CAT 2020 Analysis

CMAT-2021 – An opportunity

Year 2020 has been a difficult year for all. Effects of Covid-19 are felt by every sector and placement scenario for current year seems to be somewhat worrisome. So, students who are in final year of their undergraduate studies who are looking forward to securing a good job, might face disappointment on that front. Now, they have two choices; either they wait for situation to improve and do nothing or they upgrade themselves, so that when situation improves, they will be much more suited to grab a good offer.

One of the ways to upgrade themselves is to pursue an MBA. Now, its important that they do so from a good institute then only it will be worth. And to get into a good institute they have to perform well in entrance exam. CMAT is one of the exams that lot of students appear for as through it you can get into a good B-School.

CMAT is generally conducted in last week of January and CMAT 2021 will probably be around same time. CMAT is conducted by NTA and its test is divided into four sections having 25 questions each. Time duration for exam is 180 minutes.

Section 1 (Quantitative Aptitude and Data Interpretation):
This section comprises of around 20-22 questions of QA and 3-5 Questions of DI. In QA questions are asked from almost all areas like Arithmetic, Algebra, Permutation and Combination, Probability, Geometry and so on. Questions are not very difficult but are from various topics so it is important to cover width of topics and not so much depth of any particular topic. In DI CMAT 2020 had one set of 5 questions and before that there were 3-4 single questions. One should be comfortable with different type of graphs to solve these questions.

Section 2 (Logical Reasoning)
This section has questions based on Series, Coding-Decoding, Analogy, Syllogism, Blood Relation, Matrix Arrangement, Data Sufficiency and so on. To prepare for this section one should practice a lot of questions. As more variety of questions, you will practice more comfortable you will get.

Section 3 (Verbal Ability – Reading Comprehension)
This section used to have more questions of RC and lesser of Vocab and English usage. Last year this trend changed and it had only one passage of 6 questions and 19 were of vocab and English usage. So it is imperative to focus equally on all three.

Section 4 (General Awareness)
This section usually has questions from Static GK. So, it is important to read lot of good GK material to score well. If you are not a regular reader then I suggest you start being one then only you can score well in this section.

As discussed above, one can see that CMAT is not a difficult exam but it covers a lot of areas. Hence it is important to start preparing early. Remember each mark counts as it can shoot up your rank to hundreds of places. Once you cover all the areas it is also important to check your preparation through mock tests and use it as a constructive tool to fine tune your strategies.

So, aspirants don’t just stay idle and wait for things to improve. View this situation as an opportunity and start preparing for CMAT if you haven’t started yet.

All the Best!!

Gourav Agarwal

Gaurav Agarwal - CAT - QA/DILR Faculty CH EdgeMakers Author Gourav Agarwal is CAT/MBA Test prep – QA/DILR faculty at CH EdgeMakers

Understanding changes in IPM-AT structure and process for IPM @IIM Indore

Owing to prevailing situations arising out of pandemic, IIM Indore has announced changes in the structure of IPM-AT and the selection process for intake of 2020.

Kindly follow this link to download and read the complete document as published on the web-site of IIM Indore:

Here are the highlights of the changes all aspirants need to notice:

Ajay Bansal
Author Ajay Bansal is Co-founder and CEO at CHEdgeMakers.
Ajay Bansal

Letters from AKS – 2 : Deepen Your Roots

One of my friends on FB shared this story narrated by Rahul Dravid. This is very relevant to our CAT/MBA Entrance Prep.

Let me first share the story

“When I’m requested to speak to youngsters I like talking about this phase of my life and liken it to fascinating plant: The Chinese Bamboo. You can take a Chinese bamboo seed and plant it in the ground, water and nurture the seed for an entire year & not even see a single sprout. Infact, you’ll not see a sprout for 5 years. But suddenly, a tiny shoot will spring from the ground. And over the next 6 weeks, the plant can grow as tall as 90 feet. It can grow as fast as 39 inches every 24 hours. You can literally watch the plant grow.

What was the plant doing during these 5 years, seemingly dormant period, it was growing its roots. For 5 full years it was preparing itself for rapid, full growth. Without this root structure, the plant simply couldn’t support itself for its future growth. Some would say the plant grew 90 feet in 6 weeks, I would say it grew 90 feet in 5 years & 6 weeks.”

