Friday, October 23, 2015

15 things to remember for CAT - 15

CAT – 15 is closer to you. It has changed its skin and is even more charged up for hunting you down. But a real warrior is never unprepared. One is said to be prepared when we are ready for the unexpected all the time. So before the d-day arrives and before you pull you socks the last time let us go through the most critical checklist of 15 things that each of the aspirant must arm himself with.

1.     Brush up with the entire list of vocabulary you’ve been building in the past days: If you have prepared a list of high-frequency words from the time you started preparing for CAT, now it is the time to revisit the same once again. Make sure you equip yourself well with the usage, synonyms and the antonyms of each of the words. Adding new words at this stage may be both harmful and useless. Yu have to just equip yourself with the armour you’ve already built.
2.       2 LR puzzles a day till the d-day:  Yes it is essential. Pick up 2 new Logical Reasoning Puzzles for each day and do solve them till the end. Do not leave the puzzle in between even if you are able to see through the solution. In case it is taking a very long time to get solved, do not worry, take your time but solve it. In these 25 days you can build an instinct and patience to solve the LR problems. Surf through various sites, last year papers and other places where you can find new problems.
3.       2 Critical Reasoning questions a day: Critical reasoning is one of the topics that are inevitable part of every CAT exam ever held. Make sure you are able to differentiate among and understand well the fine tunes of Assumption, Strengthening and Weakening Argument, Summary, Inference and Conclusion etc. In the 2 questions you pickup each day try to make out the pattern of reasoning and the flow of thoughts the writer has built. Once you’ve solved it do go through the solution provided and analyse about what went wrong or what could be the right way.
4.       Take a Sound Sleep every day: Cracking CAT requires patience and calmness. It is not a test of your knowledge rather it is a test of your reasoning ability and managerial skills. And sound reasoning is possible only with a calm mind. Do have 6 hours of sound sleep each day so that your mind rejuvenates for the preparation on the next day.
5.       Avoid the family functions and other gatherings in this period: This may sound a bit rude and unreasonable but the logic behind this suggestion is as follows. There is a schedule and a routine that you’ve been following for your preparations. Each time you go for a break to that schedule it takes some days to come back once again. Even a 3-hour attention to a gathering may affect next 3-4 days of preparation. Anyway, it is just about a month to go and a whole future is contingent upon the same. So, not a bad deal.
6.       Do not go for a group study: Every individual has a special and unique way to reason and apply logic. In short, the managerial instincts of every individual differ. CAT being a test of your managerial skills doesn’t require a group of peers to teach you a specific topic. Prepare every topic on your own and pick up a test to check the ability to perform in that topic. There is also a high probability that the group study may end up becoming a gathering and potential waste of time which could have been put for a better use.
7.       1 calculation based DI set a day: In the haste of preparation and excitement of knowing how a problem would be solved we generally either sideline the calculations or we use a calculator to calculate it off. Though, as per the notification, an on-screen simple calculator will be provided but still we should make the best use of our own ability to calculate. We should take calculator as a device to support us and must avoid over- dependence on the same.  Hence it is a must to take up just 1 DI set each day and solve with all the calculations till the end. This practice in these days will help in building an instinct for rounding off, short cuts etc.
8.       Do not get into any rumours: Do not fall prey to the last moment rumors about the selection process, paper pattern, important topics etc. Like every time there will always be a lot of hear-say in the last few days. Do refer the official CAT website and ignore anything that does not relate to the same. Never go and discuss about an unofficial piece of information with the other aspirants it would be a complete waste of time and energy.
9.       Do not give up for the next time: Never ever bring the thought of having a second chance. Give your best shot this very time and make the best use of it. As already mentioned, CAT is a test of your Managerial Skills and the best shot you give will design your career. The next year will not bring any miracles. It is now or never.
10.   1 RC passage a day: Make it a practice for next 25 days. This will add a lot to your ability to understand the pattern of reasoning and accuracy in answering. Once completed, do analyse about what went wrong. Moreover, solve the passages online this will add to your on-screen reading speed and also you will be more accustomed and comfortable with reading and solving on-screen.
11.   Take proper meals: Ensure that you do not take outside or street food. Take proper meals and healthy breakfast. Good diet will ensure proper functioning of your brain and hence add to your reasoning ability.
12.   1 full length test every third day: Preferably on every Wednesday and Sunday you may take a mock test online. This will make you patient enough to sit in front of the system and write a full length test. Once finished with the test take a break of about 1 hour and analyse your performance. Try giving your best to the stipulated test time and target a better performance in every subsequent test you take. Try focusing on accuracy, your strength areas and the opportunities.
13.   7 QA questions a day: Solve exactly 7 different QA questions a day. Make sure all these questions are from different topics irrespective of your strength and opportunities. Once finished with these 7 questions, based on your performance in them do a quick brush up of the relevant topics and re solve every question once.
14.   No negative thoughts are allowed:  Do not entertain any negative thought in and around you. You’ve been preparing day in and day out in the last number of days. You have given the best ad sincere time to add to your abilities. Your mentors have delivered the best of their knowledge to make you powerful enough to fight this battle. Now do not let your own negativity to come in the way of your success. Be positive, you will win.
15.   Keep in touch with your mentors: Keep in constant touch with your mentors and do get your queries and worries resolved with them. Even at times when negativity and de motivation surrounds you give a call to your favorite mentor and open up. You will surely feel better once you hang up.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. -Swami Vivekananda

