5 Days To CAT – An Ultimate Section Wise Plan

Unlike a Degree exam where you cram up quite a lot of things to deliver on the D-Day, CAT is a completely anti-thesis to such exams.  The prep you have done for the past months will come to fruition rather than what one does in the last five days.

Yet, these five days are important to ensure that one is in a correct frame of mind to attempt the CAT exam and deliver to one’s potential.

Here’s a quick guide to what one can do in each of the sections, in the last five days before the exam.

Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)

  • Finalise your VARC strategy. It is time to decide and finalize what you want to do in the exam.
  • Decide whether to start with RC or VA.
  • Decide whether to do continuous RC (5 sets) or break that up into two or three time-periods while interspersing the time with the VA questions.
  • Whether it is going to be 40 minutes or 45 minutes for RC has to be decided even before you go into the exam on 25th November.

Five Day Plan

Take one or two Sectional Tests (apart from Onefull-lengthh Mock CAT) to ensure that your strategy is being followed to the T!

RC: Read 45 minutes every day from Newspapers/Online/Mock CATs for the last 5 days. This is to get you into the Rhythm of reading!

VA: Everyday, solve 10 questions of PJs, OPJs, Para Summary, Para Completion and Critical Reasoning. Which means, you would do about 50 questions per day.


Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LRDI)

  • The important decision in LRDI is the time that you would give to each set. The ideal time is to give about 9 to 10 minutes at the most for any set.
  • More importantly, whether you solve 2, 3 or 4 questions (in one set) in those 10 minutes, it is extremely important to leave the set after the time allotted is over.
  • This way, you would solve at least 5 to 6 sets (in 50 minutes) while probably leaving out 2 difficult/unfamiliar sets.

Many a time, the biggest blunder one does in an exam is to pre-decide on leaving some sets. It is very important to read, even if for only 2 minutes, every set/question and then decide to solve or leave depending on the Familiarity and Complexity Quotient of the set!

Five Day Plan

Solve 5 sets of DI and 5 sets of LR for the last one-week. That would mean solving about 20 sets of DI and 20 sets of LR before the exam.

However, when you pick these 5 sets in a single day, solve all the 5 sets of the same type (Bar Graph, Tables, Arrangements, Tournaments, Venn Diagrams etc.,) on a single day.

These sets that you solve in this week should all be the ones that are really your strength areas and NOT the weak areas!

Quantitative Ability (QA)

  • Decide on the strategy for taking the paper.
  1. Two round strategy  (35 minutes and 25 minutes)
  2. 15 minutes and 9 questions strategy (multiplied by 4)
  3. 10 minutes and 6 question strategy (multiplied by 6)
  • The decision has to be taken and stick to that in the Mock CAT/Sectional Test you may write in the week! Recommended to write only ONE!

Five Day Plan

Take 3 white sheets of paper and write down, topic wise, all the formulae or concepts that you remember. Do not refer to any funda-book for this exercise. Once you have written the same for all topics, refer now to the funda-book or basic book of QA that you have and write down all the missing concepts/formulae that you have forgotten to write in the above exercise.

The above formulae should be the first thing and the last thing you see (read/refer/skim for 10 minutes) every day till the CAT day!

In the last few days, you won’t have time for every topic, hence pick the topics that you are most comfortable with (your strengths) and solve 20 t0 30 questions in each such topic. In a day, you may take up 2 to 3 such topics and solve. The questions to solve should be picked up from the Mock CATs that you have already done!

This way you would have solved about 250+ questions from the areas of your strength

Keeping faith in yourself

More than the aptitude and knowledge, one requires a strong mental strength to crack competitive exams. It is extremely important to have faith in oneself and not worry about the aftermath of the exam.

There will always be areas that one may not be confident about, but if one just does well in the areas one is good at, getting a respectable percentile and a good B-School admission is not far off!

All the best!

ARKS Srinivas

ARKS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the All India CAT Director at TIME. He is currently the National Head for MBA Prep at Career Launcher.


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