2 feet above the paper view of each question

Look at each question from a relatively macro perspective. As you read the question, see if the answer choices give you any clue. More often than not, it will not give much of a clue at this stage. It will just let you get an idea as to whether the answer choices are really close or are they spaced apart. For instance, if you find answer choices for a DI question as 34.3, 34.38, 34.42 and 34.55 skip the question. What is the point in wasting time computing to two decimal points accuracy. Anyway, after you become an MBA you will have the best of calculators and Pentium HT machines at your disposal. What the IIMs are probably testing with such questions is to find out if you are smart enough to skip the question.

You have skipped questions where answer choices really close. What next? Proceed to solve the question. In many instances, even though at the first step answers may not give you much of an idea, as you proceed with the second or third step of solving the problem the answer choices will start making lot more sense. Make it a habit to take a quick glance at the answer choices after each step. It is tantamount to taking a glance at the rear view mirror when you drive a car (that is provided you use the rear view mirror for the intended purpose!!). This time around, it will give you more clues that could help you eliminate answer choices that are not plausible. If your elimination leaves you with only one choice, go ahead and tick it and proceed to the next question. Do Not compute till the last step. It might help get a sense of satisfaction to get the answer after solving all the steps. But then, getting peace of mind in one question will surely cost you missing out on three more.

There will be adequate number of questions in quant section where you should be substituting the answer choices and solving them instead of solving up the logical way. This way you will cut down the time you take for that question by over 50%. Saving time on 10 such questions could mean you will be able to attempt 3 or 4 more questions. Well that is essentially the difference between getting four or more GDPI calls from the IIMs and getting no calls.

Best wishes

K S Baskar

Director – Ascent Education

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  1. dear baskar
    i am working in an oil PSU for the last 17 years. this year decieded to take some exams like CAT, IIFT, FMS etc. finding it very difficult on quant section. other two sections are manageable but quant i find it very tough. basically the questtions are easy but to crack it in less than a min is tough.
    any tips for people like us ?

  2. Hi Ramanan

    You do not have to crack questions in the quant section in a minute. It is almost impossible too!

    This thumbrule has worked in the last four or five CATs. So, I believe it should work this time around too.

    You need to score a net of 20 marks in the quant section. If you allocate 40 minutes to the section, that translates to getting a mark every 2 mintues. That sure should be possible!!

    What it also means is that you can skip 3 questions for every 5 questions that you read in the quant section (of course the caveat is that you get 100% accuracy).

    Strive to reduce your incorrects in the quant section to 2 questions. This is essential to maximize your returns for the time and energy spent in the section. It is true for all sections. But gains much more prominence in the quant section.

    K S Baskar

  3. Sir,
    I’m an ims student studying in B’lore.Managed percentiles in the range of 98-98.5 in the first 4
    simcats.Getting around 99.5 in the 5th simcat.Though
    the percentiles are decent,my absolute score hovers around 50-60 which isn’t great.How do you rate these percentiles?Have they proved to be accurate in the past?If I put up a similar performance on the D day ,how many calls can I expect?(i’ve heard that cat %iles tend to be higher than your mock percentile)Also I must add that i’m a fresher with 70% aggregate so far.

  4. Hi Shrikanth

    I think if you maintain the same levels of scores as you have got in your SIMs on D day, then you should get at least 2 out of the 6 calls and possibly all 6 calls.

    You are right about a person scoring a higher percentile in actual CAT, because the population of people who take practice tests is only about 15000 while about 1.2 lakh people take actual CAT.

    The key to note is that you should clear the cut offs in all three sections – overall 50 or 60 has very little meaning otherwise.

    Best wishes to crack CAT 2004.

    K S Baskar
    PGDM – IIM Calcutta – Class of 94
    Director – Ascent Education

    Enrol for Ascent’s Mock CAT Series @ http://www.mockcat.com

  5. Sir,
    I am doing my final year B.E. and i wrote cat 2005 and got 57%le. Basically iam an average student and i gone for one year training for cat at ims. And i planned to take cat this year too… my question is whether to spend my days with only cat or to take job and study for cat? I am really confused in this.. so pls give me an advice…

  6. sir,
    i am studying be first year. i want to know exactly how many months are required for the cat preparation and which year shall i start preparing for cat of my four years of be course.

  7. Hi Vivek

    Ideally, it will suffice if you start your CAT preparation sometime in the sixth semester.

    However, these days as many CAT coaching institutes start their CAT preparation 18 months or 24 months before CAT, you will be under tremendous peer pressure to start early.

    Though starting early does not necessarily mean that you have an advantage, it will help give you the comfort that you have commenced your CAT Prep.

    But remember one thing, if you start really early, then it is your responsibility to maintain the preparation tempo. Most students who start 18 months or 2 years before their CAT have ended up losing steam midway through.

    Best wishes

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