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Take more tests

A successful CAT 2009 test-taker and IIM Kozhikode student shares strategies that helped him crack the test

education Updated: Nov 10, 2010 09:54 IST

The CAT 2010 started a week ago. While many candidates have already taken the test, majority of the candidates have scheduled their test in the upcoming days. Ranjan Panda, student of IIM Kozhikode, scored 99.74 percentile in CAT 2009 entrance exam. His educational background is engineering. He did his BTech. (Electronics) from IIT Bombay. He had seven months work experience in consulting when he took CAT 2009. He shares his mantras with CAT 2010 test takers:

What is your advice to the CAT 2010 test-takers?
In the days before the final test, there should be emphasis on taking more and more mock tests so as to familiarise yourself with the test procedure. This is also the time to develop expertise in some sections instead of reading up new sections. This ensures guaranteed correct answers in at least some parts of the paper.

What should be the ideal study plan?
I did not follow any study plan as such. I took up tests from time to time and this helped me brush up my concepts and improve on them. In my opinion, the study style should be as per student’s preferences. If you are a person who is efficient in actually sticking to the plan, I would say plan for the upcoming two months and give it a shot. If the preparation is getting too much for you, which many a times is the case, relax and take it very lightly and as per your convenience.

How should test takers prepare for each of the sections, Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning?
Every student has a strong section and a weak section. Since there is a sectional cut-off, the weak section should be practiced a lot, but on the other hand the strong section should not be neglected, as it would be the most scoring. For QA, practice tests are the key. In case of VA, reading up books to improve the word power may be beneficial. DI and LR again require rigorous practice if you are weak in the same.

How many mock tests should test takers ideally take at this stage?
I would recommend taking at least two full-length mock tests a week and number of sectional tests depending on weak and strong sections. This depends on the amount of time you can and want to devote.

How should one plan to attempt the paper with regards to the three sections and time management?
Take up the section you consider to be the most difficult and attempt it with great confidence. Do not ponder on any particular question but concentrate on browsing through all. Typically, DI and QA take more time than VA, so set time targets accordingly. Once done, give more effort to solving the moderately difficult questions. Make an informed choice based on the first read-through.

What should be the test-taking strategy to maintain full concentration?
Ensure you are not panicky if you can’t solve a question right away – that is the case with almost every test taker. Be confident while answering questions, and that will make ensure that your concentration level does not drop.

Ranjan Panda spoke to MBAUniverse.com