11 September 2022 17:49:18 IST

Product Head - CAT, T.I.M.E.

CAT 2022: A guide to plan ahead and score better

Time is the most precious resource, especially for those of us who want to ace the Common Admission Test (CAT) scheduled to take place on November 27, 2022. We are all wired differently and prepare for tests in our own unique ways. Some of us like to study for long hours, by that I mean four to five hours, whereas some others can only stretch themselves to two hours.

Time management is not just managing the allotted time for the test; it also pertains to managing the time put into planning and execution while preparing for the test. A timetable can help you to stick to your goal, avoid distractions, and stay organised.

Here’s a section-wise analysis on how to plan ahead, prepare for CAT, and crack it:

Verbal ability and reading comprehension

To perform well in the verbal ability and reading comprehension (VA-RC) section, it is important to develop a good reading habit. You should spend at least 40 to 45 minutes every day reading about a variety of topics. Regular practice will help you improve your reading speed and comprehension ability. The knack of identifying and classifying question types will aid you in adopting appropriate strategies to select the right kind of passages.

The para-based questions also require good reading and comprehension abilities and the elimination method may help in solving these. You should spend time acquiring and developing some key skills such as comprehension, retention, critical reasoning, interpretation, and assimilation.

Data interpretation and logical reasoning

Data interpretation and logical reasoning (DI-LR) section tests students’ potential of becoming future managers. It examines their ability to handle stress and their decision-making ability with limited but different types of information. Students should concentrate on deciphering the data correctly.

Quantitative ability

The general perception that CAT is a math-heavy paper and it is difficult to score well is untrue. What students don't realise is that close to one-third of the questions in this section are based on simple, foundational topics such as simple equations, ratios, percentages, profit and loss, averages and mixtures, time and work, time and distance. The anxiety about more abstruse topics such as quadratic equations, progressions, permutations and combinations, and geometry prevents some students from scoring well in questions based on the simpler topics.

Spend time getting used to the language of quantitative aptitude questions. You should hone the art of decoding information. Time-bound practice will help you understand concepts fully. Prepare a compendium of formulae, topic-wise, in a logical order. Get the foundational mathematical concepts in place before tackling advanced-level questions because you need to sharpen your saw before you make the cut.

Stages of preparation

Divide the preparation period into three different phases. The techniques described here will apply to all three sections. The first phase of preparation can be used to delve deep into the concepts and to learn to apply them while solving questions. The second phase calls for a lot of practice and getting familiar with the various question types. It would be a great idea to test yourself with some mock tests at this stage.

The final phase may include trying to iron out deficiencies and working to improve speed and accuracy in the sectional tests and full-length mocks.It is advisable to write a mock every four to five days, analyse them, introspect and zero-in on the areas of improvement.

Be calm and composed through the entire preparation phase. Know and remember that the pressure is only going to increase in the coming weeks. You may face occasional spells of self-doubt, despair, and discouragement — all these are part and parcel of the journey — which you will eventually get accustomed to overcoming and, hopefully, use as stepping stones to reach greater heights in your preparation.

Every minute counts. Managing time in the testing environment is extremely critical. Picking up the right question sets to solve requires skill and intelligence. That judgement as to which ones need to be attempted and which ones can be left out comes after solving a good number of mock tests. Believe in your abilities, work hard, and nothing will be able to stop you from reaching your destination.