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CAT - All about timing the tests

Posted On 2017-02-17

CAT - All about timing the tests

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious exams to crack in the country. It provides the admission into the reputed and esteemed IIMs and other top B-schools in the country such as Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), S.P Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), International Management Institute (IMI), National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) and many others. The CAT exam is conducted in the month of November – December.

The CAT exam consists of three sections – Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension comprising of 34 questions, Quantitative Aptitude comprising of 34 questions and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning comprising of 32 questions. Each section needs to be answered in just 60 minutes each. 

There is a lot of hype surrounding these exams which are labelled as the most difficult exam to crack. But that is not the case. The principal problem in cracking the CAT exam is the restricted time limit within which you have to complete the test. The questions in the paper may not necessarily be very difficult but rather you may not have enough time to attempt all the questions. Hence the key to cracking the CAT may as well be how you do your time management coupled with your stress management within that time limit and your decision making skills, in order to attempt the maximum number of questions.

One thing you could do is to dedicate a particular time for each question and decide beforehand how many questions you are targeting to attempt. Try to spend 5 minutes initially to glance through the entire section and mark the questions in the area of your skill and expertise and do not fret if you leave some questions unanswered. Even if you attempt 16-20 correct answers in each section, you stand a very good chance to get a high percentile. It is best to gain a strong foothold in the areas you are comfortable with and avoid the topics which are not known to you or cannot improve in.

One of the best ways to ace your time management and accuracy in solving the questions is to do a lot of practice sessions and mock tests within the stipulated time limit amidst the CAT settings. Once you keep giving mock tests, you will get a clear idea on your plus points and your weaknesses. You can prepare better for the next mock test by working on your weak topics and try to do better the next time. Practice makes a man perfect; applying this saying in the present scenario will also make you perfect by the time you appear for the real CAT exam.

The quant section usually has lengthy solving time hence take a bit longer to complete in the entire paper. You should pay more attention to this section if your basic degree is not from a science background. Try to solve as many practice questions in the quant section and then increase your accuracy within the time limit. Be a smart learner and learn the short tricks and tips to shorten your calculations by using books and internet instead of wasting a lot of time in lengthy calculations.

Another important trick to ace the exams is not to spend a lot of time on one question. Suppose you think you know how to solve a particular quant question but are stuck in the middle of it and not being able to solve it. Don’t waste any more time on such a question and move on to the next one and come back to it if you have time at the end. You have to be a master of judgment in such cases and you know best what you can attempt and what you cannot.


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