For all those of you who are aspiring for CAT 2018, the countdown has begun. As is true of all competitive events, meaningful preparations will separate winners from also-rans. Anyone participating in a competitive event ought to know:
(I) what is the range of skills that CAT tests
(II) what is the level of skills that CAT tests and, finally,
(III) how to acquire both (I) and (II).
One can almost hear you wanting to know what is the difference between (I) range of skills and (II) level of skills.
Let us see what we mean by “Range of Skills”. Suppose you see the following question from the past paper of a competitive test:
If the one-way air-fare from Place A to Place B is Rs.3400 and the return air-fare is Rs.5440, what is the savings, in percentage terms, on buying a round-trip?
This is a simple question. If you were to buy two one-way tickets, the cost would be Rs. 6800. You would save 6800-5440= 1360 on a round-trip ticket. The saving is 1360*100/6800 percent of Rs.6800. So you could say that PERCENTAGES is one among the range of skills tested at that examination.
Now let us understand what one means by “Level of Skills”. See this question from the actual CAT paper of 2001.
The owner of an art shop conducts his business in the following manner: Every once in a while he raises his price by X%, then a while later he reduces all the new prices by X%. After one such up-down cycle, the price of a painting decreased by Rs.441. After a second up-down cycle the painting was sold for Rs.1944.81. What was the original price of the painting?
D. Rs. 2000
One must be able to discern that this question does not tell you the exact percentage by which the price was increased and then decreased and hence the answer does not depend on any particular percentage. It boils down to this: we are to assume a value for X. Secondly, we must be able to determine whether the art dealer in the question is going to make a profit or is he going to make a loss when he indulges in this X% up and X% down business. How do we do this?
Imagine that a thing costs 100A units of money. The price increases by 10%. The new price is 110A units. A discount of 10% is offered. The price drops to 99A. The ratio of the price after increase and decrease by 10% is 99: 100. Now imagine that this 99A is equal to 100B. The price is raised by 10%. The new price is 110B. A discount of 10% is offered. The price drops to 99B. The ratio of the price after increase and decrease by 10% is 99: 100. The ratio of the initial price to the price after increase and decrease by 10% is 99: 100. Assume any other rate of increase/decrease (say 20%) and the ratio of (I) the initial price to (II) the price after increase and decrease by the same percentage remains constant no matter what be the rate applied for the increase/decrease cycle.
Now understand this as well: the first two options are up to two decimal points. Does this mean we have to calculate up to two decimal points? A business manager, that is something that a student from a top B-school would soon become after graduating, will have to work out only the nitty-gritty, only the essence of the matter. An MNC does not expect him to be a blooming calculator. He should be able to understand, for example, that in the above question the amounts in the options are in thousands and one can safely ignore the decimals without fear of the earth shaking. (since the earth has better things to do than shake at every little thing).
If the price before any increase/decrease cycle was 2756 as per Option 1 and decreased by Rs.441 after the first up/down cycle, the price after first up/down cycle was 2756-441=2315. The ratio between this and the starting price was 2315/2756. If after the second increase/decrease cycle the price dropped to 1944, the ratio between this and the starting price of 2315 of the second cycle would be 1944/2315. Are these the same? Is 2315/2756=1944/2315 or after rounding off to the nearest hundreds, is 23/28=19/23? The rough value of 23/28 to the first two decimals is 0.82. The rough value of 19/23 to the first two decimals is 0.82. Option 1 is great. One assumes that the reader has by now an idea of the difference between RANGE OF SKILLS and the LEVEL OF SKILLS.
It is the mission of Logic Academy to give the student an EXACT idea of what the CAT really tests and then give precise inputs. This is why you will seldom, if ever, see anything other than actual CAT questions in our analysis. After going through learning tools on our Facebook page the students will begin to realise that there is no such thing as starting preparations too early for the CAT. These tools will help all those aspiring for CAT 2018 or CAT 2019 or what-have-you.
In case you haven’t registered for CAT 2018, here’s the website where you can register: IIM CAT Official Website
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