# Will the CAT preparation be helpful in the CMAT?

Once XAT and TISS get over in January, and CMAT would be the only exam that would remain for this academic year, most of the students are confronted with one common question – How would our CAT preparation (and also the preparation for the other exams) help us in the CMAT? Do we have to take additional special classes only for the CMAT? Is the CMAT exam substantially different than the CAT and the other exams that we have taken so far?

The answer to the last question above is both ‘No’ and ‘Yes’. No, in terms of syllabus the CMAT is not substantially different from the CAT and the other exams. Having said that, yes, CMAT is also different from other exams with respect to the paper pattern and the test taking experience. So, let us compare CMAT with the CAT and the other exams section wise, in order to bring out the similarities and differences.

1. Quantitative Techniques and Data Interpretation: All the questions in this section are from the same topics as in the CAT, but the difficulty level is much lower as compared to the CAT. The difficulty level of the quant questions is comparable to the one in SNAP. The difference lies in the Data Interpretation (DI) questions though. While in all other exams, a DI set is followed by 2 to 3 questions (sometimes even 5); in the CMAT a DI set is followed by only 1 question. What is interesting is that the first edition of the CMAT (Mar-2012) did not have DI at all, but in the second edition (Sep-2012), they made an appearance, and almost every paper had 2 to 3 sets (i.e. 2 to 3 Q’s).

2. Logical Reasoning: Again, in terms of syllabus, this section is comparable to the Reasoning section of other exams. The Critical Reasoning questions asked in CMAT is comparable to the ones asked in the CAT and the NMAT. While the Puzzles and the Syllogisms are similar to the ones asked in the NMAT and the SNAP. So, where is the difference? Again, the difference is the same as in the Quant section. In all the exams, the logical caselets contain one set followed by at least 3 questions. While in the CMAT, this question type has only 1 question following every set. This makes the Reasoning section very time consuming as there are around 8 to 10 such sets in every paper. Another factor contributing to this is the presence of 5 to 6 sets of Critical Reasoning, which are also followed by 1 question each. Interestingly, the Critical Reasoning questions are also a part of the Verbal section in the CMAT. In any other exam (including the CAT) you will not find such a high number of questions on Critical Reasoning.

3. Language Comprehension: It is here that the CMAT majorly differs from any other exam. While about 10 questions in this section (the ones based on grammar and vocabulary) bear resemblance to the ones asked in the CAT and the other exams, it is the 6 to 7 questions on the Reading Comprehension (RC) that are different. In fact, it would be more appropriate to call these questions ‘Short RC passage’ because unlike the RC passages asked in the other exams, the passages asked in the CMAT are short and every passage is followed by only 1 question. The Critical Reasoning questions are present in this section as well, making even this section a little time consuming.

4. General Awareness: These questions are again similar to the ones asked in the IIFT, the SNAP and the TISS. And, as in the other exams, these questions remain a mystery and can never really be predicted.

So, in terms of preparation there is hardly anything to choose between the CMAT and the other exams, including the CAT. If you are the one who has only prepared for the CAT so far, you need to focus on Puzzles, Syllogisms and the General Awareness questions in your preparation. However, in case you have prepared for other exams like IIFT, NMAT and SNAP as well, then the only area that you need to prepare for is the Short RC passages, which is more a trademark of the CMAT.

However, the real difference where the CMAT stands apart from all other exams (including the CAT) is the tes taking experience. CMAT is by far the longest MBA entrance exam in terms of time duration – 3 hours. Before it was scrapped last year, the JMET (exam for admissions into the IIT SOMs), had the distinction of being a 3 hour exam. So, a student who is habituated to taking a 2 to 2.5 hour exams, will have to mentally prepare himself for a 3 hour ordeal. And, maintaining your concentration levels for such a long time is not easy at all. Secondly, unlike the other online exams (the CAT and the NMAT), there is no sectional time-limit. So, you can choose the amount of time that you wish to spend on each section and can also move across from one section to another at all points of time during the exam.

Finally, to put things in perspective, though the CMAT bears similarities with the CAT and the other exams in terms of syllabus, the test taking experience in the CMAT is quite different from any other exam. What this means is that if you have already prepared yourself for the CAT and the other exams, you need not take any additional classes for the CMAT. However, what you definitely need is a good test-series and something that will give you enough practice papers to mentally prepare yourself for a 3-hour test on the D-Day!

Manish Salian

Faculty, CPL Pvt. Ltd.

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