Thursday, November 10, 2011

CAT 2011: Last minute tips to crack the exam

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With just few days left for CAT 2011, students must be very stressed out. However, now is the time to sit back, relax and revise. In order to help you crack the exam, Learnhub spoke to IIM alumni from across the country and asked them their last-minute strategies that helped them to score that desirable percentile. Let us divide various sections of the CAT2011 exam and examine expert tips on how to tackle these sections effectively-:

  1. CAT 2011 Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation: The key to solve this section is speed and accuracy. One should have a thorough knowledge of mathematical concepts and have short cut to answers. Abhishek Jha, an alumnus of IIM Lucknow, says, "For data interpretation questions, one has to be very comfortable with numbers, charts, and tables and be very good with mental calculations." He further suggests that one should try and practice a data interpretation problem everyday, reading and analysing stories which consist of graphs and pie charts in business sections of newspapers. In order to improve your speed, it is very essential to take mock tests. However, experts warn that one should take only mock test per day.

    On the exam day, try to answer the caselets with which one is familiar with, and one can spend up to 4 minutes in analysing a caselet. Experts suggest that if after four minutes there is no progress in understanding then it would be wise to leave the questions. Another advise for the exam day is to avoid guess work as CAT has 1/3 negative marking. In this section, if you're able to attempt 16-19 questions with 90 per cent accuracy is enough to secure 97 percentile and above in this section.
  2. CAT 2011 Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning: As we all know that verbal ability consists of two sections namely reading comprehension and English usage. The only way to do well in reading comprehension is to increase your speed of reading. This can be done by practising the habit of focusing on keywords that convey the meaning of a sentence. On how one should work on enhancing his Logical Reasoning, Jha says, "One should create a chart or a diagram of the question to get clarity. The aspirant should read questions very carefully as these questions are intended to check your ability to manage ambiguous data. One should avoid to assume any information that is not given in the question." Experts also suggest that it is always advisable to answer those questions you're most comfortable in. Around 15 minutes should be spent on the verbal ability section. One should allot five minutes on reading each comprehension passage and logical reasoning caselet to understand the same. Even after spending five minutes if you fail to understand the comprehension passage then you should move on to the next.
  3. Time Management: The total examination time is 140 minutes and examinees will have 70 minutes to solve 30 questions in each section. The test will also contain a 15-minute tutorial. Experts feel that since each section is of about 60 minutes duration, so one must keep ten minutes as a buffer. A couple of minutes should be spent at the beginning of every section to understand the number, type and nature of questions. When we spoke to some faculty member of coaching institutes, they specified that you should allocate equal time to all the questions and one should not spend more than four minutes in any question. You can spend up to eight minutes on a Reading Comprehension passage or Data Interpretation caselet assuming it consist about 3 questions.
Last-Minute Tips-:
  1. Never make the mistake of attempting the questions without looking at all four options first
  2. Try to focus on your speed and accuracy
  3. Go into the exam with an open mind and expect the unexpected
  4. Begin with your strongest section and attempt the weakest section in the middle
  5. Do not be nervous and don't start with any new concept now


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