Practice And Pace – Managing CAT The Virat Kohli Way

We are in the last 40 days before CAT and serious aspirants will be applying different test taking strategies to find out which one is the most productive for them.

Those who have taken the CAT before will attest that how well you manage your 180 minutes, how well you react to tough set or a section, how well you are able to execute Plan A or switch to Plan B, everything, depends on how well you manage the space between your ears.

So Let’s go section by section :

MANAGING THE VERBAL HOUR

The goal over here should always be to maximise accuracy and not the no of questions attempted.

Whether one is good or bad at Verbal Ability, the single-point agenda for this section has to be to maximise accuracy .

The first thing you should decide before starting the test is which area you will start with- RC or VA.

Since this is the first section,do not be in a hurry to read and don’t panic. I can’t stress enough how important it is to not panic in this section or the exam as a whole. Be like Virat Kohli, pace the exam so that you finish at the top. This section will throw up 2-3 surprises but the secret is to not panic. Remember if it is new for you, it is new for everyone.

If you are not able to get your head around the first question do not skip the whole set thinking I will deal with this later, remember that there will be do-able questions.This is very essential. Sometimes it so happens that out of the 5 RC questions 2 are solvable in 30 seconds, but others are long. Students skip the whole set on the pretext of some tough questions.

Last 5 mins of Verbal Section :

Imagine this scenario: You do what you can and reach the end of the Verbal section. You take a look at the number of attempts and see that you have attempted 12 questions.

What do you do? Decide to start marking randomly. That is suicide. Refrain from it.

If you have answered the 15 questions properly, eliminated the options as per the process discussed in the previous post and left out questions you were unsure of then there is no need to worry. The deduction is not that you have not done well but that the paper is tough.

A way to handle this would be to start with 50 minutes, divide it between RC and VA and have a 10-minute buffer at the end. So if you find that you have not managed to attempt enough then use that to attempt a few questions, not blindly mark options.

The goal of this section is to maximise accuracy and the steps we have discussed are geared towards achieving the same.

MANAGING THE DI-LR HOUR :

The aim of any test taker should be to first identify the easy and medium difficulty sets of DI-LR and attack them. This is beneficial in many ways :

  • This is the ones which the major chunk if not all the test taking aspirants get correct and at the end of the day CAT is a game of percentiles, you don’t want to fall back on questions that everyone gets correct.
  • These are less time consuming and easier to solve
  • These are a morale booster.

One basic judgement error which even I have committed and I am pretty sure aspirants commit in general is giving LR too much importance over DI. Since DI is number- centric, maneuvering your way through that requires a certain amount of skill while LR is considered easier since all the information is given in front of us and brain perceives it as solvable. Trust me, that is a trap.

DI and LR have equal weightage hence don’t get fixated on one of them.

Generally, aspirants keep on trying LR sets after attempting the easy ones hence neglecting the others and ruining the section as a whole. This has happened with most aspirants I have met on D-Day.

Hence, do not spend more than 30 minutes on LR until you have solved all the easy and medium DI sets.

This was the most crucial section last year and turns out every year.

MANAGING THE QA HOUR :

This section according to me, will be a sure test of the test taker, since this section will come after 2 hours. Hence already dipping concentration levels will start to take effect.

Here what I think will work is the CAT Pomodoro effect. Divide this section into 3-time frame sections of 20 mins each and this helps in maximising concentration levels according to me. You will be tired so the best thing to do is to knock off the easiest questions first without spending too much energy in the first 20 minutes.

You can use the mark button or ‘unanswer’ questions for the second round, whichever suits you best. I prefer marking as it decreases your shuffling time before questions.

Sometimes, the whole paper might be with easy questions; that is when you need to be smart and go with the flow.

All in all your concentration levels need to be high this section and you need to make it a point to solve the easiest questions first and not to stop at any moment whatsoever.

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