Now that the dust has begun to settle on CAT 2016, we can may be take a step back — beyond score calculators, the expected percentiles and incorrect questions — and take a look at it in terms of the evolution of the test. The test itself, if I am not wrong, for only the third time in its history did not change at all in terms of structure. On the face of it CAT 2016 and 2015 look like twins but like with twins there are significant differences beneath the surface.

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From very early on in our lives we are exposed (or subjected) to this word called TEST. As we enter the higher grades the importance that TESTS play or are supposed to play in our lives steadily increases. If we look back, for most of us, tests have always been part of a trinity, they have always been concomitant with two other things —  fear and prayer. At some point of time all of us when faced with a test (including yours truly) have felt at the least a sliver of fear running through our bodies prior to a test and even most unbelieving of us have muttered a tiny little prayer under our breaths.

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We have just finished SimCAT 9 and if the scores & percentile charts are any indication, test-takers are beginning to find their footing. But here is the catch — for every set of people hitting the 100s for the first time, there will be a set hitting 120s, a set hitting 135s and a set hitting 150s as well for the first time. So some of you while feeling happy to see high scores will also be feeling a bit of a bother when you see your percentiles. Well firstly, the happiness is warranted so don’t let the percentiles bog you down. What you need to now do is to see your scores, percentiles and the task ahead in the next 60 days in the right perspective.

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Unlike the other two sections (which we have already covered here and here) QA is a section that has a direct link to what you have done in school and college. Most of the topics that are asked on the CAT have also been a part of school curriculum. This I feel is the biggest roadblock in front of test-takers wanting to achieve higher scores on the CAT Quant irrespective of their relationship with Quant with high Math scores during X and XII exams not having any direct correlation with ability on the CAT QA.

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Last weekend, I attended the Chennai convocation function for aspirants who cleared the Company Secretary (CS) exam this year (a relative of mine cleared the exam). The Chief Guest was Padmishri awardee T.N.Manoharan, who is a pre-eminent figure in the Banking and Accounting sector in the country with his book being a must-read for all CA aspirants. He was part of the government-appointed team that cleaned up the Satyam mess and paved the way for the transition to Tech Mahindra. His keynote address was leavened with wisdom and had too many punchlines for me to re-count here but one of the things he said is spot on when it comes to the way we should deal with success and failure. He said…

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The response to the first SIMCAT was great and it was nice to see so many students jump into the fray from the word go. But the plunge as most of you would know is similar to jumping off a diving board for the first time — the moment of impact, the bewilderment when you are under the water and most importantly the desperate eagerness towards the end to somehow get back to ground again. (I have never jumped off a diving board but was once caught under the waves on the beach when I was quite little, thankfully my dad managed to rescue me). Just like you would not bother too much about the score given to your first ever dive do not think too much about the score you got. This is neither an engineering exam nor a blood test….

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Exceptionally good at cricket analysis — this is the phrase that can go into most Indian resumes (football fans though burgeoning are still a minority) and so it is not a surprise that in the aftermath of India’s loss in the WT20 semi-final to the Windies, we have seen a wide range of explanations being offered for the same, the most commonplace ones being the two no-balls and the dew factor. While it is not important to come up with right answer to this question, taking a look at the way we analyze a failure can have a huge impact on our chances for future success. This is where the relevance kicks in for those looking at a CAT retake in 2016.

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