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Changed CAT pattern to diversify classrooms – Times of India

B-faculty pundits for lengthy have mentioned that the Common Aptitude Test (CAT) could also be engineering scholar-pleasant however it doesn’t favour engineers. CAT is a take a look at of aptitude and abilities that may be cracked by anybody irrespective of his/her instructional background because it evaluates quantitative aptitude of aspirants primarily based on Mathematics of class VI to X which everybody has learnt at school. “IIMs efforts at diversity is drawn from the CAT pool, hence in a way, IIMs are constrained by CAT applicants’ demographics (who are mostly engineers). The engineers apply for CAT because they believe they can crack it and historically they have done that,” says Ashis Mishra, chairperson, Admissions & Financial Aid, IIM Bangalore and Professor of Marketing.

“If there is a mandate to change the composition of the classroom drastically, CAT pattern should change, but it will be a collective decision of all IIMs and an adequate process will be followed. However, there has to be solid reason to change something drastically that has evolved over the years and working well for decades. Only wishful thinking is not enough, besides one has to take into consideration all the stakeholders and the impact on them,” Mishra provides.

Sample this: In CAT 2020, seven out of the 9 100 percentile scorers have been engineers. Out of the remaining two, one had a background in Mathematics and the opposite in Management. In CAT 2019, all of the ten 100 percentile scorers have been engineers. “The dominance of engineers in CAT high scores has been going on since years, and will not change until the CAT pattern changes,” says Anshul Jain, assistant professor, Accounting & Finance, MDI Gurgaon, the place 30% of the batch on a mean are from the engineering background.


Gaining an edge


Most engineers, he provides, have ready for JEE and different entrance checks throughout class XI and XII. This early and rigorous publicity to standardised checks provides engineers a bonus in CAT. “Further, as most engineers are proficient in Mathematics and Analytics, they score well in the relevant sections.”

“Compared to GMAT, which is a globally accepted test for admission to MBA programmes, the difficulty level of Quant and Data Interpretation sections in CAT is much higher. By bringing this difficulty level down, along with introducing a writing section (an essay for instance), more non-engineers are likely to do well,” provides Jain.

MP Ram Mohan, chairperson Admissions, IIM Ahmedabad the place the present 2020-22 batch constitutes 23.72% non-engineers, says CAT is designed to objectively take a look at a candidate’s capacity primarily based on three clear parameters. One, Quantitative Ability (QA); two, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and three) Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC). “Students from any discipline can be the top scorer of CAT though engineering students may have an edge due to the nature of education that is imparted, where they learn problem-solving skills.”

“This phenomenon of skewed performance of engineers is not limited to CAT alone, but evident in other global tests taken by Indian students,” says Balagopal Gopalakrishnan, chairperson Admissions, IIM Kozhikode that admitted 41.50% non-engineers in 2020, up from 11.63% in 2018.

Securing seats in IIM, he provides, will not be straight proportional to the efficiency in CAT. “Marks are awarded for gender as well as academic (non-engineers) diversity at stage 2, which is the interview shortlist stage of our selection process.”

At IIM Calcutta, further 4 factors are awarded to candidates from non-engineering background within the remaining choice for the MBA programme. “For the same reason, we provide weightage for prior work experience at the final selection stage. Both these initiatives have resulted in improved academic diversity as our current MBA first year class consists of about 20% students from non-engineering backgrounds,” says Megha Sharma, chairperson-Admissions, IIM Calcutta.


What may work

In truth, the big proportion of engineers showing for CAT might be inspired by the IIT-IIM path to profession success, says Vedant Singhania, MBA 2020-2022 batch of IIM Calcutta who holds a BSc diploma in Applied Statistics & Analytics from NMIMS, Mumbai.

In India, there’s a pattern of the brightest minds choosing engineering that finally leads them to carry out properly in a flair-primarily based examination like CAT, says the 99.81 percentile scorer.

Highlighting that CAT checks aspirants’ presence of thoughts as they try a big quantity of questions in a restricted time, Vedant provides, “It all comes down to aspirants’ aptitude and the strategies they undertake to ace every section of the examination. While Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehensions (VARC) is about the speed of reading and accuracy of answers, Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LRDI) is about selection and order of attempts and Quantitative Ability (QA) is about the speed of calculations and accuracy of answers.”

He is towards a change within the format of the examination, because the Quantitative Ability (QA) part that provides engineers an edge, is a vital part of many B-faculty programs. Advising non-engineers to interact in common mock take a look at observe, Vedant says, “Non-engineers add a lot of value with the diversity they bring to institutes, and this is why they are often given bonus points in the admission criteria. If we stop believing for a second that engineers are at an advantage as compared to non-engineers, we might just realise that there is a golden opportunity waiting for us to capitalise upon.”

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