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Sohini Deb, a first year IIM Kozhikode student who cracked CAT 2013 gives credit of her success to taking mock tests and regular practice. “I used to give Mock exam on every weekend as Practice is the key to crack this exam.” Before the final show, a mock drill or rehearsal is an important part of preparation. Same goes with CAT or any MBA entrance exam preparation. If you are a serious CAT aspirant, you must have started taking mock tests towards shaping your D-day performance. If not, this is high time you start.
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Change your Mock strategy:
With a changed pattern of CAT this year, students will also need to change their exam taking strategy. Sandeep Manudhane, Chairman, PT Education feels that the new pattern is much better and more candidate friendly. “The new pattern is fantastic, only because it allows the freedom to move between sections, as per will. This can prove strategic: you do what you can do, first. Then you do what you are relatively not excellent at. The standard technique of scan - search - select - solve works wonderfully well in this new system.”
Not only has the test duration increased by 30 minutes, from 140 minutes to 170 minutes, you will also get opportunity to move to and fro between sections. Earlier, the sections were time bound for 70 minutes each.
The following table shares with you the new pattern of CAT.
CAT 2014 pattern
No of Questions
Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation
Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning
The change in CAT pattern should also guide you your Mock test strategies. You can now spend less time on the section you are comfortable with and go for extra minutes on the questions which you find time-consuming. While taking the mock test, you should also keep tab on making the recent changes to work in your favour.
Now that there is approximately a month left for CAT 2014, mock tests should form an integral part of your preparation. This article of Careers360 will guide you on why mock tests are important and how to best utilize them.
Why mock tests?
Mock test is the most effective method of evaluating your current preparation level and re- strategies your future preparation plans. It also makes you familiar to the question types. As experts suggest, if you solve the past 10 years questions of CAT, you have high chances to crack CAT.
Also, if you are taking mock test in a proctored environment, which is most likely, you will get used to the exam taking strategy and the time management for the exam day.
Therefore, you must start taking full length mock tests in proctored situation. Kumar Pratik, IIM Calcutta student who obtained 99.7 percentile in CAT 2013 says, “Give lots and lots of Mock Tests for CAT. Identify and rectify on your weak areas, and once you’ve prepared entirely just relax and have confidence.”
When to start taking Mock Tests
Ideally you should start taking the mock tests around 7 to 5 weeks before the test. By then, you would have completed your basic preparation as well. Make sure that you take mock tests from a noted institute which will not only provide you questions on relevant topics and difficulty level but also a proctored environment and the navigation would be in accordance to the latest changes introduced in CAT. “You should now use mock tests to look at getting advanced level practice on the concepts, along with polishing the strategy,” says Manek Daruvala, Director, T.I.M.E.
How to best utilize mock tests
According to experts and toppers, your method of taking mock test will determine your performance on the final day. Following points share the test taking methods to apply during your mock tests.
Take 3 to 4 mocks in a week – Take at least 3 to 4 mock tests in a week and analyze them in between. Make sure you have at least 1 day gap in between 2 mocks so that you can analyze and prepare for the next test. “I strategized in such a manner that I solved 3 mock papers on Saturday and Sunday, each followed by 2 more during the weekdays. Pre-planning and effective execution of this schedule allowed me to crack the examination,” shares Ajinkya Jain, a first year student of JBIMS Mumbai.
Keep 30 minutes buffer time – Try to complete the test within 140 to 150 minutes. Keep at least 20 to 30 minutes buffer time in hand where you can attempt other questions which might fetch more marks. “Since you know that you need to reach the end of the paper by the end of 150 min, you tend to keep the pace high. Do this by attempting only the easy and do-able questions. Therefore, solve the easiest questions first, make sure that do not get stuck on any question for long and skip the difficult questions,” advises Daruvala. After completion, you can revise the questions to check for silly mistakes. Don’t compromise on accuracy for speed.
Attempt the easier section first – By now, you must have recognized your strengths and weaknesses. It is suggested that you start the test with easy and do-able questions so that you can gain confidence to attempt the tougher and not so comfortable questions. Sandeep Manudhane states, “The best strategy is to take first what you are best at. Do as much of that as possible, mark all answers accordingly, take a stock of the situation, and having thus completed that preferred section (test area) of yours, move on to the test area you are 'second-best' at.”
Allot duration for sections and topics – Since CAT 2014 would not have sectional demarcation, you are the sole decider of how much time to allot for each section and topic. With regular mock tests, you would have a clear idea on how much time you require for solving section wise questions. “Use the mocks to identify the time that will be required for each section at various difficulty levels. You need to understand that the time allocated needs to be increased or decreased based on the difficulty level of the paper,” says Daruvala. Suggesting the strategy, Manudhane shares, “You can break up the entire test into test-areas, and within each test-area, you can have 'rounds of attempts' viz, first, second, and may be third.”
Sectional Mock Tests - You may take sectional mock tests as well to check your sectional preparation or right after completing a particular section among Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning. “At the end of each period, take a simulated test and check your sectional performance. If your attempt and accuracy is greater than or equal to the benchmarked percentile, you are ready to move to the next stage,” suggests Vinayak Kudva, PG Head for Mumbai & India, IMS Learning.
What after taking mocks?
After taking a mock test, take at least 2 to 3 days break before appearing for another one. In the meanwhile, you need to analyze your performance and prepare accordingly. If need be, you may change your preparation strategy as well. Get your mock tests analysed by your mentor or seniors. Some of the pointers to follow after taking the mock tests are given as follows:
In the last week before CAT, try to take a full length mock test every day. Treat it as your stage rehearsal before the final show. You will not only be well prepared with the sections and topics, but to sit through 170 minutes straight without losing focus from the questions.
Other Feature Stories on B-School and MBA:
Life @ B-School Campus
Changes in CAT 2014
CAT Topper Interviews
MBA Internship Series
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With your profile you might not be able to get any top IIM or baby IIMs. You can expect a call in the baby IIMs like Amritsar, etc @99+ but converting the call will be very difficult.
Moreover, if you are an engineer, you might not get that as well. I suggest you should focus on other exams like IIFT which are the Institute of Foreign Trade and are very good colleges have campus in Delhi and Kolkata. They did not give any weightage to past academic performance and give call only on the basis of exam performance and admission on the performance in interview.
Hope this helps. Thank you.
Some B-schools consider your academics but still Yes you can get into top b-schools, provided you have a decent percentile in the common admissions test(CAT) too a cat percentile of 98+ for mediocre IIMs and 99+ for the top ones. But you can absolutely forget IIMs- Ahmedabad , Bangalore,v Calcutta,Indore as they focus on acads and you have a very average profile as of now but still there are lots of other factors which govern whether you'll be gettin a call from the top IIMs or not like which company did you work for, if the company is one in which the selection rate is less or the selection criteria is hard, which college you did your undergraduate degree from, which course did you pursue, many other factors which play a role.
Please focus on your undergraduation marks too and do a lot of Internships to improve your profile and hence increase the chances of getting a call.
You can follow the link below for more information
You can reach out to us for more information regarding admissions entrance tests etc.
Hope it helps.
Gate Cutoffs varies from branches to branches and Categories to Categories.
As you have not mentioned an hence i am attaching a link of our Article which will give you the information about each and every IIT's. and NIT's.
Yes, absolutely. You have good academic scores apart from your graduation score. You can get call from some of the top colleges/universities like FMS, IIM Calcutta, Kozhikode, Shillong and other cap IIMs. Older IIMs are still a bit dicey in the matter and all the admissions will be mainly based on your CAT score. Given you are a Btech student then you should target a score of 99+ percentile to get a call from these B-school.
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