Mock CAT To CAT – What Adjustments Does One Need To Make? – 2IIM

With hardly any days to CAT, I am sure you guys have taken a lot of mocks. Even if you have taken gazillion mocks (as you should have by now), you should make a few adjustments before the actual thing. Here is a short list:

1. CAT will be easier than the mocks

CAT will be easier than almost all the mocks that you have taken. It does not matter whether you have taken mocks from TIME or IMS or CL or the best provider of them all, 2IIM – CAT will be easier than these. Almost all mock test series are tougher than CAT. In the actual exam, there will be very few vague questions, practically zero difficult words and absolutely no boring passages. Most students who are well-prepared end up being surprised by the fact that they know the starting step for so many of the questions. So, do not go looking for or fearing a phantom tough paper. Go in fully expecting to see a paper where you know the beginning step for more than 75% of the questions.

Making an adjustment for a paper that is slightly tougher is easier than making an adjustment for a paper that is simpler. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is true. Lots of students overanalyze their performance midway and underperform in an easy paper. Don’t be in this group.

2.  RC passages will be pleasant to read, with very few vague questions

In the actual CAT exam, only about 20% of the RC questions will be ‘vague’. Only for a fifth of the questions will you actually be mulling over dicey one-out-of-two type scenarios. In mocks, give or take 60% of the questions are ones you will feel unsure about. So, this will be a massive difference. Right at the start of the verbal section, you might read two passages, attempt 8 questions and feel absolutely sure about 7 of the 8 answers. About this time, doubt sets in. Like the 108th ranked player who finds himself a set up against the top seed, you can let your mind wonder and suddenly realize that you have attempted only 2 questions in a 12-minute spell. This can kill your score. So, write this down somewhere – there will be very few vague questions in RC.

3. Start brightly and do not overthink things

The best way to handle nerves is to answer a few questions. Resist the temptation to assess how well you are doing, to gauge whether the paper is tough or to sense how the section is headed. Jump in, solve away, mark choices and power through. All this talk of overall exam strategy, mock CAT progression, momentum of scores, etc are all humbug. Anything that takes away your mind from the question at hand is a distraction.

Think of Virendra Sehwag and how he approaches batting. He has started his innings with a boundary on 26 different occasions. Sambit Bal described thus “He has a delightful disregard for history, whether of the past 100 years or the last ball, and thus is never weighed down by it.” Be like that. You have hit the last DI passage for six, hit the next one for six as well. The LR puzzle messed with your mind and you lost 6 minutes unnecessarily, hit the next one out of the park. Keep it simple.

4. Throw everything into it

Feel-good factor matters. Be well-attired, well-fed, well-hydrated and what-not. The small details matter. Don’t leave much to chance. If you give it a full-fledged go, even a miss won’t hurt so bad.

Best wishes for D-day.

 

 

—————-

About the Author:

2iim

Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.

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CAT Preparation – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 2 – 2IIM

This is the second part of the post on CAT Preparation FAQs, you can find the first part here.

While analysing a paper, if a particular problem is extremely hard and the logic of the answer is also difficult to comprehend (especially some QA problems), is it worth spending too much time trying to understand the problem?

Nope. If the solution is also complicated, then that means the question is clearly way beyond CAT-level. Dump the question. If the mock CAT provider gives a lot of questions at this level of difficulty, dump the provider.

How to improve in word usage? Even after practising a lot, there are so many word usages that I am not familiar with?

Word Usage is about context and about idiomatic usage. The only way to improve in word usage is by reading a lot, and reading a lot of different things in different styles. If the word usage questions you are missing out on are vocab-based, then worry not. These kinds of questions are very rare in CAT.

While analysing my mock CAT papers, I find that in every paper, there are some inevitable mistakes I make every time. (They are neither silly mistakes nor mistakes due to lack of concept and are also not because of missing reading some crucial data in the problem) and I don’t know how to improve on this? Please could you help me with this issue?

Fatigue or Pressure? Read the answer here.

Retain the joie-de-vivre as much as possible during CAT preparation. Read comic strips, go through fun articles. Hit the InsideIIM blog and FB page. Basically, de-stress as much as possible.

 I have been assigned various project works at the office for the next two months, but next two months are going to be very crucial for CAT. Please could you suggest a way to manage time and some tips on what to focus on during Oct-Nov?

The demands on your time from people who pay you a salary is to be expected. This is why what you get paid is called “compensation”. This “work pressure” in the last 3 months is more often a suitable excuse than anything else. You are shooting for this MBA thing because you are ambitious. Now is the time to man up and go all out. The time to wake up at 5 am and get 2 hours in, time to skip the sit-com marathon, the Salman-Khan movie, those long phone calls, those Facebook updates, and the gazillion other things that distract you. Practically everyone can find an additional 20 hours per week over a 4-month period.

