In continuation of my previous article over Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation tips, this article will focus on how to take on the Quantitative Aptitude section. With mere ten days left for CAT, I hope the aspirants have stopped experimenting with their approaches and have cemented their techniques and time management skills.
According to me, the QA section stands utterly crucial because of two reasons. Primarily, it is the last section (at least until the previous year). After two hours of grilling and tormenting your brain, Quant requires twice the effort (according to me). Secondly, the engineers! They will score in this particular set, no matter what happens. I am not biased, but yes, they do hold a significant advantage in Quant. So, one direly needs to put significant efforts in the paper to land himself/herself in a position of a better score and percentile.
I will focus on the following checkpoints to give a better and more precise idea (incorporating my experiences of last year in CAT) about the Quant section -
- Panicky Situation - The strictest advice that I will give is that take this section as a separate paper. Please! Forget that you had a Verbal or LRDI section just a minute back. The final day is always like a boiling cooker. Some of you will make mistakes in the initial two sections that will be jeopardising. Make sure you do not carry that baggage and render a cascading effect on the final section. It will be disastrous, especially because the tension and mistakes pile up, either linearly, or to be worst exponentially. Stay calm and composed for the final one hour.
- Elimination - I hope the aspirants have accepted the truth that the CAT is a process of elimination, not selection. Remember that! The GD and PI rounds that come later are the processes of selection. So, deploy the same formula. Skip questions, that too readily. Do not waste time even on a second look if you do not understand the question on the first go.
- Mocks - Embrace them! They are the only alternatives that will help you in gaining speed. Practice at least 2-3 sets every day from now to get an idea as to how many questions you can touch in an hour. You need not attempt every question, but yes, a significant number is always better. I knew people who at least went through the whole of the question paper under 40 minutes. Develop speed.
- Three rounds - The first round should result in getting the correct answer in the first go. It should come automatically, or through intuition. Second round should be focussed on the ones which are long questions, require multiple calculations, or the usage of calculators. The final round (if you have time) should be dealt with getting the bonus. If you can solve them, well and good; if not, those questions were never from your safe basket. Smile and accept!
- Accuracy - Whatever levels of accuracy you have presently, it will be entirely different in the final paper. The responsibility is on you whether you render it a positive growth or a negative downturn. I will definitely not suggest blind guesses in this section.
- Calculators - Do not use it unless the options are very close to 5-10% difference. If the options are far enough, CAT does not want you to use the calculator. Mental calculations and approximation techniques are a must. The ones that have very close answers, leave them for the last.
Please instil in your mind that CAT is not a war. It is just an exam which is highly unpredictable. So, keep the pressure off. During the paper, lock the negative thoughts back at home as to what will happen if things do not work out. You will still be alive. Appreciate that!
I know it is difficult for you since I am on the other side. But the more significant battle lies after CAT. With PI shortlists strolling in with minimalistic percentile gap, expectations might see a dip. The focus now should be performing equally well as you do in the mocks (I did not though). Relax and good luck!