Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The CAT xperience

The much awaited and prepared for exam – CAT – 2005. Everyone I know had been working hard at it for the period of last 6 months to one year.
I don’t know about others but here I give account of what happened with me during those crucial 2 hours.
As I sat in the Hall, I thought what should I think at this time. I have heard many times that you should be open minded before the exam so I closed my eyes and thought I am in a big open ground with greenery all around. They say free body results in a free mind. Still there was anxiety and one could sense it all around in the hall. Someone continuously drinking water, some playing furiously with pencils while others sharpening their pencils again and again.
Soon the answer sheets and then the question booklet were distributed. The booklet was closed neatly with tapes all around. There were 90 questions with both 1 mark and 2 mark questions.
And this time around they had clearly mentioned that 1/3 marks will be cut for wrong answers so no rumors about progressive negative marking etc.
I turned the booklet around and noticed that the last few questions were translucently visible. By concentrating hard I found that they were some questions on Venn diagram.
I stopped my watch at 11.00 AM. After around 5 minutes the lady on the speaker who had been giving us instructions announced – “you can open your booklet and start answering now”. This was the moment. The tapes were torn off, the time started and I went straight to my favorite English Section. I saw the 1st page – it was a RC.i thought - “Oh! Then the RC’s and few verbal ques are of 1 mark and some verbal of 2 marks. I can handle it.”. As I turned the page I noticed there was only 1 RC. I was shocked. Then I realized that only 10 questions were of 1 mark and 20 Of 2 marks!! I should have interpreted this data before hand. So I did what I had not done in 18 – 20 Mock CATs – starting the paper with a RC. It was a wrong move. Initially the concentration was not there. And the passage was tough. Some how in 7-8 minutes I managed to answer the questions. I was already 2- 3 minutes late. I had allotted 20 min for 1st part of English. But there were only 10 questions in 1st part and that too I was not able to solve. The Jumbled para was really tough and I left first two. My alter ego said:” u were planning to attempt all questions of English and here u are - unable to solve the most basic – para jumbles. U have to do at least one of them”. so I did one.( later I came to know I had done it wrong).
Soon I was on 2 mark questions. Found some relatively easy ones in the end. And was confident that at least something will be correct.” The first 20 minutes were coming to an end.
I quickly counted – 14 questions in 20 minutes. “Not Bad – IF they are correct”
I immediately shifted to maths as the clock struck 11:20. As I went upon touching the questions, I realized that none could be solved in 1 – 2 minutes.
My confidence was dropping fast. “C’mon man. Hold it. It is difficult for everyone else also.”
I could say that about English but maths – my weak link – I was not sure that it was equally difficult for everyone else. The 20 minutes got over sooner that I had expected and I could count the questions attempted in maths in 1 glance – 4.
“4 questions in 20 minutes. Hopeless. You have messed it up. Its all over”

It was DI next. As I turned the pages, I couldn’t see any DS questions. “What!! No DS. What is CAT upto this year?” Next, I tried to search some familiar line graphs or pie charts. None!!
All I could see was big tables and case studies occupying half pages followed by 4 – 5 questions.
“what are you thinking?Atleast start somewhere”
So it was the 1 mark questions which I thought would be easier. They were manageable and I was able to attempt 7 out of 10. But the 2 marks one went right over my head. I tried the last one which I had tried to read before start of paper. It was a huge case let. Somehow I read it. Could get the feel of it but all the feelings went away as I saw the questions. “You DUMb!! U have already spent 5 minutes on the set. DO atleast one”
I saw a relatively smaller one and eliminated two options. With a probability of 0.5 favoring me, I made a ‘intelligent’ guess( as it turned out later, the guess was not so intelligent and the probability had, as always, eluded me)
At the end of another 20 Questions, my DI attempt was 7.
So it was back to English for the next 15 minutes. In this I ‘tried’ to attempt the 2 marks passages. I used to think I was good at English. Now I didn’t. They were one of the toughest passages ever read.. Somehow I managed to get a hold of what the philosophical writer was trying to say. But the choices to the questions looked all very similar or all very different (with no relation to the concerned passage). I threw all the logic I had in my mind at the table (though not much was left after the grueling one hour). Another 7 questions in next 15 minutes. It was O.K. but I was entirely unsure about the accuracy.
By this time, drained and a bit tired, I was started feeling very hungry. I neither had a proper dinner nor a breakfast before the exam.
Amidst this, it was back to maths again. Some how the hunger invigorated me – a kind of second wind. I decided I was solving all Maths problems, no matter how much time they take. So started the assiduous conventional problem solving. I managed to solve around 7 questions in the next 20- 23 minutes. “Total of 11 questions. Not enough but it may help you to clear cutoff – IF u get them right”
DI again. The same approach here. I studied 2 case lets and tried solving them. Luckily I picked up the relatively easier ones and managed another 7 questions.
Time over! And CAT over. And probably everything over!
With some hope deep under my heart I came out of the center. “If you manage to get a good accuracy, there is some chance that you score good.”
I gave my alter ego a slight smile for the first time in 2 hours

I checked the marks. Started with Maths. Correct. Correct.correct. First 7 questions( 1 mark ones)- all correct. “you going great boy!!”
2 mark questions. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong….” All wrong except one!!!
“Everything is over.”
English: “don’t worry you will score good in this”
Right. Wrong. Right. Wrong. Wrong… English gone… more wrong than right.
“is there any need to check DI… O.K check it for the heck of it”
Right. Right. Wrong.wrong…. This also gone…


bharath mukkati said...

hey, that sounds like a night mare.. I had the same experience last year nov 21st!

Amrut said...

"C’mon man. Hold it. It is difficult for everyone else also"

The best line in the blog!!! Man self talk does help!!!!

TyphoonTanny said...

...Are we twins....You were just living my nightmare...!

KT said...

yeah self talk is what one does when its a thing like CAT... well there is one thing you got to tell me ... you have written that you solved n ques in m minutes... man thats something awesome paper management ( no. of questions too!! apart from questions)... I never know how much I attempted and in what order...awesome..yaar