New Batches at TathaGat Delhi & Noida!               Directions to CP centre
Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 02:20 PM
  cat 2007 cat 2008 mba 2008 is cat fair xat 2008Why am I writing this article? Perhaps because I am hurt to see so many qualified and able students getting stumped in a two and half hour exam whose content is completely random and arbitrary. The arbitrariness might be the beauty of CAT to many, but does this beauty come with fairness to all?

 


What does the term "common admission test" mean? That the admission test is common to all and that everyone can take the test regardless of their academic discipline, cultural background, gender etc. The meaning inherently assumes "fairness" to all test takers, i.e. each test taker would have the same chance of performing and that the test would be free of "bias."

What is a test bias?

The term bias in tests and testing refers to construct-irrelevant components that result in systematically lower or higher scores for identifiable groups of examinees. In other words, bias is the presence of some characteristic of an item and/or test that results in two individuals of the same ability but from different subgroups performing differently on the item and/or test. (Data Research Corporation "fairness in testing manual")

Is CAT biased?

Yes it is. Let's see the biases one by one.

First bias- a three-section test: Why is it a three-section test, favoring people with greater mathematical and analytical skills? It is well-known that the third section, data interpretation and logical reasoning, favors students who possess greater mathematical skills which translate into greater analytical skills. It is a well-known fact that more than half of the students in a B-school are engineers. Is it surprising, given that more than half of the test requires mathematical and analytical skills?

In this respect, it is necessary to mention that GMAT, an international standardized exam has only two sections, both of equal weightage.

Second bias- the quant section: Isn't common admission test also meant to be taken by arts and commerce graduates who did not study Math after 10th standard? Then are the following items fair to these students? I picked up 10th standard NCERT mathematics book and I could not find a single topic related to these questions

cat 

Certainly one can give arguments that a student does not need to solve every question. But the "solvable" questions are an easy pick for students from Math background and then they can attempt more of these questions which an arts and commerce student would not be able to solve. And shouldn't every item in a test be fair?

Here are some of the questions, taken from Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation journal, a test-setter should ask before setting a question

cat

Does Quant section in CAT fulfill these criteria? No, it does not.

Third bias- the verbal section: Which public school or college teaches difference between censored and censured, distrust and mistrust, historic and historical? When the CAT 2007 paper came out, many verbal instructors were scurrying to get hold of a dictionary to see precise meanings of these words. Then how would an average college student fare in these questions? What percentage of students taking CAT has a convent education? What about the students who have nominal instruction in the language? An average vocabulary takes a long time to develop, let alone a specific mastery on nuances of words.

In the grammar and usage section, there were sentences which had error because a comma was missing in them! How can a student taking test under pressure conditions notice the omission of a comma? And if a students isn't good in punctuation, he doesn't possess the ability to be a better manager?

Why doesn't the verbal section only contain questions testing a student on his reasoning skills? And if the grammar or usage questions are to be present, why isn't the syllabus specified for the same? That brings me to my fourth bias

Fourth bias- lack of syllabus: Why is the syllabus for CAT not given? Why aren't the students given a chance to prepare in advance the topics that they will face in CAT? The verbal section is the proof that the test-developers can throw any type of question under the sun. Why isn't the scope of exam specified?

Again it would be apt to mention that the syllabus and scope of GMAT is specified clearly.

Here is the "code of fair testing in education" prepared by Joint committee on Testing Practices of American Psychological Association. I am using it as a sample code to demonstrate the responsibility that a test developer has and whether this code, or any similar code, is abided by CAT

Test developers should provide the information and supporting evidence that test users need to select appropriate tests.

A-1. Provide evidence of what the test measures, the recommended uses, the intended test takers, and the strengths and limitations of the test, including the level of precision of the test scores. (NOT PROVIDED)

A-2. Describe how the content and skills to be tested were selected and how the tests were developed. (NOT PROVIDED)

A-3. Communicate information about a test's characteristics at a level of detail appropriate to the intended test users. (NOT PROVIDED)

A-4. Provide guidance on the levels of skills, knowledge, and training necessary for appropriate review, selection, and administration of tests. (NOT PROVIDED)

A-5. Provide evidence that the technical quality, including reliability and validity, of the test meets its intended purposes. (NOT PROVIDED)

A-6. Provide to qualified test users representative samples of test questions or practice tests, directions, answer sheets, manuals, and score reports. (EXPLANATORY ANSWERS NOT PROVIDED)

When the CAT results are out, no detailed answers have been given to the questions asked in the test. In the CAT bulletin, some sample questions are given, the explanatory answers to which are not given.

Fifth bias- the interview process: the data collected on the interviews conducted in the IIM interviews showed that the interviewers did not follow any standard set of questions to be asked in the interview. All the questions were random and some were even arbitrary. Why isn't there a standard format of questions from which the interviewers can select questions? Wouldn't it place every applicant on an equal footing?

In the end, the beauty and challenge of the exam like CAT cannot be denied. But this beauty and challenge can still be preserved by observing rules of fairness to multitudes of students for whom CAT opens the door to a glittering career.

 

Share or Tweet This!


Bookmark and Share
You might also like:
CAT 2009- Cheating Issues
An Inspiring true CAT story

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by gaurav aggarwal - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 04:02 PM
  Well TG sir U may be right for some wrong for others, but i'm supporting both as i believe it's only the thrust of a lucrative careers offered by IIM's that made cat, as is it is now. On the other i think it's hardly gonna matter that if they released a syallbus because it's all about surviving the competition & cat being relative exam which sepends a lot on others perform rather than how u turn up on d-day.
Finally it comes to building managers and i the business world absolutely nothing could be planned so how can we be sure that even the step to be future managers gonna be pre planned or known before.
Lastly only this unpredictable nature of cat earns it to be the toughest exam in the world

(NOTE: TG this is my request to u if u could upload the archives of ur previous courses so that people like me could have them who came to know about tg pretty late.....I'm a cat 2k8 taker)
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by kushal gupta - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 07:06 PM
  U R PROBABLY RIGHT SIR...THE SCOPE OF THE SYLLABUS IS NOT DEFINED...FURTHER MORE, IF THEY WANT THE CAT PAPER TO BE TOUGH THEN THEY CAN MAKE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS ON SIMPLE TOPICS LIKE PERCENTAGES, AVERAGES ETC. SO THAT EVERYONE CAN FEEL THEY HAVE STUDIED THIS TOPIC AND ONLY THE PERSON WHO CAN USE HIS/HER MIND IN THE EXAM IS THROUGH THE IIMS...QUANT PAPER APPEARS TO BE SET FOR ENGINEERS!!
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 07:56 PM
  Hi Gaurav,

I am fairly game for the unpredictability part and the competition part. In fact, I believe that the challenge of CAT stimulates many MBA aspirants.

The problem occurs when the test favors a particular set of applicants. If CAT is meant to be taken by graduates from every stream it should give equal chance to each of these graduates. This does not happen. If topics such as functions, inequalities etc., which are not covered till 10th standard, find their place in the paper, then the paper is cetainly favoring a paticular set of students. In fact, no topic that is absent up to 10th standard should be present in the paper. That is why having a syllabus is important.

Also, the absence of syllabus means that the test can be completely random and arbitrary in nature. Realize that unpredictability and arbitrariness are two different things. A test can have a prescribed syllabus and still be unpredictable in the way it presents that syllabus as a test. Arbitrariness means that test-setters can ask any stupid and idiotic thing (like removing a comma), which does not have a bearing on a student's verbal/quant ability and does not test the desired learning outcome.

You can find all the previous articles in "Total Gadha's Quant/Verbal lessons." We do not delete any article. smile

Total Gadha
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by gaurav aggarwal - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 07:36 PM
  Well not agree if it would have been meant for engineers than it would have questions from topics which different stream students even haven't heard of..............It only feels to be engg. oriented because u guys grown up only listening to these phrases "Quant for Enginners.............."
Infact it's for every graduate......
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by gaurav aggarwal - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 07:42 PM
  Thanks Sir n forward my regards to DAGNY MAM as well.
Sir will u keep continue to give help to 2k8 takers here only as u r going start with ur own classes............?????
(Please do keep coming with ur great stuff we need it badly.....)
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 07:50 PM
  Hi Gaurav,

Yes, TG will remain completely free forever and we will continue to write and upload stuff on TG.

