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How To Crack CAT 2019 - The foremost step towards acing the most coveted entrance examination conducted by IIM to admit candidates to postgraduate management programmes is to analyse one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is imperative for all the prospective CAT candidates to prepare and plan their preparation strategy. CAT does not require intelligence; it calls for planning and perseverance! CAT preparation revolves around the ability to maximise candidates’ potential, ensuring that they are fully aware of their strong areas and utilise them in the best possible manner. In this article, Careers360 brings forth the techniques to crack CAT 2019 and smoothen the path for all the test takers in order to ace CAT on the day of the exam.Latest: CAT result 2019 will be declared on January 6, 2020.
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How to crack CAT exam is the most engaging question posed by aspirants. Both CAT toppers and experts emphasize on the importance of planning, regular practice, time management, the accuracy of answers, and selection of questions in their guiding tips. The experts suggest ways to select the right questions, the number of questions to attempt in order to crack the test with a high percentile. The 10 strategies mentioned here pertaining to ‘How to crack CAT’ are all inter-connected with each other and render a cumulative effect if followed religiously.
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What is meant by Regular Practice? Does it denote 12-14 hours of study or non-stop reading of CAT preparation books? This over-used statement implies nothing like this. It talks of ‘smart work’ over ‘hard work’. Candidates need to focus on the basic fundamentals, sharpen test-taking skills, and improve with the practice of the mock tests. This can only be executed with a proper weekly and monthly planning. The weekly plans should be built keeping in the mind the monthly targets in terms of completing the CAT 2019 syllabus.
While preparing the weekly plan, candidates should ensure to focus on one target area in each subject that they want to improve on. The weekly task should also include revision of the already covered concepts (minimum one topic). Once, four to six concepts are completed, one should try taking as many mock test questions pertaining to those covered topics. This process should continue until he/she finishes the CAT syllabus 2019. Viraj Sheth, a 99.95 percentiler in CAT 2017 clearly stated, “I maintained a consistency of devoting 6 – 8 hours every day and believed in my abilities.”
A planned approach towards CAT preparation will not only help a test taker score well but also save a lot of time and energy to pursue his/her leisure time activities. Scoring well in CAT is not a difficult task if one ensures a perfect planning and execution. It is highly recommended that test takers should have a regular regime of study hours.
Being the most vital aspect, time is the most valuable resource, not only for CAT 2019 but for all entrance tests/academic tests for that matter. In CAT, all the sections are time-bound, so one needs to manage his/her time thrice, as in three hours divided into three sections. Examinees can afford to devote 60 minutes for each section. The time management strategy is usually separate for each sub-section. For example, a candidate may choose to spend more time in English Usage area than the Reading Comprehension questions in the VARC section or spend more time analysing and solving the DI questions if he/she is not competent enough for the LR section.
Time management can be best planned by the test takers themselves as they are the best judge to decide how to utilise the one hour allotted to one section. Ideally, not more than two minutes should be spent per question as candidates should keep some spare time for question selection and revision. “I devoted five to seven minutes for selecting the questions. I had answered 24 questions in RC and spent 42-45 minutes as my accuracy level was very high,” Mentions Chhavi Gupta, a CAT 2017 Topper who secured 100 percentile and is currently pursuing MBA at IIM Ahmedabad.
Focus should not be on solving all 100 questions but on the level of accuracy. So one is expected to prioritise his/her questions based on their strengths and weaknesses. Test takers should first focus on completing questions from their strong areas, followed by the weak areas. Performance in the CAT 2019 is dependent much on candidates’ level of preparation and command over the topics of strength.
Owing to the negative marking pattern, test takers must be cautious while marking the answers. For each correct answer three marks would be awarded but for each wrong answer, one mark would be deducted. However, for the subjective type questions, there is no negative marking scheme attached with the incorrect responses. If one attains the 100 per cent accuracy level in the exam, there are high chances to secure a percentile more than 99+ even if he/she does not attempt all questions. If the questions are calculation intensive, cross-check the calculation and revise the answer more than once to attain accuracy. Avinash Iyer, who bagged 99.61 percentile in CAT 2017 said, “Candidates should focus on speed over concepts during CAT preparation.”
The supplementary aspect which tags along with accuracy is speed! CAT aspirants not only need to solve the questions accurately but solve them in minutes. Speed immensely matters to attain grip on CAT exam. In order to manage speed with accuracy, candidates need to make use of techniques, like rounding up fractions to estimate the answer faster or to write tests at such a speed, that they can complete the tests before the stipulated time.
Time Management Guidelines
Six to ten minutes for a set of four questions.
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Maximum eight minutes for reading a passage and 90 seconds to answer each question based on the passage
Two-three minutes for each question
Six to eight minutes for a set of four questions
Right question is a relative term in itself. What is a ‘right question’? Each candidate should first spend some time selecting the questions that they are confident about. This action builds confidence in attempting the complete exam. Spending some time to scan through the questions carefully is definitely a smart way to counter the exam paper. Candidates, while beginning with a section, should mark the questions to be attempted first. Additionally, they should select some buffer questions as well, in case they find the selected set of questions difficult to solve or time-consuming.
