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CAT or Common Admission Test is the flagship management entrance examination in India, and also one of the most talked about. Every year, more than 1,00,000 students appear for CAT.

CAT or Common Admission Test is the flagship management entrance examination in India, and also one of the most talked about. Every year, more than 1,00,000 students appear for CAT. However, some myths have surrounded the CAT and the students need to overcome these myths to get the maximum value out of their CAT preparation.

Myth 1 - CAT is only for engineers and non-engineers cannot do well in CAT

Wrong! Yes, number of students taking CAT every year is dominated by engineers, but that does not mean that CAT is only for engineers. In fact, non-engineers, especially Chartered Accountants have been doing well in CAT over the years. It depends upon the preparation and hard work with dedication, not on the candidate’s specialization. CAT convener Prof. Rajendra K. Bandi has gone on record regarding this – “CAT aims to ensure the questions in the test do not give any specific advantage to candidates from any specific academic background or for a particular gender. Every question is carefully reviewed to ensure that it is academics and gender neutral.”

Myth 2 – CAT is all about IIMs

Wrong again! Yes, CAT is the property of the IIMs, i.e. they conduct it every year. However, there are around 1000-plus institutes in India which accept CAT scores. Some of them have been ranked higher than the new IIMs, e.g. MDI Gurgaon and S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research. So, CAT is not just about IIMs, but you become eligible to apply to a lot of institutes after taking CAT.

Myth 3 – People with work experience have an advantage in CAT

Wrong! IIMs or for that matter many institutes in India do not require work experience to be eligible for MBA. Except ISB, Hyderabad; no B-school in India categorically asks for work experience. People with work experience have done well in CAT, so have freshers. People with work experience have one advantage over freshers – that they can talk about their work in the personal interview. However, that advantage is after the CAT and not for the CAT.

Myth 4 – Mathematics and English in CAT is very tough.

Wrong again! Since CAT does not want to give unfair advantage to any particular academic background, an attempt is made to maintain the difficulty level at a manageable level for all academic backgrounds. The topics are something which the students have come across in school – in both Mathematics or Quantitative Aptitude and English or Verbal Aptitude. However, certain things give you an advantage over others, e.g. if you are a voracious reader, then your vocabulary and reading skills are going to be better than those who don’t read. However, such skills can be acquired and there is nothing like rocket science in that.