An Insight into Competitive Exams – How to Prepare Right
Preparing for competitive exams even as your college days are about to come to an end can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Not to mention the truckload of stress that hits you just when you’re on the verge of deciding a career path to follow.
Here is a compilation of all the information you’d need to not just get through the examination season, but triumph over it.
Interested applicants must hold a genuine bachelor’s degree in any discipline and must have secured minimum 50% marks or its equivalent CGPA.
In case you belong to SC/ST/DA (Differently-Abled), then the minimum mark to be secured by you is 45%.
There is no age restriction in order to appear in CAT exam 2018.
The candidates studying in the final year of graduation can also register for CAT provided that they qualify the same in due course of time as per the given eligibility criteria.
The official notifications for CAT are generally released in June.
This is followed by the commencement of registration in August.
The Admit Cards are out by October, tentatively.
The exam is generally held in November or December.
How to apply:
Visit the official website of CAT, find the link to the CAT application form and open it.
You will then be asked to register yourself by entering a few relevant details.
After providing the details, a registration ID and password will be generated.
Candidates are required to use that registration ID and password in order to fill up the application form.
Now upload scanned form of your signature, photograph, and necessary documents.
Documents to be kept ready before starting the registration process for CAT:
Necessary past educational documents such as class X, XII, and Graduation Degree certificate etc.
A genuine e-mail ID and phone number
Documents related to work experience
The scanned form of your recent photograph and signature
Finally, remit the application fee.
For general and NC/OBC category candidates, the registration fee is $30.
For SC/ST/DA categories, the registration fee is $15.
The candidates must send their registration fee only through the official portal of the examination.
CAT registrations generally start in the month of August, tentatively.
The registration process is generally held through the online mode only, on its official website.
All candidates need to fill up the application very carefully. There should be no mistakes while filling up the application form.
Candidates also need to select three exam centres as per their preference.
General Examination Pattern:
CAT exam is a computer-based test.
The candidates attempt the exam via assigned computer systems at the allotted test centres.
Section No. of questions Time
Quantitative Ability (QA) 34 60 mins
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) 32 60 mins
Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VRC) 34 60 mins
Standard Score Distribution:
For Non-MCQs, +3 marks for correct answer
+3 marks for correct answer
-1 mark for incorrect answer
No marks are awarded or deducted for unattempted questions.
The duration of the examination is 180 minutes, i.e. 3 hours.
Each college shortlists candidates for the second stage of selection which may be independent of each other. The process may include Written Ability Test (WAT), Group Discussions (GD) and Personal Interviews (PI).
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has not defined any specific eligibility criteria for taking the test. However, basic eligibility demands the following:
Graduate in any stream from a recognized institute/university.
The candidate must be above 18 years of age. No upper age limit.
Further, different institutes have different criteria for admission into MBA. That, however, comes into play only after one has cleared the test.
It is a year-round examination, i.e., students can pick a date of their own preference.
How to apply:
Registration: There are 4 modes of GMAT registration – Telephonic registration, Postal Mail, Fax and Online registration. Telephonic registration can be availed only if one is using an international credit card (MasterCard, VISA, American Express).
Exam scheduling: One has to select the city of their choice followed by the preferred centre from the displayed list of available centres in the chosen city. The dates and corresponding available slots for taking the exam in the selected centre show up. Select the slot you want.
Application fee: At the end of the registration process, the candidate needs to submit $250 for the examination fee.
- General Examination Pattern:
The test generally comprises of four parts which will examine the applicant’s abilities on various subjects such as Writing, Verbal, Reasoning, and Quantitative skills.
Organized in both computer-based and paper-based forms, but it is essentially computer-based in India
On answering a question correctly, the next question is of higher difficulty level, and of lower difficulty level otherwise.
The maximum marks are 800.
