There are lots of ways to prepare for the CAT, at least nowadays it seems like everyone has their own advice and school of thought on how to do so. A solid study plan tailored to your strengths and weaknesses is undoubtedly key, but are there other sure-fire, concrete ways to increase your score? We happen to think so. No, we’re not talking about a magic bullet that will instantly skyrocket you to a 150+, but we can offer you some highly tested, reliable ways to improve your performance. Through this blog, we will share some ‘mantras’ and tips that will definitely help you improve your score.
How to maximize your score in VARC?
When it comes to VARC what’s that one thing that will help you to take the leap from 95th to 99th percentile?
The magic mantra is Accuracy!
All those other things like reading are important too. But if you notice there are 26 questions that are being asked from VARC section. Most of us, who have a decent level of preparation do 18 out of 26 questions or 24 out of 26 questions. 18 to 24 is a big bunch of number of attempts because time pressure is not acute. We can give gazillions examples, where a student who attempted 18 questions end up scoring an upwards of 99 percentile in VARC where someone who attempted 23 questions end up scoring 93 percentile. So, from this it’s clear that the number of attempts is not much use when it comes to VARC.
So, what you should do?
You need to build in this habit of being particular on accuracy from very early on. Yes, I know VARC is a very subjective section, but all that aside you should have an attitude where you should be fully confident about the answer option that you’re marking, or if you’re not that confident you shouldn’t be going for it. So, being particular about VARC is super crucial.
Okay, I understand. But what should do I do to improve my accuracy?
Yes, you’ve read it right! Lot of error happens because you scramble through the reading part. While attempting this section great many students are able to read the passage quickly, but their mind do not register the idea of the paragraph quickly. Sometimes when you’re not able to decide between two options, spend that extra 15 seconds to see whether there is a solid ground on the basis of which one option of them can be eliminated. So pick your battles select the right passages but be very particular about the accuracy.
How to maximize your score in DILR?
Now, when it comes to DILR what is that one thing to do to improve your score?
Here the name of the magic bullet is question selection.
Don’t get me wrong. Practicing tons of puzzles is important, and going through the solution of that puzzle is also important. But knowing which one to leave and which one to select is more important than all of these.
DILR is a considered to be the most dreaded section in CAT. Suppose it is a 6 questions set. You get that one set correct, then you’re already flirting with 98th percentile. You get one more set correct then you’re flirting with 99.3 percentile. So one selection could be magical. So you got to have super clarity on different types of DILR sets in your head. You should have your own build in algorithm, where for example if you see a puzzle which involves heavy duty permutation combination in it, then you’re gonna tell yourself that I’m not going to touch that! Point being is, you should be super savvy about selecting the puzzles.
Hang in there!
Sometimes you jump in and start doing a puzzle. And it takes 4-5 minutes of your time. Suddenly, the confidence you had while starting the puzzle just leaves the system after 5 minutes. Very often students don’t realize how close they were when they took the decision to leave that puzzle. You’ve made some inroads, back yourself and hang in there! I’m not suggesting you to spent a lot of time for one set, but you should train yourself to know the difference between getting somewhere with the set or wasting time on a particular set.
Okay, but how to cultivate this habit?
Very simple, practice! But that also comes with conscious effort. So you need to have a clear sense of which kind of puzzle works for you, and which one don’t work for you. You need to strike a chord between where you’re just pretending that you’re trying this set but there’s no chance of you getting it or you’re actually close. Picking this art is super important, and it can be cultivated with conscious practice.
How to maximize your score in Quant?
What is key factor to maximize your score in Quant?
The magic mantra here is tons of RAW practice.
Realistic practice questions and mock tests are essential to increasing your score.
In general, practice exercises highlight your strengths and your weaknesses, allowing you to hone specific skills and master the question type. So, they’re ideal if your score is being held back.
Practice plays a pivotal role in building up your strength, stamina, and patience, both mentally and physically, for Quant. After all, preparing for the CAT is almost like building muscle strength, where you start out weak but grow stronger and stronger with each “workout.” If you are looking at a rectangle and two triangle sitting inside, your mind should automatically say, similar triangles here I come! That kind of fine tuning happens only if you do tons of raw practice. You don’t even have to be scientific about it, just put your head down and solve 100 questions at a break neck speed. That’s it! This will amp up your speed to such an extent that out of 26 questions you probably have to pause to thing for 8 to 9 questions other things will happen in autopilot mode! Building this automaticity is the thing for Quant!
To achieve the desired CAT score, you have to choose a plan of study and course of action that is specific to your needs and aspirations. While there is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach that works for everyone, integrating these suggestions into your CAT preparation will more than likely give you positive results.
Best wishes for CAT 2021!!
Rajesh Balasubramanian takes the CAT every year and is a 4-time CAT 100 percentiler. He likes few things more than teaching Math and insists to this day that he is a better teacher than exam-taker.
Abhishek Mukherjee works for 2IIM. Apart from solving interesting math questions he likes to eat biriyani and watch movies.