How to Get into an IIM – MBA 2016

The Indian Institutes of Management are premier institutions of the country for pursuing professional courses in Management. Set up as autonomous institutions, and governed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, these colleges have, over the years, served as the torch bearers of business education in India. There are 19 IIMs in the country out of which six have been established in or before 1996, and the rest are recent ones. The courses that they offer are of different kinds, out of which the most sought after course is that of the two year post graduate diploma or better known as Master of Business Administration (MBA). Apart from this, IIMs also offer the Fellow Program in Management (FPM) which is a doctoral program equivalent to the Ph.D. degree. For professional executives, IIMs also offer the Executive Management Program.

How to get Admission in IIM

Admissions to different courses require different aptitude skills and the most common and eagerly awaited procedure to get into an IIM is through the Common Admission Test, better known as CAT. CAT is a management aptitude test jointly conducted by the IIMs in order to segregate deserving candidates for the admission into the MBA program of the institutes. The candidates who score the required marks in the test are then tested through further screening processes like a Written Ability Test, Group Discussion and finally through the Personal Interviews. So, it is an elaborate and exhausting process all together and each stage of it requires different skills. These requirements and procedures are discussed below.

How to crack CAT Exam: Test Pattern

To crack the Common Admission Test, one needs extensive practice and immense concentration for the questions asked in the test are not meticulously subject orientated or discipline based, but rather aptitude oriented and thinking based. The CAT paper to be prepared for the 2015 exam would contain three sections- Quantitative Aptitude, Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation, and Verbal and Reading Comprehension. The total time allotted for the paper would be 180 minutes. However, the candidates would be allotted only 60 minutes for each of the sections, and flipping between sections will not be allowed. This is a significant shift from the pattern in which this exam was being conducted over the last few years. Let us discuss each of these sections in detail.

CAT 2016 Pattern in Details

Section 1: How to solve Quantitative Aptitude for CAT

First, the Quantitative Aptitude section would contain questions testing the mathematical aptitude of the candidates with questions from simple elementary mathematics such Simplification, Percentage, Profit and loss, Ratio and Proportion, Time and Work, Averages, Time, Speed and distance, Boats and Streams, Probability, Permutations and Combinations etc. These topics, though sound to be simple, require rigorous practice and immaculate accuracy. The best way to prepare for these is by continuously taking time bound mock tests. These mock tests are available on a variety of websites including the official CAT website This where the best feedback for your preparations would be received.

Section 2: How to solve Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for CAT

The second section is that of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Data Interpretation is nothing but a mixture of whatever you had studied for the QA section above, combined into a single question. Most common forms of DI questions are Bar Graphs, Tabular graphs, Line Graphs, Pie Charts and a mixture of some or all of the above. To answer these questions successfully, you must first master the QA section so that the calculations are quick and each part of the DI requires minimum possible time. The Logical Reasoning part tests the decision making and reasoning capabilities of the candidates by asking them questions based on real life situations. The questions in this section include problems based on Statements and Course of Action, Statements and Assumptions, Statements and Arguments, Cause and Effect, and Drawing Conclusions. Basically, this part tests a candidate’s ability to reason, think about the situation and draw conclusion to determine the course of action to be taken.

Section 3: How to solve Verbal and Reading Comprehension for CAT

The third part, i.e. the Verbal and Reading Comprehension part, contains questions from Reasoning as well as English language. Verbal reasoning includes Coding and Decoding, Series, Puzzles, Inequalities, Syllogism, Data Sufficiency etc. The test of English language is basically done through a Comprehension Passage. The candidates are required to read the passage and then answer the questions that follow. The questions from the passage generally require the candidates to draw inferences from the read passage as well as answer questions such as picking out synonyms, antonyms etc.

Steps to Get into an IIM

IIM admission

CAT Score and Selection Pattern for an IIM

So, these were the three sections that constitute the CAT paper for the year 2015. The candidates who score sufficiently high on the merit list can then apply for different IIMs across the country. Each IIM declares a particular cutoff score above which it invites candidates for further selection process. Apart from the CAT score, the marks obtained in class 10th or equivalent, class 12th or equivalent and Graduation also account for the merit based on which candidates are screened for the next round of selection. Different IIMs follow different procedures in this regard, the details of which are available on their respective websites.

Getting into an IIM: Final Step

After the initial screening, the further selection process includes Written Ability Test, Group Discussion and Personal Interviews. The scores obtained by the candidates in these tests combined with their CAT scores make them eligible or ineligible for a seat in an IIM. So, making it into an IIM requires extensive smart-work, instead of donkey labour. The different stages and procedures for clearing the Common Admission Test have been discussed in the hope that candidates writing CAT would find them meaningful and helpful.

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