questions in the CAT measure the test takers on the application of logic in different situations like arrangements, coding -decoding, decision trees, alphanumeric arrays etc. Proficiency in handling these questions is indicative of a higher logical quotient which is a huge facilitator in successful handling of management challenges.
comprises of questions on areas like Usage & Grammar, Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension. Usage & Grammar includes questions on antonyms, synonyms, analogies, fill in the blanks, etc. - each testing a certain managerial skill. For example, questions on fill in the blanks measure a candidate's contextual competence, which is a preferred managerial trait. Verbal Reasoning would put forth challenges like sequencing and alignment as reflected in questions on jumbled sentences, or fact-inference - judgment warranting inductive and deductive reasoning skills. Reading Comprehension has the uncanny knack to assess the candidate's change management skills, as he abruptly graduates from a passage on Science & Technology to one on Cognitive Psychology!
Physical Dimensions of the Test
This component places a challenge in terms of three variables - number of questions, number of sections and the total time allotted. CAT has been experimenting with different permutations of these three variables, thus creating a constant ounce of change for the test takers to manage! For example, if the number of sections shrinks to two from the conventional three, the test taking challenges also change accordingly- now the test taker has to demonstrate competence in three clusters of questions as opposed to two, which affects the entire test taking equilibrium. The ability of the test taker to think off the feet and respond favorably to this change is a crucial determinant for succeeding in the CAT. The analogy to the business world is evident in the fact that managers with superior change management skills are more equipped to contribute in a dynamic work environment.
Test Taking Strategies:
This part measures the test takers on a range of managerial skills, the main ones being -
- Prioritization - This reflects the ability to assign a sequence to attempting the sections as well as questions in a particular section. The sectional priority assumes relevance when the test taking instructions give the freedom to navigate freely among sections (CAT 2014), as opposed to a situation where the order of attempting the sections is predefined (CAT 2015). This skill is a manifestation of the way managers prepare their 'things-to-do' list on a daily basis, where certain work areas take precedence over certain others for a successful task completion.
- Trading off - This is the ability to decide the kind of time to be invested per question. Sensing the exit point becomes critical in minimizing the overall opportunity cost. This has particular reference to test takers who get emotionally attached to certain questions, and the spillover disturbs the entire time equation, thus putting the test takers under heightened stress. This is precisely what managers need to do while accomplishing tasks on a routine basis- putting in efforts on futile tasks dampens the managerial efficiency!
- Stress Management - - Stress is an obvious feature of this test. The CAT takers write the test under numerous expectations, which escalate the overall stress level. The ability of a candidate to stay calm and balanced in such a situation is an important measure of his/her ability to face managerial challenges with poise and composure.
- Time Management - This gets demonstrated in the way you distribute time judiciously among questions & sections (as applicable), thus showing the managerial ability to achieve organizational goals with limited resources, time being the most valuable resource!
In conclusion, it can be said with conviction that the different aspects of the CAT are merely endeavors to gauge the managerial potential of the test takers--- higher competence in the CAT is one of the indicators of a stronger managerial acumen!