There are less than 75 days left for the CAT, Common Admission Test, and the only question that is bothering every CAT aspirant is, “IS IT STILL POSSIBLE?”
CAT is conducted by IIMs as their entrance test. As IIMs are the most reputed business schools, CAT as well is dreamed off by many aspirants. More than that, many other reputed B-schools shortlist on the basis of CAT scores.
Maybe the thought that only 99 percentile can get you into main IIMs. It seems impossible because generally, people confuse between percentage and percentile, and think that they need to score out of out to get into IIMs, especially IIM-A,B,C. To one’s surprise, it takes just 50-60% to score 99 percentile. The exam is structured in such a way that if one attempts 50 to 60% of the paper with 100% accuracy, they are likely to score 99+ percentile.
Now, let’s discuss a bit about the CAT pattern. The CAT is divided into three sections, namely
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC),
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR),
- Quantitative Ability (QA).
The total exam duration is 2 hours, which is distributed into 40 minutes for each section. Since the past few years, the total number of questions in the CAT has been 66 questions, i.e., 24 questions in VARC, 20 in DILR, and 22 in QA. There are two types of questions, MCQs and Non-MCQs,
- For each correct answer, three (3) marks will be awarded.
- For each wrong answer, one (-1) mark will be deducted.
- For unanswered questions, no (0) marks will be deducted.
- Also, for Non-MCQs, there is no negative marking,
As mentioned earlier, one need not attempt all the questions. They need to choose the right questions. Let’s elaborate on this statement. One needs to think like the paper setter when they are preparing to write this exam. There are no marks deducted for unanswered questions, which means not every question is to be attempted. One of the skills aspirants should work on is choosing the right questions. There are 3 to 4 levels of difficulty. One who doesn’t have a good hold on any of the papers, should focus on solving only the easy and moderate level of difficulty questions so that they can improve their accuracy as there is negative marking as well.
Now CAT is more than an exam. It is a mind game. There are three things one should focus on other than making their concepts strong.
- Accuracy rate : One should focus on being accurate with the option they choose. There is an option to skip the question if you are not very sure. But if you are marking the answer, you need to be sure. Only then can you score well.
- Attempt rate : One need not attempt all the questions, but they need to choose them wisely. Knowing one’s strong and weak topics is important in this case. If they gave a stronghold on the top, then they might be able to solve moderate to difficult questions as well. On the other hand, if the hold is not strong, then they can skip those questions all together. The attempt rate and accuracy rate should go hand in hand.
- Time management : One should learn to manage their time during the exam. It is a 2 hour exam, and there is sectional timing, which makes it hard to attempt all the questions. That is where the accuracy rate and attempt rate come to play. Knowing it and practicing questions will benefit the aspirants. This is where mock tests help.
Every CAT toppers’ interview will give all the emphasis on mock tests and practicing old questions papers that helped them score well. Only then will one know their strengths, weaknesses, areas they can improve to score well, and how to manage their time during the exam.
In conclusion, CAT might seem difficult, but in reality, it is doable if you plan well and use the right strategies. Only by giving mocks and analyzing the mock will one understand the strategies that will work for them. So it is advised to attempt at least a mock per week and give an ample amount of time to analyze the same.
All the best. See you next time.