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Later the better - Secret to a successful CAT?

Secret to a successful CAT decoded...
The shift from paper-pencil to online last year has practically taken away the surprise element from the Common Admission Test (CAT). From the ambiguous CAT question paper that had the knack of surprising lakhs of students, all at one go, the new computer-based format of the exam has made things a bit more predictable, especially for those taking it in the later days and slots of the testing window.

According to a poll on PaGaLGuY, most candidates this year have chosen to take the test at a later date, the most common reason being low confidence on the test being glitch-free this time and figuring out a pattern, of the questions and be better prepared, they say.

The poll further reveals that 43 percent of the respondents have opted for taking the test in the last week, which is between Nov 17 and 24.

In the second last week of the testing window, which is Nov 10-16, about 26 per cent of the users have registered to take the test, where as only 10 percent of the users will be taking their CAT in the first week of the test (Oct 22-Nov 2). The remaining 21 percent have opted for the second week which is Nov 3-9. The poll was answered by 1,039 respondents.

About 22 percent preferred to take the test on a Sunday (that came within the testing-window). This can be explained by the fact that there is a considerable percentage of working people who apply for CAT.

The second most popular days of the week were Mondays with 20 per cent, followed by Tuesdays with 19 percent. Wednesday and Fridays were the least popular days for taking the CAT.

For CAT 2009, 48 per cent of the respondents had registered to take the test in the last three days (December 5 to December 7) and only 22 per cent of the users had registered to take the test in the first three days (November 28 to November 30).

Saurabh Bajaj, a working professional who is taking CAT for the second time this year, had to compromise on his choice of taking the test on Nov 21.

“Though I bought the voucher on the first day, I could register only on the second day of the registrations opening. When I opted for the morning slot on the last Sunday in the centre closest to my residence, I was surprised to find that it was completely booked. I had to then pick the Sunday before that, which left me a week less to gauge what CAT 2010 will be all about," says Saurabh.

For the first timers, getting over with CAT would logically have been high on priority, but instructors at coaching classes insist that they opt for a later date.

Arjun Chakravorty, the centre manager of IMS Learning Resources, Bangalore says, “We suggested to our students to take a middle or last day available for the test. The primary reason for doing that is to figure out if there is a trend that is coming out from the earlier days of the test. If there is any particular section which is tougher or any type of questions that were not being asked in recent years but is suddenly given a lot of weightage in the on-going tests."

Pravin Prakash, business development head of Noesis Education and Management Services, a popular coaching class also in Bangalore said, “The on-line format of the test has taken away the ambiguity of the test. With the test going on for 20 days, there are ways to find out trends in the exam. At least it happened last year. We will watch out for some trends this year too. If something comes out, good. If it doesn"t, the students have been asked to be prepared for complete surprise packages too."

What week have you chosen your CAT 2010 slot in

Oct 27 to Nov 2 - 10 per cent

Nov 3 to Nov 9 - 21 per cent

Nov 10 to Nov 16 - 26 per cent

Nov 17 to Nov 24 - 43 per cent

(1,039 respondents)

What day of the week have you scheduled your CAT 2010 slot on?

Sunday - 22 per cent

Monday - 20 per cent

Tuesday - 19 per cent

Saturday - 11 per cent

Thursday - 10 per cent

Friday - 10 per cent

Wednesday - 8 per cent

(1,258 respondents)

What time have you registered your CAT 2010 slot in?

10 am - 56 per cent

3:30 pm - 44 per cent

(939 respondents)

Compare the trend to that in CAT 2009 (held between Nov 28 and Dec 7), when a similar poll had revealed the following preferences.

CAT 2009 will be held between November 28 and December 7. Which date will you prefer to take the test on?

Nov 28 (Saturday) - 6 per cent

Nov 29 (Sunday) - 11 per cent

Nov 30 (Monday) - 5 per cent

Dec 1 (Tuesday) - 8 per cent

Dec 2 (Wednesday) - 8 per cent

Dec 3 (Thursday) - 8 per cent

Dec 4 (Friday) - 6 per cent

Dec 5 (Saturday) - 12 per cent

Dec 6 (Sunday) - 24 per cent

Dec 7 (Monday) - 12 per cent

(7,635 respondents)

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