How To Find The ‘Right’ Strategy For CAT – Tips By An IIM Bangalore Student
I know that the CAT 2017 is right around the corner and you are very busy preparing for it (well, best of luck for that!), but there is something that I want to tell you. And I hope, you’ll listen (don’t worry, it’s going to be a small post).
Well, hope is a very wonderful thing. “Maybe the best of them all”. And I know, with such an intense preparation, you are hoping to crack the CAT. But, as my OPS Prof. would say,
“Hope is not a strategy.” – Prof. Anshuman Tripathy, IIM Bangalore
So, what do I mean by strategy?
A strategy is a plan and an action to achieve a particular goal. Here, your goal is to maximise your score in CAT. And for that, you need to find your strategy.
Let me explain a bit.
Before that, tell me, how do you solve your mocks?
Do you first tackle CR or RC? You prefer solving DI first and LR later, or is the opposite true? In Quant, which type of problem should you tackle first?
Or, you just solve the problem as they appear on the screen, one by one? If that’s the case, then it’s going to be trouble.
“Succesful strategy is about shaping the game you play, not just playing the game that you find.”
So, here, our strategy will be to decide which problem to solve first, which one to leave for later, and which one to not touch at all.
Let’s go section by section.
In verbal, you’ll face RC and CR questions, and you’ll have to decide which one to tackle first. While RC requires a lot of reading before you can actually tackle a problem, these questions are generally on a simpler and predictable side, than the CR questions, which often consume significant amount of time and you are never sure of being right (as you have to type in the answers), but fetch better reward if you manage to solve them quickly.
I have complicated the problem, haven’t I? Don’t worry, the solution is very simple.
Trial and Error.
Yes. If you are solving CR first, then tackle RC first in your next mock. Then solve a mix of both in your next (say a passage first, then a few CR questions and then another passage). Analyse the outcome, and see which method fetches better result. And once you fix the method, try it in a couple more mocks, so that you can be sure of your strategy. And if doesn’t go that well, try another.
In this section, you’ll face a similar dilemma as you faced in the previous one. But, from my personal opinion, it’s always better to solve easier questions from both the sections first.
But isn’t that obvious? Not exactly. I have seen many of my friends solving all the LR sets first and then touching the DI sets. In 2016 and 2015 as well, a few DI sets were much easier than a couple of LR sets. A lot of people (including me) focused solving LR questions first and ended up missing a few sitters.
So, try to find the simplest set first (irrespective of the section), solve it and then move onto the next simple set.
Also, try to identify your strengths in both the section (say relationships in LR or Pie-chart in DI) and see those sets first. The confidence that you have in solving these sets actually helps to speed you up.
Questions in this section can be divided into 3 levels.
Level 1: Sitters. Direct application of concepts. Solve them the moment you find them.
Level 2: Direct application of multiple concepts or indirect application of one or two concepts. Solve them only if you know the exact method and make some development in first 30 seconds. Otherwise, leave them for later.
Level 3: Indirect application of multiple concepts. Lengthy and cumbersome. It’s better to leave these questions for later. Avoid solving them in the first go. You can try to solve them once you solve all the level 1 and 2 problems.
You can spend initial 5 mins to identify the level of the questions first so that you can quickly solve the sitters and maximise your score.
Experiment with a few of your mocks, identify your strategy and practice it a couple of times.
It’s better to make mistakes in the nets, than scoring ducks on the pitch.
Best of luck for CAT. Keep calm and strategise!