Fascinating isn’t it? Many of us believe that CAT Prep is about learning short tricks and with a bit of management we may be able to crack the CAT. For all of us of this story should be an eye opener. Real success has no shortcuts. It will require us to deepen our roots. And each one of us will need different amount of time (and effort) to get them deep enough. By deepening the roots what I mean is to develop strong hold in the subjects and to develop an unmatched understanding and skill at those subjects. Here is a checklist for you to decide whether you are doing enough to deepen your roots (If your answer to all of them is Yes – your direction is well established)

1. Are you adding about 50 new words to your vocabulary every day?
2. Are you reading the editorials/business/national/international pages of an good English Daily & a business daily (Hindu/ HT – ET/BS/BL) daily.
3. Are you writing Central Ideas to at least two articles daily?
4. Do you have a timetable and are you meeting your milestones in the schedule with diligence? (If you are already a CHEM student your schedule/milestones are designed to ensure that you are burning the midnight oil – required to deepen the roots)

The above should require approximately 6 hours of your day – everyday. Depending on when you started preparing (actually) you may have to increase the number of hours devoted to CAT Prep.

By the way, while we are at the topic of deepening our roots – Those preparing for CAT-20 may already be appearing for a test series (iCATs at CHEM). The important question is not what was your score? It is this – what did you do after the test?

Here is concrete action that, if taken, will help deepen your roots.

Solve the entire test again – this time without the time pressure. Solve every question again. This means read every passage again – compare options – consider why the right answer is the right one and why others are not. Take the trouble to look up words in the dictionary if you are not sure of them.

First – try the question yourself. Give it enough time and trials. If you do not make any headway with the question –check the solution. If you are still dissatisfied, write/talk to yoru faculty with your query.

Let me close this letter by answering a lingering doubt that is running in your mind as you read this letter. Is it too late to deepen my roots because I did not do much till now.

To me, this is an irrelevant question. Look we will need to deepen our roots – if we wish to succeed. So it is immaterial when we start. Are we suggesting that because it is late, we shall not start? Is that the logical thing to do. Forget this question – start today, start now. You have to maximize your performance – the stronger the roots – the better your chances.

Time to sign off this time. Will come up with another issue in another letter. Keep in touch

Akash Sethia
Author Akash Sethia is Co-founder of CH EdgeMakers
Akash Sethia

Impact of COVID – 19 on Education sector

Millions of learners around the world have had to forcibly adapt to remote learning in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The education community as a whole has worked tirelessly to make this transition possible within a severely compressed time frame. But the question now is, how will this emergency immersion into online teaching and learning affect the outlook for education once the pandemic subsides?

Working off the trends we have seen emerging in the last month, I believe the next wave of online courses will be a lot more dynamic than we have ever seen before. Now that the initial, hurried scramble to take classes online is complete, educators are investing significantly in discovering new, innovative ways to engage their learners.
In Indiaand in world the higher education institutions are investing heavily in scaling up accessibility, there has been a marked increase in online communication and feedback channels, and new tools are constantly being implemented and leveraged to improve the overall quality of teaching and learning.

Here are some of the ways I predict the COVID-19 pandemic will change the future of education in India and beyond.

1. Blended learning will increase dramatically

Many institutions were already experimenting with varying degrees of digital teaching and learning before the pandemic. Still, institutions will return from COVID-19 with a widely shared understanding that digital tools can be highly complementary to face-to-face learning, and that teaching and learning with asynchronous and synchronous platforms can yield significant benefits when layered in with face-to-face instruction.

This hybrid model of in-person lessons and distance learning, known as blended learning, will become one of the key models for post-pandemic pedagogy. It facilitates flexibility, increases accessibility, allows faculty to track and improve student engagement, boosts student retention, enhances communication as well as peer support, enables personalisation and competency-based learning, and can be cost effective while scaling up efficiency.

2. Faculty development will focus on technical fluency

There are two complimentary approaches to online teaching and learning: one is to build a robust infrastructure of relevant platforms and technologies, and the other is to invest in faculty development and support. One of the greatest challenges in the abrupt transition to fully remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic was the lack of fluency in the tools of teaching online.

When they come back after COVID-19, many institutions will likely take stock of the faculty developments processes they have in place. So after the pandemic, institutions will need to invest in teacher training and might also invest in creating centralised units to support faculty development efforts.

3. Courses will be designed for online teaching

In the rush to take them online, many courses were quickly ‘built’ to mimic or retrofit them to face-to-face sessions. This approach does not necessarily maximise the many possibilities presented by digital teaching and learning. A much more productive approach is to start with the question, ‘What do my students need to learn?’ and tailor course delivery activities, and assessment methods to this line of thinking accordingly

After the pandemic, courses will likely be designed and even remediated to better suit digital learning. In general, courses need regular revamping to stay abreast of the latest academic research and to properly leverage the latest innovations in education technology. Evaluation and assessment methods will also need to be revised to become untethered from the physical location of students. Programmatic assessment, for example, takes into account multiple pieces of work and feedback and uses these as a measure of student success rather than their scores from a single exam.

