With a little over two months to go for CAT 2008, the pressure on B-school aspirants is mounting. Strategising, mock CATs, time management -- each have their own importance and value when it comes to making your CAT attempt meaningful.
To help test-takers, we asked students who have taken the CAT to share their tips and tricks. Here, Nilangshu Nandi, a student at IIM Lucknow, shares his experiences.
My strategy was based on two things: preparation and performance.
DI and quant needs huge practice from the CAT material available in the market. Without practice, speed won't come.
Few tips to prepare for DI / Quant:
- Analyse the questions and check as to which type of problem is taking how much time of yours to solve. Eg permutation combinations, geometry, time-speed-work, ratio proportion, mathematics based DI questions, strategy based DI question, etc
- This will help you know which part of a section to improve and the knowledge will be handy in selecting to attempt an unattempted during the last 10 minutes of the exam
- You can do this analysis by solving the sub sections from the preparatory materials and checking your time
- Recheck your timings in the mock CATs
For verbals, you need to have your basics strong. Get your grammar correct. Read a lot of books and newspapers.
Tips for Verbals:
- Practice a lot on grammar
- Time your RC preparation. See how long you take to read a passage.
- Since it is best to read the passage only once and answer all questions, it is better to time every passage you read from newspapers and/ or books
- Just check how long you are taking to read a 1000-word passage from a newspaper and then jotting all the important points. Initially it will take you 15-20 mins. But with practice it will come down to less than 10 mins.
- There are different types of passage that come in CAT. The philosophical or gyaan-based RCs take more time as they do not have much direct questions. On the other hand the factual ones are easier to crack.
- Recheck your timing of RC and concept on grammar in the mock CATs
- I reiterate -- get your basic grammar correct.
The two most important things to be kept in mind to crack CAT are to:
- Score well enough to clear cut offs in all sections
- Score really well in at least one section to get a good overall percentile
The total time given was 150 minutes. My time division was as follows:
- 45 minutes per section
- Verbals first because the grammar section is normally easy to score fast. 15-18 mins for grammar and 25-27 mins for RC. 8-9 mins per passage.
- Then Quant, because it was my strongest point. 2.5-3 mins per question.
- Then DI
- At the end I had kept 15 minutes to return to Quant and / or DI, whichever section would not have gone well for me
So what I faced during the exam was:
- Verbals grammar finished in 10 mins. I attempted almost all.
- RC was tough. I attempted 1-2 questions per RC (only the direct questions)
- I finished off verbals section in 30 minutes and had attempted 17 questions
- Then I attempted quant. The problems were time-taking ones. Hence I could finish only 13 questions in the allotted 45 mins.
- I took up DI and finished 14 questions in those 45 mins.
- I ended up having 30 mins in my hand to go back to verbals / DI / quant
- As quant is my strong section, I gave 20 mins to it and did 7 more questions
- And the last 10 mins I did DI, where I solved one more set of four questions
This strategy helped me clock the following percentiles:
- Verbal: 95%
- DI: 96%
- Quant: 99.98%
- Overall: 99.89%
Have you aced the CAT? Do you have tips that could help students improve their scores or stress-busting strategies to beat pre-CAT nerves? Send in your advice to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish your strategies right here on rediff.com.