Conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), the CAT (Common Admission Test) is the most popular entrance exam and benchmark for admission to MBA programs in India – with its weighting towards the shortlisting process for applicants worth a whopping 70%. Last year marked a six-year high in registrations, with 218,000 test takers registered to take the exam.
The IIMs advise students to take tutorials on the exam format from their site. These will be made available in October 2016. In the meantime, however, students may wish to gain a leg up by using some more comprehensive test-prep tools to better prepare for the exam. After all, the test is highly competitive in nature, thanks to the high volume of students taking it. However, external resources to prepare for the exam can often come at a price.
QS LEAP is changing that. The world’s first free social and online preparation platform for global standardized admissions tests like the GMAT and GRE is expanding its offerings to encompass test prep for the CAT in India – and for free.
"We have adopted an extremely effective learning framework to deliver free end-to-end test preparation for all candidates," says head of product for QS LEAP, Soumik Ganguly. “Alongside its excellent guided learning system that delivers customized learning maps and study schedules, the platform also functions as a social network wherein candidates can connect with each other and create or join study groups.”
Emerging from the belief that test prep support should be easily accessible, and that learning is best conducted within a social framework, QS LEAP provides a comprehensive suite of tools and interactive online test prep resources. The new CAT prep platform includes: More than 75 free practice tests; guided test prep and learning modules; access to an online community of CAT prep experts; and engagement tools for interacting with the wider test-taking community, which currently consists of more than 35,000 registered users.
QS test prep for CAT in India: Leveling the playing field
Although a global concern, inequality in access to educational resources remains particularly high in India. This is something that is also reflected in the test prep environment which, in turn, can reinforce inequality of access to MBA-level programs. Indeed, the privilege of attending India’s leading institutions may not solely be dependent on a student’s efforts to achieve competitive scores, but can also be hindered by one’s financial means to pay for expensive test preparation materials. Thanks to QS LEAP’s newly launched CAT prep tool, more students can be empowered to achieve high scores irrespective of any hitherto restrictive socio-economic barriers.
Designed to provide “a level playing field,” for candidates who aspire to study at the best institutions in India, Ganguly hopes the new test prep platform will help clear up the bottlenecks and inequalities created by premium test preparation courses. "Thanks to QS LEAP, CAT prep will be free forever,” he says.
The CAT is conducted via computer in a three-hour sitting. It consists of three sections - verbal ability and reading comprehension; data interpretation and logical reasoning; and quants – with test takers given 60 minutes in which to complete each. The CAT is currently run at 650 centers across 138 cities in India, with the next test day scheduled for December 4, 2016. The registration deadline for this test day and, in fact, the last CAT sitting of the year, is September 22.