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Lessons from week I

Decipher the first week’s CAT questions if you’re up next

education Updated: Nov 10, 2010 09:54 IST
Hindustan Times

Based on the experiences of the first week of CAT, here is your chance to prepare yourself for the upcoming schedules. In this article, gives you ten tips you should keep in mind if you are taking CAT 2010 in the upcoming days.

Easy to moderate difficulty level: Experts say that the difficulty level of the paper was of easy to moderate difficulty level.

Forty questions and above can fetch 99+ percentile: Experts say that if you can attempt an average of 15 questions per section and 40 to 42 overall, then that will fetch a good percentile, thus calls from top B-schools. “An attempt of around 12 to 15 in Quantitative Ability, 14 to 17 in Data Interpretation and 14 to 17 in Verbal Ability each leading to a total attempt of around 42 to 45 with 85 per cent accuracy can be considered good, keeping in mind the day 1 of CAT,” says a CAT expert.

Quantitative ability: According to Arun Sharma, renowned author and CAT expert, the questions on the Quantitative Ability were attemptable, apart from five to six questions that were tough. “Quants had a mix of numbers (block 1) and block 5 (logs etc),” he says.

Verbal Ability: The Verbal Ability section had three Reading Comprehension passages. The other topics were para jumble, fill in the blanks, last sentence, word usage, grammar.

Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: The Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section was a good mix of logical and calculation intensive questions. The questions were heavily loaded with data and required calculation. So, if you are not that comfortable with calculations, you can mark those questions and come back to them later, if you have time. Otherwise skip them. “There were one to two questions per DI set. Maximum three questions in a reasoning set,” says Sharma.

Time management: You should manage time well in order to complete the paper in an accurate manner within the 2 hours and 15 minutes. Sharma suggests a strategy. He says, “It can be a mix of 30 minutes and 45 minutes like 45, 30, 45, 15 or even 45, 30,30,20,10 etc. But the key is that time should be more or less evenly distributed. If you have a strong section, it should be strong enough to give you the maximum score possible in 45 minutes. Another strategy could be 40, 40, 40 – clear the cut-offs and then 15 to maximise scores.”

Accuracy: Accuracy is an important factor. No matter how many questions you attempt, if you are not accurate enough then you will lose marks in the negative marking scheme. Sharma says there should be 90 per cent accuracy in an attempt of a total 35 to 40 questions. Another strategy is to choose questions correctly. Attempt only those questions which you are sure of.

Practice: If you are taking the test in the coming days, it is time to practice hard. “At this stage, don’t start anything new. Just practice what you have learnt so far,” says Sharma, “revisit the questions already solved by you. Re-experience the traps. Understand the logic.”

Don’t contemplate: Do not go rigidly by the analysis of Day 1. Though the difficulty level of the paper is expected to remain the same, you never know when the CAT will throw a surprise at you. So, to be on the safe side, practice hard and be prepared for anything.

Be patient: Patience is the key for the computer-based CAT. If your test starts later than the scheduled time, don’t worry as the timer will only start when you will see the first question. Also, be ready for minor technical snags.


First Published: Nov 09, 2010 14:45 IST