There are some things that every CAT aspirant should know before starting the preparation for this exam. I have seen many aspirants wasting a lot of time over things that don’t even matter much. So, I thought I should write about some myths that end up taking a lot of unnecessary time and effort while preparing for CAT.
1. HAVE TO COVER EVERYTHING TO SCORE A GOOD PERCENTILE
And by good, I mean anywhere between 95-99 percentile – I have to study everything from arithmetic to algebra, geometry to number system and whatnot is a very common statement I have heard from my friends when we were preparing for cat. I used to tell them that if you have analysed last 2-3 years CAT papers, doing arithmetic only but doing it properly would take you north of 90th percentile in quants section but they never believed me and keep on doing everything. No particular topic became their strength and they ended up scoring a lower percentile than they were planning to.
So, first suggestion is focus on quality of your preparation and not the quantity part of it and that goes for all three sections.
2. HAVE TO ATTEMPT 75-80 QUESTIONS (An excerpt from one of my previous article)
Anyone who know how important of a role accuracy plays in scoring well in this exam will tell you otherwise.
Accuracy is everything and you can see that for yourself. In the above figure, it is clear that that you had to attempt only 60-62 questions to get 99%ile if your accuracy is 90%. But in the same exam, you have to attempt around 85 questions if your accuracy rate is 70%. That is a difference of 20-25 questions (sounds scary right 😉). You should focus on getting the answer right first and then focus on speed. Even if you getting the answer right in three minutes, it is still better than marking an answer in 90 seconds and getting it wrong. That is a difference of 4 marks every 90 seconds.
If I talk about my attempt rate in CAT 2019, I attempted 63 questions (yup, just 63 questions) and I got 52 of them right (and got 98.7%ile), so that give an accuracy of 82% and this is just around that excellent 85% accuracy mark. So, focus on accuracy and it will give you returns in the long run. You have to master the art of leaving questions and that only comes with practice.
Second suggestion is focus on accuracy.
3. MY VOCABULARY SHOULD BE REALLY STRONG
Writing word meanings in a pad and trying to remember them so vocabulary would become strong which is a very important factor to score well in VARC section is as big a myth as there can be. If you are reading enough (30-60 minutes a day) and from different sources such as novels, newspapers, general articles on internet, etc. you would be able to get some meaning out of a word even if you get stuck somewhere during RCs. Reading will also increase your reading speed gradually so it has multiple benefits.
Third suggestion is read a lot.
4. SHOULD GIVE FULL MOCKS WHEN I HAVE COVERED MOST OF THE SYLLABUS.
Aspirants defer giving mocks until late September or early October as they believe they should first cover every bit of syllabus they need to cover which is a very wrong strategy. Getting used to sitting for 3 hours and concentrate without any break is something which takes time and you should start giving mocks as soon as you have given 2-3 sectional mocks for each section. Ideally two mocks in august and then one mock every week from there on should give you a good enough number of mocks to practice and get accustomed to this paper (15-20 full mocks is something you should target).
Fourth suggestion is start giving mocks as soon as you can.
5. CAT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT
Yes, it is difficult but is it extremely difficult? No, it is surely not. You don’t have to sit for
10 hours a day to prepare for this exam and you don’t need 12-15 months to score well in this exam. As long as you are consistent (3-4 hours a day for 4-5 months), you would be able to score well. This is something most of the people who have done well in this exam will tell you. Coupled with above suggestions should hold you in good stead to be able to do well and have a good percentile in the end which is the ultimate goal. You should treat this exam as an exam only and not build it up so much in your head that you start sweating each time someone mentions this exam.
So, final suggestion is be calm and believe in your preparation.
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