08 Oct 2020 18:52 IST

Essential tips to manage time in CAT 2020

CAT aspirants should take enough mock tests to perform well in the time-bound exam

As motivational speaker Michael Altshuler said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Time is the most precious resource for those planning to take the CAT exam on 29 November. Students who know the importance of time management are always on the lookout for different ways to utilise time efficiently to get the best possible output. One thing to keep in mind is that planning and scheduling go hand in hand. A schedule or a time-table can help a student stick to his/her goal and work consistently.

Staying organised and avoiding distractions is crucial. Some of us like to study for long hours (the importance of quality cannot be undermined), by that I mean four to six hours, whereas some others can only stretch themselves to two hours. We are all born different and love to study or prepare for tests in our own unique ways. While some strategies work great for all of us, some others work for certain individuals only. Suit yourself.

For the verbal ability and reading comprehension section

The core elements such as working on one's vocabulary, reading up on diverse subjects, and so on, should be considered as the first phase of preparation. This section predominantly tests the reading comprehension and interpretation skills of the students in a time-bound environment. This section tests one's aptitude and intelligence for sure. One would require a lot of mental stamina to combat this section. Acquiring and developing key skills like comprehension, retention, interpretation, and assimilation can be really useful.

For the data interpretation section

The first phase of preparation includes acquiring a good conceptual knowledge on the basics of mathematics and logic. Perhaps, in the initial phase, one may take three-four minutes per question trying to analyse the best solving methods and getting it right with accuracy. Later on, with constant practice, it may only take two or two and a half minutes per question.

There are several tricks and strategies that one would have to master to ace this section. One is spoilt for choices when it comes to ways or methods of solving questions in these two critical sections. Approaches can be varied as well. Knowing the best techniques always helps and can be time-saving. Focusing on the best practices should be the only prime focus while preparing.

Let’s discuss the three phases of preparation:

The first phase of preparation can be used to delve deep into the concepts and learn them thoroughly The second phase calls for a lot of practise and getting familiar with the various types of question types. It would be a great idea to test yourself with some mock tests at this stage and get the feel of things in a simulated environment. The final phase includes ironing out deficiencies and working hard to improve speed and accuracy in the practice tests and mocks. Please think of taking a mock every week and analyse, introspect, and narrow in on the different areas of improvement.

Important tips

To stay accountable to oneself, one can try to maintain trackers of varied kinds. A progress tracker can be formulated to keep a tab on study patterns and schedules. Procrastination never helps, one has to be on his/her toes when it comes to preparing for these aptitude tests. Time wasters can be blocked intelligently if one is determined to do so.

Managing time in the exam hall is also extremely critical — picking up the right question sets requires skill and intelligence. That judgement as to which ones need to be attempted and which ones can be left alone comes after solving a good number of mock tests. And the judgement is subjective because not all of us are comfortable with all the topics and types of questions.

Every millisecond is critical. Please focus and prioritise your tasks for the upcoming exam. Scientific research shows that setting goals and working towards them can contribute to happiness in many ways.

Stay happy, be cool, all the best!

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