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Time management mantras for CAT 2006
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November 13, 2006

How much time should you invest on one-mark and two-mark questions in the Common Admission Test?


Sunil Kumar and Sai Kumar, CAT trainers from T.I.M.E, addressed this and other concerns during a chat on November 10: 

'Assuming a decent 20 marks worth of attempts, a one-mark question deserves around 2 to 2.5 minutes and a two-mark question, about twice of that.'


For those who missed it, here is the transcript:



pearl asked, Sir, it takes me a long time in solving reasoning DI problems. That leads to a decrease in the number of attempts. What can be done at this stage. I know max. I'll like to do is to clear cutoffs. Fortunately, I am able to compensate for DI in verbal and quant. But still DI reamains a cause of concern. Please advise. Thanks and Regards.
Sunil answers, Pick the sets/questions that you can answer judiciously. Focus on accuracy. Do not hesitate to leave a tough question/set midway if it seems to lead you nowhere. Be ruthless when taking such decisions. Do not dwell on questions that are practically "dead" for you. Keep an eye on your attempt rate.



avik asked, sir plz ans my 1 st q....hi sir...i have 3 years work ex.......what is the lowest percentile i require to get 1 or 3/4 iim calls..i have been a national scholar and an MS from a very reputed institute...
Sai answers, Avik, for your information -- the lowest percentile for a general category student was around 97.5 in CAT 2005 for a single call. Given the 20-25 per cent increase in test takers, this could well be around 98.5 for one call. However, we suggest you give your best on the test and stop worrying about factors beyond your control.



Dhoni asked, Dear Mr Sai & Mr Sunil , Q= How many months & hours/day preparation is enough for a 1st timer & an arts background student to clear CAT-2007 ????
Sai answers, It all depends on how Dhoni bats and not on the pitch or the type of match. One-day ho ya test, Dhoni sabse best!



radha asked, Dear Sir: For a weak student, in DI/LR, how to identify and pick the easy ones? Which are all the easy areas in this paper one can attempt and how many questions are expected out of them in CAT paper ? How much time one should allot for a 1-mark and a 2-mark question ? Thanx!
Sunil answers, The ability to identify easy sets comes only through practice on sufficient number of mock CATs. However, if there are one-mark and two-mark questions as such, look at the one-mark questions. Assuming a decent 20 marks worth of attempts, a one-mark question deserves around 2 to 2.5 minutes and a two-mark question, about twice of that.



anirban asked, wat can we expect frm this yrs xtra 30 min???more no of Qs with same diff level of same no of Qs wit more diff level?plz tl wit respect 2 last yrs CAT...
Sunil answers, As already answered, it is not good to speculate beforehand. Just focus on time management during the exam.



parikshit asked, what are the chances that this CAT would be total surprise .. say v unlike earlier CATs
Sai answers, Given that the IIM's have revealed a lot more than they have in the past (which itself was a surprise!) -- in terms of the duration of the paper and the number of sections, the only surprise would be the types of questions, weightage and the difficulty/ease level.



sachin asked, the kind of DI coming is time MCAT's is mostly logical ,how much of this can expect in CAT. usually what out of 8 sets how many in CAT over the past 3 years not been logical sets and have only Data Calculations
Sunil answers, The number that you are asking for, has been seeing a decreasing trend, from around five out of eight to around two out of eight.



vikrant asked, if am scoring 23 in DI and Quant sections out of 50 and in language not scoring in double figur in all mock cats..should i expect call from IIMs and MDI??
Sai answers, Vikrant, it would be great if you can give me your percentiles (average) in the mocks.



rajurao asked, Good Afternoon sunil, As you said that we should not answer all the questions in the caselets what should be th approach and how to find easy questions in the caselets
Sunil answers, After reading the directions and understanding them, an initial reading of the questions will give a basic idea of the easy and difficult questions. However, even as your are actually solving, you will realise that a certain question is too involving to be worth the time required. You need to just leave such questions alone.