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Management Lessons we need to learn today from Mahatma Gandhi :

Independence is a hard earned state. And getting the entire subcontinent independent from a being a British Colony is for sure the most difficult and near impossible task we could dream of. Our emotional outbursts and immense affection towards the nation usually makes us violent and aggressive. But aggression is short lived state and perseverance is a state which stays for very long time. Mahatma Gandhi was the man who led the people, organized them from a mob to a movement and made the colony become world’s greatest democracy. We all know Gandhi as the national hero but there is more than independence that the Mahatma made us learn and follow. On this Gandhi Jayanti let us commemorate the Management Lessons we must learn from the life of the Father of the Nation.

1. Self Dependence is the pre-requisite to Independence:
Today most of the youth seeks independence. Youth sees guidance as slavery and wishes to soar freely and do whatever they wish to. But it is important to observe that the real independence can be attained only after self dependence. Freedom can be demanded by a kite but the moment the strings are snapped it swings to nowhere. So before we demand for getting the strings cut we should also make sure that post independence we have ample resources to get soaring. Numerous professionals look forward for starting their own ventures and becoming independent. But more than independence the sufficiency of their own resources matters. By own resources it is not meant that we need to have monetary amplitude etc. Rather, it means we must ensure emotional stability, inner strength to contain and learn from intermediary failures, perseverance in efforts even if negative opinions are all around and constant eye on the goals.

2. Monetary resources doesn’t make much difference:
Gandhi ji didn’t put lot of money into the movement. It was a basic movement driven my minimum monetary resources. It is all about connecting with the people through the right channel, designing the movement so that it fits into the operational ability of everyone and leading them to a common goal. Had the Gandhian Movement of independence been a violent one, most of the people would have not chosen to join it owing to family constraints, self inability or other factors. Gandhiji not only believed in non violence but also designed the movement such that everyone can easily join it. The movement neither needed money nor physical strength. Rather,the present emotional strength was a sufficient eligibility for the movement. This strength was with everyone and that made the movement successful. As a leader we must understand that for realizing a vision money is never a constraint. Their are always ways to achieve the goals through will power and through getting the ideas executed through the existing strength of our people.

3. Customer is the king:
Very few of us know that Mahatma Gandhi pioneered the idea of Consumerism in India. He said that customer is the ultimate goal of any business organization. Whatever is being done by the businesses will turn useless if it has no customers. He said that a customer should never be treated as a disturbance in business operations rather he should be treated as a god. He gave the ideas of customer delight and need of customizing the products and services as per the requirement and feedback of customers.
In a speech in South Africa in 1890 Mahatma Gandhi said this:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.” Surely this the most relevant management lesson on customer relations.

4. Educating your people is the pre-requisite to meeting the objectives:
Gandhiji correctly educated the people and linked the personal goals of people with common goal of nation’s independence. We can never assume our people to be knowing everything. Rather, it is our responsibility and prime duty to make them understand the relevance of goals. We must take the challenge to ensure that our people understand the need and importance of the goals that we have set. The achievement of set vision must be fruitful for everyone and each one must relate some or the other benefits into their very personal lives. We must guide them and help them establishing a logical and honest relationship between the organizational goals and their personal goals. Only then we can get their emotional support.

