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Taking CAT? Try the KISS theory
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November 18, 2006

The Common Admission Test scheduled for November 19 has three sections -- Verbal Ability, Quant and Data Interpretation. Many of you have a similar question: How much time should you devote to each section?  

CAT trainer Vinayak Kudwa from IMS Learning Resources who chatted with readers on November 18, suggested: 

'Stick to the KISS strategy: 50-50-50 (minutes) per section. PS: KISS stands for 'Keep it safe and simple'.'

vimlendu : hello naveen, how can i maximise score in RC?
Vinayak : Hi Vimlendu, concentrate on passages you are comfortable with. Focus on accuracy and not just on speed.

vikassobti009 : Hi Vinayak Please advise that whether I should take Qa as second section to attaempt as its my weakest section
Vinayak : Be prepared to attempt the sections in any order, if the need be. As QA is your weakest section, try to attempt it when your mind is on high alert.

IIMhereicum : hi sir, wats ur gut feeling on the pattern of cat2006?
Vinayak : Your guess is as good as mine. CAT keeps changing and you need to be prepared for any eventuality. However, I would place my bets on 90 to 20 questions and a 150-mark paper. 

catter : sir i am getting percentile in the range of 95-99 in simcat but usually lost cutoff in one section by a thin margin of 1-2 marks.what is my chance to go into iims?
Vinayak : Do not worry too much about this problem. Focus on the main test tomorrow and I am sure you will clear all the three cut-offs.

amit garg : how much percentalile in each section is expected for a student 4+ work ex
Vinayak : Hi Amit, you can anyways not aim for a particular percentile. So take the CAT with an aim to maximise your score in each of the sections. In general, a 92 percentile section-wise and 98 percentile overall should fetch you calls from the IIMs.

vinod : IMS simcats havent had many LR questions in the DI sections of late. Any specific reason??
Vinayak : Hi Vinod, SimCATs have been designed keeping in mind the trends that CAT has shown in the recent years. If you see past CAT papers you will realise that the line between DI and LR questions has become very thin.

sb : Imagine I get 10 marks in first 30 mins of Quants and then am not finding questions to solve so to hit a cutoff of 15 what should be the strategy ?
Vinayak : Do not get into the test centre with such a mindset. Even if you do get into such a situation, do not lose your calm, and stay focused. Read the questions from your areas of strength, more importantly understand what you are required to do to solve the question. I am sure you will find questions that you can solve correctly.

catter : sir what is my chance to get call from iims if i am getting percentile of 95-99 in simcat?
Vinayak : Hi, you have a very good chance of making it to the IIMs. Relax, stay focused and all the best for tomorrow

vineet : Which r the colleges that do not go for sectional cut-offs??
Vinayak : Most of the good B-Schools have some sort of sectional cut-off which changes year to year. However, B-Schools like SP Jain, MICA, BIM, TAPMI etc do not have stringent sectional cut-offs

jitu_28 : , what could be the aprox cut off for SC candidates for IIMs, UBs BIM, IIFM.Plz reply. Im asking for so many times but u didn't replied
Vinayak : About 80-85 percentile for the IIMs and about 70-75 percentile for the rest of the good schools should be a safe bet based on last year's data.

sb : I am planning a 40-40-40 + last 30 (all three sections) min strategy - whats your take on that ? Am strong in verbal
Vinayak : Have you used this start before? If it has worked for YOU before, it will work for YOU tomorrow. Else you can stick to the KISS strategy: 50-50-50 per section.  

(PS: KISS stands for 'Keep it safe and simple'.)

rambhushan : i have got above 99 percentile in 5 simcats but in last three couldnt manage to cross 98,very low in should i calm my nerves to not get nervous during the exam
Vinayak : If you have already got a 99 percentile five times out of eight, you have got it in you. Believe in yourself and take the CAT. You will definitely get a call. Relax, watch a movie, chill. Wish you the best

abcd : Sir, i'm a second yr engg student from iit,i am to start cat preps, what r the pre-requirements to be able to sit for cat ? i mean academic ? plz do reply
Vinayak : The minimum criteria is 50 per cent in graduation. Since you are an IIT student, you will have to convert your Cumulative Grade Point Average to the percentage. For instance, if your CGPA is out of 10, you should get only a 5 to sit for the CAT

catter : are u expecting g.k section/composition 2 morrow?
Vinayak : My expectations do not really matter.. However, in all probability there will not be any GK/essay.