4. Data-driven insights will be used to boost student engagement

Online teaching and learning tools have dramatically aided student engagement in the time of COVID-19, and these will continue to be leveraged to drive learner interest and active participation well beyond the pandemic. In addition to significantly boosting interactivity and collaboration between students, these tools can also provide learner analytics.

Data-driven insights enable new ways to engage students, increase enrolment and improve retention and completion rates. It can identify at-risk students, optimise assessments, promote reflection and self-regulated learning, establish feedback loops and even boost faculty development. Upon return, educational institutions will increasingly use data and learner analytics as a base for making strategic decisions and to boost overall student enrolment, engagement and retention.

In summary

While day-to-day life will perhaps return to ‘normal’ at some point, for education, there will have to be a new ‘normal.’ Learners will now expect to be able to seamlessly switch between in-person and virtual formats, particularly in times of crisis. And they will continue to expect the quality education they have paid for — one that will best prepare them for the next stage of their lives.

Educational institutions, too, now recognize online education as pivotal to institutional resilience and academic continuity. Digital teaching and learning have become a strategic priority at almost every school and university.

Sumeet Maru
Author Sumeet Maru is Co founder CH EdgeMakers

Letters from AKS – 1 : MBA Entrance tests – the CAT – 2020

The mother of all MBA Entrance tests – the CAT – 2020 announces a change in the structure of the exam to be held in nov 2020, under the dark clouds of COVID infections this time around.

It was an odd feeling not having said for five years now that – “CAT changed colours yet again”. Beacuse, the earlier average number of years was three when IIMs would announce (unannounced before RTI) changes in the structure of the test.

So this change in structure brought about a sigh of relief. I can now smile and tell you that CAT has changed colours yet again. Here is a quick rundown for you on what to expect.

First the brass tacks
1. It remains a three section timed test.
2. The overall test time reduced from Three hours to Two.
3. Three sections of 40 minutes each compared to three sections of 60 min each previously.

That’s all. It seems the idea is not to surprise the test takers by jolting them out of their practiced regularity of mock tests. Rather it is just to ensure that they are able to manage the same number of test takers in the same infrastructure but ensuring social distancing norms – by conducting three slots a day instead of two a day.

Incidentally this isn’t a new structure – this was the format of test back then in late 1990s and early 2000s when it was paper based test. It used to be a three section two hour test without any sectional time limits. Only one out to many such tests had sectional time limit of 40 minutes each section.

So what different to expect!?

Not much really. On the whole, the mother of all MBA Entrance tests – the CAT – 2020 and its test taking experience remains exactly the same but compressed to 66.66% of the time available. It may mean nothing and it may mean a lot of small little things for you.

Let us try do a “back of the palm” listing of small differences it can make

1. Less time per section means higher probability of messing up time management and ever smaller window for recovery. However, I think there is no need to change your strategy but to reduce the time by 1/3rd for each part of your strategy.

2. In the verbal Abiiity Section it can mean fewer Reading Comprehension passages (two less may be). Smile – but remember it also means lesser choice of what you are comfortable reading. Choose passages with more fact based and direct questioning and ones with more questions overall.

3. We may expect cases in DI-LR section that are slightly lower on toughness levels than usual, which may mean return of the more traditional variety of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning cases. My suggestion would be look for standard tabular, tick-cross, relationships and vein diagram based sets and finish them off first. Also look for DI sets where questions offer less/no additional data.

4. In the Quantitative section speed is expected to be more critical now – an ability to quickly structure the data in questions and an ability to solve mentally will be the key. So – if you are a CHEM student you may relate well to the need of consolidating the ABC strategy of choosing questions as well as the importance of solving A type questions in your mind.

5. Using onscreen calculators will proportionately be more time wasting. So someone with keen sense for calculation will have an edge – my suggestion is to use calculator only for questions where options are very close or decimals matter.

6. In this pattern one may see return of some old variety VA which hasn’t seen much presence in the last half decade – specially the Error identification type questions of the English Usage variety. In days when the test had similar format – the test used to carry vocabulary based questions – focused on different contextual usage of the same word.

7. One good thing about a two hour test is – it will become more a test of your energy rather than of stamina. Which means – deeper concentration for lesser time. This goes more in line with the behaviour of the millennial generation.

The nut and shell of it is that nothing much has changed. Every time I write about the changes in CAT – I eventually have to end them with the phrase “old wine in new bottle”. Yup – true of CAT-2020 as well.

Let me end this one by adding a tip. Sit for your mock test with your face mask on. Because at the real test you will have to wear the mask for entire duration and you will not be allowed to take it off.

Cheers and Continue with your good work.

Akash Sethia
Akash Sethia - Co Founder CH EdgeMakers Author Akash Sethia is Co-Founder and core faculty CAT/MBA Test prep at CH EdgeMakers

IPMAT 2020 Analysis