5. Overcome the negativity:
Whatever you may do, there will be people to find faults. Gandhiji said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight with you, then you win”. There will be a constant negativity in and around you. There will always be an inner conflict stopping you from moving ahead. Their will always be everyone to laugh at you. Never stop. Always keep the reasons to move ahead clear in your mind. Pulling yourself backwards is easier. Quitting what you thought once is an easy move. But at the same time it doesn’t yield anything. One must be clear in our goals and always be positive about them.

6. Leading by example:
Gandhiji’s life itself was an example for everyone he led. His simple living, way of solving the problems, never retreating nature, perseverance, empathy towards everyone and every other attribute we relate with him and what he always advocated was not only words. He lived the life of examples. We find his teachings in his life.

There is a lot which can be shared further. Mahatma Gandhi and his thoughts are always and will always be reflected in all the actions we take towards the development of our beloved Nation.

Jai Hind !!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

A special day to thank the ones who made us what we are

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. -Carl Jung

Dear teachers, you are no less than the almighty creator. If He created us you are the ones who made us. The words you said are impressioned forever and they shaped our style of handling things throughout our journeys. You shaped us, carved us and molded us. When I entered this world I was not aware of what is there all around. I had absolutely no idea how complicated and intricate the world around is and how simple the solutions can be. It was doe to you presence that I realized that life is as we see it through our knowledge, wisdom and courage.
Of all the species it is only the human species that chose to stand out and build a world which is much better and advances each day. We chose to live much beyond our biological livelihood. We chose to build, carve and mold the world and even the universe into a better space. Our knowledge and learning multiplies with each passing moment and to survive each new moment we need to know what's happening around us. There are only few who chose the noble profession of teaching to keep others updated about what's going around. The teachers chose to live a life that adds value to others that keep us updated for the advancements that has taken place till date since the civilization started. Wisdom is disseminated and it has resulted in tremendous growth and upsurge of the human race. This dissemination and growth is all because there are some who chose to teach others.
It takes a lot of courage to be a teacher. It takes a lot of strength to stand firm in front of chaotic children and let them know how physics around them works. It takes a lot of psychological energy to stand in front of inquisitive adults and keep them convinced about the principles of sociology. It requires a lot of wisdom to impart management principles and make the youngsters run the corporate efficiently. In a nutshell it takes a lot of wit and wisdom to make a mundane fact turn into an interesting story that spell bounds many and provokes revolutionary thought processes.
A teacher carves our way of thinking. A teacher sacrifices his personal success story for infinite chain reaction of success stories all around he goes. A teacher sees his students being successful and becomes happier than anything. A teacher is Sri Krishna who tells Arjun to fight when it is needed. A teacher is also Mahatma Gandhi who tells not to fight when non-violence is more powerful. A teacher is Bill Gates who tells that success can be written by anyone. Anyone, who has ever invoked a new series of thought process in anyone of us is a teacher. What we are is what once someone standing firm for our growth and knowledge told us once.
My sincere thanks to each one who has ever been a teacher to me.

Happy Teacher's Day!!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

CAT never teaches to climb a tree; a lion hunts it anyway : Part 2 ( The eternal ghost of QA)

Call it a nightmare or blame it for your insomnia Quants will keep haunting you till you start getting comfortable with it. As a section of CAT the section of QA has an entirely different identity. The nightmare that haunts each one of us is not the actual face when it comes to CAT. Generally, we see QA as the strict Mathematics but what it actually takes is what I'll be sharing across this article.

Let us start with a question:

