“In the new CAT 2014 paper pattern, attempting more questions makes sense” – ARKS Srinivas, CEO Vistamind

InsideIIM conducted a Live chat with ARKS Srinivas on 27th August 2014. The session was aimed at clearing the confusion surrounding the CAT 2014 paper pattern, and discussing the test taking strategies under the changed circumstances.

For those of you who did not have enough time to read the entire transcript, we are summarizing some of his best responses to the questions posed by our users….

Deepak Ram : Sir, should I focus on maximizing number of attempts or should I focus on accuracy…..with the new paper pattern I think accuracy will be less important

ARKS Srinivas: Dear Deepakram, In any pattern, the basic requirement is getting marks. Since there are 100 questions, the number of easy questions will undoubtedly be higher. Hence, attempting more makes sense. Quant will be easier than previous years.

Rohit Baheti: Hi Sir, nice to see you again – what does the extra time mean? Does it mean questions will be tougher? What about Normalization?

ARKS Srinivas: Hi Rohit, On the other hand, the number of easy questions will increase. I don’t think Normalisation will be a big issue anymore, because there are just four time slots.

Sumeet Sourav: Hi Sir. How many attempts will be sufficient to clear the cutoffs?

ARKS Srinivas: Sumeet, Attempts may not be the best way to look at Cutoffs. What I understand (from your question) is that how many marks (considering +3 and -1 marking) are enough for Cutoffs. My guess would be anything between 35 to 42 marks per section and overall of 100.

Sirf IIMC: Sir, what should be my strategy to get more than 99 percentile?

ARKS Srinivas: Strategy for the next few Mocks: Increase your attempts to upwards of 75. Do not worry about the mistakes. But by the time you come to October, your attempts should be 75+ with around 55+ corrects – this is sure to give more than 99.5 %ile.

Deepak Ram: Sir, I face great difficulty in DI and LR. How can I improve.

ARKS Srinivas: Deepakram – LR and DI require tremendous amount of practice. I suggest that you solve 3 sets of DI and LR everyday for the next 80 days. That would mean around 240 sets with around 1000 questions from each area.

Sirf IIMC: Sir in Quants what do you think will be the distribution of Questions around different topics? What will be the distribution for verbal? How will you prepare for the exam from now, assuming that you are doing a job?

ARKS Srinivas: The break up is very difficult to predict. Having said that for QA – do concentrate on geometry , numbers, quadratics, inequalities. Next 80 days Prep: 1. Use the next 20 days to recap on all areas 2. Start taking Mocks (SmartCATs from VistaMind) 3. Evaluate every Mock and find your weakspots (attend all Mock Discussions) 4. Work on DI, LR and RC on a daily basis (solve 2 to 3 sets daily). 5. Finalise your strategy by 50th day from today 6. Use the last 40 days (5 Mocks) to fine-tune. 7. Enjoy the CAT prep and the CAT exam!

Nikhil Nagraj: Sir, do you think it’s wise to use this strategy – attempt all LR questions in the verbal section, (I’m assuming 15 qns there, 90% accuracy), and devoting the rest of the time for quant? Reason being that many of the RC/Grammar/sentence arrangement can be vague, while quant/LR have definitive solutions.

ARKS Srinivas: Nikhil – Leaving 35 questions in Sec II would be suicidal. I would not recommend that. What I suggest is this. Attempt your LR with say 90% accuracy. But attempt RC and VA too. Even if you have only 50% accuracy – you will end up with a significant scores (eg: total attempts in that sec- 15A with 13 correct (LR) and 25A with 12 correct (RC&VA) : 25 C and 15 W would give you 60 Net!

Rohit Baheti: Sir how should we plan switching sections? How much time should we allocate for each section? Should I start with my strong section (English) or my weak section (QA)?

ARKS Srinivas: Rohit, I think the better way would be to spend on Areas than sections. Consider that you have five sections – QA, DI, LR, RC, VA and give your timings accordingly. Start with English, your strong section.

Rohit Baheti: Do you recommending scanning all the questions like paper-pencil first since we get to switch sections? How much time can be devoted to that? Don’t you think it is tedious in this online form?

ARKS Srinivas: Yes ROHIT – I agree. It is going to be tedious. But, I believe there is no choice. Not going through the paper once would be detrimental. I plan to write a complete article on the method to attempt the paper given the ONLINE constraint!

Shashank Jha: Sir I have been taking some mocks and the sense I get is that I may be around the borderline of the quant cutoff. What can I do to improve my scores….

ARKS Srinivas: Shanshank – Attempt more. There are expected to be between 15 to 18 questions in DI. Your target would be to attempt around 12 of those and another 18 of QA. Even with an accuracy of 75%, would would comfortably make it.

Rajarshi Som: Sir, I have been performing rather inconsistently in sectional tests of Verbal Ability, with accuracy varying between 60% and 100%. Could you recommend a method to improve my VA accuracy to close to 100%?

ARKS Srinivas: If you are getting 80% accuracy – consider yourself in the absolute toppers! Very few get that. Make sure your attempts increase! Review your mistakes and eliminate silly mistakes if they occur.

Final note by Team InsideIIM: We would like to thank ARKSS Sir for his time. We hope to get him on our platform again soon. Till then you can keep following him here vistamind.insideiim.com. To solve questions live on InsideIIM along with hundreds of other aspirants go here: http://insideiim.com/admissions/


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