As you get into the exam-ready mode, consider these strategies.
With the CAT 2012 test-taking window opening on October 11, let’s look at making the best out of the remaining days.
Put your efforts where they matter
The CAT testing screen has a countdown timer that indicates the time available till the end of the test once you start the section. Similarly you should have a countdown timer to allot the remaining time from now on till the day of the examination. You have at this stage, a clear idea of your relative strengths and weaknesses in the test areas. Ideally you would have by now attended counselling and test-taking strategy sessions conducted by trainers. From now on, you can be the best judge for splitting the available preparation time to your specific case. Do not try to master a topic if you have put off that topic from your preparation till this date. The general idea is to get exam-ready practically; at the same time improve your comfort level and confidence from the test-taking perspective.
Assuming that you have been preparing seriously for CAT 2012, you would have, by now, taken a series of model examinations that are similar to the actual CAT exam. If you have a window of a few days, do go through some of the model examinations that you have taken over the last few months. You should take a re-look at the questions that you have got correct. Within those, there will be some relatively challenging questions also. When you review those and relive those moments of cracking a relatively challenging question, you will gain confidence. Keep in mind, all the efforts should lead you to gain more and more confidence leading to the examination. A similar effect can be achieved when you spend a little more time on some questions you got wrong during the actual model exam and now realise a better way of solving the same.
With good preparation backing you, understand that you are now in the select company of test-takers who are as good as you are. At this level, the difference between getting a good percentile that will lead you to a good admission and settling for slightly lesser could just be a couple of questions. So do not let go of the intensity of your run-up to the exam. Visualise that there are a lot of fence-sitters as of now — that includes you also. With the right momentum leading to the exam, you can jump to the correct side of the selection list.
You will reach the test venue much ahead of the start of the actual testing window. Refrain from striking up conversations with fellow test-takers on the latest information on the questions of CAT 2012 as discussed in various discussion forums. If anything, this activity just before the actual test will only unsettle you. Nobody can give you a “tip” on the test day with which you can improve your performance. Keeping to yourself till the examination is over is a good idea.
Inside the exam hall
The 15-minute CAT tutorial that is given before the actual start of the examination should not be seen as unimportant, although you may feel that you are familiar with the modalities. This time should be used as a warm-up session to acclimatise yourself with the ambience of the testing venue.
If any problem arises during the testing window — instrument malfunction or any other problem — do not panic. Invite the attention of the Test Centre Administrator and he / she will attend to the problem. Follow all the instructions given by the TCA from the time you are signed in after the security check till you are allowed to leave the examination hall.
The writer is Centre Director, T.I.M.E. Chennai.