It is of utmost importance that aspirants should be aware of the selection criteria of top management institutes including IIMs and top B Schools, as they mostly require both overall and sectional cutoff for shortlisting students for the final admission. To keep up to the afore-mentioned selection condition, one needs to render equal priority to all three sections, Quantitative Ability (QA), Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC) and Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR). If a candidate is a CAT aspirant, he/she must concentrate on improving the overall percentile by attempting more questions from their strong sections and minimal attempts from weak sections without compromising on the rate of accuracy.
Gautam Puri, Vice Chairman, Career Launcher shares his opinion on how to crack CAT, with special reference to the number of questions to be attempted per section and the net score required to obtain 99 percentile and above. The table mentioned below projects the same-
How To Crack CAT 2019 - Number of Attempts
Number of Questions to attempt
23 to 25 attempts
70 to 75
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
22 to 24 attempts
65 to 70
Verbal and Reading Comprehension
20 to 22 attempts
55 to 60
To the obvious question, how to crack CAT, Soumyajit Ghosh, 94.3 percentiler in CAT 2017 and IIM Bangalore student shared his experience on the section wise strategy during the exam -
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension: Verbal section was good. I skipped Para Jumble questions as per my strategy (because of the high probability of error and time consuming). I attempted all RCs but took enough time to revise.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning: The DILR section was quite tough. I kept my head cool and tried to solve the questions without error. I could answer 12-13 questions.
Quantitative Abilities: This section was quite easy to solve.
How To Crack CAT 2019- The most important areas of each section are as the following-
Logic and calculation based DI sets
Arrangement based puzzles, Investment Betting, and Tournaments
Geometry, Modern Mathematics and Arithmetic problems
Reading Comprehension, Jumble and Completion type questions.
It is always better to select and start attempting questions from the area of strength to boost one’s confidence. Comfortable questions prepare you for the entire tenure of the test and eventually help candidates to tackle the tricky, difficult questions as well. Moreover, comfortable questions let one save time as can be solved easily within a short span of time. Post completing the comfortable questions, test takers can delve into the tough questions, spend some extra time and try solving them accurately so that they do not lose out on any of the known questions.
CAT Mock Test aids test aspirants to evaluate their preparation and also helps them to have a better understanding of the test and the technique required to be followed at the time of the test. One should ensure to strictly maintain the timeline that he/she has practised on stand-alone questions during the preparation. First-year MBA student of IIFT Delhi, Harrshit Kansal, whose IIFT percentile was 99.6, CAT percentile was 98.87 and NMAT by GMAC percentile was 99 clearly stated, “Initially, I was appearing in around one to two mocks every week. Later on, when a few months were left before CAT, I started appearing in three mocks per week on an average. I made sure that the analysis of the mocks in which I appeared was done in the same week only. In the last three weeks before CAT, I again decreased the frequency of mocks and spent more time in revising all previously studied concepts and the marked questions from old mock tests.”
Revision of the answers filled should be done before the final submission. There are chances that test takers might commit some unwarranted/silly errors like forget to mark the correct option, a question left unanswered by mistake etc. Cross-checking the answer comes to rescue in such obvious situations. Candidates should keep some buffer time for each section for revising the questions before the sectional duration concludes. This strategy of keeping buffer time helps in cracking all management and other entrance exams. Re-visiting answered questions would yield aspirants maximum scope for scoring, and would immensely help in avoiding mistakes.
Concentration and focus should be the mantra for the test day. Candidates are advised to be with their own selves and nobody should be able to distract them. It is a usual practice to discuss preparation with friends and peers; one should refrain from this practice to be at peace. One should be confident about his/her preparation and not indulge in the last minute preparation or discussions. This affects the state of mind of the test takers. Therefore, before appearing for CAT 2019, the focus should be on the test strategy and not in futile discussion. Self-reliance will help candidates convert their CAT preparation into manifest targets.
How to prepare for CAT 2019
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Yes, there is a possibility for you as you belong to the SC category. But still there are alot of factors taken into consideration while accessing your profile for giving a call for interviews bu top Business schools of India. You have a good chance provided you work on your communication skills and other skills. Also try doing internships and building your profile as these things will affect and may decide if you will be getting a call or not.
Hope it helps,
For getting in top B-schools of India like IIM-A, IIM-B, IIM-C, FMS Delhi etc. you need good marks not only in in CAT but also in Class 10th, 12th and your graduation. If you have some work experience then it gives you more advantages.
There is no specific cutoff of percentile on which you can get into top IIMs. Since your marks in 10th, 12th is above 90% and in graduation above 7 CGPA with work experience, you can expect a call from
IIM-A, IIM-B, IIM-C
if you have at least
99 percentile in CAT
also you should aim for
99+ percentile in CAT
and also keep in mind that if you score
95+ percentile in VARC Section
it will increase your chances of getting in.
Click at this link to know more about CAT -
Hope this was helpful
Given below are the best books to refer for preparing for CAT examination:
1. For Quantitative Aptitude:
2. For Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation :
3. For Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension :
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