CAT & MBA Entrance Exams – all you need to know
Here we are back again with the hits & misses of what we discussed on our last blog article. We hope that our previous article on the Easy Hacks & Tips to Prepare for CAT Entrance Exams has helped students to move ahead with an even more strategic & well-planned order. This article will enlighten on the most effective strategic learning guide to help you prepare just 3 weeks before your CAT entrance exams.
The Most Strategic Learning Guide for CAT Entrance Exams!
By now all of you must have solved enough questions, read enough theory, taken enough mock-tests. So, what should be your strategy just 3 weeks before your CAT Exams?
First – Make a note of the things you should NOT be doing:
- Read up on a new topic which you have not read until now, even if someone has told you that the topic is vital for CAT: The idea is that no single topic in CAT can decide the outcome of your exam. Also, if you have not read any topic till now, you will not suddenly be able to master it in 3 weeks. In fact, trying to read up new chapter(s) may result in you getting confused about topics you actually knew pretty well.
- Try to solve all questions that you have not done from your practice materials: Trying to do this may lead to burnout resulting in a bad performance on the exam day.
- Spend your time doing nothing, watching TV, movies, leading a chilled life, etc.: This is the other extreme scenario and also should be avoided. You need to be in touch with your studies.
Now, for what you should do:
- Take few of the remaining mock-CATs, preferably one every 2-3 days so that you have practiced 7 – 10 tests in the last 21 days. Those of you who have enrolled for any test-series program, will have 1 or 2 remaining tests, so adjust accordingly.
- Try to analyze these tests as well as analyze any of the tests you have taken before.
- If you have studied well, you should be well aware of your weaknesses & strengths – revise your weak areas from where you are making the maximum no. Of mistakes in the mock-tests.
- Try writing down any formula or notes of any subject so that you remember the important points before the exam.
- Study daily for about 5 – 6 hours, do not over-exert yourself at this point of time.
- The last day before the exam, do nothing. Maybe you can revise the formulae/notes you have prepared.
On the Exam Day:
At this crucial hour, it is a mandatory for you to be pretty clear about the test taking strategy. If not, try to make a strategy of your own. Read on to explore about a few guidelines for the same:
- The exam format has changed from last year. There are now 100 questions (Section 1: QA and DI – 50 questions and Section 2: VA and LR – 50 questions) for a total time of 170 minutes. There is no sectional time limit (which is not necessarily a good news!!).
- 100 questions in 170 minutes makes this exam more difficult as number of minutes per question (1.7 min i.e. 1 min 42 sec is less than what it used to be earlier i.e. 60 questions 140 minutes or 2 min 20 sec per question).
- Follow the following strategy for solving the paper (practice on one or two mock tests before the actual exam) :
- Attempting the paper:
- Start with your strongest section (either QA DI or VA LR)
- Once you have decided the section, attempt each question based on your merit.
- i. Do not waste time in scanning the entire section first, directly keep on attempting.
- ii. If at any point of time you find a question too difficult, leave it straight away.
- iii. If you are not sure about your ability to solve a question, mark it and move on.
- iv. Do not spend more than 1 minute on any question without making any headway.
- Spend no more than 75 minutes on the first attempted section. Within the section you do not have to equally attempt questions of both topics (i.e. in the QA DI section, there are no cutoffs for QA and DI separately. So, if you are not comfortable with DI, you first solve only QA and then decide to solve DI towards the end. Similarly for VA LR)
- After the first 75 minutes, move on to the other section. Do not, at any cost, extend the first attempted section to more than 75 minutes. Repeat the steps mentioned above for the other section as well
- At this point of time, you have exhausted 150 minutes and more or less have attempted each section decently. In the remaining 20 minutes, you can follow either of the two following strategies:
- i. If you feel that your both sections have gone smoothly and you feel confident that you have made good number of attempts, devote the remaining time to attempting those questions which you feel you would get correct (that belong to your strongest section) and try to maximize your total score
- ii. However, if you feel that any one particular section has not gone that well, devote the 20 minutes to that section so that you can at least get the cutoff for that section
- f. Please note that keeping a buffer time of around 20 minutes is essential for achieving a good result in the examination.
Sujoy Kr Datta
IIT Kharagpur, Dresden University Germany ( 5 times CAT 99.5%ile+ scorer)
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