CAT was never an easy entrance examination. It has become even more difficult with the changing time and emerging competition. Obviously, the eligibility test for admission in IIMs and top B schools can’t be so easy.
The reason why students prefer CAT over other MBA entrance examinations is that it is widely accepted by top as well as other Management Institutes and MBA from these institutes values a lot.
The preparation for CAT is not easy. There are numerous challenges that come in between. Our this blog is all about highlighting those challenges and ways to overcome them.
We have three major challenges while preparing for CAT
I. Technical challenge
Aspirants often think that CAT is for students who hail from the technical background. The word technical does not limit the test to a particular field like Engineering, Medicine, and Commerce etc.
Aspirants from all graduation streams are eligible to register themselves for CAT. The thing which is referred here is the tools. These tools are important for a manager and these are – numbers, and words. The test is structured in a way to check the ability of candidates in these two domains.
The questions divided into four sections can be explained as follows.
(i) Quantitative ability
This section covers topics such as Arithmetic, Algebra, geometry and Modern Math. These topics are majorly linked to matriculation math but the difference is the way in which these questions are fabricated and the how these are intended to measure the key management skills of the aspirants.
Different topics or areas of mathematics are designed to bring out different abilities of students. For example, proficiency in Arithmetic depicts the ability to comprehend pictorial representations and space.
(ii) Data Interpretation
This section deals with data comprehension and data processing skills. Questions generally are based on line charts, bar graphs, numerical data tables, pie charts or combinations. This measures the aspirant’s ability to handle similar problems while on managerial posts.
(iii) Verbal and Reading Comprehension
This section deals with aspirant’s potential to handle alphanumeric data. This data is available in the form of usage & grammar, critical reasoning, and reading comprehension. For a perfect manager, it is important to have strong communication and reasoning abilities.
II. Contextual Challenge
This is another yet very crucial challenge for managers. It can be understood as follows.
(i) Learning how and what to prioritize
While preparing and giving CAT test aspirants steer through plenty of questions in different sections. These contain different instructions and students solve questions keeping in mind those instructions. While dealing as to what questions/Section should take precedence over the other prepares students in handling these kinds of situations. A good manager should learn how to utilize time and resources.
(ii) Learning how to accept change
It is often said that one who is capable of accepting change is the master at all. CAT has clearly shown that how it has taught the trade of change to its aspirants through a constant change from one year to another.
This change can be seen as the change that has arrived in parameters like the number of sections, the number of questions, difficulty level of questions, inclusion of non-MCQ questions etc. One who will be deserving will be adapt the change and will prove out to be a smarter manager.
(ii) Let time run behind you
Time is the only one key that makes all the major difference. For every individual, it is very important to manage time and CAT teaches this trait well. The aspirants continuously struggle to do maximum questions in lesser time thus learning time management.
(iv) Learning all about strategy
When a candidate solves a question he indulges himself in the sequence of steps to solve that questions. This demonstrates his strategic approach to problem-solving which is quite essential in the business world.
III. Behavioral Challenge
Being a manager is not an easy thing. They have to go through a stress-driven corporate environment while remaining calm and balancing disposition. While dealing with these kinds of situations they need to show behavioral competence. In this regard CAT helps in following way:-
(i) Teaching persistence
There are several questions which have disturbing dimensions. When aspirants prepare those questions they actually learn the ability of persistence. Also, these situations test the motivational drive of the candidates.
(ii) Resolving Conflicts
Conflicts are common in the world of business, and only those are successful which is able to resolve them tactfully. The aspirants of CAT came across various such situations where they make decisions and continue their efforts for a particular question and thus learning how to resolve conflicts.
Managers are required to have leadership qualities. While preparing for CAT an aspirant always lead a situation and connect with it through high levels of clarity and energy.
To sum up, we can say that CAT is surely designed to analyze a candidate on account of his suitability for a management role by assessing them through different challenges – Technical challenge, Contextual Challenge and behavioral challenge. Candidates thus prove their managerial potential by managing and overcoming these challenges.
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