Total Gadha
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Hackie Chan - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 10:05 PM
  I firmly believe that CAT needs to be upgraded into a standardized test. Working professionals or students, November 18th may have been a bad time for an exam for anyone. I personally had my semesters as did many of my friends in other engineering colleges, a software engineering may have been in the middle of a project, for that matter it may have been an inconvenient time for any professional. And such external matters do affect our scores. Doesn't it become a matter of luck as to who is busy and who isn't during November or whose preparation is adequate and whose isn't?
And TG, I fully agree with the biases in the exam paper. The quant section this year was quite unfair for arts students.
i personally feel that CAT is missing a General awareness section.
And maybe CAT could do with more of LR than quant, you don't need much theoretical grounding in math for that. Its more about how sharp you are than how much math you have studied.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Dwaipayan Baksi - Saturday, 24 November 2007, 11:58 PM
  Well TG congarts on an article nicely written; its good to see someone harboring thoughts similar to those of mine. I have always felt that the cat actually is biased towards people with greater logical abilities but on second thoughts it seemed pretty natural; after all,  the iims are looking for people with good analytical skills. But what i cannot fathom is the justification behind the inclusion of topics of higher maths like permutation, combination and probability - a science student definitely gains a lot of advantage over a non science student! [not that i am complaining...being an engineer myself i wouldn't mind solving a few probability problems smile]
The section that intrigues me completely is the VA part. I mean cat VA was not so undoable and abstract until about two years back. i really wonder how my understanding a difficult poem would help my being a manager!! the questions these days are so very open to ones perception - its like asking the difference between a  football and a cricket ball. One would say that they differ in size whereas another would come up and say that the cricket ball is made of leather while the football is synthetic. Each is correct from his own point of view. Now which one does the iim consider to be correct and how are we as students supposed to know that? they never come up with the correct answers!! That the different coaching institutes come up with answers totally different from each other also says volumes about the kind of VA questions asked. If English teachers who have been mastering the language for years are unable to find the correct answer in non-exam conditions, how are we, as test takers expected to do so under exam pressure?!!?! we are here to be managers and not literary scholars/authors having great writing abilities. Hope the iims realize this soon and make the changes necessary. They just cannot do whatever they want to simply because they the the premiere management institutes in the country!!

Regards,
Dwaipayan
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Kavita Chauhan - Sunday, 25 November 2007, 02:29 PM
 
Hi TG,
 
Near to reality article......lets give the whole mentality a thought from beggining.....since childhood if a children scores good marks s/he is told to b a doctor /engineer......after 10th thr r cut-off marks for Science stream....commerce a bit lower ....and for arts....no cut-offs(atleast in my schools,Kendriya Vidyalayas).........so the mindset is so called brighter students r science graduates....wht i think is though CAT was supposed to provide equal opportunity to all it is/has been infected by this mindset.
Wht can we do....discuss it ,condemn it  and give it(i.e. prepare ourselves for next CAT).smile
 
Regards,
Kavita.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by ankit tulsyan - Sunday, 25 November 2007, 10:16 PM
  The meaning inherently assumes ‘fairness’ to all test takers, i.e. each test taker would have the same chance of performing and that the test would be free of ‘bias.’

each test taker can never have the same chance of performing ,if they did then we wouldn't need a test ,we can admit students into IIMs on first come first serve.chance of performing depends on your ability not on your concept of fairness.

First bias- a three-section test

maybe CAT was not designed as a test to provide equal opportunity but to assess who would make better managers?and if the IIMs decide that a manager requires analytical and reasoning skills more than the english language can you blame them?

Third bias- the verbal section

What percentage of students taking CAT has a convent education? What about the students who have nominal instruction in the language?

what percentage of people in India in the age group 21 to 30 have a college degree? or senior school ? or know how to write their names ??then going by the logic, should we start picking up random people from the streets ?they deserve a chance too ,u know.

In the grammar and usage section, there were sentences which had error because a comma was missing in them! How can a student taking test under pressure conditions notice the omission of a comma?

He can't

And if a students isn’t good in punctuation, he doesn’t possess the ability to be a better manager?

He would possess the ability to be a better manager if he realizes "under pressure conditions" ,that this question that he can't attempt correctly ,he shouldn't attempt at all .BTW  isn't the bias now shifting towards arts students ?

Fourth bias- lack of syllabus

Bias because of lack of syllabus ??who is the bias towards here?some unknown entity ?the test setter maybe?I swear nobody whispered the syllabus in my ears , and I am almost an engineer (If i somehow miraculously manage to clear tomorrow's paper).


btw did any of you stop to think that maybe the IIMs think that engineers are in fact better suited to become good managers?am just saying.............big grin
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Monday, 26 November 2007, 02:54 AM
  Hi Ankit,

I was wondering when the criticism to my article would start rolling in. smile Anyhow, here are my observations to your comments:

each test taker can never have the same chance of performing ,if they did then we wouldn't need a test ,we can admit students into IIMs on first come first serve.chance of performing depends on your ability not on your concept of fairness.

I am sure you realize that I do not expect every test-taker to perform the same. But difference in performance because of abilities and difference in performance because of bias induced by the test itself are two different things.

maybe CAT was not designed as a test to provide equal opportunity but to assess who would make better managers?and if the IIMs decide that a manager requires analytical and reasoning skills more than the english language can you blame them
?

Two observations on this one- First, that  my argument was against predominance of 'mathematical' questions  (Quant + DI). The 'analytical and reasoning' skills can be tested through verbal questions also. Second,  I am certain that greater  mathematical skills do not lead to a more successful management career. In this regard, here is what is said by GMAC, the official site of GMAT:

GMAC claims the GMAT can measure basic analytical, quantitative and reasoning abilities developed over time. However, according to the GMAC web site, the GMAT does not measure: "every discipline-related skill necessary for academic work, nor does it measure subjective factors important to academic and career success, such as motivation, creativity, and interpersonal skills." It continues, "GMAT scores cannot be used to estimate potential for success in a career, because many factors other than basic verbal and mathematical abilities influence work performance."

GMAC has been able to validate the GMAT for just one purpose: predicting first-year graduate school grades. But GMAC concedes that the GMAT can predict less than 17% of the variation in these grades on average. Independent researchers put the percentage much lower at between 4% and 9%, meaning that over 90% of what determines how well a student will do in their first year in business school is not captured by the test. According to GMAC's own studies, all graduate schools have access to a better predictor of success - - undergraduate GPA's.


Second, would a two-section test prevent IIMs from selecting candidates with good analytical and reasoning skills? They can have one section containing math + DI questions and again the best performers would be selected through the cutoffs. The other section can be verbal. Right now, a person from non-mathematical background has 2/3rd chance of spoiling his CAT (Quant or DI) whereas as a person from mathematical background has 1/3rd chance of spoiling his CAT (verbal). No wonder, 60% of students studying in IIMs are engineers.

what percentage of people in India in the age group 21 to 30 have a college degree? or senior school ? or know how to write their names ??then going by the logic, should we start picking up random people from the streets ?they deserve a chance too ,u know.

Since you are going by the extremes, why not pick 1500 IITians for IIMs and be done with it? They are the most educated lot, possessors of great analytical and logical ability and therefore most deserving to be in IIMs. smile

Maybe you would realize that there ARE many colleges in India and many graduates from small cities/towns hopeful of getting a seat into IIMs. And many of these graduates possess a high analytical and logical ability but miss out on IIMs because they never gathered those minute language skills like punctuation during their studies. And it is no fault of theirs. Just the education system as it is. Here is why a syllabus is important. If you require these skills in a manager SPECIFY it so that an aspirant can prepare for it.

He would possess the ability to be a better manager if he realizes "under pressure conditions" ,that this question that he can't attempt correctly ,he shouldn't attempt at all .BTW  isn't the bias now shifting towards arts students ?

Question selection is one thing. Giving question in a test which does not test the required learning outcome is another.


