Unlike international tests like the GMAT or the GRE, the CAT is not a standardized test, there can be — new question types, fluctuation in difficulty levels, more questions than expected from a particular area. Given this, it is imperative that you go into the test with a few pointers both to manage the uncertainty as well as to ensure that you optimise your performance during 180 minutes. Advertisements
One thing that has always bothered me a lot whenever I interact with students, is that they seem to be very reluctant to let go of their playing-the-percentages attitude to tests. Throughout school and college, we tend to study by playing the percentages — giving importance to topics as per the number of questions that appear from that topic in the exam. While this might be a great strategy for school and college exams, as far as aptitude tests go, this strategy is suicidal purely because of the fact that the difficulty level and the number of questions across areas do not follow a fixed pattern. How is this related to Verbal Ability in the current pattern of the CAT?
In the previous two posts, we took a look at the first two building blocks to increase your score and percentile on CAT Quant — Accuracy & Question Selection. In this post, we will look at the third building block — if the first two blocks provide the impetus towards the higher score, this block is the one from where you take off towards a higher score — Speed.
In the first part of this post we covered the first building block to achieve higher scores and percentiles on CAT QA — accuracy. In this post, we will take up the next one — selection. QA is the section that gets the maximum attention of test-takers of all stripes and there is always a litany of frustrations and queries that plagues aspirants — I am good at Math and like Math but my score just does not seem to go up! Should one attempt the long Arithmetic questions? I feel every problem is do-able! I get stuck for long with one problem without realising it I realise there were many problems I could have solved when I analyse the test The answer to all of these questions lies in the way you select questions and the way you navigate between them.
Unlike the other two sections, QA is a section that has a direct link to what you have done in school and college. Most of the topics that are tested on the CAT have also been a part of the school curriculum. This I feel is the biggest roadblock in front of test-takers wanting to achieve higher scores on the CAT Quant irrespective of their relationship with Quant, with high Math scores during X and XII exams not having any direct correlation with ability on the CAT QA.
A few years back, I attended the Chennai convocation function for aspirants who cleared the Company Secretary (CS) exam (a relative of mine had cleared the exam). The Chief Guest was Padmishri awardee T.N.Manoharan, who is a pre-eminent figure in the Banking and Accounting sector in the country with his book being a must-read for all CA aspirants. He was part of the government-appointed team that cleaned up the Satyam mess and paved the way for the transition to Tech Mahindra. His keynote address was leavened with wisdom and had too many punchlines for me to recount here but one of the things he said is spot on when it comes to the way we should deal with success and failure. He said…
We are on the eve of SimCAT 1 and a lot of students (mostly first-time CAT-takers) are apprehensive, understandably so, about taking it. Over the years we have found the self-same reasons that induce this fear, and this post is geared towards addressing them.