab number. She was allowed to take the test but all centres may not do so.
- Do not carry too many things with you. Leaving them at the gate keeps a part of your mind thinking about them all through the test.
- Last but not the least, avoid media people if you find them at your centre. They are generally very negative. Do not believe rumours. Get verified all that you hear around you from Prometric representatives.
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