Is CAT a fair test?
by aaaaa aaaaa - Monday, 26 November 2007, 07:55 AM
  Dear Tg,
         i totally agree with you,but as someone said "only best are rewarded" and in our country who have the higher knowledge of mathematics are considered best...
         and in the interviews they will ask u"beta hobby kya hai tumhare"..when did you give the time to develop a hobby, when in 10th ...study hard ...get in a better school...when in +2 ...u have to study for competitive exams too...i won't blame my parents or school, they never knew that iim's will ask hobby..they  always thought as long a child is good in acads..its fine...he will get a good job...and live happily ever after..
        i won't say "system sucks" ....our iim's iit's and all other ii..centres of higher knowledge are fighting with the coaching institutes...in a tussle to show them we can give questions that u guys can't even think of....
        come on...academics...these institutes are there and surviving, because in school you never let students explore themselves...u nip the creativity right there in the bud....you make people literate...u don't educate them...
       well i must contain myself...or else i will give this topic to some other direction...i wish i were born before jai prakash andolan...i would have been a politician today...smile
          
       
hey! tg ,you and your team are doing  a great job....i hope you guys are doing good after this morning earthquake..

disclaimer:- i am a businessman, i have nothing to do with cat/mat/xat/rat..my children, if ever i will have, will never take any entrance test...

guys who want to improve their angrezi... a good link...
http://www.economist.com/research/styleguide/
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by saurav sharma - Monday, 26 November 2007, 11:23 AM
  I don't agree with you as i think that arbitary nature and randomness is the beauty of the exam.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by kohinoor biswas - Monday, 26 November 2007, 11:47 AM
 

Hi TG sir,

As much as i liked your article on the fairness of  CAT, I feel we cannot question the quality of the students who graduate out of the IIMs. Yes everyone deserves a fair shot at these great seats of learning , but when we question the point of knowing where to put a comma in a pressure situation, maybe we are being tested on our attention to detail under chaotic circumstances. Whether there are better ways of doing it, is something that remains to be answered.smile

Cheers!

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Evita Saldanha - Monday, 26 November 2007, 12:26 PM
 

The CAT isn't a fair test. But then the IIMs have never led us to believe that it is one. As a mass media grad and whose maths levels are on par with a 15 year old, I feel horribly disadvantaged.

But TG, new concepts can always be learnt. If one makes that extra effort, admissions to the IIMs will not remain a fantasy. Several mgmt grads, who were suffering from quant-o-phobia, have told me that it is very important in their jobs.

Dumbing down of the exam will not help anyone. It will only lead to the 60% turning into 100%. It is the IIMs who have to realise that interaction between students from diverse backgrounds will only creat well-rounded managers.

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Monday, 26 November 2007, 01:02 PM
  Hi Evita,

I am sure new concepts can be learnt and that most students from non-mathematical background are ready to take up the challenge also. But I wonder if they can learn them to such a degree that they compete with students who have been using math throughout their studies. Anyhow, I am not debating on dumbing down of the test. It is not required. They key area I am debating on is making it a two-section test, giving out the syllabus, giving out detailed answer keys, and having a prescribed format for the interviews.  None of these measures will  spoil the unpredictability and the beauty of the exam.

Quant does play a role in management career, but in US, students  who are weak in Quant are given precourses in Math before joining their MBA program. This can be done by the the B-schools in India also. This way selection for the MBA program need not be lopsided and quant-heavy.

Total Gadha
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Small Wonder - Monday, 26 November 2007, 04:32 PM
 

TG Sir,

Life is unfair and so is CAT, lets get used to it big grin

Small

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by born survivor - Monday, 26 November 2007, 04:47 PM
  Hi TG,
Last night I was going through one of the snap papers...it was relatively easy as compared to CAT and after reading your article it was a sensible one as well...the questions were strictly up to 10th std and rarely beyond that...VA questions were relatively easy (although it too had few grammer questions related to punctuations smile)...however no matter how snap or any other test is structured better than CAT we will only think of IIM's first and then only about some other B school for that matter...
Furthermore a few days back I had raised a question regarding 'a student cracking JMET cant get a call from any of the IIT's just because he does not posses a first class in his graduation'...and u replied that life is unfair...move on...
May be just like that IIM's know that no matter whatever they throw at us we ll cry for few days for that they being unfair to us but at that very next moment we ll again start dreaming of those 3 glorious alphabets IIM...I totally agree with your article and I wish if you had the authority to change all that for us smile ...
anyways I have dropped the idea of pursuing my MBA this yr (although I am going to appear for all the remaining tests to get some learning experience) as I want to give one last shot at CAT...I want to start all over again...I have got an yrs time...please will you tell me from where should I start...smile
and one last thing I would like to share and it is that I was studying for CAT from past 3 months now...although I am not getting any calls but I realized just one thing and that is CAT always gives something to us...in my case probably a will to fight for one more time....smile
Anyways lets get started once again

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Monday, 26 November 2007, 04:48 PM
  Hi Manish,

Can say a lot about it but as you said it would merely be a discussion. One thing though, when Bill Gates spoke about life being 'unfair,' he wanted the school students to realize it, stop whining and fight back. 'Get used to it' meant that get used to the fact that life is unfair. Stop crying and fight back. smile

As for IIMs knowing that they can throw anything, that scenario will also change if people start to question.

As for your CAT 2008 preparation, go to a book shop and buy some novels for now. Rest, TG.com will take care of. This year, we are determined that TGites not find any type of paper in CAT 2008 stopping them from IIMs.

Total Gadha
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by bhawna bhawna - Monday, 26 November 2007, 05:27 PM
  Hi TG Sir,
I joined TG long back when I started my prep, and thanks to you I was able to get strong hold on mathematics .
I prepared well for CAt took leaves and all, and was pretty confident of making it to some reputed B School.
Alas,I lost the one day on 18th Nov, and failed miserably.
I couldn't control my nerves and just couldn't make it.
Just want an advice, is it feasible to appear for it next year as well,as I already have more than 2 Years of Work ex with IT Industry , and am totally shattered by the  debacle in my life.
Cant decide whether to just take up any BSchool this year , or go for my dreams.I have a strong Educational background to but couldn't use it.
Please advise.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Stuti Awasthi - Monday, 26 November 2007, 06:09 PM
 

I guess you are pretty much right is saying that there is a certain level of 'bias' when we consider the questions, and that it would favor a particular set of students. I havent done great myself, but its much more of an enthusiasm of being able to do / analyze things in the way required that attracts me to CAT. I want to be able to get into a frame of mind where rather than letting CAT overpower me I am able to do the same.

There is this great true story that you posted about a guy who with his self-belief did very well for himelf. Its a matter of debate whether CAT can screen out the candidates who can be great enterpreneurs, there are a lot many examples to prove otherwise.

I would like to believe that any effort expended in the right direction does not go waste, and will achieve anything I want to be.

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Monday, 26 November 2007, 07:48 PM
  Hi Bhawna,

In my eyes, there are only two kinds of MBA aspirants- those who want to study in IIMs at any cost and those who just want to do an MBA. You will have to decide about yourself on you own.

If you decide to appear for CAT again, put aside your worry about your wok-ex or anything else. People with 3- 4 years of work ex also take CAT. And CAT is just an exam, it is not a debacle. smile

Total Gadha
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Kavita Chauhan - Monday, 26 November 2007, 08:30 PM
 

second thought......

whn i first read ur article i felt very rt.....they r biased[one of the reason i know i m not going to make it to IIMs dis time].........but thn i pondered over it again.....a question for u now....

Imagine TG tht ur site is a grand success now [it is , i m so happysmile]...ur classroom is also a big hit.....after some yrs(say 3) every CAT aspirant(or atleast 50,000)wants to b trained by u nd DAgny (i.e.b a part of ur personal classes)as it ensures success in the xam...no one wants to b taught by any ersatz of u guys...but only u.but u can only train a limited no. at a time(u still have to devote quality time for dis site).how wud u choose thn?

choosing one out 160 is tough task...and as u said they r just experimenting and trying to find out the apt persons....thrfore experimenting with xam patterns.......(iit-jee and AIPMT have limited the no. of attempts to ease their task..as obvious CAT can not).

but still u r very rt tht.....first maths shud b strictly of 10th level or from prescribed course.

second either 2 sections or a DI as was in 2006 (it was more analytical  rt TG)

Third they shud give xplanatory answer keys.

r u thinking ofto file some petition or somthing?

and at last as most TGites and TG agree its a matter of 'Survival of Fittest'

 

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Monday, 26 November 2007, 10:16 PM
  Hi Kavita,

If it comes to selection of students through testing and assessment I am not worried because we are the best equipped organization in the country; we have partners who have their own patents in assessment technologies. You will see them on TG.com this coming year. smile

Although, I know this was not the thrust of your argument. I agree that IIMs HAVE to employ some sort of selection method. But from where I stand, this selection procedure seems so full of holes (except for the outstanding quality of CAT questions) that I feel outraged. And this can be improved through simple measures which I pointed out in my earlier posts.

