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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Getahead » How to ace the CAT 2014

How to ace the CAT 2014

By Manek Daruvala
October 31, 2014 12:08 IST
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With just two weeks left for the CAT 2014, coaching guru Manek Daruvala, founder, director of Triumphant Institute of Management Education, advises intelligent planning and effective execution of those plans as the twin pillars for charting your success.

Conceptual clarity has always been the cornerstone for performing well in the Common Admission Test.

With the change in test pattern (longer time duration, increase in the number of questions, no sectional time limits), efficient time management during the test has once again become extremely important.

Concept building and effective test-taking will determine your success.

You should now use mock tests to look at getting advanced level practice on the concepts, along with polishing your strategy.

How to crack the Common Admission TestHow to write CAT 2014

While there are several approaches to testwriting, in CAT 2014 there are 100 questions that you need to answer within 170 minutes.

Here is a method that would be effective for most of the aspirants:

Solve the paper in iterations

Try and finish the first iteration of about 140 to 150 minutes, for both the sections.

Keep the pace high by attempting only the easy and doable questions.

In the second iteration, the remaining time of about 20 to 30 minutes, solve the remaining questions from the section where you feel you need to answer some more questions, or try to answer as many questions as possible.

Use the mocks to identify the time that will be required for each section at various difficulty levels.

The time allocated needs to be increased or decreased based on the difficulty level of the paper.

Common problems related to test analysis

A lot of aspirants have doubts regarding how to analyse their performance in the mock tests.

Here are the most common ones:

Too much fluctuation in your scores

This could happen because you have been undertaking unwarranted/not well thought-out experiments with your strategy, or have been writing mocks when you are tired or not in a position to concentrate.

It is also possible that there were undue disturbances around you while you were giving the mock etc.

Ensure that you take the mocks free of any mental and physical disturbances.

Think through the test-taking strategy to be used in the mock before the test.

The dynamics of the test may warrant some changes to this strategy, keep this in mind when you are evaluating your performance.

Remember, two or three tests a week should be just right.

You get stuck midway into the questions

The most common reason for this is that while practising, we tend to ‘see’ the solution/concept instead of solving the question.

You need to solve questions to be able to remember the application of concepts.

At times it may happen because you are unable to figure a necessary condition/equation from the question.

This would mean that this is a difficult question for you and you would have been better off not attempting this question in the first place.

Hence, focus should be on better question selection.

Inability to increase attempts 

Try this for a solution. Look for questions that you left during the test because you were not sure of your answers and see how often you tend to be right.

This will help you decide if you are being overly cautious during question selection.

Too many incorrect answers in the tests

This could happen (lower than 75 per cent accuracy in general) for a variety of reasons including not having read the question carefully, misinterpreting it or marking wrong answer choices or a tendency to mark answers without getting an exact answer.

It is also possible that you have not understood the concepts or have overlooked certain cases or perspectives in your solution.

Alternatively, you could be suffering from a tendency to get over stressed during the test and hurrying through the questions.

Identify your reason first -- it is possible that the solution will be obvious.

Photograph: Alberto G/Creative Commons

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