In the previous blog, we were talking about myths related to the exam and CAT coaching. Here, we will be continuing with specifically the myths related to CAT prep strategy and some other miscellaneous pish-tosh about CAT. As a reminder, we will reproduce the list of all myths and mistakes one more time here.
Myths about the exam
- CAT is a monster as everyone I know claims so. No.
- Which IIM conducts the CAT this year matters more than my life. No.
Myths related to CAT Coaching
- Joining a Coaching guarantees success. Nope.
- Should I worry about my Classmate scoring more than what I score? No.
Myths on CAT Prep Strategy
- Taking couple of mocks in the last few weeks is going to be enough. No.
- How many questions were required to obtain a 99th percentile in each section last year matters a lot? No.
Other CAT related Pish-tosh
- Using facebook groups (erstwhile it used to be pagalguy) is effective preparation, because information is wealth, isn’t it? No.
- I’m a General Engineer (Male) – I’m done already, the system is screwed against me. I’m a non-engineering candidate, the system is screwed against me. No & No.
- My tenth twelfth and grad score is xx, yy and zz. What are my chances? Knowing my chances will let me concentrate enough on preparation. No.
Taking couple of mocks in the last few weeks is going to be enough.
No. Who am I? The engineer who relied solely on last night preparations to digest volumes of PK Nag, RS Khurmi or RK Bansal or sometimes couple of them combined. That idea does not work here. You could be a master of last night cramming. That doesn’t work here.
Not even taking mocks in the last couple of weeks help. One needs to take mocks as early as Mid June. It’s completely fine if you have started your prep only now. Any mock is not waste of money. It will let you know that harsh reality and how much preparation is needed and effort required for the same.
Takeaway: Start early, be diligent and consistent.
How many questions were required to obtain a 99th percentile in each section last year matters a lot?
No. Again quoting history. In the year 2014, DI LR section required someone to be north of 24 questions to be around 90~95 range. If I went inside 2015 cat expecting to crack 24 questions in DI LR to score 90 I would have screwed up big time. The DI LR section of 2015 was so difficult that a 16 answered, 16 right got me 97.66 percentile. I do not think there is a better way to tell an aspirant that number of questions for xx percentile in last cat does not matter (at all).
Using Facebook groups (erstwhile it used to Pagalguy) is effective preparation.
No. Facebook or Pagalguy (in older days) is a feel-good time. There are few who actually benefited from the same. However, there are exceptions to everything, isn’t it? Do not count the hours spent on Facebook as preparatory hours. One could think about it as a feel good time. Not preparation time. In the recent times, Quora has joined the list too.
It is you cheating yourself under the pretext of preparation. And we do know those who are determined are those who bell the cat and not those who pretend to study under the pretext of using Facebook. There are already a million things to distract one ranging from Instagram posts, Facebook reminding you that you last changed your profile pic 20 days ago, WhatsApp notifications and what not. So do not fall into the trap of convincing yourself that it is productive and you are learning while using Facebook.
Takeaway: Time spent on Social Media is not CAT preparation. Stay away!
I’m a General Engineer (Male) – I’m done already, the system is screwed against me.
No. GEM? There are so many versions for and against reservations. We are not going to get into that conversation now.
Is a GEM being screwed? The plain vanilla answer would be No. There are so many aspirants out there and the system wants to take in more and more quality people into institutions.
To put things in perspective, what has additional marks provided to girl candidates done with? If the system is so skewed, we should see a large number of girls in campuses, perhaps outnumbering boys. No we don’t. I personally do not think the system is screwed at all. All one needs to know is, if someone scores 99.5 percentile, he or she is at best 1000 places away from the top. Do not take percentile as a proxy for how good you are. Perhaps IIM’s should consider ranking, like GATE does, so that candidates would complain less about the system and work harder to be in the top few ranks.
If you are not convinced by the above argument, there is one another truth I might want to say.
You have been dealt with this card. Perhaps by the invisible hand. You can make the most out of it. Or crib about it endlessly across forums. My point being, what good does that cribbing does? It lets another bunch of candidates score better than you, who knew better than cribbing.
I remember a quote at this juncture “ When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.
I’m a non-engineering candidate, the system is screwed against me.
No. It is not. It would be something due to large numbers. India as a country has been producing way too many engineers than it can accommodate. So there is an obvious bias that lot more engineers end up in b schools. However, when you think about it carefully, most above average, average kids went to study engineering, didn’t they? If you are someone who was above average and chose to not get into engineering, first of all, a tip of the hat for you, second, your chances are as good as any one else’s. You do not have to worry about engineers taking away your seat, or the less representation of b.com grads in a b school. If anything that is because far less number of b.com grads apply to CAT.
CAT is not quant heavy that makes engineers life a cake walk. No. All math asked is taken from high school level. So everyone has equivalent exposure to math. One might need practice to get in touch with the same. It is equivalently difficult for an engineer as well, who has been working out integration, differentiation and transforms for the last 6 years of life to take a look and get a grasp of time speed distance or number theory.
Takeaway: At best it is persecution complex. Of course I know few people personally who were affected by this, however I would call them exceptional cases, and not the norm of the day.
My tenth twelfth and grad score is xx, yy and zz. What are my chances? Knowing my chances will let me concentrate enough on preparation.
No. It will not. It is again reasons one comes up with to feel good. I can understand that feeling good might look like necessary to prepare well. Not all have the luxury of enjoying the same. What if you ask an expert to gauge your marks and tell you how good your chances are, and the IIM he mentioned that you will or can end up with a specific percentile changed its criteria of admission this year.
(let us take a moment to remember Good old Ben Frank, and his statement about death and taxes). An experts guess is as good as a common man’s guess on the chances of a (visible) meteor shower tonight, unless someone uses the Infinite Improbability drive (from the heart of gold) to arrive at their answers.
I’ll end this with a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Good luck with your CAT preparation.