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Last minute tips from CAT 2010 toppers

Last updated on: October 20, 2011 12:42 IST

Last minute tips from CAT 2010 toppers

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While it is obvious to hear the traditional set of last minute tips, we bring you some essential tips from various students who cracked CAT 2010. Some of them are studying at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management. Read on.

The Common Admission Test (CAT) 2011 will commence on October 22, 2011 for the next 20 days lasting upto November 18, 2011.

This is also the time when students are bombarded with tips and strategies right from preparing for the exam to devising strategies to solve the paper and optimising your scores to get admitted into a good b-school.

Also read: 50 MOST important formulae for CAT 2011

Also read: The 10-point mental strategy for CAT 2011

In this article, the CETking Team that involves with training students in management and professional courses has aimed to present you a set of tips based on the responses they received from last year's CAT toppers, some of whom are already studying in the Indian Institutes of Management. We thought of sharing the same with you.

For those of you who are in the preparatory stage of the CAT exam, you will want to consider the following:

Overall preparation tips

  • The key to belling the CAT would be twin-fold: Keep your basic fundas and concepts in place and allocate appropriate time for each section in the test. These two things will ensure you get a decent percentile.
  • I think it is very important to formulate an exam strategy. Predetermining (on the basis of your mocks) things like, which questions to mark, how much time to spare for reviewing your answers/entire paper, etc. does help.
  • Avoid spending time in attempting maximum questions, aim for accuracy.
  • Do not spend time on very tough caselets, or solving difficult mocks
  • Do not ignore the basic concepts and key numbers (Geometry formulas, special numbers, key percentage ratios)

The above information was compiled by CETking Team from various responses received from candidates who had appeared for the CAT exam in 2010. Formed by JBIMS alumni, CETking trains students in CAT, CET and other b-school entrance exams.

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Last minute tips from CAT 2010 toppers

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Data Interpretation/ Logical Reasoning tips

  • Don't get stuck in difficult caselets, particularly, the "speed breaker" questions. Last year those who spent time solving difficult sets realised that the DI and LR questions were unusually lengthy. So it will be a good idea to choose questions wisely.
  • Keep sufficient time for the tougher sections. Every year, there is at least one tough section. In 2010, it was DI.
  • Try to master calculations; this will save you time.

Quantitative Analysis

  • Staying calm and cool will help you a great deal during the exam. The questions are very logical and all you require is a clear understanding of basics to crack it. No flashy formulas, no special preparations. But that's possible only if you have mastered your concepts first.
  • Solve past year's papers especially CAT 1999-2002 papers for Quant and you will stand a good chance crack IIMs cutoffs.
  • You can ignore your mock CAT scores. Get rid of solving higher mathematic problems like Euler Theorem in the first place. Instead optimise time solving the easier problems.

Verbal Ability

  • For VA, solving the past CAT papers would be enough. The length of RCs is almost the same. But you can expect some tricky questions this year.
  • RC questions are sometimes confusing; so do not answer VA sequentially. Finish grammar and then come back to RC.

If you are already approaching your exam, you will want to consider these one-day-before tips

  • Time-management is very important not just for writing the exam but also otherwise. Most of them fail to take into consideration the centre of examination and wrongly estimate the time required to reach the venue.
  • While saying so, it is also important to reconfirm the exact centre of examination at least a day in advance. For example, last year, some students turned up at the wrong centre. So guys, please confirm your venue in advance and check the route map of your test centre on the CAT site before the exam to avoid delay.
  • Do not let your poor mock scores worry you. You are going to get 10 percentile more than your mock percentiles. Before the day of exam, remember your best mock score and try to relax instead of worrying about it.


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Last minute tips from CAT 2010 toppers

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Before the exams

  • The timings of the afternoon slot are very awkward and most of you will have to skip your lunch. So, if possible, do carry some chocolates or quick bite stuff along with you. Have them before entering the examination lab. You may also have coffee if you get a chance just before the test to get your adrenaline flowing.
  • Enter the examination lab as late as possible. Sitting idle in front of the screen can make anyone fall asleep. So avoid sitting in front of it for longer time.

While solving the paper

  • Help yourself to be mentally prepared for the exam. You need to realise that what you don't know until now, could not have been learnt even in the last few hours or days. So, concentrate on what you already know, give yourself a pep talk and begin.
  • Don't forget that feedback from your friends and forums are mere reviews of your past performance. So don't have any pre-conceived notions about the difficulty level of your particular slot.
  • No matter how many times you attempt the paper, remember that accuracy is more important than number of attempts.
  • Try to attempt around 12-13 questions (out of 20 questions) in each section i.e. 60% of the paper. This can give enough margins for minor errors such as calculation mistakes.
  • You must go through all the questions in a given section. This will help you solve the easy questions first and this way, you will also ensure that you haven't skipped an easy question.


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And lastly, since CAT is an online exam, you will want to consider the following:

  • Once the test begins, be careful about using the keyboard. You need to ensure that you don't enter the wrong keys by mistake.
  • Make good use of the 'Review' button on the screen.
  • You don't have to wait for the entire 1.5 hrs in front of the computer screen before the exam. Chances are you will end up getting bored and soon feel sleepy. Take a break before the exam, talk to friends and people around you so that you feel fresh when you enter the hall for the exam.


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