Why the name?
Looking up the word “catholic” in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, we find the following definition:
Catholic (adj): open-minded, having a wide range of interests.
The name CAT-holics is a pun on many levels. At the most basic level it is a blog by (and hopefully for) people who are crazy about the CAT exam, in its many changing avatars over the years. But excelling in the CAT also requires an ability to think outside the box and an interest in a wide range of things, to push one’s boundaries; to be catholic in the oldest sense of the term.
Why this blog?
In the course of our work, teaching at and creating material for IMS, we noticed that there are many things which could not be efficiently taught in a rigid classroom coaching scenario (such as vocabulary and strategy), and that there are many interesting approaches (besides the standard formulae) to the problems which we encounter in various tests, which could be of assistance to MBA aspirants. We felt that a blog, which would provide small daily doses of ‘gyaan’, would be a good way to provide students with a practical approach to handling competitive exams.
While we will focus primarily on the IIM CAT, we trust that our posts will prove relevant and edifying to people writing various other MBA tests as well, and even for tests, like the GRE, which have a significant component based on Vocabulary.
What would be the structure?
Initially, we plan on one post every day, in either of two main sections.
One section, which will be posted 4 times a week (usually Monday through Thursday), will involve the quantitative aspect, where we would discuss a problem or a concept in Maths or DI or LR in every post. The focus would often be on solving it from an exam point of view rather than on going into mathematical intricacies; the aim being more to explain how to approach a problem in the exam. So while some problems might be solved using a formula, others might be solved using logic, by eliminating answer choices, by rough approximation, or by any other means that could yield a correct answer. In the first few weeks we would focus on simpler problems or concepts, and more standard approaches, and slowly move to more complex problems as the exam season draws near.
The other section, thrice a week (usually Friday through Sunday), would focus on words and phrases, and on English usage, using various approaches like roots, word groups, word origins etc to introduce the reader to a few words every day. This would be done partly through the medium of two characters Akbar and Verbal (see below)
In both sections, we eventually hope to have guest posts by other CAT experts on their specialities or strategies.
What’s the deal with Akbar and Verbal, anyway?
Words and usage can be a dry topic to study. The duo of Akbar and Verbal, a bumbling emperor and his polite but firm minister, were created by IMS to introduce a fun element to the usual monotony of word study, and we felt they would be suitable ambassadors to convey our message.
Imagine if the young emperor Akbar were to be somehow transplanted to today’s day and age – an era where it is difficult to get by without a working knowledge of the English language. He would most certainly be forced to try and learn the language – and in doing so he (like all of us) would surely make errors. Enter his new minister and English teacher, Verbal – an expert who undertakes to correct his majesty’s well-intentioned blunders and instruct him on the nuances and finer points of English usage.