And CAT is such an old exam I doubt they are still experimenting with syllabus or interview procedure at least . I think it's more of a blind spot or an elite conceit.

Total Gadha

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by amber kankane - Monday, 26 November 2007, 10:30 PM
 

yes this website has given a true reflection of cat , but this is also true for other exma as u see last year IIFT and this year IIFT in 2006 from 150+ to 106 and this time from106 to 150 so no one can expect which could be pattrn of paper we a re mainly concerned about cat as the test takers are high

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by ankit tulsyan - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 03:04 AM
  i disagree with your opinion that students with mathematical background have it easy in both Quant and DI. Quant I can understand , but with the no of logical reasoning questions in the Di section I feel an arts student and and engineering student are equally  likely to do well . That people with good reasoning ability also often turn out to be better with nos. is a different concern,but its not always true .I speak from personal experience.
I feel the effects of quant and english cancel out whereas DI is background neutral.You have to be good at at least one of the two,you cant throw up your hands and say I am arts background so I dont know math,and I am not convent educated so I dont know english either but I still want to get in,and when I cant I will blame the test.

I think the only bias that CAT demonstrates is towards intelligence.
Its perfect as it is.     
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 08:10 AM
  Hi Ankit,

I never mentioned that students with mathematical background 'have it easy' in quant or DI or that students with arts and commerce background 'have it easy' in verbal. Everyone realizes that this is not the case.

Also, DI section is not neutral. Whether you accept it or not, students with mathematical background are more comfortable in it, owing to the fact that many questions require mathematical reasoning. Also, having some LR questions does NOT make the section neutral.

And the paper is not perfect. Far from perfect actually.

Total Gadha
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by munna man - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 10:02 AM
  TG,
       superbly written article...each word of which is true.. altho i too come from an engg. background, i do vouch for the fact that CAT is a highly biased examination.... u just can't people based on a 2.5 hour exam... that is why i love the way SP JAIN takes into account a lot of other things... Also i believe CAT is an extremely over-hyped exam... the concerned authorities ahud definitely look into the matter and try to bring more objectivity to the test...

munna man
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by born survivor - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 10:15 AM
  Hi TG,

Thanks for your reply...I have nothing more to say on the above topic as I have already mentioned my thoughts...anyways I have bought TG's Number system book...are you going to publish books on other topics as well...
for the moment as you have suggested I am going to a book shop to buy some novels...could you suggest me some good one's...smile
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by gOd's chILd!! - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 11:00 AM
 

To guruji;

Is "life" a fair test..!! we all exist;tat's common..;but doesn't life favour "the particular set of people" smile there are many things tat we are gonna find unfair(coz v tend to luk at d darker side first)..but is the fairness/unfairness worth debating !!

n am sure , had bhujji ever debated over the fairness of the test; probably he wud hv nvr cracked it..!!

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by kohinoor biswas - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 11:41 AM
 

Hial Captain fantastic !!!

These were just the words... i needed. Thanks . Another chance to chase a dream.. another chance to feel alive ..

Thank you

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by munna man - Tuesday, 27 November 2007, 12:34 PM
  Ankit,
           lets face it... CAT, the so called "toughest exam in the world" is tough bcos of the element of arbitrariness as well as a clear bias in the paper... also ur take that   "the only bias that CAT demonstrates is towards intelligence" is highly debatable. Intelligence is a highly subjective trait which cannot be measured like say the probability of three die turning up a sum of 13 when thrown once.
           U mean to say that people who ace CAT are intelligent. No way. They are the ones who found the test easy to answer bcos of its particular bent and thus were able to perform better vis-a vis others who were at a disadvantage.  Again understand that intelligence  is highly subjective.
           And its not about "not knowing math" , its about the weightage assigned to quant related heads (DI + mathematics section) that makes the paper biased. And it boils down to the way IIMs want to select prospective students. For me it is just not right.
          One last thing is CAT MUST include general awareness questions which I believe are an integral part of an examination which aims to select students for a B-school.

munna man
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by munna man - Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 01:27 AM
            In continuation of the above post , i would go as far as to say that CAT in it's present format is a highly senseless examination which we mortals are dying to clear jus bcos the lure of the green is too strong to resist...
           The IIMs definitely need to take into account the heavy bias towards a particular set of aspirants ( read engineers ) in CAT. Does it not sound so illogical and useless to have a majority of engineers in B-schools rather than an almost equivalent distribution of students from different backgrounds  ? And more so if it is a result of a biased exam like CAT.
          
munnna man
         
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Ashish Rawal - Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 10:30 AM
 

Hi TG

This is my second post on TG...although I have been 'watching from the sidelines' for the last 1.5 months... smile

liked your thoughts on CAT being biased to 'one set of people'....but then Life is not fair so is CAT...neither do I expect it to be fair... smile

If CAT is biased, everyone knew it before-hand...we have to deal with whatever comes our way...If Dagny, being from a Non-maths background, can beat those Quant-gurus...there is no reason why I (from engineering background) cant do well in  verbal...thoughtful (managed only 17 in quant sad)

Had one doubt though thoughtful...last year when quant & DI was extremely (I least, thats what I think) easy & verbal was relatively tougher...some innocent-souls came up with reason that IIMs want to maintain diverse background of classroom i.e  dissuade engineers from forming the major chunk of classroom...

but this year CAT had Quant (which majority of Non-maths background would have found difficult) & VA/RC remaining the same...So where is the CAT heading...Are the IIMs changing CAT every year for the sake of changing  or is there any bottomline in these changes ??

Regards,

Ashish

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Bharat Suri - Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 05:04 PM
 

hey TG this is imporant. I hope u will be uploading XAT and FMS specific material on ur site soon. And also wanted to know if u're preparing an article on the how to crack these papers and what one needs to prepare, previous year's patterns etc.

BTW i believe what you said about choosing whether we want to goto an IIM or just do an MBA ,absolutely holds!!! and I am definitely the former but i guess there is no harm in trying your luck for the other competitive examinations...

ANyway ur site is THE CAT SITE..... and thank u for making our dream ur dream!!! it's for people like u that people like US have HOPE!!!!!!

CHEERS!!!

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by dhruv dingliwal - Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 06:17 PM
  Hello TG,
Well, after having written CAT thrice(inspite of mantaining a reliably good performance in mocks every time), I would be happy to agree with you but, going by that way, I feel all B-School entrance tests for Indian B-Schools will follow similar criticism. Especially for tests like IIFT and XAT which allow the non-engineering students to wrtite the tests and set a paper that is definitely more favourable for a Science student.
I haven't written GMAT, but have referred to Princeton Review's GMAT Guide for Verbal, and found a strange explanation like"GMAT test takers have an aversion to the word"being" "and like that some other ones..
So, in terms of English usage, identifying something as correct or incorrect is really an issue and on an international scale with various people having their own ways of expression in English, it is really tough..
Even, X , XII and Graduation exams that find a relevant weightage in various B-Schools can't be trusted to gauge the level of understanding or accurately predict a student's ability.

The only thing I would say is that it is a vicious circle and no exams can qualify as perfect ones.. So, its all well till the results find suitable people.
Cheers,
Dhruv
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by sharique khan - Thursday, 29 November 2007, 03:30 PM
 

Hello TGites;

Even being from a REC (a premier Engg. college- secured 25 rank in engg entrance)  I found Quant really tough ; however was able to clear other two sections by quite a margin ( 10 - Quant ; 45 - DI ; 43 -Verbal ). My dreams are just shatterd

CAT is more or less turning into solving really tough questions of Quant and English. Guess IIM's only want PHD's in maths or Eng to do PGDBM.