MalikaSHarma asked, What to do if strongest section of one consists of difficult Q's ? Should still one attempt it first ?
Sai answers, That is precisely why one should go with an 'OPEN' mind to the exam. Do not let your ego prejudice your decision to leave out difficult questions from your perceived 'strong' area(s).



Kartik asked, any offical figure as to how many people r apperaring for the cat this year..i heard round 2.3 lakh
Sai answers, How many people will appear is anyone's guess but as per official estimates (according to an IIM) around 1.91 lakh applications were sold. But does it matter!



Dhoni asked, Dear Mr Sai & Mr Sunil , Q= How many months & hours/day preparation is enough for a 1st timer & an arts background student to clear CAT-2007 ????
Sunil answers, Assuming you are good at VA/RC and slighly weak at Math...around eight to ten months. However, the early bird gets the worm. You would be better off starting as early as possible.



arunkumar asked, i'm unable 2 clear cutofffs of aimcat's by 1/0.5 marks ihave cleared twice r thrice wat to do
Sunil answers, Depending on the details of your performance, either focusing on accuracy or quickly leaving out difficult questions should help. Most importantly, do not treat cutoffs as rigid numbers, since these vary from institute to institute.



vikrant asked,  i am scoring above 97%ile in DI and Quant but managing 60-70 in Lang area....wht r the chances from MDI,SPJain and IIMs
Sai answers, The IIMs and MDI have sectional cutoffs and, as such, your chances (based on your historical scores) appear to be low. You have a good chance at SP Jain. Vikrant, try and be a little more aggressive in VA on the 19th as you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Remember, sometimes it is just a small adjustment in the way you approach the section that works wonders (as it has for countless others in the past).


Ranjeet asked, is it feasible to go for a career in MBA after completion of MCA
Sai answers, Very much feasible (but why then wait for the MCA to get over?!).



GM asked, Hi there, I want to know that how much score do we need to get calls from roughly all IIM's taking into consideration the fact that CAT is now 2.5 hrs and test and lets assume the difficulty level will be same as that of last time????
Sunil answers, One can only talk of percentile scores and also, given the uncertainty in the manner in which the IIMs call students, probably a high figure such as 99.70+ percentile should get you at least four to five calls.



SneHa asked, Dear Sunil Sir, I am weak in DI. What minimum topics id DI wolud u suggest for me to get Some marks at least?? Pls reply
Sunil answers, Try to solve the CAT original papers of the last three years. Nothing more can be done at this point of time. And there are no "topics", as such, to prepare for. Only logical ability and presence of mind are needed.



Aspirant asked, Currently just for my personal revision of CAT papers, I am currently going through most of the papers that I have solved since I started my preparation. Is this the best approach ???
Sunil answers, Your approach is fine. Nothing could be better!



MalikaSHarma asked, My D.I & Quant score's in MOCK CATS is almost same around varied from 6 to 11, where as in VA/RC is 10 to 15. in what order i should attempt on D-DAY. Which college should i look for or any miracle is still possible? PLZ REPLY
Sai answers, Attempt your strongest section first (VA/RC in your case) and try and allocate a slightly higher amount of time for it (say around 50 minutes). Distribute the remaining time equally over the other two sections and sandwich the weakest section in between the stronger sections.



arunkumar asked, i'm getting overall score inthe range of 25-30 sh'd i leave & try cat-2007
Sunil answers, Since there is not limit on the number of times one can write CAT (as yet), you should go ahead to at least get the feel of the exam.



Suvesh asked, Hi Sunil! I usually score easily in Quant and complete the VA/RC section quickly. The only section I end up spending a lot of time is DI. Where do you think I should attempt DI? Do you think I should wedge it in the middle?
Sunil answers, Spending a lot of time on DI is a serious problem. Just ensure that it does not affect your other sections. Try and attempt it second.



sandy asked, is it good to decide 40-40-40-30 time management or we should decide seeing paper only
Sunil answers, 40-40-40-30 is needed only if your sectional scores are volatile. Else, 45-45-45-10/15 is better.



Sai says, Friends, that's all for the day. Hope we have been able to answer your queries effectively. Best of Luck.


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