The IIMs, especially the top 3 — Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Bangalore, are world-renowned for their quality of students, teachers and education, and also for the plum jobs the students land there in placement season each year.
Around 1.94 lakh students took the CAT exam this year, a jump of almost 13% over 2013 number of 1.72 lakhs. A significant proportion of these students are based in the larger metros. So a question arises. Can students from Raipur, Bilaspur, Bhilai or other cities of Chhattisgarh effectively prepare for this exam? Do they necessarily need to prepare from one of the bigger coaching hubs, like Indore, Delhi, Mumbai etc to succeed?
Before that, let’s take a look at what the exam tests candidates for.
— The Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all India test conducted by the (Indian Institutes of Management) IIMs as an entrance exam for admissions to the Post Graduate and Fellow Programs in management courses of various institutes in India.
— The CAT score is used by each institute along with other parameters like academic background, other extracurricular achievements and performance in Group Discussion and Personal Interview (GD & PI) to select candidates.
The exam lasts for 170 minutes and has a total of 100 questions.50 questions on Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and 50 on Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning.
The Maths that is tested in CAT is of 9th and 10th standard level, so it’s more of analytical aptitude being tested than Maths. Since, most of the candidates taking CAT in Chhattisgarh are engineers, Maths is usually less of a problem. English is a bigger challenge for them and something that gets the most attention as well.
Hindi is the most common language spoken in Chhattisgarh. Most of the School Curriculum is published in Hindi in Chhhattisgarh. English is not given a lot of importance even in the bigger cities of Raipur, Durg-Bhilai and Bilaspur. So the candidates here need to put in greater effort to improve their English. This starts from vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation and extends to spoken, writing and reading (speed reading) skills.
Fortunately, there are a lot of good coaching institutes for CAT in Raipur that can help guide students to systematically prepare for it. While there are bigger names like Time Tutorials, Professional Tutorials (PT), IMS learning and Career Launcher, there are some local but well-respected names as well like ProC Education, Invest in Career, Maestro etc. Most of these institutes have branches in Tatyapara, Sharda Chowk and Phool Chowk area that are the coaching hubs of the city. One other hub is Shankar Nagar, for convenience of students from that area.
One of the common approaches recommended for improving vocabulary is through constant usage and revision of specified number of words each day. Use flash card to remember difficult words. Keep the flash card handy with you and use it while walking, waiting for bus in the bus stop, during break between lectures etc. Basically, use it whenever you have even a minute to spare.
There are quite a few good coaching institutes for CAT in Durg-Bhilai as well and some of them recommend reading up as much English literature as possible to improve one’s reading and comprehension skills. There are local branches of Career Launcher (CL), Professional Tutorials (PT), TIME, IMS etc in Bhilai as well and most of them are concentrated in the Civic Centre area. It is recommended to read an English language newspaper every day. «The Hindu» is recommended. This will help improve general awareness as well. Some coaching institutes also recommend reading up as much English non fiction novels as possible.
For students in Bilaspur who wish to particularly work on their Maths, DI and speed of problem solving, practicing calculations in mind is recommended. Most of the major coaching institutes for CAT in Bilaspur are concentrated in Old Bus Stand area that spots the well-known names like TIME, IMS etc as well as local names like Bulls Eye. It is recommended that CAT aspirants practice simple mathematical calculations — addition, subtraction, multiplication and even division while walking on road, seeing number plates etc. That can be very effective as well.
CAT is about aptitude and speed. With systematic and focused preparation, students can improve in both, and increase their chances to bell the CAT.