What you might have heard about mocks being the key to cracking CAT is all true but the secret lies in understanding how to evaluate your mocks. Having secured a 99.7%ile in QA in CAT 2017 and 99.4%ile in CAT 2018, I believe I am in a state to share my mantra with you - I did the QA mock analysis right.
Any QA mock test that you take is a very close simulation of how your actual QA in CAT is going to be.
• I usually break the test as per the Level Of Difficulty (LOD) and then go by the following approach.
|Level of Difficulty||Time taken to solve the problem||Calculation intensive?||Comments|
|Easy||30sec to 1min||Yes||Attempt now. If the calculations get tough, mark for later.|
|No||Solve it straight away.|
|Moderate||1min to 2min||Yes||Try the question for 45s. If you feel you are arriving at a solution, go ahead. Else, mark for later. Don't waste time.|
|No||Solve it straight away.|
|Difficult||1.5min to 2.5min||Yes||Mark for later and attempt once you are through easy and moderate LOD questions. If you know the concept then solve it. Else, do smart work and use logic.|
|No||Are you kidding me!!
The only thing you need to be good at is identifying the LOD of the question. LOD identification comes through practice and practice only. Once you get into the groove of correctly identifying the LOD of the problem, you can easily mark the questions that need to be done.
• To define the LOD of the problem, I always parameterize the problem on two factors: Have I seen the question before and If I already know the concept.
With the above approach (obviously after practicing lots of mocks and analyzing them), more often than not you shall be able to identify close to 70% of the doable questions that should take around 45-50min and the rest 5-10% questions to be done in the remainder of the time.
• Always have a fair bit of idea about the topics that can fetch you the maximum marks. I found arithmetic and algebraic problems quite interesting and would most of the time find a way around the problem - either conceptually or through logical thinking. Geometry was doable but would take me time to solve, so I had to be sure I am thorough with the concepts and have practiced all the types of questions that can be expected.
These form the bulk of the QA questions and just to validate the same, in my best QA attempts in CAT, I scored 28 out of the 31 questions that I attempted.
This is the topic-wise expected number of questions in any CAT exam (unless any conducting IIM reads this article of mine and changes the pattern for you guys!!).
Previously I have conducted multiple seminars around the same and a general CAT preparation strategy. Find the links below for the same.
- CAT Preparation Tips By 99.54%iler And IIM Lucknow Student | Webinar
- Interact With IIM Lucknow Students | Live Webinar
- CAT 2020 Strategy - IIM L Student's Analysis of What It Takes To Get A 99.5 Percentile Score
This approach has worked for me 4 times in a row and hopefully shall work for you guys too!! I have tried to incorporate all the elements that I worked on. I would love to hear from you in case you have any other approach that has brought you success in CAT.
Please share your feedback with me in the comments below. Happy learning!!