Every successful Common Admission Test (CAT) candidate will tell you one common thing — this exam is all about delivering results using out-of-the-box thinking rather than following conventional methods. It is about using tricks and strategies rather than rote-learning. So let’s analyse the style of the exam and understand methods and techniques that candidates must incorporate to give this exam their best shot.
Conducted by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kozhikode this year, this 180-minute long exam checks a candidate’s quantitative ability (QA), data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR), verbal and reading comprehension (VRC) across topics. These form the three sections of the exam which are allotted duration of one hour each. CAT has a total of 60 questions with maximum marks of 180. To gain admission into any of the IIMs, a student will need to get at least 35-36 answers correct with a score of 105-110.
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Analysis from previous exams shows that a CAT question paper usually has approximately 30 easy questions, 20 medium to difficult questions and 10 tough questions. So, choosing the right and easy questions will help a candidate score higher marks as well as save time. Here are a few tips and tricks bifurcated by sections to help you prepare well:
Quantitative Aptitude: Brush up your basics, practice the formulas, and learn the shortcuts by working out a variety of questions averages, percentage, geometry, numbers are a few sub-topics that should be prioritised.
Data interpretation and logical reasoning (DILR): Read the graph, table, data given and understand the question thoroughly as this is an integral part of solving DILR. Work on numerous cases and mock questions to increase accuracy and speed in solving these questions.
Reading Comprehension: Brush up on basic grammar to clear the verbal ability questions in the reading comprehension section. Make it a habit to regularly read editorials in reputed newspapers and news websites, and mock tests to pick up the pace and familiarise yourself with similar passages.
CAT 2019 three week study plan
During the first week, after briefly going through the study materials, start by attempting previous years’ question papers. Also, regularly attempt one mock test every alternate day — complete the test, thoroughly go through the solutions, figure out all the wrong answers as this will give you a clear idea about your weaknesses which you can improve in the coming weeks.
From the second week onwards, attempt mock tests and analyse your results by increasing the frequency to one test every day which should help you increase your pace in answering the questions.
During the final week, again go back to trying out one mock test every alternate day, this time make sure by each passing test your accuracy and speed is better than the previous test. As usual, after each test do a detailed analysis by going through the solution to find out where you went wrong
On the eve of the exam, stop taking tests, make sure you have a copy of the relevant documents, admit card, have a good night’s rest. Reach the venue before time and attempt the exam with a peaceful mind.
CAT 2019: How to attempt exam
— Under no circumstances should you leave out any section unattempted as there is a sectional cut-off for each section.
— Learn to identify easy questions that you can attempt and solve first, and then move on to medium questions and try the tough questions at the end.
— Attempt all the non-MCQ Type-in-the-Answer (TITA) questions. Answer them all as they do not carry any negative marking.
— Number of questions answered correctly should be given priority over the number of questions attempted.
— If a particular question takes more time than intended, it makes sense to leave the question and move on to the next one rather than wasting even more time on it as every correct answer fetches the same marks.
— The article is written by Anita Kishore, Chief Strategy Officer & Teacher, BYJU’S