In this season of Mock CATs, most of the students struggle with the problem of low attempts (and low scores) in QA despite having good knowledge. Many students are unable to choose the right questions while attempting the paper and end up attempting difficult questions that not only take time but also get them negative marks.
However after the paper, while analyzing it or going through the solutions, you suddenly discover that there were easy questions that you tend to not notice while attempting the paper. Over the years, watching so many make the same mistake I’ve realized that this usually happens because either you’re not aware of your strengths and weaknesses in different topics of QA or you’re just plain afraid of leaving questions!
When you’re taking a competitive exam like the CAT, it’s not important whether you know more than the others. How you attempt the paper makes all the difference. I’ve always achieved very high scores in QA and cleared many competitive tests due to the way I attempt the section. I’ve devised seven simple rules for myself – and they work every single time! Here’s how:
Rule 1.I believe that a paper is not a place for R&D; hence I attempt only those question types that I am familiar with. I do not want to attempt any new kind of question in the paper R&D has to be done at home and not inn the examination hall.
Rule 2.I believe in attempting the QA section in 3 Rounds starting with the easiest questions and am not afraid of leaving difficult questions unattempted.
Rule 3.In Round 1 (R1), I will go through the questions sequentially but will attempt only those questions:
a. That are from my area of interest or topics that I am comfortable with
b. That are not lengthy
c. That do not confuse me in the first reading
d. That can be attempted in about 75 seconds
Rule 4.Lengthy or difficult questions from my area of interest will be marked in Round 1 and attempted only in Round 2 (R2).
Rule 5.If time is available, I will attempt remaining questions Round 3 (R3).
Rule 6.My attempt preference in the QA section is:
a. Number system and rest of Arithmetic
b. In Algebra, I am partial towards progressions, inequalities, quadratic equations, maxima-minima and operators.
c. In Algebra, I prefer solving questions by substitution of choices and avoid questions that have to be solved by the conventional methods.
d. Maxima – minima questions, I usually solved them by differentiation.
e. I attempt most of the Mensuration questions.
f. I avoid questions from Geometry and P & C in Round 1unless I have solved a similar question earlier.
g. I also attempt Probability questions that do not require funds of P&C.
h. I usually attempt Grouped questions in R2 since logic has be cracked in most cases which can be time consuming.
Ofcourse, this preference is based on my strengths and weaknesses and will differ for everyone.
Rule 7. I read the choices along with the questionas it helps in deciding the amount of calculation, elimination of choices and in substitution.
About the author:
Gautam Puri, fondly known as GP, is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore. In 1995, he joined his batch mate from IIMB, Satya, and co-founded Career Launcher (now CL Educate Ltd.), one of Asia’s largest and fastest-growing edu-corporates.
Today, not only is Gautam Puri, the Vice Chairman and Management Director but also CL’s best loved mentor and Personality Development (PDP) expert. Lakhs of students have picked up tips, advice and guidance from him for the CAT, CLAT, CSAT and other competitive exams as well the GD-PI stage. To read all of GP’s advice, strategies and insights for CAT takers, follow his blog ‘GP Speaks’
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