I am going to give one more try this year

TG Sir could you plz tell guys like me what kind of preapration should I do so as to be able to solve these jem (tough) of Quant questions thrown to us by IIM's.

I am in PUNE, otherwise I would love to join TG classes.

Hoping 4 a reply.

A Rat Bitten By CAT

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Murthy PVS - Friday, 30 November 2007, 08:09 PM
 

Hi TG,

         I think the CAT Verbal has become a sort of lottery because of the closeness in the options. In QA and DI, the questions have a definite answer according to the given conditions in the question but when it comes to verbal , people have to research and think and think before narrowing down to a single option (particularly in RCs).The topics that are taken for these RCs are also so abstruse (Atleast I find them so). If they really want to test the innate managerial skills in the students they can always throw up case-studies with moderate english  as RCs and can ask questions on them and can give graded marks for a best choice ,second best choice and so on.By this way they can eliminate the coaching institute factor also.

        But by giving such a difficult paper in Verbal or giving passages in philosophy or whatever it is..they think they are testing the managerial ability but I feel that they are testing our luck(barring few who are very good at english).I see two  people having the same ability in english getting marks in the  both the extremes.

                   Dont these IIMs know this very fact or they want to show their prowess in outshining the coaching institutes.

Please pour your thoughts on this.

 

regards,

Murthy

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by munna man - Friday, 30 November 2007, 11:15 PM
  well said... the only thing that IIMs want to prove is that they can outbid coaching institutes... nothing more nothing less...

munna man
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by seenu gadu - Monday, 3 December 2007, 03:41 PM
 

Hi TG ,

I got a score of 73 in CAT.

Quant : 22

DI : 30

Verbal : 21

Work Ex : 2.5 years

Could I apply for IMI , Delhi.

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Raghuram Alukur Trikutam - Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 10:36 AM
  Frankly speaking, those who really are bent upon doing a MBA from the IIM's must realise that their preparations must channelise towards cracking CAT, and forget all other stuff such as their job exp or academic performances. CAT as an exam may not exactly serve the purpose of choosing the best candidates, but then the IIM's have no other choice and hence have followed a process of elimination. Its tough to actually separate between a candidate who scores 99.5 percentile from a candidate who scores 99, the score difference might be zero !!! But then CAT is essential in its present structure for the aforementioned elimination process. What I feel instead is that one must look at increasing the number of seats in the premier institutes in India. This holds true for IIT's too. I have come from one such institute, and I can say with conviction that there are lots of guys out there who were more deserving than me to get good education from an IIT. The key point here is to increase the seats and for once forget all the stupid comments being put forward about dilution of the cream and so on.
Heck .... a nervy guy on one day could be a hero on some other day, and I bet half of those who get through any of these exams would flop if that exam would be conducted again on some following weekend. Forget the exceptional (the top 5 percent of those who get calls ... ), the other surely would freak out at such an idea ....

Conclusion: Its fine to continue with CAT in its present structure, for analytical abilities are required and hence tested, but then deconstruct the process and broaden the process of filtration, and at the end of it all  .... please increase seats so as to give chance to all eligible students !!!!
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by ankit tulsyan - Tuesday, 4 December 2007, 04:29 PM
  couldn't agree more.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by munna man - Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 02:15 AM
  increasing the number of seats is an option ... but wat is being talked here is how fair is CAT as an examination for entrance into B-schools... as for the point of differentiation between candidates scoring marks that are very close , well the IIMs need to include sections that can bring out the best from the rest and not make the paper heavily biased and arbitrary jus for the sake of it.... one such section I believe is the general awareness section which CAT sorely needs...  this section can surely bring out some kind of discernible differences amongst candidates...

munna man
As a newbie
by hitech the gr8 - Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 08:41 PM
 

Hi tg sir,

    I am CAT  08 aspirant n a newbie to this site(though I had joint it much earlier )smile. Today I visited iimb‘s site to know the selection procedure they adopt to!!!. Over there I was flabbergasted looking at the no of criterion they levy upon a candidate before the final selection is done. It was simply horrendous for an average student like me!!!!!.

 I have got 86% in 10th and 70% in my 12th. Assuming that I slog and crack CAT with hefty percentile, is there any possibility that I get into IIM?//. In the CAT 07 bulletin iimc has not mentioned anything about the academic record in their selection procedure.


Is it that different iims adopt to different selection procedures or more or less the same one as released by IIMB?// . Please help because this is really going to help me in deciding whether to go ‘the CAT route ’  or simply do my MS. I have very strong extracurriculars, n  IIMB has not even bother to mention anything about the extracurricularsangry

thank you & jai ramji ki!!!!!!!

iimb slection procedure http://www.iimb.ernet.in/iimb/docs/PGPSelection2008.pdf

Re: As a newbie
by Total Gadha - Thursday, 6 December 2007, 04:43 PM
  Hi hitech,

Let's wait for the IIM calls this year. This 'criteria' thing is a new feature. I would like to wait and watch how serious are the IIMs in implementing and if the other IIMs will also follow in the footsteps of IIM-B. Prepare for CAT by all means. You have no reason to fear that you cannot get into an IIM.

Total Gadha
Life goes on .....
by abhi s. - Friday, 7 December 2007, 12:45 PM
 

Hi sir ,

Somehow I am not convinced by what you said . smile

I am not an engineer but still was good enuf in maths .

Don't  you feel that anyone with decent background of maths n english (decent doesn't mean that we have to be engineers) and a lot of "presence of mind" (this is the main component of armament) could have cracked CAT 07.I feel that way since there were enough questions in all sections which if solved with cool mind at home ,i repeat , at home would have fetched good enuf marks to clear cutoffs .Then why not in exam hall ? come on , you are taking an all india level exam .It's not university exam .and moreover u have to have your nerves in place to handle the stress a manager is "supposed" to handle .And you cannot rule out the stress factor (which must be tested ).And no one can device a test which can sieve out future dhiru bhai ambanis .Thus IIMs count analytical and quantitative skills (alongwith stress handling ability and presentable english proficiency) to pick out few thousand persons out of 2lakh plus test takers .They have to device some separation criteria.Please don't undermine the importance  of Maths for being a good "manager" (not necessarily a good buisnessman).

Yes , sometimes I do feel that CAT gets too biased towards verbal section (a tool for arts students ).But the very next moment I console myself that Abhinav ,you could have cracked even verbal section ,if you were  bit more relaxed but quick in analysing the english questions .

I am with you when you say that CAT must come up with explanatory answers.

aakhir bande ko pata to chale ki CAT setters  kaise sochte hain .They must be  accountable .we must know what's the fault with a said view ( especially in english section - btw ,example of cricket ball and football was apt ).

Thanks,

Abhinav.

 

 

Re: Life goes on .....
by brendan decruz - Sunday, 9 December 2007, 01:12 PM
 

TG sir,

My views on the CAT system :

1] The syllabus must be defined......and adhered to as well.....

2] It should be held more than once a year....keeping in mind the constraints that so many sections of people face like final sem exams, project work, foreign training stints, etc... am not saying have it every month, but atleast 2-3 times....

3] Is cat fair??? hell no!!!!!It is not fair from any angle.... neither to engineers nor arts guys....so many math studs were screwed in the verbal part while so many arts students found the going tough with the math...

4] The DI paradox???? Is it engineer friendly???? YES and NO. Why??? if DI is calculation intense then its definately is partial to engineers....But if DI is reasoning intense, needing very little calculations, then its good for all.

Hence, no real need to have 2 - sections test....provided DI is neutral....

5]And talking about 'fairness'??? whom are we fooling .... people with 60-65 percentile walk into IIMs, denying a much more deserving candidate his/her place....Imagine GMAT giving quotas for blacks, whites, red indians, etc....

