CAT 2013 – First Day, First Slot experience
Now that CAT has stabilized in terms of content and delivery over the last four years and with other exams pulling up their socks in terms of difficulty levels, the quality of CAT 2013 was keenly anticipated. However, CAT 2013 has more or less maintained the standards set in terms of style, break-up and difficulty level that I encountered in 2011 and 2012.
I am generally one of the common first day, first slot CAT takers every year. Maintaining this trend, I took CAT again in the morning slot on 16th October 2013.
I will not be able to analyse the test in detail (in terms of chapter break up) or reveal question types due to the Prometric NDA, but let me take you through some of the points that you should keep in mind, based on my experience.
- Reach the exam centre well in advance, and if possible visit it beforehand. An earlier visit helps if you have your own vehicle (like me), from a parking point of view (which can be troublesome at a lot of centres). Even though my centre was quite close to my residence, I had to run around to find parking as our centres didn’t allow vehicles inside the campus. If possible, use public transport or get someone to drop you at the centre.
- Please make it a point TO CARRY ATLEAST 2 PHOTO IDS in original. My recommendation would be to show the photo-ID where your photograph resembles you the closest. While any valid photo-ID should not be a problem, some Prometric staff members have their own “set of standards and rules” and refuse to accept a photo-ID if they feel that the photograph does not match. The supervisor at my centre felt that “my eyes were not clear enough” on my PAN card and so I had to show my driving license as well. There is no point arguing with them over these things as it will only increase your stress levels. Rather, carry an extra ID proof. Also, if you are planning to show your college ID card as a photo-id, please carry one more photo-ID as some centres are accepting this as valid proof while some are not.
- While my centre allowed us to deposit our bags in a separate room, other centres may not. So, take only as much material as you seriously need. Also, you will not be allowed to take anything inside the test lab, except your admit card and one identity proof. So, there is no point in loading yourself with too much stuff. On a related note, some test labs can be extremely cold or you may land right below a powerful AC. So, it may be a wise decision to carry a jacket or wear appropriate clothing so as not to hamper your test.
- Once the biometrics process was completed and we were made to check-in in the respective lab, we had to endure a wait of more than an hour. This is in fact, the worst part of the entire experience as we could not even talk to our neighbours. We were allowed to take toilet and water breaks till 9:30 a.m. post which neither was allowed. Have your breakfast and refreshments accordingly. These rules apply in the second slot as well. So, those in the second slot would do well to have a light lunch.
- Our tutorial started at 10 a.m. and this entire exercise was done in a very professional manner. Coming to the tutorial now, this is a critical part of the entire process. Please make it a point to go through this tutorial, as it gave a complete overview of each screen and was extremely helpful. The tutorial is the same as the previous years. However, even if you have taken CAT earlier (and are familiar with the tutorial), please go through to it in detail. This will not only familiarize you with the screens and features but also help you relax. Finally, in our lab, we were not allowed to start the test even if we ended the tutorial early. Everyone had to start the test at the same time i.e. 10:15 a.m. So, skipping the tutorial didn’t really help people.
- Like the last four years, once the tutorial ends, you will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement within 5 minutes. Since the agreement is just a 2-line declaration, this should not take too much of your time. Please ensure that you have signed this within 5 minutes, else your test will end at this stage itself.
- In section I (QA + DI), the quality of questions in my test was very good and was in line with the questions that I saw in CAT 2012. Not only did the questions test the application of concepts in most of the expected areas but they also checked the knowledge of basic formulae and properties in some not-so-common areas. This necessitates that your preparation in these last few days be focused more towards revision of concepts and basic theory.
- My opinion on section I was that the QA questions were more challenging compared to last year and definitely involved knowledge of core-concepts. A lot of questions combined concepts from multiple chapters and tested basics of those chapters. I had one question where one option was incomplete. When I raised this issue, I was told that the question “had been set by PhD.s and was therefore correct”. However, I was told to mention on the scratch pad that the question was incomplete. However, there were at least 3-4 absolute sitters also.
- The DI questions were definitely time consuming but manageable. However, I found at least 3-4 DI questions where smart calculations and conversion of percentages to fractions helped me solve the questions fairly quickly.
- On the other hand, the LR questions were quite simple in my test. All the sets were standard and solving them did not take more than 20-25 minutes. However, I felt that one question did not have correct options. I checked with a few students who also felt the same.
- I found Verbal Ability slightly better (in terms of quality) compared to CAT 2012. However, most questions types were similar to CAT 2012. There were just a couple of new question types. As such, I was able to attempt all the questions in around half an hour.
- An important thing to note is that both section I and II had a reasonable representation from DI and LR respectively. While I may not be able to disclose exact numbers due to the NDA requirements, the proportion was the same as what we have used in our iCATs. Also, the proportion of DI and LR was the same as CAT 2012.
- I felt that both the sections had a good mix of a few sitters, medium level questions and some difficult to very difficult questions as well. In such a situation, scanning the section will definitely help you. I scanned each section in around 5-6 minutes and could identify 6-7 questions that seemed simple. Using this approach, I managed to attempt around 22 questions in section I with a reasonably high accuracy (I am confident of around 20 questions) and attempt all 30 questions in section II with a very high accuracy (I am confident of around 25 questions). As such, while I felt that my test was good, it was definitely challenging.
Wish You All the Very Best for CAT 2013!