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Are you ready for CAT?

india Updated: Aug 21, 2008 11:32 IST

Hindustan Times
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With around three months for the D-day, many preparing for CAT 2009 are anxious. The long nights and days of hard work will be put to the test soon. What could get you into the top B-schools is the kind of analysis you do between two Sim-CATs. Most aspirants presume that taking a battery of tests is sufficient to acing the test. That really is not the case. The most important objective of SimCATs is to help you understand your strengths and weakness.

Get motivated to perform!
Revision and analysis is more important. Practise yoga or meditation techniques so that you can remain focussed for the entire duration. Identify the type of questions, which you are good at, and revise them well that chances of making a mistake in those questions are minimised. Try to devote equal time to all sections. Don’t give undue weightage to one section in terms of time because the other sections are going to suffer.

Start thinking about a strategy. Think of a flow chart on the order of questions you will attempt on the day of the test. However, it is always advisable to experiment with your strategies for different tests. Take sectional tests once in every two or three days for each of the sections. Take used tests if you feel like, but answer those questions which you did not attempt the first time. Take a full-length test once a week in addition to the mock tests. Also, a substantial amount of your time should go into analysing the length test. Choose questions wisely.

Plan of action
Listed below are a few pointers

DIVIDE THE TEST QUESTIONS INTO THREE AREAS:

Questions you attempted and solved correctly. These will be your strengths and you have to ensure that you attempt similar questions in every test henceforth, without mistakes.

Questions you attempted and did not solve correctly. These will be edgy areas since you thought you could solve this question but ended up losing marks. These are the most difficult because they will pull down your scores and be a waste of time.
One must analyse the following essential questions:

I
Was the choice of question wrong? Though you could solve it, but you actually did not because you lack the concept-which in turn will mean that to solve these, you will need to work on your concepts.

II Did you not understand the question? This happens because you read the first line and presumed that it is something you know and solve it accordingly. The amazing thing is that the paper setters anticipate both mistakes and have relevant answers to convince you.

III Did you make a silly mistake?
Questions you did not attempt-these will ideally be areas that you are weak in. Read the cases below:

You are weak in a concept. If you tried to attempt it you could end up with negative marks. But if you are looking to be safer while taking a test, the number of areas/chapters that fall under this category should be minimum

You misjudged a question, because you did not read it
properly.

(Now, once you finish categorising a, b and c, see if the number of b and c are decreasing consistently. Any dramatic swings need to be ignored and the number of 'a" are increasing simultaneously. That will tell you about your progress and the efforts that need to put in.)

Guide to preparation
Basic subject knowledge followed by small unit-wise tests followed by full-length tests with decision boxes inserted at every junction to check whether you need to loop the cycle again.

Taking a series of full-length tests or mock exams that give you the general feel of the actual examination is highly recommended. Depending on the numbers from across cities, these exams could provide pointers to your relative performance across test takers. These mock exams provide the platformto check for the integration of knowledge and skill within an administered time-window of two hours.