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Saturday, October 11, 2008

IIM CAT tips & tricks

Here are a few tips that should fetch you a call from the best B-Schools in the country.

Tip 1: Handle pressure and uncertainty well. And reap the rewards!

Handling pressure and uncertainty is a crucial element of mba CAT. This is a vital skill that a manager requires in his/ her daily decision-making process.

The IIM CAT examination spans 120 minutes, but if you are able to handle the pressure in the first 15 and last 10 minutes, your chances to excel increase.

Some pointers to help you excel at this stage are:

  • Have a flexible strategy.
  • Scan your question paper for the initial three to four minutes to locate easy questions.
  • Attempt your favourite section first.
  • Remember CAT is just another name for uncertainty. If it ain't uncertain, it ain't CAT! This year, you might get a paper based on Reasoning. Or you might have an additional section on Reasoning.

(The above prediction is based on the increasing emphasis on Reasoning in the last decade. Also, CAT patterns/formats are revamped every five years. The last time the pattern was changed was four or five years ago.)

Tip 2: Sequence and prioritise -- your mantras for success

Sequencing and prioritising mean:

~ Deciding on the sequence in which you will attempt the various sections.
~ Allocating an approximate time to each section.
~ Prioritising questions within sections.

Deciding your sequence before entering the examination hall helps you methodically attempt CAT.

As a result, you don't shuffle between sections and lose time. Once you have scanned the paper, allocate an additional five to 10 minutes to a tough section and take out five to 10 minutes from an easy section.

Let us assume that, before entering into the hall, your strategy was:

~ Scanning: 3-4 minutes
~ Quantitative Ability: 40 minutes
~ Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency: 35-40 minutes
~ Verbal Ability: 40 minutes

If, say, Quantitative Ability is tough and the other two sections are comparatively easy, your changed strategy may look something like:

~ Scanning: 3-4 minutes
~ Quantitative Ability: 45-50 minutes
~ Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency: 30 minutes
~ Verbal Ability: 30-35 minutes

By all means, attempt your favourite section first.

Those who have taken mba CAT, though, will advise you never to attempt Quantitative Ability in the end. QA utilises your core fundamentals and formula; sometimes, they are difficult to recall under the twin pressures of time and mental fatigue.

The other two sections are primarily practise-based.

Here are some sequences you could adopt if you do not have a strategy yet:

Sequence I

1. Quantitative Ability
2. Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency
3. Verbal Ability

Sequence II

1. Quantitative Ability
2. Verbal Ability
3. Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency

Sequence III

1. Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency
2. Quantitative Ability
3. Verbal Ability

Sequence IV

1. Verbal Ability
2. Quantitative Ability
3. Data Interpretation/ Data Sufficiency

Tip 3: Tame mba CAT by taming each section individually

Here are some specific section-related strategies:

Quantitative Ability

Attempt questions in three rounds.

Round 1

~ Attempt all one liners.
~ Attempt all two liners.
~ Attempt all four liners.

Round 2

Come back to the leftover questions of Round 1. Under pressure, you might just have left easy questions from Round 1 unattempted. Attempt them again

Round 3

If time permits, tackle the lengthier questions on your favourite topics.

There is a second school of thought which says lengthier questions are easier.

1 comment:

v4veer said...
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