Verdict : IS CAT FAIR?????? hell no!!!!! But must all this deter us?????? hell no!!!!mixedmixedmixed 

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by srikanth ganti - Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 06:10 PM
  Well, thats a very good article. Clearly analysed. I too have the same quetion in my mind. I am a commerce grad.  I stand nowhere in the competion if my QA is checked. I work for a BPO and my manager is from XLRI. He always appreciates my problem solving attitude, leadership skills, and  ideas. And, when i interacted with some of the B-schoolers, they too praised my abilities . But, if the test like CAT checks QA to chek a persons managerial abilities, it might be hard for me to get into a good B-school.  There are many other people who are really intelligent, but unable to get into a B-schools.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Neeraj Kumar - Thursday, 13 December 2007, 12:17 AM
 

Hi,

(Disclaimer: No offence to anyone, the below post is based completely on my personal thoughts and should not be taken for any references or decisions)

What you have written and observed may be correct coz nothing is right or wrong in this universe, its only our perception on how we see things. I would like to share what I feel abt the bias which you mentioned

First bias- a three-section test: IIMs setting papers to shortlist students which they think will be suitable for their institutes and will do well their. If the paper is maths or LR oriented. it is because probably they are looking for students with greater mathematical and analytical skills who will be better ones to take their course. And regarding your fact that more than 50% of the students in B-schools are engineers, where the rest of the students come from. They are my friend from the non-engineering background i.e. arts, commerce etc. They have built themselves to that level. In GMAT even if there are only two sections there is a maths oriented section in it. And if you are able to do well in one quant section oriented section there I don’t see any reason why you can’t do well in two maths oriented sections here.

Second bias – the quant sections : The same point here too. Even Arts and Commerce graduates will be clearing this CAT. And if you think that you being an arts or commerce graduate were not able to beat an engineering graduate, you would have beaten your fellow arts or commerce graduates who will be clearing this CAT and you would have been very much in the game. And My dear friend CAT notifications never said that that reading class 10th NCERT book will be sufficient to crack CAT.

Third Bias – The verbal section: Only in your words “… many verbal instructors were scurrying ….”. If an instructor is finding it difficult how can it be favoring a section of students? No one in this world is perfect … you will have to compensate your weak areas with your strong ones. And my friend if you say that convent students have an edge in this section, just to give you an example I am also from convent school and was sweating more than anyone in this section. Even if a convent student is scoring more in this section you only have to clear the cutoff here and score more in other sections.

And say if your point is correct, and if CAT set a very easy verbal section then also a convent student will be scoring more than the section of students you were talking about and againg they will fail clearing the cutoff. So what is the solution... either they should remove this section from the exam of they set it to such a level that everyone scores 100% in this section .... is this really feasible !!!!!

Fourth Bias – Lack of syllabus: Only one point. If some test takers know the syllabus and others don’t then it can be called as Bias, and if no one knows it, it can’t be considered as a bias. It can be said as CAT’s shortcoming but not a bias.

Fifth Bias – the interview process: If there had been a standard set of questions each and everyone would have come well prepared for those questions and everyone will be doing equally good, them how would you rate them. Everyone has got a different personality, different areas of interest and different educational background. Then how can you expect a standard set of questions to all of them. Suppose you are interested in sports and in there so called standard set of questions they have a hell lot of questions on politics then you are gone my friend, and a candidate eats, drinks and sleep politics will win the race by a large margin. Now this is called BIAS my friend. And of course there are some common standard questions like “why MBA”, “short term and long term goals”, etc.

So my dear friend, think 100 times before you question exams like CAT.

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Thursday, 13 December 2007, 04:20 AM
  Hi Neeraj,

I have answered to many of your points in my previous posts so let me answer again in short:

If IIMs want students with mathematical and LR skills, they can test them through one section only. And if you keep two sections requiring mathematical and LR skills, the students with non-mathematical background have MORE chances of going wrong. And about more than 50% engineers thing, read more than 60%.

The point is not about beating arts, science or engineering graduate. Everyone has completely missed the point of my article- that CAT paper is not a fair testing procedure. There will always be science graduates beating arts graduates and vice versa. But the CAT paper still does not qualify on standard norms of constructing a test paper. And if the syllabus in CAT is more than 10th I would like to know what the word "common" in common admission test stands for.

You are not representative of the whole convent educated students. I would really like to have some average here.

I think CAT interviewers are skilled enough to judge a student through a prescribed set of questions also. In fact I would never agree to this point as I have seen very very skilled intervewers. No matter how prepared a student is, they can judge him easily.

And why don't YOU question exam like CAT? smile
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by fundoo bond - Thursday, 13 December 2007, 03:54 PM
 

Hi TG sir,

    I liked your article but not convinced completely though. According to me a person who is made for IIM will see it through anyhow and if for some or the other reason he cldnt do it,he will surely do it in the next chance. Winners never complain....

regards,

fundoo

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by munna man - Thursday, 13 December 2007, 06:52 PM
  i dont think there as any such person as someone made for IIMs. Just that some people ( who find CAT  easier as compared to others ) sail thru. that doesnt qualify them as "made for IIMs" in any way whatsoever.

munna man
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Neeraj Kumar - Thursday, 13 December 2007, 10:02 PM
 

Hi TG Sir,

Adding to the clarification of my thoughts. You are saying that IIMs can test mathematical and LR skills in one section only, I say they can test Mathematical, LR as well as VA skill in one set only. But they know better that us what they want and how to take these skills from the aspirents. We can also say that mathematical, DI and LR are different skills.

Mathematical skill: Knowledge of mathematical formulae and their application in a given problem.

DI: what can you take out of data just by observing. You can predict the trend just by seeing the graph. Though a little calulations are involved but they are nothing more than addition, Substraction, Multiplications and Division which is not taught in engineering. In fact engineering students are so prone to using calculators that they also have a tough time in these basic mathematical operations.

LR: It has got logics to be applied and not formulae so different from mathematical skills.

May be IIM likes all these skills to be present in their students and if they happen to be in one section only may be they will not find candidates with all these skills.

And abt the percentage of engineers u said it is more than 60%. Let it be 90%, still where do the rest 10% come from!!!!!!smile

The word "common" in "common admission test" test stands for it the common test to shortlist candidates by all IIMs and not that its syllabus is limited to class 10th mathematics.

Agreed that I am not the representative of convent school students. But then the other point also I have made it clear in my previous post only that if convent students have an edge over others in this section and this comes out to be easy then also that edge will remain there ... isn't it ??

I don't have to say much abt interview process as you only have mentioned that "I think CAT interviewers are skilles enough....", which I also strongly agree upon, then they can judge a student through arbitrary questions also. Right sir??

An at last but not the least I never said that you can't question exams like CAT, I only said THINK before questioning exams like CAT as it is one of the most pretigious exams in the country. Isn't it Sir?? smile

I have already said its all about your perception. You are seeing half glass empty and I am seeing half glass full.

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Total Gadha - Thursday, 13 December 2007, 11:49 PM
  Hi Neeraj,

IIMs have taken two-section test, four-section test and three-section test in the past. So I don't think they know what they want and how to extract these skills. And tomorrow, it can again become a two-section, four-section or five-section test.

Its not about where those 40% or 10% students are coming from. It's about why the proportion of engineers is more than 10% or 25%. If it's more, then the test is biased.

I would like to see this definition of "common" stated by IIMs. As far as I can understand, the word "common" in common admission test means that the test is common to all aspirants.

Regarding verbal section, I don't think that if the section is based on logic, vebal logic (RC, CR, and parajumbles) that is, convent students will have an edge.

About the interview process of IIMs, the less I say the better. I will probably post some of the transcripts. And you can decide yourself if it's professional.

CAT may be "most prestigious" exam but who are the people creating CAT? Ordinary content developers, humans like you and me. And I am scared that they have not been given any standard guidelines for creating the test.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by brendan decruz - Friday, 14 December 2007, 04:03 PM
 

neeraj,

dude.I am not against the CAT exam....only I feel that it should be more structured and defined... I dont mean to say that the exam must be predicatble, but that it should atleast define the boundary limits to the aspirants.... sadly, in our country, its not feasible to have each and every student on an "equal footing"; there are those guys/gals with excellent logic skills but poor verbal abilities; those with good verbal skills but poor math comprehensions; those with equally good math logic and verbal skills..... is not this then unfair that u call it a Common Test yet,apparently, favor particular section..... I am an engineer myself, but speak for each and everyone of those students ( cutting across the engineer/arts/bcom grad barriers) who have given it a good try but ended up running short...... Not Because they didn't have what it takes to clear this exam, but simply coz they were not lucky enuf to possess those little tit-bits of knowledge that gave a particular group of students the Edge!!!!! look at verbal I dont know how knowing the difference between mistrust/distrust makes one a shakespeare ( assuming that's what they want!)!!!!!! If they need persons with good verbal skills then there are better ways of doing this......The DI section was so calculation intense that logic simply seemed to have gone into hiding!!!!!! Math was definately of 11-12 standard, out of reach for so many.......Atleast if the syllabus for such is known it'd save so many of the aspirants their time and energy........I appreciate CAT but provided it lives up to its name!!!!!

