The last few days before the CAT exams is the most crucial time of your CAT preparation, according to me. It is like the last lap of the 10000 meters race. If you give it your all, you can cover a lot of distance. Here is my view on how to make the most of this last lap.
Take a lot of mocks: Taking an exam is a very different art from solving questions. Hence it is important that you solve a lot of full length mocks to get accustomed to sitting and solving questions at a stretch under stress. It will also bring to your notice the things that can go wrong while solving a paper like mismanagement of time and silly mistakes which otherwise while solving individual questions you will get right 99 out of 100 times.
Solve past papers: All papers have a certain style which they follow. Even after all the changes in format, there will be a core style which is hard to get rid of. By practising the past questions you get a feel of the type of questions that can be expected. Often we have seen a certain type of questions making a return after 3-4 years.
Analyse your mistakes: Go through all the tests and questions solved so far. Look for the repetitive mistakes that you have made. You should focus on these areas and be extra careful while solving them on D-Day.
Try out different test taking strategies: You will have a set test taking strategy by now but it is a good practice to try out a few new ones to see if your own strategy can be improved. The worst of them all would be what I call a “Brute Force” strategy where you try each question to see if you can solve it. I personally solved questions in 3 rounds. In the first round it was the easiest and familiar questions. In this round I also marked the questions which seemed solvable but not familiar. In the second round I attempted the marked questions and in the third round I attempted the remaining questions. You can try a few of your own to figure out what is best for you.
Make a list of all important formulas and concepts: If you have a register where you take things down, you should revise it. If you don’t have something like it then you should make one and keep it handy for revision.
Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Analyse your performance to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to maximise your score from your strength areas while minimising mistakes in the weak areas. Do not be over-confident and let your ego get in the process of solving questions in your strength area and do not lose out on easy questions in your weak areas.
Revise the uncommon areas: Every year CAT throws some questions from areas that are neglected by aspirants like Clocks, 4- variable Venn diagram, Fact-Inference-Judgement (FIJ) etc. So this is the time to cover all your bases to avoid getting caught unprepared.
Practice quick calculations: Go through all the fractions, squares, Pythagoras triples and tables to have these important numbers at your tips to solve questions seamlessly.
I understand that there is never enough time to do everything. At the end the most important thing that I feel is how well you take the pressure and remain calm while writing the exam.
Ishan Arora is a student from IIFT who has had a very regular life- an engineer, an IT professional and now an MBA student. He is very passionate about writing and writes on a personal blog A Vent in the Delirium. He is also in love with music and plays on internet radio in his college.
You can Follow me on InsideIIM at Ishan@insideiim.com