This is the second time that I am writing CAT (Last time I got 91.88 percentile), but unlike last time I am feeling enormous mental pressure to crack the CAT this time. And, when I see some of my friends going off to the US to pursue their MS, I am feeling even more pressurised. I am so desperate to do well and now my stress is only starting to de-motivate me. Also, I have been taking some MOCK CATs on a regular basis from May ’16, and I was consistently getting 88-90 percentiles in the mocks. But for the last 4 mocks or so, my percentile has dipped down to 65-70 percentile and I don’t know what to do or what to focus on to improve. Sir, please help me with some tips on how I can channel my stress to focus on the right things that will help me crack the CAT.

Handling stress is the toughest part. No one has a fool proof solution, I am going to give a bunch of small ideas:

  • Prepare in a cocoon
  • Take n mocks
  • Worry about the small details. Don’t worry continuously about the big picture.
  • Have a good plan-B. Don’t tank your end-semester, don’t shout at your boss, don’t scream at the office receptionist. Don’t do anything stupid.

 

________________

About The Author:

2iim

Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.

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CAT Preparation – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1- 2IIM

We got a lot of questions from CAT 2016 aspirants about the exam, preparation plan and general preparation strategy; for the benefit of everyone we have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions and answered them in 2 posts. (The second one will be up next week)

Since IIM has not told how many questions will be there in each section, how do we divide the time in each section if the no. of questions are not like last year. Say, for example, there are 40 questions in VARC (20 -VA, 20-RC), then how should we divide the time between VA and RC sections? (As you always say that it is better not to keep the RCs at the end.)
We do not know the exact numbers, so let us think of a few pointers in this case

For the first 30 minutes or so, go hammer and tongs attempting questions. Don’t analyze too much in this spell. Then take stock and plan the second half accordingly.
Imagine an ODI match on a new track where you do not know what a good score is. You will have to continuously re-evaluate based on how the pitch behaves. But if you have a Sehwag or Brendon McCullum in your team, they probably look to score off every delivery any which way. On even a tough track, they might score 40 off 25 deliveries before realizing the track is tough. Be that
On a minutes-per-question basis, allot more time for RC than for the others. As in if there are an equal number of RC questions and ‘other’ questions, allot more time for RC.

Don’t end with RC
Make sure you see your favorite type of question, say, Sentence Rearrangement and ignore your ‘nightmare’ category, say, Sentence Elimination.

If the number of questions is more than 100, then in which section do you think that they will give more number of questions? Or will it be equally divided?
No credible idea. My hypothesis is that there is usually a reversion to mean. Last year, VARC was easy and DI-LR was tougher. They might either make VARC slightly tougher and DI slightly easier. Or, they might increase the number of questions in VARC and reduce it in DI-LR.
Or, they might do nothing of this sort and pay absolutely no heed to CAT 2015.
In some bar graph in DI problems, the value won’t be written near the bar and there won’t be any dotted line (to indicate the exact value) also. So, if we take some approx. value then at times, in the final computation, some wrong answers differing by some 10 or 20 points occur. How to avoid such errors?
This type of con-job questions have been more or less completely eradicated in CAT. These days they give all the numbers on the chart. Or they make sure that there is no ambiguity in the numbers.

XAT, however, doesn’t care about all this. So, there you have to be careful about all your assumptions. If you are the religious kind, you can pray that your assumptions are more or less valid. But that apart, there is very little we can do.

As we have discussed before here, questions come under three types – EoK, GoK and NYK. For the EoK and GoK type questions, we can do little but hope.

 

While solving DI/LR sections, many times I am not able to solve some questions, but while analyzing the paper, I am able to solve almost 100% of the questions. How can get over this issue?
This usually happens in all categories. Don’t worry too much about it if it is only the stray question here and there. This happens to anyone. If it is more widespread, it could be one of two main issues – 1) Fatigue and 2) Pressure.

Take plenty of mocks and combat fatigue. Take a deep breath, switch off for 30 seconds and then start all over again in case you sense tiredness.

Pressure is extremely tough to handle. Read good fun stuff. De-emphasize the exam to the extent possible. These two articles are good fun articles to read on pressure handling – this one is about how to prepare and this one is on how to handle pressure while performing.

