3 steps to success

The numbers are out. CAT 2014 will be conducted in 99 cities across 354 test sites. There will be four testing windows, two each on the testing dates November 16 and November 22.

The format of CAT will undergo a change this year. The number of questions in each section, Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation, and Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning, has been increased to 50 from 30 last year. The total time has also gone up to 170 minutes, from 140 minutes, with the option of moving from one section to the other within the testing window. With only a couple of months to go for the exam, let us focus on the best methods of preparation and areas of focus .

Flexible time

The flexibility to move across sections will give the aspirants complete control over time management. Everyone has strong and weak areas and reallocating the available time to questions that require much more is now completely within your control. Exercise that right judiciously. Questions that can be cracked with added investment of time can be handled in that fashion. At the same time, do have the judgment to leave questions that can be complete time-stealers.

Another great way is to take a model CAT paper you have attempted before the new pattern was announced. This time around, do the same paper without the sectional time limits. Do notice the different choices you make in question selection. Your own strong and weak areas in the testing arena will be clearly highlighted in this exercise.

Model exams

There is nothing like taking a series of model examinations that replicate the actual examination in content, style and level of difficulty. These tests need to be taken under exact test conditions — in one sitting and under supervision. You will need to get into complete examination mode by shutting yourself off from all external distractions and complete the examination. Do this multiple times so that you become hard-wired to endure the 170-minute focus test. Also, these model examinations should give you a very good national performance feedback relative to the other candidates across India who will be your competitors in the actual examination.

Analysis of performance

The benefit of model examinations can be extracted only if you include a Performance Analysis Session after each exam. Ideally, these sessions should happen within 48 hours of the model exam so that the questions and your approaches in the exam are still fresh in your mind. Another visit can be done after the results or relative ranking of model exams are published.

You will certainly appreciate the interdependence of the three steps mentioned above. You can exercise better judgment of question selection only if you take a series of model exams. And without the post-exam analysis, you cannot verify the effectiveness of the choices you made. Taken together as a flowchart process and executed with the correct amount of iterations, it will definitely help you move from your current level of preparedness to one that can help you get admission into one of the top management Institutes.

Remember that a lot can be improved in two months. Also, let us keep in mind that the Government of India has decided to open six more IIMs which are likely to commence their operations in 2015-16. This is good news as there will be more seats in the IIMs from this testing year onwards.

The writer is the Director of T.I.M.E, Chennai.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 4:37:43 AM |

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