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CAT 2011 Tips: Attempt 24 questions with 85 percent accuracy

Last updated on: October 24, 2011 12:16 IST

CAT 2011 Tips: Attempt 24 questions with 85 percent accuracy

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In an online chat with readers on October 20, Vinayak Kudva, head, IMS Learning addressed last minute queries to solving problems in CAT 2011.

The Common Admission Test that qualifies admission to various post graduate programmes in the 13 Indian Institutes of Management and 150 other b-schools in the country commenced October 22 and ends November 18, 2011. For those who missed the live chat, here's the unedited transcript.


Bhupesh asked,
Sir plese advise on DI strat, as i can sometimes be very time consuming affair?

VinayakKudva answers, at 2011-10-20 15:16:41
Dear Bhupesh, Thank you for your question. Data Interpretation this time has been clubbed with Quantitative Aptitude. Yes Data Interpretation can be time consuming. The trick is to identify the easy questions quickly and solve them first. A key strategy would be to read and understand what the question is all about before getting to actually solve the same, sometimes the question can be answered without much of calculations but by just being mentally alert as to what the data set is all about and the type of question. Go through all the Data Sets and rank them in terms of difficulty if you can; solve the easy ones first. Do not make silly mistakes in undertanding or analysing key points. Sometimes the questions help you answer remaining questions.
aas asked, sir i want to know what will happen if i enter the wrong answer online. is there any way i can check before submitting the final answer.

Vinayak Kudva answers,
yes...the CAT test software allows you to review attempted/unattempted or all questions one by one. Do go through the CAT tutorial before you start taking the test.
devang asked, i am not sure whether to start quant first or rc pls advice

VinayakKudva answers,
Dear Devang, this time you do not have to choose which sections you need to start with. This time the sections are timed. You will start with a section and remain with the same till the time for attempting questions from that section is over. This time, Logical Reasoning has been clubbed with Verbal Ability. Quantitative Aptitude has been clubbed with Data Interpretation
anushak asked, this is the first time i am appearing for CAT. what methods i should use for success? how many questions should i solve in every section to get above 90%? also how early should i reach the centre?

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Hi Anushak...I hope that you have been preparing well for the CAT. I suggest that you should look at solving around 80% questions in each section with an 85-90% accuracy to achieve 90%ile in each section. As regards your second question, you are advised to reach the centre at least 15-30 minutes before the reporting time - better be careful than sorry.
mindovermatters asked, hello sir, i am appearing for the exam on Saturday itself. kindly advice on what concepts i should revise

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Stay calm and focused. Do not stress yourself by worrying. On the eve of the CAT, sleep early and ensure that you are fresh the next day. While taking the test, mark the option correctly. Every year I have heard of students who have missed out due to silly mistakes while clicking on the right option. Mentally break the test into shorter tests. Carry the success in one mini-test to the next, but leave any failure behind. Lastly, do not give up at any stage during the test. For all you know, you may perform relatively better than the others. All the best for Saturday!!
raj asked, i want to crack at 2011 . i havnt started studies. kindly let me kow how can i crack d test?

VinayakKudva answers,
Dear Raj, FIRST AND FOREMOST DO NOT BE DEMOTIVATED. Remember CAT is an aptitude test. When are you taking the test? In case you haven't started studying, I advise you to go through the Basic Reference Material for Logical Reasoning, Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation and Quantitative Aptitude. Please practice solving atleast 2 Reading Comprehension passages 2 Data Interpretation sets everyday. In the remaining time left, take a Simulated test once every three days and utilize the time in between to analyze the test. CAT500 of IMS gives a complete list of 500 important questions across all CAT areas, you can practice from this book as well. All the best. Give it your best shot.
shantanu asked, How to know whether I hav attempted the right question and shall continue solving it or leave & go ahead?

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Shantanu, While taking the test, you could mentally slot the questions into those that you can – (1) Understand and solve (2)Can solve but will take time (3)Can't solve (whatever the reason may be). By dividing the questions in this manner you will be able to prioritize and plan your time. Also, developing this habit in practice tests will hone your ability to pick the 'right' kind of questions. One of the main reasons people don't do well is that they get stuck in problems and can't move on. If you find that you began a sum assuming you can solve it but can see that your attempts aren't leading you to the answer, let it go and move on to the next. You already have an idea of what you can attempt and there might be an easier question elsewhere.
nidhi asked, Sir, what kind of questions can we expect in english this time excluding the RC's

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Nidhi, we should not be getting into a guessing game at this stage- but I would not expect too many surprises with regards to the question types. The regular question types like multiple usage, fill in the blanks, complete the paragraph and jumbled paragraphs may be continued this year.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


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'Do not clutter your mind with too much info before the test'

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Bhupesh asked,
Sir, want to know what is best strategy to attempt DI , i mean at the end or sandwiched between quant questions?

