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It’s time for those last-minute strategies

education Updated: Oct 20, 2010 09:21 IST

Now there is just one week left for CAT 2010. This is the time to shift to a high gear where preparation for the exam are concerned. Experts advise that you take a lesser number of mock tests, relax more and revise the basics. Let us take a look at the section-wise strategy for CAT 2010.

Quantitative Ability
The mantra is to not start learning anything new. For the Quantitative Ability section, you should not start learning any new formula. You shall now revise the important formulae, work on the problem-solving techniques and the short cuts.

Verbal Ability
Do not miss reading the newspapers and keep yourself updated on current affairs. If there is a passage in the test from a recent article on a current issue, it will be easier for you to understand and hence answer the Reading Comprehension questions. You can practise one or two Reading Comprehension passages.

For Vocabulary, do not try to learn new words. Just revise the words you already know.



Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning


This section is all about practising right. You can practise two to three cases every day. Along with that, keep solving crossword puzzles, Sudoku etc. as these will help you crack the problems of this section.



Reduce mocks


Avoid taking more than two mock tests in a week. Taking more and more mock tests in the last week can bring on fatigue. “This would also be a good time to revise the problems you found tough or unusual in the old CAT exam papers,” says M Siddharth, an IIM Indore student.



Relax and boost your morale


At this stage, it is not advisable to go overboard with preparations. “In the last seven days you should work on morale-boosting activities such as relaxing, getting some entertainment and getting stress free,” says an MBAUniverse.com expert.

Some CAT queries answered


How do I approach my mock tests? Which section do I attempt first? Also how do I tackle verbal? Please help.
— Abhinav


For the verbal part from what I mentioned earlier you would need to segregate your portion into question categories and look at your repetitive error sources in each question category.

I m a working executive in a PSU with a experience of 11 months till date and am continuing. But my engineering and 10+2 marks are an average 66 per cent and 75 per cent respectively. Do I stand a chance of making it to the IIMs?
— Divya

This is a question I am faced very often with. My only advice to students in general is: “You will be selected or rejected for what you can do in the future.” The past is just seen as an indication of this. So if your past is strong, use it. If it is average (as in your case) you will just need to plan in such a way that they are forced to consider you. “If they don’t open the door if you knock on it politely – you would need to break it down.” Finally, yes you can make it!

What should be my last week’s strategy for CAT 2010?
— Anshu Kumar

Focus on revising every question that you have solved while preparing for CAT. Do not do anything new as it is unlikely that you would be able to apply anything that you learn in the last week.

What are your tips for working professionals? Is it really important to join any coaching and please suggest me the best one in Delhi?
— Anshu Kumar

Working professionals should focus on trying to spend 20-25 hours per week preparing for the exam. Joining a regular coaching programme might not help you too much as you are likely to spend whatever free time you have in travelling to and fro in a place like Delhi.

I got stuck many a times while attempting RCs. It takes more time than needed. Please help me out.
— Vardhan


You should try to focus on developing your ability to comprehend English before working on problem-solving skills. Focus on improving your skills on comprehending sentences as advised earlier.

‘How I prepared for CAT and got into IIM Indore’



Here is an all-rounder who is interested in just about everything from painting to photography to acting. An electronics engineer with multiple passions, Archit Shrivastava of Indore has scored 97.9 percentile in CAT 2009 and has decided to take admission in IIM Indore.



Archit has 42 months of work experience in IT industry as a research and business analyst in several key projects at Mahindra Satyam. He is, in his own words, an “Engineer, IT professional, social activist, shutterbug, nature lover, social media enthusiast, actor, painter, philatelist, budding entrepreneur and perpetual student.” Here’s what he has to say in a free-wheeling interview



Which were the MBA exams that you took in 2009-10 and what were your percentiles/scores?


I took CAT, XAT and MICAT this session. I got 97.9 and 91 percentile in CAT and XAT, respectively. MICA has given direct offer letters this time instead of scorecards.



What to you are the main differences in the various exams?


I feel all the three exams primarily test basic managerial skill sets, including aptitude, communication ability and time management. I felt the testing methodology was somewhat different in these exams. As far as CAT and XAT are concerned. both held no major surprises except for the fact that CAT is now computer-based.



MICAT on the other hand was conducted on the national scale for the first time. Differentiating factors of MICAT were the psychometric and creative writing sections. MICAT was more challenging on the verbal part and XAT on quant. CAT was the one which had evenly spread difficulty levels throughout the sections.

What was your strategy for the written exam? Please share the details.
I followed a simple method; Istarted with the section I was strong in so that confidence built up. I divided the total time equally in all the three sections and attempted a full section at one go. I felt keeping buffer time and going to and fro between sections was not working for me. I strictly followed the clock to switch sections and tried my best not to stick for long with any particular question.

How should the CAT 2010 candidates plan their study on the basis of different sections in the paper and also manage time effectively?
I have no authority to comment on how others should devise their study plan as I did not have one for myself! Also, I think each aspirant is at different environmental and mental levels. So there cannot be a generalised approach for all to crack CAT. As of now, CAT 2010 will continue to be CBT with the same exam pattern so I think the basic study approach will not change. One has to identify his or her strength and weakness to capitalise on strength and work on weakness. Time management can come only if you practise hard.

You were among the first batch of CBT CAT takers. How was your experience and what is your take on that?
CAT went computer based for the very first time and we were the guinea pigs. Personally speaking , I did not have a good experience with it. In the first 30 minutes the link failed – not once but twice in my room. In fact we had to reboot our system once. You can imagine the tension and anxiety that built up inside me.

Taking CAT online is a great eco-friendly move by the IIMs but it has its own pros and cons. On one hand it reduces paper consumption and speeds up the complete process, but on the other I felt it made the DI section more time-consuming as you cannot mark anything on the question paper. Switching focus between the paper and the computer screen was both annoying and time-consuming.

Glitches like this can really shake confidence of any aspirant.

Considering this was the first time and assuming infrastructure and connectivity problems will be taken care of, I still feel overall this is a nice move and candidates will adapt to it with time. In the long-term perspective it will be a win-win situation for everyone – the IIMs, students and the society.

Shrivastava spoke to MBAUniverse.com

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