Sunday 11 May 2008


The CAT (Common Aptitude Tests) needs a scan. They have been developed by the best brains for the best brains to get into the best institutions have the best careers make the best money. It’s foolproof, stupid proof, its THE PLAN to have and once through, you are set, or so they would like you to believe. Cracking the CAT, being part of the hullabaloo ensures that you make smooth transitions from one superlative phase of life to another. Hence every year you have droves of students studying, sweating, 'suiciding' and hating the whole wooing the IIM'S process, so later you have easy access to campus recruitment. Follow the mob never had a finer example.

And why not? India is still unfortunately stuck in the clutches of an ever burgeoning population, a fundamentally rural economy and a social system largely dictated by caste and class. The only way to escape this existence was to get a "white collared job" and in these days, an MBA.

So we have devised the CAT, MAT, SNAP and CET, the last of which thankfully I am ineligible for. These ultra competitive exam acronyms follow the same mold of tutoring, elimination and acceptance that has been synonymous with the Indian education system for the past 50 years. It was fine till school level. Emphasis was given on mugging because the basic science/social studies/economics/politics laws and facts are universal.

But surely not now? Now India is an emerging nation, seeking to provide opportunity and essential commodities for its population. We need visionaries, entrepreneurs, and people with different experiences to make use of these opportunities.

The CAT method defies all of this.

It seeks to stamp out individuality. Every class I am told to unlearn /to forget/to stick to rigid rules, even in English. They make one learn literature like mathematics. To analyze without perspective and assess without originality.

The math questions are supposed to expand your way of thinking. They bind your mind with steel straps, because of negative marking and the minuscule time frame given, taking risks is an absolute no-no. This will make an entrepreneur? What frustrate me even further is the collages which demand that a highly individualistic and creative field like Mass Comm must go through the rigors of this mundane process.

Education plays the role of providing a student with experiences and bringing them closer to reality, so that they understand the society they live in and make the changes needed. CAT defies this by being an authoritarian method where the term human personality does not exist, only an examination and aggregate score. They treat us as a collective, we are to think the same way and arrive at the same answer at the same time while ignoring anomalies! How close to reality is that?

Also if I had a leaky cistern and a running tap, I WOULD NOT stand like a bloody idiot calculating the amount of time it takes to fill a bucket with a hole.

Shut the tap,

Change the bucket

Save water.

The dry as stale - rotten- bread method doesn’t give two hoots to manual skills or exploring potential. It suppresses creativity, enthusiasm, appreciation and worst of all, interest.

You CANNOT love Math or English if they keep telling you what to think and how to think. We are to erase all that we bring with us in form of personal experiences/backgrounds/reading/exposure/global or local outlooks and think like cattle. Do you think these people will run grocery shops individually, let alone a nation?

But you hear the hard nosed realists say... millions of students do it every year.

Exactly… millions of students do it every year!


TS said...

My my, you did the whole tourist routine eh?

Hope you had fun.

Give me a shout the next time you're in town.

Nomad said...

Sure will.

Was there for about 5 weeks, had a blast!

Sria said...

what are u actually taking CAT classes? bitter truth there...typical shayoni style

Nomad said...

No Sria darling, today I QUIT!

Saurabh Bansal said...

i have given cat 2 times and haven't excelled at it either of the times despite slogging for 2 bloody years. i have kinda started disliking it now but then its all about hanling the pressure an the attitude rather than being moronic human calulator.