How to do well in CAT 2013:
CAT 2013 is expected to have a similar pattern as CAT 2012. It will have two timed sections – each with 30 questions to be attempted in 70 minutes. The first section will test the students in QA and DI and the second section will include VA and LA.
Going by previous year’s CAT pattern, this section is likely to have a mix of about 20 questions from QA and about 10 questions from DI.
Before we discuss how to do well in this section, it is important to understand the exam structure of CAT and its implications :
The test will be conducted in about 40 slots. Each slot will not have the same questions or even questions of the same difficulty level.That’s why overall difficulty level in each slot may not be the same.Therefore , 40 different tests will be conducted in these 40 slots.
Since the tests in different slots are likely to have different difficulty levels, the number of questions that could therefore be attempted will be different. Hence, students should not go by the number of questions attempted by others who have taken CAT in the earlier slots and form a judgement about the difficulty level of the exam or have any specific target about the number of questions they should attempt.
As suggest that you do not leave any topic and prepare for all topics, since easy questions may get asked from any topic. It is ok if you have different levels of comfort and confidence in different topics but not total ignorance.
Practicing regularly with time limits:
While it is important to know how to solve the questions , it is equally important that you learn to solve them in the least possible time. Practising under time pressure will help you to simulate exam conditions and result in improved time management. I also suggest that you take timed, online topic-wise and sectional tests to build comfort in taking online tests.
Selection of questions:
It is critical that you read all the questions to identify the ones you feel you can solve in the least amount of time – you may fix a time limit of about 2-2 .5 minutes per question. If it appears to you that the question may take longer than this time limit , you should move on and tackle the next question/s that appear doable within this time limit.
Leaving out questions:
Some students become nervous if the first 2-3 questions appear difficult . Please remember that only a handful of students will be able to successfully attempt almost all the questions in this section. So, even if you attempt about 20 questions, it may fetch you a good score and percentile. So, don’t worry if some questions are left without attempting after you have read it.
Since 30 questions have to be attempted in 70 minutes, time management becomes critical. I suggest that you fix an ‘exit time’ depending upon your competence level. For example, an exit time of two minutes will mean that if a question is nowhere close to getting solved after spending two minutes on it, you will leave it and move on.
Most students make the mistake of continuing with the question with the hope that ‘I know I can solve it’ but end up spending as much as 10 or more minutes trying to solve it. Even when the question is solved in 10 minutes, you have wasted time that could have been better utilized in solving more and easier questions.
Cut offs within section:
There is no sub-sectional cut-off and you do not have to score some minimum marks in QA and DI separately or VA and LA separately . It is the total score that will count.
Do not beat around the bush:
In CAT, there is no need for you to guess just because it can result in more attempts. Higher attempts through guessing will result in lower marks. Devoting an average of at least three to four hours every day in building basics, taking online ‘timed’ topic-based /sectional tests, taking mock CATs, analysing your performance and taking corrective action is the recommended roadmap which should lay a strong foundation for you to do well in CAT.