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Mouse to tame the CAT

Taming the CAT this time around will test your skills in handling the mouse as well. With the Common Admission Test having adopted an online avatar, it is natural for aspirants to have a lot of queries on how to handle the test. Ashutosh Dikshit of the PGDM Class of 2010 at IIM Shillong, who has been there done that (albeit in the former avatar), tells you the tricks of the trade for D Day or rather D week…

Technology is a great leveller
I have livid memories of the various centres at which I “wrote” the CAT– rickety primary school benches, creaky fans, blaring music (Sunday special remember?) just to name a few. With technology, comes the comfy environment of professionalism that most readers from the IT industry can relate to. In fact, one reason why I am in awe of the manner in which GMAT is conducted is the professionalism that is displayed in every possible area to make the examinee feel at ease. Going by the list of test centres for CAT ’09, I feel you can expect applicant-friendly facilities (much better than the previous format) at your test venue. And since you’d be mostly testing in a computer lab of a college, the basic infrastructure ought to be in place.

Learn to switch and multi-task
Please remember that you cannot take in any writing material with you. Since the questions would be on your monitor and your calculations will be on the scratchpad provided to you, tune yourself well to switch your line of vision between the two. This may sound elementary, but there can arise a situation (especially if you are reviewing a question) where you are unable to trace the work you might already have done on your scratchpad, a situation you would not want to find yourself in. Ordering your rough work too will surely help.

Don’t panic
If you are faced with a technical problem (God forbid) in any given situation, don’t panic. Stay calm and reach out to the administrator who would surely be empowered to solve your problem. Please keep in mind that staying calm is imperative just as it has always been in the manual version of the CAT.

Use the Review feature wisely
The advantage the review feature gives you is getting the (relatively) easier questions into your kitty and coming back to the tougher ones later. So, stick to the strategy that you would have otherwise adopted in the manual form of the test — answer the questions you know first.

It’s a first for everyone
The people conducting the test will want to ensure the success of this model just as much as you. Everyone’s going to be new to the system. So, don’t fret over how you are going to handle it. I am sure you would have practised enough on the simulated tests before hand. As far as experience goes, look at it as if it were just another online game that you indulge in during breaks. Trust me, the attitude that “It’s now or never” can put undue pressure on your mind. Taking it cool and knowing that you are smarter than a computer or the dumb terminal, as the techies call it, will keep you in good spirits through the test.

Dale Carnegie said it best when he said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.”

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