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Last-minute CAT advice

Stay away from stress and check out the location of your exam centre… and do only a light revision 48 hours before the test Sai Kumar Swamy reports

education Updated: Nov 18, 2009 09:31 IST
Sai Kumar Swamy

Right, so we are ready to roll, with the CAT round the corner. How are your last-minute preparations going? Here are some tips that should help you deal with the test.

De-stress, relax and unwind: Even the best students can crack under pressure. It is, therefore, critical that you reduce the pressure and lighten the load on your mind if you are to do well. How should this be done?

Do this:A Keep telling yourself that you have done your best to prepare and will now do your best in the exam. Tell yourself that the end result does not matter — and believe in that. Remember, not doing well in the CAT is not the end of the world; there will be numerous management entrance exams where you can prove your mettle.

B Leave serious work aside for the last two days before the CAT.

No new test papers or exercises; the most you should do is ‘light revision’, i.e. brushing up on formulas. You can pick up problems from the mock papers that you have taken and run through them — try to recollect the concept involved and how you should solve it. If the concept or the working out appears difficult, just leave such questions out. Tell yourself that in the CAT, you are not expected to answer all the questions.

Scope out the venue: This year, the exam centres (at most places) are located on the outskirts of cities. On D-day, you might find it difficult to locate them.

Visit the exam centre at least two days before the test — find out its exact location, how to reach the place, and how much time it will take to reach. In the past, students have been barred from taking the test as they arrived late at the exam centre (in many cases by just one minute!).

Make your CAT kit: As per the IIMs, you should carry the following to the exam centre.
l CAT 2009 admit card
l CAT voucher
l Any one photo ID — driver’s licence, passport, PAN card, voter’s

ID, college ID, Employee Identification Card
l Notarised affidavit with photo, signature, date of birth and residential address
l Valid document as proof of SC/ST eligibility (if applicable)
This year you will NOT be permitted to take the following to the test centre — wristwatch, pen, cell phone and calculator.

The IIMs have specified that a scratch pad (with numbered pages) for calculations and rough work will be provided at the test venue.

On the day of the CAT, reach the exam centre at least two hours before reporting time. There will be two sessions a day.

Session 1:
Testing will begin at 10 am and end at 12.30 pm. Check-in is from 8 am. Candidates are required to arrive no later than 8.30 am.

Session 2:
Testing will begin at 3.30 pm and end at 6 pm. Check-in is from 1.30 pm. Candidates are required to arrive no later than 2 pm.

DOs and DON’Ts

1 Remember, once the test starts, you will not be allowed to leave the hall until it is over.

2 Do not go for the exam with any expectation about the pattern of the test or the models of questions. Such speculation will only heighten your worry.

3 If the table / chair / monitor are not ok, ask for a replacement or a change in the position before the exam starts. Once the exam starts, the invigilator may not entertain such requests.

4 During the exam, keep track of time — make sure that you keep looking at the timer on the screen throughout the test.

5 Avoid blind-guessing and marking answers indiscriminately. But if you are able to eliminate two/three choices (out of the four or five) on a proper basis, then it is not advisable to leave out such a question even if you do not know how to solve the question — it may be worth selecting one of the other two choices as your answer. However, this should be done only after making a sincere attempt at solving the question properly.

The writer is the course director, T.I.M.E.