Mistakes are our best teachers. Now that you are in the last phase, make sure you go through your past mistakes, keep them in mind and tend not to repeat it. But to further assist you, we conversed with the CAT takers and collated some of their mistakes so that you get an idea and do not repeat it. We had a discussion with Jayant Singhal, Sakshi Rana and Aditya Jain from IIM Lucknow.
Jayant Singhal, 97.41 Percentiler
What was one mistake you did in CAT you wished had never done?
Well, to think about it, I attempted one of the biggest mistakes that in quants section, I attempted all the questions thinking that they are easy and got excited. I went with the flow and attempted questions without giving much thought about it. I attempted 20 questions very easily and as it turned out, maximum answers were wrong which gave me a big chunk of negative marks. So, I would advise that never get excited after seeing easy questions and give enough time on it to think about it.
What was your strategy for the D-day?
My basic strategy was that I will attempt CAT as per my strengths. I knew my strengths and made sure that I do justice to it. It worked well for me but everyone should look for their own strengths and make strategies on the basis of that.
Sakshi Rana, 98.89 Percentiler
What was your biggest mistake you attempted in CAT?
So basically, when you have attempted all the questions in round 1 and 2 and when you come back for round 3, you are on a hunt for questions you can do and so was I. In the LR DI section, I attempted 5 sets of LR DI in 45 minutes and for the next 15 minutes, I thought to do a question which was not very lengthy and looked doable, which was another mistake of mine. Never judge a question from its length. Then. I started attempting the set and by the time 15 minutes were over, I thought I was just near the solution but couldn’t solve it completely, so I marked the answers on the basis of estimates and it happened that all were wrong and I lost a major chunk of marks because of that.
What was your last-minute revision strategy?
Revising bookmarked questions from the mocks in took. I also made notes for quants and noted the questions that usually gave me trouble like geometry, wrote formulas for their application and how they are attempted differently.
Aditya Jain, 97.8 Percentiler
What advice would you give to the CAT takers this year and what do you feel you could have done better while attempting CAT?
1)Going after attempts based on past performance in a section (VA)
Each mock is different and should be approached differently. VA was my strength and I use to attempt 30 questions in most of the mocks in VA, with a good accuracy, so I developed this attitude sub-consciously that I have to attempt 30 questions no matter what. Despite having a strategy to leave a question, when having a certain degree of uncertainty, I did not abide by it. VA was tricky, and I scored the lowest percentile in it out of the 3 sections, whereas in mocks it used to be the first.
2) Getting stuck on tricky questions, and taking time to move on
This is something we all practice and introspect about, but it becomes one of the very difficult things to execute on D day as you know each mark is crucial. I had improvement scope in this regard
3)Being prepared mentally for the worst in terms of the exam centre
There was a lot of noise and even a sense of suffocation at my centre, which was in the basement. On D day it is crucial to maintain your calm no matter what and focus on things in your control. It affected me to a certain extent initially which no I feel was avoidable
I asked the test centre officials if I would get an extra booklet for rough work if needed, they agreed, however when asked for it during the last 10 minutes they refused, which definitely costed me a few questions, because it not only created a sense of unease but also I had to find residual space wherever I can to attempt further questions. It also wasted 2 critical minutes in trying to convince them to give me an extra pad. I should have managed in the first one, without expectations for a second, and avoid arguing with them mid-exam.
5) Check the locations a day before
I had some troubles finding the exact location on D day, which took more time than expected to reach there. Although I had taken the buffer amount, it would have been better if I had checked the location a day before to ensure smooth travel on D day.
Lastly, ponder upon these mistakes and advises and try to implement it when you are sitting for CAT.
Be confident and all things will fall into place.
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