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The 10-point mental strategy for CAT 2011

Last updated on: October 19, 2011 14:13 IST

The 10-point mental strategy for CAT 2011


With CAT 2011 commencing on October 22, 2011, expert ARKS Srinivas, an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and ex-Director at T.I.M.E. Mumbai will present a series of articles to help aspirants perform better for the exam. In the first part, he advises aspirants on 10 things to bear in mind before appearing for CAT 2011 this year. Read on

More than 200,000 students are appearing for CAT to compete for around 3150 seats in the 13 Indian Institutes of Management IIMs and many more in other good B-schools.

While CAT may be difficult, what makes it really tough is the competition. If you can attempt one extra question or reduce one extra mistake, your score is going to soar!

MUST READ: 50 most important formulae for CAT 2011

Here are some practical tips to ensure that you don't make mistakes that will possibly hinder your chances of making it to the best B- schools in India.

The mental preparation

1. Stop thinking of the result

You have put in effort. Whether that effort is sufficient to make it to the IIMs or not will be known only after your write the exam and the result is declared. Many a time, students waste thinking of the result than on the work at hand.

2. Stop looking at MOCK CAT Scores

There have been many instances where students have made it to the IIMs despite getting low scores in their mock exams. Mocks were meant to give you an idea of how you would perform given a certain type of paper and circumstances.

3. Stop worrying on how much you do not know

Students who prepare for this exam for even four years vouch for the fact that you can never be fully prepared.

 There will always be surprises in the CAT exam. Hence worrying about what you do not know is going to be counter-productive. Remember, if you can attempt around 66% of the questions with 80% accuracy, you will very well be in the IIMs.

4. Stop worrying about your 10th, 12th, Degree or Work-ex

Nothing matters now as much as the CAT written exam. Only if you clear cutoffs in the CAT would any of the above matter. What is not in your hands, don't bother!

5. Have the right attitude

Harsha Bogle has talked about Tendulkar many times. But the key he says, for the success of Tendulkar is not Talent but attitude.

There were many cricketers in the world probably as talented as Tendulkar if not more. But, only Sachin was successful as he had the right attitude to win. So is the case with Rahul Dravid –- less talent, tremendous attitude. It pays to listen to the experts.

6. Enjoy the exam

You cannot crack an exam if you are forever worried about the difficulty of the questions and the competition. Go to the exam hall with a simple aim -- To enjoy the exam, solve every question that you know and leaving the rest!

The author has been the All India CAT Course Director at T.I.M.E and has more than 15 years of experience in training students for CAT and other entrance exams. He is presently the Director at Vanguard Business School based out of Bangalore.


Test Preparation

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Once you have made up your mind that you will do well, you still have to do the right things in the exam.

You cannot get bogged down with questions, which take too much time -- even if you know that you can solve. Here are some quick tips to ensure that your strategy for the exam is intact.

7. Allot time limits

While you no longer have the burden of choosing the time limits for each section in the paper, you still have to give time limit within each section of the paper. Section I has QA and DI and it is imperative that you give sufficient times to each of these sections.

Even if you are a stud in QA or DI, there will always be easy questions in the area that you aren't so good. It would be prudent, hence, to ensure that you give time limits within sections.

8. Stick to the time limits

Giving time limits is one part, sticking to that is the trickier part. Be disciplined.

9. Get-away time

For every type of question, there should be something called a 'get-away time'.

After spending some time on a question, the biggest decision to be made is, whether to spend more time or leave that question. You will find, more often than not, that leaving the question that you are not able to crack in the first minute or 2 is always prudent.

LEAVE THE QUESTION after you have spent the get-away time. This could be 2 minutes for a QA question or 3 and a half minute for the DI set or 1 minute for a Grammar question!

10. Have a strategy

Make sure that you have a proper strategy for attempting the paper. Don't go into the paper without having a clear-cut idea on how you are going to attempt the questions.

Even if you have to change that strategy mid-way due to circumstances, it is worth starting with one. Otherwise, the danger of wasting too much time figuring-out what to do is high.

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Answer these two questions

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Once you are prepared for mentally and know what to do, the specifics of what needs to be done will become clearer. In our next three articles we will discuss on two aspects.

A) What exactly should be done prior to your exam in each of the areas:

Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension

B) What should be your STRATEGY for attempting the exam?

Wish you all the best!

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