CAT paper has traditionally been a 120 - minute
test. The questions in the CAT paper are generally
not very difficult but there is always an exceptionally
high emphasis on the speed required to solve the
questions in the paper.
mandates that the test taker perform equally well
in all sections of the test. It is not sufficient
to get a good score in the test as a whole - the
candidate also has to perform well in each of
the three/ four sections of the CAT paper. When
we talk of performing equally well, we have to
look at it as a relative measure. Among the one
lakh plus candidates expected to take CAT this
year, you should be able to score a certain number
of marks more than the average in each of the
selections in order to qualify. Hence you have
to aim at crossing a minimum cut - off mark in
each section to be eligible to get a call for
the Group Discussion (GD) and Interview stage.
The minimum cut-off required
in each section could vary from IIM to IIM and
also for each of the other 30+ institutes that
use CAT scores for their selection process.
It would be fair to assume that the cut - off
scores required for many of the other institutes
would be slightly lower than those required for
proper planning is not done, there is a danger
that one may actually get much more than the total
minimum required marks to be eligible for the
IIMs but one may not cross the cutoffs in a particular
section. This brings us to the basic rule that
applies to the CAT paper - do reasonably well
in every section rather than concentrating on
and doing extremely well in every section rather
than concentrating on and doing extremely well
in one/ two sections. Getting a very high score
in one or two sections at the expense of the others
would fetch you nothing and defeats the very purpose
for which you are taking the test!
key to crack the CAT exam is to keep your cool
and maintain your composure during the entire
length of the test. This may sound deceptively
simple but is easier said than done. The pressure
levels would be high, yes, but you have to use
your adrenaline to work faster and smarter. There
is no point getting bogged down at any point in
the paper. CAT does not require/ expect you to
attempt all or even nearly all the questions.
It is test of speed but not only of speed. Accuracy
is needed too!
is no great secret that the test itself comprises
a significant number of questions that are not
very difficult. The knack, then, would be to maximize
your score by completing the easy ones rather
than getting bogged down by the more difficult
ones especially since, no extra marks are awarded
for solving the more difficult questions.
within each section, there is very clear need
for a planned strategy of attempting questions.
Unless a clear cut timed strategy for attempting
the test is in place, there is every chance that
one may miss out on very easy questions which
may be at the end of the section and instead end
up solving all the difficult questions that may
have been given at the beginning. It is imperative
to realize that there is no rule that says that
the difficult questions will be at the end of
the section nor is there a rule that says that
easy questions are at the beginning of each section.
Then why should there be any discrimination while
attempting the questions? The common tendency
among students is to start the section from the
very first question. Much as it may be the best
starting point, it loses its relevance if all
the questions in a particular section are not
read. By not reading a question or a set of questions,
one is obviously at a disadvantage when compared
to a student who carefully plans out the time
limits within each section and ensures that he
or she picks and solves the easy questions given
in each section.
important point to note for the CAT exam is that,
there are no individual cutoffs for the areas
within a section. The instructions on the front
page of the question booklet of CAT clearly specify
that you should do equally well in all sections.
Hence, depending on your comfort level in each
of the areas, you should allocate the time for
the areas within a section.
is negative marketing in the CAT paper and for
every wrong answer a certain score is deducted
from your total. The IIMs do not disclose the
way they calculate the negative marks for the
Golden Rule that needs to be followed is to ensure
that there is no question which is unread at the
end of the test. This will ensure that all possible
easy questions have been attempted or at least
looked at. Unfortunately, CAT does not have any
special notations pointing to the easy questions
and neither do they scream out at you from the
paper. It is up to you to find them and make sure
you do most of them. The easy ones could be anywhere
- at the beginning, in the middle or at the end
- just about anywhere.