CAT 2019 Toppers Strategies to Ace the Exam Day

    Karishma Khatri Karishma Khatri
    Exams Prep Master

    CAT 2019 is scheduled for November 24, 2019 and this year almost a count of 2.44 lakh applications have been filed. The number of registrations received this year is the highest in the last 10 years thus leading to a tougher competition in CAT 2019. Such competition needs a strategically planned attempt. Here are some exam day tips by CAT 2018 toppers that aspirants can while attempting the paper. 

    CAT 2018 Topper Purav Gandhi (99.99 percentile) advices aspirants to choose questions wisely

    As per Purav, candidates must pick questions wisely that they intend to solve in the span of 3 hours. He believes that each of the 3 sections has a few tricky questions and the chances of getting them wrong are relatively higher. Therefore Purav advises the test takers to not focus on such a difficult time consuming questions. He suggests that candidates can leave a maximum of 40 questions as attempting 60 questions with accuracy can fetch you a 99 percentile in the exam. Read CAT Score Calculation

    CAT 2018 Topper Manaswi Kumar (99.14 percentile) shares his sectional exam day strategies 

    Manasvi shares that in VARC, he solved the reading comprehension questions before the verbal ability questions. He finished the RC questions in 40 minutes and used the rest for VA bit. For DILR, Manaswi shares that he spent the first 8 minutes for categorizing the questions as per their difficulty level and then moved to attempt the seemingly easier ones first. He made it a point to not spend more than 8 minutes at a puzzle, using this strategy he attempted a fair number of questions and secured a 97 percentile in this section. For QA, he says that since the section was tough he focused on accuracy and got 19 questions right out of the 22 he attempted. 

    CAT 2018 Topper Mihir Kapse (99.97 percentile) shares his time management techniques

    Mihir shares that since VARC was easy for him even in the mock tests that he took, therefore he didn’t need any strategy while attempting the questions. For DILR, he would take 10-15 seconds to skim over a question and then decided he wanted to attempt it. He gave 8-10 minutes to solve each set. For QA, he gave 2 minutes per question to go about the section. 

    CAT 2018 Topper Rickshesh Manchanda (100 percentile) believes impromptu strategies and are the keys

    Rickshesh believes that if he/she a set strategy for the exam day, then it may become problematic as CAT question paper can be highly unpredictable and set plans may fail. Instant plans as per the questions asked are best as per him. He also shares that despite of his time management plans, the first 30 minutes in every section were invested in picking up the speed yet he managed to attempt a good number of questions with accuracy. 

    7 Strategies Taken up by the CAT Exam toppers During Preparation

    Toppers say that advance preparation and a focus on basics along with articulate time-management to the exam is sufficient to get a percentile in a range of nineties. A key to success is the right strategy paired with a lot of practice and consistent hard work.

    • Understand the syllabus and the exam pattern

    This is the first thing a CAT aspirant should check through before starting their preparation. Figure out what is the syllabus and the exam pattern that is being followed through the previous year’s exam papers. Check the minimum scores required overall and in each section to crack the exam and keep a count of the number of questions you will have to attempt to reach that desired cutoff. On this basis, make yourself a time-table of your to-do’s. Your time table should contain the following:

    1. Your every-day time-table should contain at least 2-3 hours spent on every section.
    2. Plan accordingly that you will be working with the concepts and building up your theoretical knowledge. And alternatively, you will be also dealing with the mock tests and doing intensive practice.

    This will be getting you a clearer understanding of the sections or topics that you are more comfortable with and can gain much more confidence with achieving effective accuracy.

    • Strengthen the Basics

    Strengthening your basics in every section is an important part. 

    1. Quantitative aptitude and data interpretation needs numerical practice, so go through the topic that comes under quantitative and revise the basics of every concept, every theory. Working on the ground level will help you understand the tougher concepts more easily. You can refer to NCERT books VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X. Master over time-saving techniques like tables, squares, cubes and percentage equivalent of fractions and at least the same of the first 30 natural numbers. Only practice can help one become comfortable and confident over this section.
    2. For Comprehension and verbal section, develop a habit of reading newspapers, editorials and other online material for grammar. Here also work with the basics of grammar and revise the concepts that you have read in school. Regular practice of learning 15 to 20 new words can help you immensely for this section.
    3. For logical reasoning, there is no way other than practice. When you practice you will be able to come along for some of the basic elements and you will understand how to find a conclusion. Approximations and Vedic Mathematics being common to this section, make a habit of attempting at least 20 questions or 4 sets each of LR & DI daily. This should usually takes around 10-15 minutes to solve. Try and solve them within a span of 8-12 minutes.
    • Identify your strength and weakness

    While you will be working with the concepts, you will be able to figure out the sections that are tough for you to understand and takes more time to solve. Prepare two columns one for your strength and another for weakness. In the strength column, include the topics that you are more confident about and able to solve easily. And in weakness column include the topics that are tough. 

    Toppers, stress on increasing accuracy rather than maximizing the number of attempts. So, you need to work effortlessly both on your strengths and weaknesses. You also need to fathom more accuracy over the topics of the strength column as from these you will be able to score maximum marks. Meanwhile, you will need to improve yourself in the topics you are weak so that you are able to attempt the minimum required questions to cross the cut-off.

    • Extensive practice

    Continuous practice is a mandate for success. Make it a point to practice your best capability and frequency. Devote every single day for practicing questions based on each section. This does not necessarily mean to be engaged with complex numerical problems or lengthy passages over long hours of the day. But the idea behind this is to be in a hang of tackling similar questions that will be thrown at you on the Exam Day.

    One can never fail to fall short of practice-material and mock tests that are available in multiples over the internet and in various preparation books. Reading the daily newspaper, articles on the internet covering various topics and a proper rest coupled with these things should be the ideal approach towards building up for the D-day.

    • Attempt mock tests

    Try to give at least 2 months for mock tests prior to the exam. With each exam, you’ll very vividly come to know your strengths and weaknesses. It will show how much prepared you are, how much clear your concepts are. You may encounter certain common errors. Try to find out the factors behind those errors. There may be a lack of conceptual clarity or just silly mistakes. This in-depth analysis is critical for the course of your preparation. Based on that you’ll have to make changes in your approach. You can only improve yourself when you can figure out your mistakes. Mock tests will also teach you how to manage time effectively during the exam. 

    • Develop speed and accuracy

    Every applicant should work on improving their speed to solve the question. The ideal time to be spent on each question should not be more than 2 minutes. It would be great if you could learn some tricks for fast calculations like speed multiplication or any shortcuts to numerical operations. The coaching classes usually teach these techniques, and you can also check out the tutorials on YouTube. 

    And accuracy, as mentioned earlier, is more important than solving maximum questions. So you need to have speed along with accuracy and this can be achieved with the proper concepts, techniques, and continuous practice.

    Also Read Tricks to solve QA Questions for CAT under 1 minute

    • Time management

    During the exams, you need to properly manage the time so that you don’t miss out on the questions you know. Lack of time management is one of the reasons for not passing the cut-off. 

    1. You should make a prior decision about how much time you are going to spend on each section.
    2. Try to go through all the questions during the reading time, so that you get an idea from which section you are able to attempt more questions.
    3. Start with the section you can easily solve and go to the tough ones later.
    4. Don’t waste time on the questions you are stuck with. Just let them go.

    In short, CAT needs dedication and consistency to work hard and fetch a good percentile. If MBA aspirants devote at least 5 months and work on the above techniques and do a continuous practice then achieving the desired result is certainly possible.

    Be positive, confident and stay calm while taking the exam. All the Best!



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