In the previous post, we covered the Dos and Don’ts of representing or structuring data and how to prioritise conditions. In this post, we will take a look at the type of reasoning sets that pose major challenges to the average test-taker.
The purpose of this site has been to examine the problems that students keep bringing back to me over the years, and as the important ones get addressed I keep getting other questions that depending on how one looks at it are either simple or hide more than they reveal to the casual observer. One such conundrum is this one, a paraphrase of a problem that I have answered in many comments: I do not know what happens to me during the test — I do pathetically, sometimes I am even ashamed to mention how much I score — but when I sit after the test, I find that I can answer all questions easily. How do I deal with this nervousness, how do I tackle this? You are looking in the wrong mirror — your post-test performance does not really count The biggest thing test-takers discount is that they are solving the whole paper for the second time! You have already spent 40 or 60 minutes with the 25 to 35 problems. You have …
So much weight does RC have on the CAT, so many are the difficulties faced by test-takers and so frequent are the queries that I receive about RC, that I thought that it will be best to devote a series of posts to cracking Reading Comprehension.
While the previous three posts on Accuracy, Selection, and Speed are more than comprehensive in terms of what is needed to push your score north, I still keep getting messages from students who are unable to come to terms with QA. They say they have done concepts and enough practice as well but none of it seems to be pushing the scores up and the confidence levels are pretty low. It was only a few years ago, that I figured out the core issue with these students when I was sitting with one — he was preparing for the GMAT and had a decent amount of work-ex and by the time I had met him he was already through with two attempts spread over two years with sub-par scores. He was willing to put in another attempt and a year more if required to get a par score. I gave him some broad guidelines and assigned a personal mentor to him, and met with him regularly on overall prep strategy, some specific pointers, and test-taking …
With the mountain called the CAT now in sight, most working professionals will be wondering how to mount another challenge to get into the old IIMs. The biggest obstacle in front working professionals will be juggling a job and prepping for CAT at the same time. Some of you in this situation will have decided to quit your job, hopefully only after having read my post on the same and having understood the implications of quitting.
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 — 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 plague 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 because high Math scores during X and XII exams do not automatically imply doing well on CAT Quant.
DI-LR, as we know, has been the nemesis of many a CAT aspirant over the past few years, and every serious aspirant asks me that — how do I improve my DI-LR skills. Over the last two years, I thought that it is primarily about two things — set selection and comfort with mathematical reasoning (many sets over the last few years have been based on Arithmetic and Modern Math concepts). But even so, I knew that to select the right sets and then solve 4 sets, one needs to solve the two easiest sets quite fast, and this pace would come from the regular practice of DI-LR sets (irrespective of difficulty level) and Sudoku. Even then I still felt that a lot was left to the “natural” capability of the student. There was nothing concrete I could communicate (apart from a 5-minute average for Medium Sudoku sets) like say a particular reading speed or a particular set of concepts.
Every year a lot of aspirants toil away at this thing called CAT preparation. The most sincere and determined ones, come in full of energy and enthusiasm to do whatever it takes to ace this test and get into the hallowed portals of an IIM. But do they come in with a blank mind ready to understand what this test is all about and attune themselves to it? The answer as we all know is, NO. A CAT aspirant beginning his prep will be at the very least 20 years old, long enough to start the test with a sizeable psychological baggage — a mental make up that stems from one’s experiences and successes with education & tests throughout school & college.