Striking a right balance – Accuracy vs Speed in CAT


The usual dilemma that one faces while preparing for CAT takes the form of a trade off between accuracy and speed. Honestly, one need not trade off one for the other. In fact, to use a combinatorial term, these two are not mutually exclusive events. However, I will not definitely conclude these two events to be independent ones.

Accuracy is important. But you are not launching a space ship. Essentially this means that you should not hesitate to approximate whenever needed and proceed. For instance, if you realize that you have to find the amount of time taken by two pipes A and B to fill a tank. If these two pipes individually take 20 and 30 minutes respectively, do not spend time trying to solve the problem as 1/20 + 1/30 and then find the LCM and then the answer. If a pipe takes 20 minutes to fill a tank, it fills 5% in a minute. Similarly, another pipe takes 30 minutes to fill a tank, it fills 3.33% in a minute. So, together they fill over 8% a minute. This means they will take about 12 minutes to fill the tank. This kind of approximation and switching between % and fractions will help you gain time.

Similarly, one important thing that you need to keep in mind is that as you proceed with each step of solving a question, take a quick glance at the answer choices. This way, in may instances, you will find that you do not have to go to the last step and find the answer. Even if it is only one or two steps saved for each problem, that will give you enough time to crack another 3 or 4 more problems in CAT. That is a huuuuge difference when it comes to getting calls from the IIMs.

Best wishes

K S Baskar

PGDM – IIM Calcutta – Class of 94

Ascent Education – CAT GDPI Training Sessions



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  1. Extremely true! Anybody with half a brain can crack the CAT if twice the time was given !

    My personalized mentoring programme helped immensely to tackle the accuracy:time problem in my CAT. Hoping for the best .

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