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What should you do before 2 Weeks of CAT

Published On: 18 Oct 2010 | Last Updated On: 22 Oct 2010
As the CAT date approaches, most students wonder: Is it too late? Can anything be accomplished by studying full tilt in the last few weeks? Miracles cannot happen in the time that remains, but the last few weeks are a very important part of a student’s preparation. CAT does not have an exact or a fixed pattern, and hence every paper is unique and needs to be dealt with in its own unique way – like a batsman needs to decide his shot depending on the merit of the ball. However, having a strategy is always a good idea. Did you know that Sachin Tendulkar visits the pitch fully padded-up before the start of day’s play in every test match and in every innings?

The time for you to finalize a test taking strategy has come. The two things that you should be clear about before you enter the examination hall are: Prepare  with e- CAT prep 2010

1. In what order you should attempt the sections of CAT

As you must be aware that there will be three sections in CAT 2010 –

Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LR/DI), and Verbal Aptitude and Reading Comprehension (VA/RC).
There is no universal correct order which works for all students. On the other hand, there can be a reasonable improvement in percentile if you figure out what works for you.
It is advisable that you start with QA or VA. You should avoid LR, DI and RC in the beginning. LR, DI and RC questions are clubbed together to form a set and it is not wise to try and conquer this set right at the beginning of the examination.

2. How should you divide the time?

You are required to prove your competence in all sections. The duration of the test is two and a half hours, including the initial 15-minute tutorial. Ideally, one should divide one’s time equally across the three sections. But the above ideal is for those who are equally good or equally bad in all areas. Most students do not fall in the above-mentioned category. And so, it is suggested that you try out the two options given below and decide upon the one which suits you best.
Option 1 – Static: The 135 minutes can be divided into blocks of 40, 45 and 50 minutes, depending upon your comfort level with the three sections. Your favorite section should be given the least time, and the area you find difficult should be allotted 50 minutes. This would help you clear the cutoff in all sections.

Option 2 – Dynamic: You allot 40 minutes to the three sections. In the end when you are left with 15 minutes, revisit the section in which you could not perform.

Q.How to decide about the two questions raised above?

First Step: Analyze the recent tests that you have given. Try and remember the order in which you attempted those tests and how did you perform in those two. Rate all those tests on two parameters on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 signifying best result)

-          End result (%ile)

-          Gut feeling

Please realize that both of them are important. Just looking at the percentile is not a good idea when you are trying to decide about any of the above mentioned issues. Your gut feeling / comfort level is very important as well.

Second Step: Give a total of four tests with a gap of at least 1 day in between them. In these four tests experiment with the order of sections + time division. Once again, rate them on the parameters mentioned above.

Once you have a detailed chart prepared, a clear picture of what order / time division strategy suits you would emerge. This clear strategy would aid your performance by not only having a clear plan but also boost your confidence levels. I would recommend this small exercise to all students, even those who have a strategy in place. Remember, it is never too late to improve. In the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi – “May the force be with you”

PS: I have compiled an Ebook Math – Formulas & Fundas which will help you revise the entire syllabus in no time. If you have a facebook/twitter account, you can download the book at this link – . If not, just send a mail to and I will email the eBook to you.

( By Mr Ravi Handa - CAT Expert Panel)

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