 

This is a three-part question:
Where to practice DI/LR problems once finishing solving from 2IIM and other coaching institute books? 
Mocks have the best content. For the last month or so, rely heavily on mocks. The 2IIM website and the Revision course have plenty of good DI-LR sets as well.

In half an hour’s time, I am able to do only 2 DIs or 2LR problems. How can I improve my speed?
This is a very good rate. If you are able to do 2 DIs and 2 LRs in an hour, that is usually 16 questions. If the level of difficulty were similar to CAT 2015 levels, 16 attempts would put you in the 99th percentile range.

Considering the fact that some DI/LR problems are too time-consuming, how do we choose DI/LR problems judiciously since only after spending a minute or so do we understand the level of difficulty?
If you can get a sense of the data presented, go for it. Spend 45 seconds looking at all the charts to know whether you can get a hang of what the data is saying. If you can get some intuitive ‘feel’ for it, it is usually worthwhile going for it. If the data does not ‘speak’ to you at all, then dump it.

It is a good practice to look at charts and try to make inferences before going to the questions. Here is a good link to get to see lots of charts. Just go through them without worrying about the numbers.

 

 

———

About the Author:

2iim

Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.

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How Much Should We Attempt To Get 99th Percentile? – 2IIM

We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
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Rajesh Balasubramanian

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Message Author

We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
Profile gravatar of Rajesh Balasubramanian

Rajesh Balasubramanian

Message Author


Message Author

We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
Profile gravatar of Rajesh Balasubramanian

Rajesh Balasubramanian

Message Author


Message Author

We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
Profile gravatar of Rajesh Balasubramanian

Rajesh Balasubramanian

Message Author


Message Author

We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
Profile gravatar of Rajesh Balasubramanian

Rajesh Balasubramanian

Message Author


Message Author

We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
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Rajesh Balasubramanian

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We all want to know how many questions does one need to attempt in order to get a certain percentile. In fact, we want to know just some number, some arbitrarily concocted number, just some number – and we want this number so badly that we care not about the veracity of said number. So, here goes –

 

cat attempts

The numbers indicate correct answers/attempts. For instance, in order to get 90th percentile in DI-LR, one should shoot to attempt 15 questions and get 12 of these correct.

Now, on to the assumptions

Without assumptions, what is the basis of all analysis? Those fungible, flexible, stretchable, delicious things called assumptions are the vital cog in the modern economy. We would not want a crucial table to be created without those assumptions, would we?

  1. We have assumed DI-LR would be slightly easier in 2016 than it was in 2015 and that Verbal would be slightly tougher. Why? We like to use the term “regression to mean”. But you could have easily said “because we can”
  2. In an ideal world, there is nothing called as Target Hit rate or target accuracy ( target hit rate should always be 100%) , but we suspended the idea of the ideal world a while ago. So, we have accounted that students factor this kind of accuracy variable in.

What are the real takeaways here? Enough of snark

If you want a higher percentile, make sure your error rate is close to zero. From 95th to 99th percentile, attempts go up very little, improved accuracy contributes most of the leap. Anyone who is ambitious enough to think of 99th percentile and beyond has to be absolutely pig-headed about accuracy. All this talk of 70% hit rate is humbug. Would you go on a bus if the driver had a 70% accident-free rate?

If someone says that he/she is confident of 70% accuracy, he/she is talking out of his/her hat. Which 70%? Why did you just not leave the other 30%? If you are clueless about which 70%, might it be lower? Could it go as low as 20%? What are you really sure of? Are some of the good questions that can be asked of the student. If you are part of the brigade happy with a lowly 70% accuracy, ask yourself these questions, and then relentlessly chase 100% accuracy.

What about the overall percentile?

80th percentile in each section should see the overall percentile close to 90. 90 in each section should take you to 95 overall. 95 in all three will take you to 98-ish overall. 97-ish in all three will fetch an overall score of 99.xx. 99 in each section should see you in the 99.6+ range. Average of the three percentiles and a healthy boost to that would usually take you to the overall percentile.

Best wishes for CAT preparation. Bear in mind that these are just broad targets to give yourself an anchor prior to the exam. Do not take these two seriously. Approach the exam with an open mind.

 

 

 

____________________

About the Author:
2iim
Rajesh Balasubramanian runs 2IIM’s CAT program and handles more than half the classes for CAT preparation. He completed his Electrical engineering from IIT Madras in 2001 and PGDM from IIM Bangalore in 2003. He worked as an equity Research Analyst at Credit Suisse, London. This was an enriching experience, in a literal sense; and a soul-sapping experience otherwise. He finally quit his job in 2009 and joined 2IIM as director in 2010.
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Rajesh Balasubramanian

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