vinod : What does IIM-A's declaraing spefic cut-offs for GD/PI call mean? WHy only them?
Vinayak : I believe the IIM wants to be more transparent in the selection process and hence it has stated the minimum cut-offs. No particular reason that I can think of for the others not mentioning the min cut off

dushyant : hi... i had given the mock cats of a coaching institute... i had also given its full length tests... although i aced the full length tests, i didnt do too well at the MOCKs,... i found a huge difference in their standards... what should i take from this? im great at the FLTs but nothing special at the mocks....
Vinayak : In take home tests, you score better largely due to the fact that you are under less pressure. The good news is that this is the same for almost all who take the CAT. If you have carefully analysed the papers, there would be not much of a difference between the simCATs and the take home tests.

jitu_28 : thanx. What else colleges I can apply keeping in mind I belong to SC category? I have already applied for BIM,NIRMA, UBS, IIFM, FMS, MFC
Vinayak : Your selection of college should only be dependent on the fact that the B-School you apply should provide you value that you seek. Therefore, leave all other criteria aside and focus on the top B-Schools only.

lakshminarayanan : can we expect the same pattern as was held in the last year
Vinayak : Expectations are valid.. But the point is that expectations do not really matter. Irrespective of test structure of the test tomorrow, you have to focus on doing well. If you have prepared well, you are prepared for any structure

PUMS : pls tell me what percentile will I get in CAT bec I heared the MOCK of CL AND TIME is very difficult than real EXAM
Vinayak : I can't comment on the level of mocks of CL and TIME but if you scored about 95 percentile in the SimCAT you stand a very good chance of getting the coveted IIM calls. One more point, there is a fundamental flaw in your question because you are already assuming a difficulty level of tomorrows test. Don't worry. At the end of the day it is a relative performance that matters. Therefore, whether the test is difficult or easy is not going to matter at all

Ajit : i am feeling scared to take the test tomorrow pl. help!
Vinayak : Ajit, the day before my marriage I was really scared too. I think this a natural feeling. So don't worry and enjoy the CAT. Secondly, remember that CAT is not a test of your success factor in your career. It is just an aptitude test. Be positive and give it your best shot

Gagan : sir ..can u tell me what score atleast i have to secure to get percentile around 85%
Vinayak : I will not give you the answer because I want you to make it to the IIM! Gagan, just go and try to score to the best of your ability in each of the sections

dushyant : i am hoping for a mdi call.... my strongest section is VA and my weakest is quant.. i always clear the VA and DI cut offs but not always quant,,,, what is the minimum percentile at which MDI wud call me if i do well in english and okayish in maths?
Vinayak : MDI would require a percentile of about 95+ percentile. Have faith; you will clear the Quant cut off for tomorrow for the IIMs. All you need to do is to solve all the questions that you CAN solve. It will be more than enough

vinod : If in one section, say verbal, i feel i have completed attempted 80% questions with 80% accuracy, is it better to move on to a weaker section, giving more time for it, or shud i look at maximizing my score in the same section?
Vinayak : Vinod, if you can do that in 40 minutes, it is a great performance. Sure, move on to the next section and try to repeat the same performance! Wish you the best man!

vishalp : Will IIMs drop cutoffs(25% per section) if the paper seems to be very tough?
Vinayak : Let the IIM worry about this question. As far as you and me are concerned we will focus on doing the best we can on the D-day tomorrow.

vishalp :  Is it true that in one RC passage there is atleast one-two damn easy questions hence we should attempt all RC passages?:)
Vinayak : There is no fixed rule. Also, one question that is easy for you may be difficult for me. The basic rule is NOT to get stuck in a question. If it means you ending up solving all the RC passage, so be it.

andy_72 : is it advisable to scroll thru the entire question paper once and then start answering or start directly and if so then which section to start... i m comfortable with the english part
Vinayak : The instruction sheet in fact asks you to do so just to check whether all the pages are printed properly. So it is a good idea.

vishalp : Scenario:Guy scores 90%ile and clears all cutoffs...will he get calls over guys who score 98%ile who fail to clear cutoff of atleast one section??
Vinayak : Past data indicates that this is difficult to achieve: 90 percentile with all sections cleared. However, if a student clears all cutoffs and has scored below someone who hasn't cleared the cutoff, he will get the call even if the second person has better overall percentile.


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