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by komal nav - Monday, 17 December 2007, 12:52 AM
 

hey..

i think CAT sets paper according to the need of today's world...the kind of managers today's business world is expecting of must be kept in mind..multitalented managers are needed..

Nothing is fair to everybody all the time.
by kadnam i - Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 02:36 PM
 

Hi TG,

I really liked the content on your site. Thanks.

I would like to note down some of my points about your article. Its a really interesting and could not resist replying to it.

You start the article by saying that the reason behind writing this article is seeing many qualified and able students getting stumped in CAT whose content is completely random and arbitrary.

If the students are able and qualified but could not crack the CAT, I don't think the logic of students being able and qualified holds true here. Those who are able to get through the exam are more qualified and prepared on that particular D day.  Those who failed on that day are either not well prepared or could not handle the pressure. If they are able and qualified, there must be something else to prove themselves. MBA was not required for some of the richest persons on this earth to become rich. MBA in IIMs is only a shortest and easier route to a big corporate biggies. Again we cannot claim that everyone in the IIMs will create a next big thing in the world. What I am trying to say is that we have to accept the fact that those who failed on that day have failed for a reason and rather than try to question the testing process, we can look forward to next D day.

Again I would not agree that the random and arbitrary content of CAT has significant effect to stump the able and qualified students. In this exam, there are four sets of papers 111, 222, 333, and 444. Can we argue that the one of the sets has a edge over the other sets just by the arrangement of the questions? Yes, given all the easier questions are placed at the beginning of each section. I read an article which says that we can influence a group of people differently by asking them to read a different sets of words. Those persons who read positive words react positively in the immediate interactions with the others and those who read words with negative shades react with arrogance and tend to be egoistic. By relating the findings in this article, I can say that there is slightly edge for one of sets over the others just on the basis of arrangement of questions. (I mean to say that those who solve more questions in the initial stages will tend to be more than happy to pick the other easier pickings.) Will anybody accept my argument? someone pls smile

And on the meaning of the term common admission test. I agree that admission test is common to all and evryone can take the test regardless of their academic discipline, cultural background, gender, etc.  The description about CAT as given in the application form is "The CAT consists of questions that evaluate a candidate's quantitative, verbal, logical and data interpretive abilities". I couldnot agree on fairness being inherent in the meaning(Fairness- each test taker would have the same chance of performing and that the test would be free of ‘bias.’ ). It is neither possible nor necessary to set a test paper which gives same chance of performing for all. The examiners know that the applicants are from various disciplines and they will select the candidates from different discipline based on the various other factors. Clearly IIMs state that it is possible for a candidate with lower CAT score to be preferred to a candidate with higher CAT score. This clearly states that CAT is not the ultimate factor in determing the outcome. The panel has to do many computations and solve many mathematical expressions keeping in the view of diverse backgrounds and gender before coming up with a list of selected candidates.

The definition of bias is only a idealistic but not practical one. Bias is the presence of some characteristic of an item and/or test that results in two individuals of the same ability but from different subgroups performing differently on the item and/or test. (Data Research Corporation ‘fairness in testing manual’). Any two individuals on this earth have different abilities and perfom differently, that is used to advantage in the process of elimination, be it in a exam or a election or others. If all individuals perform equally, we need to have equal number of seats in the institutions, and so is the case with the resources for everybody with equal ability.

It is very difficult to balance everything and please everybody, which is not necessary condition. The beauty of the life is the bias nature. This can be thought of a predator-prey problem or a game theory problem.

At the moment, we have less resources and more people. And this gives us a chance to grab the oppurtunity and move ahead with the optimism. What we need is not only a MBA from IIM, but also a right perceptive of life. The first condition is not necessary and sufficient for the second condition.

Finally, I believe in the expertise and research being done at IIMs, which is capable of selecting right kind of candidates to enter into their institutes. (I am keeping my fingers crossed for my result as well).

Thanks for hosting such a wonderful site.

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by vara kalpana - Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 11:22 PM
 

Dear tg,

Just came through this site from a friend and coulnt resist to reply.My answer may be very general and may look too optimistic. But i believe great things can be achieved only by optimistic people.smile

ok coming to your question "Is CAT a fair test?" after reading all your points i try to conclude that you mean

  1. CAT is more biased towards engineers(favoring maths students)
  2. CAT is more biased towards convent going students
  3. CAT doesnt have a standard testing procedure

also just see ur point once again "I am hurt to see so many qualified and able students getting stumped in a two and half hour exam whose content is completely random and arbitrary"

Is CAT all about two and half hours exam? shd someone who gets out of his bed  and sit in a exam hall for a two and half hour exam expect to clear the test? isnt CAT supposed to be one of the toughest exams of the country?

ok even if we assume a person decides to appear for CAT at the end of his graduation doesnt he/she hav enough time to prepare for 3 sections called DI,LR,&VERBAL.and i guess there is no specific age limit or time limit for appearing for CAT. also i heard that the work experience only adds up to your advantage.

CAT is a life time opportunity to anyone so if anyone is determined to crack it i dont see any difficulty in learning the art of maths.since they r particular with these sections why dont we understand they r minimum qualities that might be required for future growth in thier career.and may be its better to learn the art and enter it rather than entering it and then suffer.

and finally when ppl from the bottom strata of the society(economically) can crack exams like UPSC with flying colours (2007 1st ranker is from a village which doesnt have proper trasportation) i dont think money r degree is a deciding factor to crack CAT r for that matter any exam. also UPSC exams is famously called MOTHER OF ALL EXAMS with unending syllabus as vast as the ocean and the sky. and every year there are many stories of the so called biased ppl(govt school educated & art students) cracking these exams. and 2 main points here one can point out that UPSC is held in different languages and its easier for arts students (polity, economics,history etc etc) but i hav seen many govt school educated students writing exams in english and also cracking it and since the syllabus is so vast that any person who doesnt keep his soul and heart can never get through it.

also as we know that upsc is more tuned towards arts type of syllabus . but then dont we see lot of maths/engineering students making thier mark in UPSC. so when engineering students can strive hard to pass art like subjects ,cant art students strive hard to get through maths subjects. 

ok cutting it short i seriosuly believe its ones resolution to crack any exam along with many other qualities like your grasping power ,systematic hardwork, availability of proper guidance ,motivational levels that help you get through any exam

i guess my whole explanation answers the first 2 questions i have pointed out. and coming to the third point that it doesnt have a standard test procedure is it really biased then?? but whose side??  

finally i think do accept that an arts student/ govt school educated student needs to make extra effort compared to his counter part. but if one has a dream to study in IIM "isnt that little extra effort worth the result"  and once anyone is through the preparation part the D day is same for anyone and the two and half hours is not the end of CAT.

Hope i was able to put my points across.lets see the repliessmile

Regds,

sagar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Krishna Prasad Munuswamy - Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 07:29 PM
  Hello sir,
I think your interpretation of the word 'common' in CAT is wrong. Common in Common Admission Test suggests that it is a common entrance test for all 6 IIMs..(like Joint in JEE suggests that all the IITs together conduct the test)..Common does not mean that it is common for all the aspirants/fair etc...
Correct me if I am wrong

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by quaint lee - Friday, 28 December 2007, 11:09 PM
 

Dear TG,

Thank you so much!! I was so very glad to read this write-up smile.

You've said .. and quite comprehensively that too .. what I've always believed. The CAT is essentially biased and needs to take some pointers from the GMAT.

