It came, it shook, and it left us bamboozled. The most coveted exam in India, the tough-nut-to-crack, the ticket to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management and the what not – Common Admission Test or in short, CAT 2006, lived up to its expectations of being unpredictable. The best of strategies needed thorough rework to crack it. In one line I would say that it needed good practice and a very good strategy to kill the CAT this time. The paper was not tough qualitatively (except DI maybe!). Anyway, at the end of it all, I feel amused. Quite amused actually!
I reached the exam hall full 45 mins before start – at 10:15. Man, I was bored to death till it started. Reading some displays carrying sanskrit shlokas, traffic rules, stuff on moral education etc put by school students on walls of hall was fun indeed. And, then looking at all those faces with ‘just bring it’ look made me chuckle! More than 5 months of preparation for this – they wanted to beat it up badly, baby.
And then it started. I took a hurried look at the paper, made a few quick decisions like a top manager and jumped onto DI 2 marks questions. Got first 4 questions and started feeling ‘it’. Then wasted approx. 20 mins on 8 questions which did not yield any answer. Dented, I looked further and solved 4 more. So, I was done with DI in about 45 mins. Could have done some 1 markers if I had not wasted time in those 8 questions. Anyway, I was happy with the start.
Then I picked up Quant. This is where I started to loose. Now, the time was running faster than my watch. I was trying hard to solve them, but they didn budge. I realized I hadnt practiced much. There were so many which I felt I should have got, but I didn. Anyway, fast forward 40 mins and came Verbal Ability. I realised it did not have many passages for reading comprehension and the questions were a touch tougher than usual. Till this time the ‘it’ feeling had transformed into ‘i dont care’ thing. Probably, thats why verbal went smoothly (not good though).
And alas it ended.
Ok. So, why am I amused at my debacle? Well, as I am writing this, I am feeling a very strange feeling inside me – utter respect for CAT and the urge to tame it just for the heck of it. CAT is a very unusual test. It takes a lot out of you and one really needs to be on top of their game to counter its challenges and unpredictability. Frankly, I am impressed with the shock that it can give you. Probably, I am starting to enjoy the challenge. Maybe I will become obsessed with the idea of taming it. Just maybe.
Endnote for everyone who read till here – I ran into CAT without any serious preparations. I am not even highly inclined to do MBA at this stage and the _rest_ is another story altogether. As I perceive it, to crack CAT, one needs to be a master strategist. You dont write CAT, You play mindgames with it.