VinayakKudva answers,
Dear Bhupesh, This entirely depends on your test taking experience. There is no magic formula. You can break up the section into timed mini areas and solve the questions. Give more time to difficult questions. I am sure by now you know which area (DI or Quant) is a strong area for you. The key strategy is to attempt atleast 24 of the questions in that section with 85 % accuracy. So you can distribute these questions to be attempted over the course of 70 mins. Do not answer all the questions without spending some thought on the same. Remember there are negative marks for wrong answers. In the remaining time left for your preparation, please concentrate on becoming better in the relatively weaker area.
danny asked, Sir, the pattern has changes.Still what do you feel is the right apount of attempts to reach the 99+ percentie bracket considering 80 % accuracy and a total of 60 qtns.

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Danny, with 40 different test papers with varying levels of difficulty- there is no exact answer to your question. However, an 80-85% attempt with a 85-90% accuracy in each section should give you a 99 percentile. If you feel that the test or a particular section is on the easier side, then try and push your attempts upwards towards 90-100%.
danny asked, Also sir,15 min are given to us to go through the rules in the beginning in the test.Is it ok if we use some of that time to quickly jot down some formulaes, tables and fractions in the notepad

Vinayak Kudva answers,
You can use this time as you wish...if you feel that jotting down formulae and tables helps you can go ahead. But I would rather suggest that you should not clutter your mind with too much info before the test - the activity you propose to do will definitely eat into your mind space.
shantanu asked, Since I have to start with QA & DI section only, will it be possible for me to attempt DI questions first & QA later? Or is it compulsory to attempt questions one by one?

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Shantanu...you can navigate within a section but you cannot move from one section to the other. This implies that within the first section,for eg, you can solve the Quant and DI questions in any order.
babu asked, what should be the score to get into nitie ?

Vinayak Kudva answers,
NITIE had an overall percentile cut-off of around 98 percentile last year with sectional cut-offs of around 70%ile for PS and 65%ile for VA. we do not expect the same to change by much. This should probably translate to an overall attempt of about 45 questions with at least 18-20 questions in each section - maintaining a 85-90% accuracy. Again, let me clarify that the attempts must be pushed upwards for a easy test while it may go slightly lower for a tougher test.
babu asked, what will be the sectional cut offs for NITIE?

VinayakKudva answers,
Dear Babu, Based on last years the sectional cut offs for NITIE were: (PS-70; DI-65; VA-65) and the overall was 98+ % ile. This time CAT has 2 sections with 30 questions each. Aim to attempt 24 questions in each of the 2 sections with 85% accuracy.You have 70 minutes for each section. Take time to read and analyze each question but do not just mark any answer without thinking.
danny asked, Sir i Strted my prep a month back and spent this time brushing up my basics.And avent started taking uo mock tests.My exam is on 12th nov.what do u recommend regarding how mny tests should i take up till that date fro today to make myself comfortable while appearing for the exam.2 evry day???

Vinayak Kudva answers,
A suggested strategy is to take a test every four days - which would mean around 4-5 tests from hereon. If you take a test on Day 1, get into the analysis mode for Day 2, 3 and 4. Make sure you also get in touch with the basics of your weak areas in this period. Before beginning a test, ensure you have an overall target score and sectional target scores in mind.
s asked, Sir, the pattern has changes.Still what do you feel is the right apount of attempts to reach the 99+ percentie bracket considering 80 % accuracy and a total of 60

VinayakKudva answers,
To score above 95 percentile, one needs to atleast solve 18 questions in each of the 2 sections with 85% accuracy. To get more than 99 percentile, one will have to solve 24 questions with 85%ile accuracy.Continue to owrk on conceptual and application skills and take a simulated CAT test once every 4 days. Pls evise important questions, solve atleast 2 D.I. sets and 2 R.C.passages daily.Don't let the change in CAT Structure spoil your chances of making it to the IIMs and other top B-Schools.Stay focussed.
Vinay asked, Vinayak, please advice me on this I want to take up CAT but was advised that I might not be eligible to attend CAT as I have over 5 years of working experience... So what other options I can go for... I want to do an MBA and want to make sure it pays off well. Thanks in advance

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Vinay, you are definitely eligible to take the CAT - as the CAT has no restrictions with regards to the number of years of work experience. However, it is true that most of the regular MBA programs have a higher percentage of students with 0 to 4 years of work ex. This is also because, there are special 1 year executive programs for MBA aspirants with more than 5 years of experience. However, the answer to your query on whether you should be looking at such options depends on your profile and aspiration. I suggest that you meet up with a counsellor (in IMS or otherwise) and draw a list of MBA programs (regular or executive) that will help you achieve your career goals.
danny asked, one more qtn sir.What kind of qtns can we expect in logical reasoning part of verbal ability.There is still a little uncertaininty in what to expect

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Logical reasoning should comprise the regular mix of matrix/linear arrangement caselets, conditionality based grouping, family tree, venn diagrams and logical puzzles. we do not expect any surprises here.
chaitanya asked, what will be the ideal percentile for an IIM seat in a good IIM.

Vinayak Kudva answers,
Try and get a 95 percentile in each section and that should get you a couple, if not more, GD-PI calls from the IIMs (remember that your academic profile and work ex is also considered while shortlisting for the GD-PI-essay round).


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