And wishing you and your team a very Happy New Year smile

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Sharfraz Peshimam - Saturday, 29 December 2007, 05:52 PM
  yeah the question is worth thinking...........anyways........if u go thoroughly the paper............u would see that nearly 75 % questions require good reasoning skills ............if u look at the profile which the  companies at iim offering is which doesn't require good intellactual skills rather than concept oriented people..........moreover for a  commerce student and for a art student.......it is difficult to answer quant questions.....anyways whatever may be the test it is not biased one
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by jyoti agarwal - Wednesday, 15 October 2008, 03:32 PM
 

CAT is similar to cat whose bahaviour is pretty unpredictable.Sometimes it goes under the table and sometimes upon it,smtimes behind u and smtimes infront of u .But the result is the same that it is very difficult to catch her.One who is very professional can only do so.All the average people in the world can only dream about it.

CAT has never been able to test the real potential of an individual.Is it  only that Maths matters?or verbal usage that matters?Do an organisation only need people who are very good at academics?

Is it my fault that my education was pursued in a remote area where there is not enough resource for teaching english?or is it my fault that we did not have enough scope for state-level or central-level competition.

Why do some mistakes (not done by me alone)have to play such important role in my future.Is it this selection process that refines the students on the basis of their past capabilities ignoring their present abilities and personality...............................................................................

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by hbk Not joining IIML - Thursday, 20 November 2008, 08:43 PM
  Hi TG I completely agree with you that CAT isn't a fair test. But why should we want it to be fair, is it so only because they have used "common" in the name of the test.

 Lets look at it from MBA faculty point of view. They probably want those persons who could be trained to be good managers. So obviously the entrance test SHOULD be biased towards such ppl. It important to remember that no MBA college is capable of making a good manager if one doesn't have certain bare minimum requirements.

But sadly as you rightly pointed out these requirements or the target population hasn't been specified. As far as fairness goes CAT shouldn't be expected(or assumed) to deliver fairness.

 *********************YOUR SITE ROCKS !!!***************************
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by shiba desor - Saturday, 10 January 2009, 10:45 PM
 

i love this article but i think that the greatest bias is not the fact that it doesnot have a prescribed syllabus or that it leans towards maths or convent educated but simply the fact that CAT cannot be taken without preparation i.e.  it is not what it pretends to be.

When i first came to know about this exam i thought it would be like a piece of paper that u can read and answer without any preparaton at all.the fact that any person can crack the exam after putting in hours of hard work and practising all type of questions is a little hard to grasp.

if cat is an exam for management then would not the best ground to judge a person be to have two sections

a, general IQ section..instead of questions involving mathematical formula the thrust should be on questions involving identification of patterns, deriving relationships, checking the level of understanding of a situation and stuff like that.

b, IDEAS..where is a place in cat where u can show your IDEAS..instead of filtering people out through the objective question paper so that only the bare minimum can express ideas in GD/PI why dont they use it as a base to select people in the preliminary test..isnot it important for the selected great intellectual to also have a few of his own ideas and opinions and that they are healthy

c, a practical situation..this again needs a descriptive type examination..where the candidate is given a practical situation related in someway to MANAGING and u can check the person's response to analyse his way of dealing with it.

funny thing is that i cannot find many people in the list of the most successful entrepreneurs or the richest businessmen who had an MBA. so although i have no interest in business management myself i want to tell anyone wo has that goal and didnot get through CAT to show it a finger and just go ahead and get ur dream.u dont really need their certificates. run run run.

i know there is no point of my writing this post but i will do it anyway. merry christmas to all and to all a good nightsmile 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Mayank Kumar - Tuesday, 22 September 2009, 07:50 PM
  carefully written. carefully thought out. nice article with poise and balance. read an unusual article on www.catcat.blog.co.in maybe some of you would like to check it out.
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Purbarag Naik - Tuesday, 29 September 2009, 03:40 PM
  Cat isn't fair...SO IS LIFE !!
Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Sreenivas Rao - Tuesday, 15 December 2009, 01:03 PM
 

My Comments:

First bias- a three-section test: Why is it a three-section test, favoring people with greater mathematical and analytical skills? It is well-known that the third section, data interpretation and logical reasoning, favors students who possess greater mathematical skills which translate into greater analytical skills. It is a well-known fact that more than half of the students in a B-school are engineers. Is it surprising, given that more than half of the test requires mathematical and analytical skills?

In this respect, it is necessary to mention that GMAT, an international standardized exam has only two sections, both of equal weightage.

Throughout the day, a manager needs to take decisions based on actual facts or data by participating in meetings or analyzing as an individual. In order to do this, he must be good at reading and analyzing figures, applying multiple ideas, drawing reasoning etc.. A large proportion of this can be evaluated not by using Verbal (except Critical Reasoning). At the end of the day, he would get chance to show his writing abilities by seding mail or dictioning a paper. Need not to mention that communication skills are mostly different from writing and grammar. So practically a manager has to face 2/3 of maths and 1/3 of English.

I think we have one more section in GMAT for which we need to show ourwriting skills. People say that this score may not be considered. But the essays which we write would be sending to all B-Schools for which we apply, of course, it is on request.

Second bias- the quant section: Isn’t common admission test also meant to be taken by arts and commerce graduates who did not study Math after 10th standard? Then are the following items fair to these students? I picked up 10th standard NCERT mathematics book and I could not find a single topic related to these questions

Certainly one can give arguments that a student does not need to solve every question. But the ‘solvable’ questions are an easy pick for students from Math background and then they can attempt more of these questions which an arts and commerce student would not be able to solve. And shouldn’t every item in a test be fair?

The above mentioned questioned may not be from 10th or 12th standards. But we can solve those by using commonsense. By just replacing the variables with numbers. This is what those intended for.

The second argument is not completely correct. 85% of CAT questions can be solved by just applying basic maths. The only trick to gain accuracy is that you need get the trick in the tricky questions.

Third bias- the verbal section: Which public school or college teaches difference between censored and censured, distrust and mistrust, historic and historical? When the CAT 2007 paper came out, many verbal instructors were scurrying to get hold of a dictionary to see precise meanings of these words. Then how would an average college student fare in these questions? What percentage of students taking CAT has a convent education? What about the students who have nominal instruction in the language? An average vocabulary takes a long time to develop, let alone a specific mastery on nuances of words.

In the grammar and usage section, there were sentences which had error because a comma was missing in them! How can a student taking test under pressure conditions notice the omission of a comma? And if a students isn’t good in punctuation, he doesn’t possess the ability to be a better manager?

Why doesn’t the verbal section only contain questions testing a student on his reasoning skills? And if the grammar or usage questions are to be present, why isn’t the syllabus specified for the same? That brings me to my fourth bias

I completely agree with this note... CAT should reduce unneccessary verbal skills and can go with GMAT verbal section, which is easy to read but tough to answer.

Fourth bias- lack of syllabus: Why is the syllabus for CAT not given? Why aren’t the students given a chance to prepare in advance the topics that they will face in CAT? The verbal section is the proof that the test-developers can throw any type of question under the sun. Why isn’t the scope of exam specified?

Again it would be apt to mention that the syllabus and scope of GMAT is specified clearly.

To be frank, there is a syllabus for the exam. That is nothing but basic maths, reasoning skills and commonsense. We need to workout on all those. Predefined topics are similar to the problems which we can guess (with a ready remedy). But undefined topics are similar to the problems which may occur all of sudden. In both cases, we should be smart enough to take decisions and actions. In real time, as a manager, we need to face more undefined problems than predefined problems. So syllabus need not required for CAT.

99% of life is undefined and uncertain.

No comment on Joint Commitee.

Fifth bias- the interview process: the data collected on the interviews conducted in the IIM interviews showed that the interviewers did not follow any standard set of questions to be asked in the interview. All the questions were random and some were even arbitrary. Why isn’t there a standard format of questions from which the interviewers can select questions? Wouldn’t it place every applicant on an equal footing?

Comment on Fourth can be pasted here.

In order to express my opinion on CAT BIAS, I hope I am not biased.

Anyway, good post .. I enjoyed.

Thank you TG Sir.

 

Re: Is CAT a fair test?
by Gayatri Murralidharan - Monday, 22 November 2010, 11:36 PM
   how come i never saw this article? I am a big fan of your website.You are an engineer right? If yes, i am glad this came from you... i completely agree with u.
Good managers is not equal to geeks.quite the opposite!
As long we continue to be mesmerised with this "IIM" tag, things wont change.