The marked price of a shirt is Rs. 3750/-. The shopkeeper gives 50 successive discounts starting from 2%, 4%, 6% , 8% and so on. What will be the final Selling Price of the shirt.
Let us try being honest as to the approach we'll adopt to solve this question. The common traits that each one of us will exhibit are:
  • We will write down the gist viz. MP = 3750/- SP= x and stuff like that.
  • We will find our self smart enough to identify some geek term like AP in the discounts given. We will find out the formula linked to A.P .
But wait, was that really needed. There are 50 discounts and the 50th discount will be 100% and that makes the SP of the said shirt as Rs. 0/-. Isn't. This is QA in CAT. It's 90% common sense and 10% of calculation, concept and basic formula. It is just like a riddle or puzzle which has quantities or the numbers.
CAT is for selection of future managers who can handle the business situations. It is not for selection of clerks. And hence it is more of a test that checks the logical and reasoning ability. Questions on Mathematics are just an application of this reasoning ability.
So, actually we need to prepare more for sharpening our common sense and a little bit for the basic concepts of mathematics.
Stop using calculator for everyday calculations. Start memorizing:
  1. Squares and cubes up to 30.
  2. Square roots and cube roots up to 30.
  3. Fractional equivalents of percentages up to 1/30 .
  4. Multiplication tables up to twenties are.
Now each day pick up 2 topics. One from your strength area and the other from any random area. Revise each topic in 15 to 20 minutes not more than that. Then select 15 questions of each topic randomly and solve them in 35 minutes. Take it as a test. Try giving your best to these 35 min and spend your time diligently. Try to maximize your score. Use the options as well to solve the questions.

Penalize yourself for the incorrect attempts and find your consolidated score. Then analyse for next 40 minutes as to:
  1. Was there a smarter way to solve the questions I solved correctly.
  2. How many questions went wrong due to silly mistakes.
  3. How many questions went wrong due to conceptual mistake.
  4. For how many questions I was unable to understand the language.
  5. Any other reason.
Now based on these evaluate yourself and try not to repeat silly mistakes. Immediately go through the concepts you were not so sure of.
  • Connect with your mentors and resolve the doubts.
  • Keep a track of your progress and focus in a way that your score improves each time you take a test.
  • Be very consistent in taking tests.
  • Each day till the date of CAT take at least one test.
  • Cover all the topics gradually.
However tedious and uninteresting it is do practice this habit each day. You will surely achieve well above the sectional cut off. Always think of a better way to solve the questions.
This practice will help you to befriend QA and no longer will QA be a nightmare.
All the Best !!!

Part 3: VA: Wins the game- Releasing Soon.

Friday, July 31, 2015

CAT- 2015

CAT never teaches the art to climb a tree; A lion hunts it anyways : PART 1 (Don’t Worry)
Once again the ceremonial amusement around the CAT notification is on. The experts and the CAT connoisseurs are busy in developing new strategies while the budding managers are as usual passing through the “I-am-so-worried” phase of absorbing the process of change. So, my dear CAT hunters there is a little to worry and so is the time to get yourself pull the socks and jump into the battle with the non changeable and non challengeable  facts.
Hugh Prather, and American writer once said: Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.
As a manager we are expected to adapt and lead in the ever dynamic and changing environment. So, every year the changed CAT pattern is nothing but the first filter for the fittest. So, if you do not worry for the changed CAT, you’ve already passed one of the screens.
Before I move further let us have a factual gist of what’s new in CAT 2015:
  1. The total duration of the test is 180 min with 60 minutes for each section. Yes, there are three sections as they used to be in the “not-so-good” old days.
  2. The section of QA (Quantitative Aptitude) will have 34 questions; VRC (Verbal and Reading Comprehension) will also have 34 questions; while LRDI (Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation) will have 32 questions.
  3. Candidates will not be allowed to switch from one section to another section while answering the questions in a section.
  4. Candidates will be allowed to access the basic on-screen calculator for calculation.
  5. Some questions in each of the sections will be of non MCQ type and the candidates will have to type the answers on the screen.
  6. The test will be held on 29th November in 2 sessions at 650 test sites.
And, the good thing is that there are a total of 19 IIMs this time:
  1. Ahmedabad
  2. Amritsar
  3. Bangalore
  4. Bodh Gaya
  5. Calcutta
  6. Indore
  7. Kashipur
  8. Kozhikode
  9. Lucknow
  10. Nagpur
  11. Raipur
  12. Ranchi
  13. Rohtak
  14. Sambalpur
  15. Shillong
  16. Sirmaur
  17. Tiruchirappalli
  18. Udaipur
  19. Visakhapatnam
Now finding the positives in the 2015 CAT:
  1. The increased number of Questions is 100 and the number of minutes is 180. That means there is an average of 1:48 min for each question. If CAT examiners have given around two minutes per question that means the questions will be more of logic rather that calculation and counting.
  2. The basic calculator provided will help in DI questions.
  3. There will be no chance of irrelevant opinions as everyone will be taking the test on the same day.
  4. The cut-off of QA and VRC will not be as high as they used to be as the support of DI and LR will no longer be there in the sections.
  5. The chances of getting overall cut-off cleared are more as there are three sections instead of two.
Believe me, there is no need to worry about the non-MCQ part of the test. If there is something new, it is new for everyone including the examiner. Hence,
  1. It is examiner’s responsibility to explain the questions clearly
  2. Being the first time, it won’t be too difficult.
So, the need of hour is, take a chill pill and get on to the full swing preparation with the same zeal you were doing. There is just one key to success in CAT : P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E.
P: Prepare well on your strength areas. Do take a small test on the areas of your strength atleast once in two days.
R: Read as much as you can – News papers, journals, magazines, books and everything you come across. Try reading online as it will make you comfortable with the onscreen reading of the RC passages.
A: Add to your strengths every day. Add atleast one new topic or concept or a set of new vocabulary to your area of control. Be consistent in this habit and you will do really well in CAT.
C: Compete with yourself while you practice. Aim for a better score in every mock test you write. Keep breaking your own records everytime you write a new test or a mock test.
T: Talk to your mentors and teachers and discuss your fears and queries openly.
I: Indifference to negative opinion.
C: Cope up with the changes in the pattern. It is a part of life and the sooner you cope with the more you would score.
E: Eat well. Do not compromise on your health and diet. Have a good diet and do not skip your meals. A sound mind resides in a healthy body.
 Mario Andretti, an Italian world driving champion once said, Desire is the key to motivation, but its determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.

