I took the Common Admission Test in 1983. That's way back no doubt, but CAT is CAT, hard to bell at any given time.
So, I thought I'd share my experiences with you, different as they may be from what those who are giving CAT 2006 get to read these days.
Back then, I was working. I was just 18 months into the job of a software engineer after graduating from IIT Kharagpur. Then, holding down a job involved a six-day week, 16 hours a day on an average, with Sundays reserved for sleeping. There was just no time for studies or preparation for the CAT. So I took a one-week vacation right before the CAT, bought model test papers, brushed up on my high-school mathematics and practised and practised -- over eight hours a day.
My focus was quite simply on speed and all the things you need to do, to quickly understand the question, plan your strategy and work out solutions quickly. As it turned out, my one-week of practice enabled me to solve more than 50 per cent of the questions correctly. What I did not know or was not sure of, I skipped and the decision on skipping was taken speedily too.
Would I have fared better if I had decided on skipping after some more effort and time? Perhaps. The important thing is my strategy worked, and I joined IIM Bangalore in 1984.
So I thought of sharing a little more with you in the form of tips that I used. Tip that could help you too:
~ Verbal is quite easy if you just read through, think and then answer. My opinion is that you have a certain verbal capability, thanks to your education, training, reading habits, lifestyle and experiences. You can't suddenly raise this capability by cramming over a few months.
~ In Data Interpretation and Quant, as far as a set of questions is concerned, quite often one question leads to another. So, if you are sure about the answer to Q1, then you can use it as a cue to subsequent questions.
~ Reading and understanding the question quickly is very important. Every sentence or phrase is important and the devil may be in the details. So watch out.
~ Work rapidly. Leave tough questions for later and don't worry if you have to leave them altogether.
-- The author is a senior IT professional in Bangalore.
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