This article is aimed at giving an insight into the preparatory aspect of CAT using this year's paper as a benchmark.
I have seen the previous papers and what I found was that CAT ensured that the overall standard wasn’t mercurial. Hence, the cut-offs will be the same this year as the previous year (although, +-2 owing to the tougher DI LR section and easier Verbal section can be expected). So, if you’re looking forward to “bell the CAT” next year, here’s what I would like to say- Start now. CAT requires exquisite conceptual understanding. It tests your logical capability rather than your capability to memorise formulae.
First, let me put forth a few strategies that may be effective in maximizing the efficiency of your preparation even though I myself failed to stick to it austerely. Before starting, I would like to say that there are two kinds of questions. 1. Choose the best answer, and 2. Type in the Answer (TITA)
VERBAL ABILITY AND READING COMPREHENSION:
Let me take up verbal ability and reading comprehension separately. In order to do well in the VA section, you need to work on lots of areas as the parts that might be focused on the D-day can never be predicted. Here’s a list of stuff that might feature in the VA section.
- Forming a coherent paragraph from a set of jumbled sentences.
- Error correction (Grammar and usage)
- Finding the odd sentence out ( i.e. the one which wouldn’t fit into the paragraph formed by the other 4 )
- Vocabulary (Find the best word)
- Confusables (Words like “loose” and “lose”, etc.)
- Finding the best summary for the paragraph in question from the given options
Apart from this, CAT has the right to come up with its own type of questions. Hence it all boils down to how good and comfortable you’re when it comes to the lingua franca. Work on whichever section you find difficult or mildly uncomfortable.
Reading comprehension, on the other hand, tests your ability to comprehend the message conveyed by a long passage within a short time in such a way that you can answer both the direct questions (the stuff you would expect in the 12th board exam) and analytical questions(and inference-based, like what is the tone, how is the author more likely to continue his discussion, give an appropriate title, etc.). When it comes to RC and VA, here’s what you have to do- start eliminating options and narrowing down to one, rather than rooting for the best-fitting one (as chances are there that none of it might be best fitting. You might be expected to find the most relevant). Work on your reading speed. There are a lots of sites that will give your current reading speed. Make sure you steer clear of 250-300 words/minute to be comfortable during the exam. You should also start reading English newspapers (especially editorials!) from now on as it will not only increase your reading speed but your ability to grasp passages quicker, enhance your vocabulary and improve your GK which is more important in other coveted exams like IIFT and XAT. Read plenty of English non-fiction books. It will also help you improve your essay writing skills which is essential in the later parts of any B-School entrance process.
Apparently DI-LR was the most challenging section in CAT 2016. This is also the section which will give you an edge over the others when it comes to percentile.
How to prepare?
- Get acquainted with all possible types of questions (like calculative, interpretative, arrangements, logical, etc.)
- Practice a lot and work on your speed and accuracy. Focus on accuracy first, followed by speed. There’s no formulas and shortcuts when it comes to DI LR. This has to be your motto when it comes to DI LR,
“Be deft and Accurate”.
What to do during the exam?
- Unlike verbal or quants, you surely can’t expect to solve all the questions when it comes to DI LR as it is literally impossible. So, selecting the right questions to solve by avoiding traps and sitters is absolutely necessary to get an edge over the others. “How to select the right question?” is another totally different post. Visit www.cat100percentile.com to know more.
As you all know, Quantitative aptitude is essentially about Mathematics and logic. Though there is nothing called syllabus for CAT, quant questions were mostly asked from Arithmetic topics like Time and Distance, Time and work, Simple and Compound Interests, Percentages, Ratios and Proportions etc., from Geometry topics like circle, rectangle, triangle and from Pure Math topics like Probability, Permutations & Combinations etc., In a nutshell, it consists of elementary mathematics question that are knitted into something more fearful to intimidate you. Understanding the question and creating a map and outlining the procedure to solve takes care of majority of the headache. However, since there are umpteen ways to solve a question, coming up with the quickest requires you to be familiar with all the formulas (you should be able to describe what a formula does). Apart from this, choosing the easier ones first avoiding sitters will help you manage time efficiently. This what you have to do
- Never omit any section you’re uncomfortable with as chances are the easiest of the lot might actually be from that part
- Practice a lot and try solving different types of questions under the same section rather than being repetitive.
- Tune your skill for picking the right question in the mock CATs you take and above all, give necessary weightage to reviewing your errors to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
For more, contact me or visit blogs by experts. I will list a few
- tmschennai.in (CAT blog)
One final word: Maintain good grades in your academics. Above 8 CGPA is must if you want to get into IIM-A.
The Guindy Times would like to thank the authors of this article for their valuable contribution!