All the Best !!!

Keep looking for PART – 2

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Reserve Bank of India : 12 Points we must know

1.       RBI was established during the British Rule and it commenced its operations on 1st April 1935; it was founded to respond to the economic troubles after the first World War. Originally the shares were owned by private shareholders. RBI was nationalised on 1st January 1949.

2.       The general superintendence and direction of the RBI is entrusted with the 21-member Central Board of Directors: the Governor (Dr. Raghuram Rajan), 4 Deputy Governors, 2 Finance Ministry representatives, 10 government-nominated directors to represent important elements from India's economy, and 4 directors to represent local boards headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and New Delhi.

3.       The original choice for the seal of RBI was The East India Company Double Mohur, with the sketch of the Lion and Palm Tree. However it was decided to replace the lion with the tiger, the national animal of India.

4.       After the Partition of India in 1947, the bank served as the central bank for Pakistan until June 1948 when the State Bank of Pakistan commenced operations.

5.       The Banking Ombudsman Scheme has been formulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for effective addressing of complaints by bank customers.

6.       The bank issues and exchanges or destroys currency notes and coins that are not fit for circulation. The objectives are giving the public adequate sups of RBI are to issue bank notes, to maintain the currency and credit system of the country to utilize it in its best advantage, and to maintain the reserves.

7.       It is the duty of the RBI to control the credit through the CRR, bank rate and open market operations. As banker's bank, the RBI facilitates the clearing of cheques between the commercial banks and helps inter-bank transfer of funds.

8.       In order to curb the fake currency menace, RBI has launched a website to raise awareness among masses about fake notes in the provides information about identifying fake currency.

9.       RBI lends (no collateral required for long term lendings) to the commercial banks through its discount window to help the banks meet depositors' demands and reserve requirements for long term. The interest rate the RBI charges the banks for this purpose is called bank rate or Repo Rate.

10.   Every commercial bank has to keep certain minimum cash reserves with Reserve Bank of India. Consequent upon amendment to sub-Section 42(1), the Reserve Bank, having regard to the needs of securing the monetary stability in the country, RBI can prescribe Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) for scheduled banks without any floor rate or ceiling rate.

11.   Apart from the CRR, banks are required to maintain liquid assets in the form of gold, cash and approved securities. Higher liquidity ratio forces commercial banks to maintain a larger proportion of their resources in liquid form and thus reduces their capacity to grant loans and advances, thus it is an anti-inflationary impact. A higher liquidity ratio diverts the bank funds from loans and advances to investment in government and approved securities.

12.   A report titled "Trend and Progress of Banking In India" is published annually, as required by the Banking Regulation Act of 1949. The report sums up trends and developments throughout the financial sector.