60 Days To Make A Difference – CAT 2018
With just 60 days to go, it is the perfect time to go all out and give your best. Probably we all know this but the real question is how?
Before answering this question let us understand a few things about CAT. CAT has always focused on two major aspects: Pace and Logic. For the past few years pace has been the differentiating factor in QA and VARC sections whereas the logic has been a differentiating factor in the DILR section. There are no sure shot strategies to score 99+ percentile but there are a few approaches which can help you, especially if your scores in Mocks have been quite stagnant for some time now. I firmly believe that “Winners don’t do different things; they do things differently.”
As I being to share my methods, I assume you have already covered the major chunk from the syllabus and are giving mocks regularly.
Though a nightmare for a few, I believe this section is a kingmaker as it can be a major differentiating factor. Strong logic with moderate pace will generally fare better than moderate logic and strong pace in this section. To be ready for the unexpected difficulty levels you can solve two difficult sets (from past mocks/ CATs) daily without any time limit. Do not take hints, do not see the answers and don’t give up until you solve it. You should understand that applying the same method multiple times won’t give different results, so try different approaches. This exercise will help you improve your brainstorming and thinking capabilities. Don’t keep on doing similar types of sets. And as far as the speed is concerned stick to the sectional tests. Three sectionals in a week are more than sufficient.
The time to build a vocabulary is long gone but you can score very decent with the average vocabulary as well. CAT- RCs are not meant to check your language efficiency they too like other sections to check your logic and thinking. Focus more on previous CATs and Mocks for RCs. What you can do differently is, when you read an RC think of it as an LR set. We collect the hints as we read the LR, try this for the RCs as well. This will help you understand the content better. Moreover, when you get an answer wrong do what we ideally do with the LR question. We go back and pinpoint the step where we went wrong. Solve 2 RCs daily with this method (without time constraint) and you are good to go.
QA is becoming more and more speed based with every passing year. Hence complete the basic concepts in next 20 days and invest more time in increasing speed (obviously not at the cost of accuracy). I firmly suggest you should avoid the use of direct formulas for any type of questions. CAT will challenge your understanding and not the formulas. Many times the questions play with the loopholes/limitations related to the formulas. Moreover, once you know the logic/rationale behind a formula you can automatically remember it quite easily.
Mocks are one of the best ways to learn but I have seen that most of the aspirants compete and do not learn. Scoring 98 or 99 in all the mocks is not going to fetch you a call from prestigious B Schools. Utilize the mocks to become better. Experiment with your approach/time management and analyze the change in the outcome because that is what will help you improve your strategy and eventually improve your scores. For example: Start with the sets that seem easiest to you in some mocks and then start with the difficult ones first in some, this will help you realize if your brain starts better or ends better (i.e. improves with the flow).
I hope these different approaches help you improve. All the best for CAT 2018!
Sarthak Shah (CAT 2017- 99.56 percentile)
PGDM Candidate – SPJIMR