Section Question types No. of questions Time
Analytical Writing Assessment Analysis of Argument 1 Topic 30 mins
Integrated Reasoning a) Multi-Source Reasoning
b) Graphics Interpretation
c) Two-Part Analysis
d) Table Analysis
12 30 mins
Optional 8-minute break
Quantitative a) Data Sufficiency
b) Problem Solving
37 75 mins
Optional 8-minute break
Verbal a) Reading Comprehension
b) Critical Reasoning
c) Sentence Correction
41 75 mins
Standard Score Distribution
Analytical Writing Assessment 0 – 6 in half-point intervals
Integrated Reasoning 1 – 8 in single-digit intervals
Quantitative 0 – 60
Verbal 0 – 60
XAT is an aptitude test that helps you secure a seat in one of the esteemed B-Schools in India: XLRI. Here’s everything you need, from tips and tricks to the FAQs answered by one of our alumni who recently got into this B-School.
The candidates should be graduates in any discipline from a recognized institute or university.
There is no specification regarding the minimum percentage to be obtained in graduation.
The final year graduation students are also eligible to apply for XAT, provided they complete the degree by the stipulated time in that year.
Registrations tentatively span from September to December. The exam is generally held on the first Sunday of January every year, followed by the final document submission by February.
How to apply:
The process is fully online. You need to visit the official website to get and fill the application form.
Fill all the details accurately and then upload a recently clicked passport size photograph (scanned) and signature in prescribed sizes and then proceed to online payment.
You can use cash, net banking, demand draft, credit card or debit card for payment.
The application fee is $25. If you want to apply for XLRI as well, then you will have to pay $30.
General Examination Pattern
The XAT exam pattern undergoes change every year. The number of questions in Paper 1 varies. Paper 2 is a mix of both objectives as well as subjective questions, General Knowledge, and essay writing. The following table brings to you the overall paper structure or exam pattern of XAT 2017:
Sections Number of Questions Duration
Paper 1- (Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation, Verbal Ability, and Decision Making & Analytical Reasoning) 26
Total – 78
Paper 2- (General Knowledge, Essay Writing) 25 35 minutes
Each question carries 1 mark and for each wrong answer, there is negative marking of 0.25 marks. A candidate can leave out 13 questions unattempted, beyond which there will be negative marking of 0.05 marks.
The total duration of the exam is 3.5 hours. Paper 1 will be of 170 minutes, i.e. 2 hours 50 minutes and after a break of 5 minutes, candidates have to start with Paper 2, the duration of which is 35 minutes.
Every B school gives importance to various parameters while selecting a candidate, including the written exam, the interview, group discussion, work experience, previous grades (10th, 12th, graduation), etc. But as Indian B schools go, or XLRI in particular, the importance given to your past grades is very nominal when compared to, for instance, the XAT exam, which made up 60% of our batch’s selection criteria. So, even if you haven’t done too well in engineering, do not be disheartened. It shouldn’t stop you from applying to a B School. Work hard for the rest of the components and you’ll be just fine!
The XAT exam consists of three parts: Quantitative Ability, Decision Making, and Verbal. The most important section depends on what you’re weakest at. I have noticed that many people find decision making to be the trickiest, while I personally found it the easiest, and Quant the hardest to crack. So, give maximum importance to what you think is the toughest for you, because you need to clear a section wise cut off in XAT too, other than clearing an overall cut off. The rest of the process includes answering a few behavioral questions in a form, a video submission and further, an interview and a group discussion on making it to the shortlist. I, personally, found the process to be quite rigorous in evaluating a candidate as a whole, and in every individual aspect. Hence, my suggestion is to remain honest in everything you answer and not go by any clichéd answers you might have been asked to mug up for some clichéd questions because believe me, they won’t work. B-School professors are smarter than that.
Your first priority should obviously be preparing for the written exam, as that holds maximum weight for making it to the interview shortlist. Next, I would suggest that you stay in touch with current affairs. Read a lot of newspapers. I know, we engineering students do not have a habit of doing that (I didn’t either), but it helps immensely during an interview or a GD. If you have your facts right, it surely will leave an impression.
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Written by Ananya Roy