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Collection of useful articles for CAT Preparation

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Collection of useful articles for CAT Preparation - January 20th, 2006

You have spent many a day attending classes, giving mock tests, competing with fellow aspirants, et al and many a sleepless night with your nose buried in the books. Two months hence and all your hard work would be put to test. This very thought is enough to give anyone the jitters. So, no wonder many students suffer from the so-called 'CAT scare'. And this fear gets all the more pronounced as the examination day approaches!

CAT, as popularly believed, is not just the test of Quantitative or Verbal Prowess. The top B-schools are more interested in your ability to handle uncertainty and stress. Numerous studies conducted by psychoanalysts have shown that 'stress', as opposed to general notion, is not entirely bad; it can have both a positive and a negative effect on us. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us into action; we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, give us a new awareness and perspective. Simply put, stress can be our driving force. Thus, our goal should not be to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it in a way that it works for us rather than against us!

Managing Stress

At the macro level, you must always keep in mind that you are gearing up to appear for an examination which aims at testing whether or not you have the requisite skill set to make a good manager. And as a manager you would be required to face innumerous stressful situations, hence it's a must that you learn how to handle stress effectively. And, at a micro level - focusing on only the next few months - now is the time that you must begin training yourself to avoid the influence of anxiety on your performance in the CAT.

Here are some tips for better stress management.

From now till the day of the examination

Become aware of your stressors and your reactions to them - We can't be experts at everything that we undertake. The same is true for the different sections of the CAT. We would be comfortable with some sections and sub-sections, and less than comfortable with others. Now is the time for us to identify our weaknesses and our reactions to the same

Recognize what you can change - Once you have identified your weak areas and your reactions to them, examine how you can change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them. In other words, each mock test that you undertake from now till the day of the examination must be carefully analyzed, not just to identify the errors you made but also your reactions to each sub-section. Work on your weaknesses so as to dispense any negative feelings that they might arouse.

Build your emotional reserves - Ten minutes of meditation and deep-breathing exercises can help build your body's emotional reserves, and thus make you a more resilient person. This would be especially helpful during the first fifteen and the last fifteen minutes of the examination, because it is during these time periods that maximum number of students experience nervousness and anxiety. Learn to remain calm. This would definitely improve your productivity. The results would show in terms of a higher accuracy rate.

Improve your internal dialogue - Monitor your internal dialogue! As you must have observed, we're constantly talking to ourselves. The next time you find yourself anxious or worried, pause for a moment and pay attention to what you're saying to yourself. For instance, if you haven't performed well in a mock test instead of saying, "God! The test was too difficult for me," you should say, "This was an interesting test, it will help me better analyze the areas where I lack prowess."

Take Control - Be flexible, yet have an idea beforehand of what works for you. Which section would you like to attempt first, and within the section which questions if attempted first would boost your confidence. Having a plan gives you a sense of control over what can seem like a difficult situation. Feeling out of control only exacerbates anxiety and stress.

Be positive - Do you see your glass as half empty or half full? In either case, fill it up all the way with a healthy dose of optimism. A positive attitude goes a long way in securing better results

The day before the test

DO find out the exact location of the test Center - Sure, this sounds patently obvious. But in order to avoid panic on the day of the examination, find out exactly (including building number, entrance, even room number, if applicable) where you're going!

DO put together what you'll need for the test - Gather everything that you'll need, like pens, pencils, your roll number, etc, a night before the examination. It would be a good idea to carry along a bottle of water as well. A watch to keep tab on the time is a must!

DO a quick revision the night before - Revise a few basic formulae and take a quick look at the word list. In those last few hours don't spend too much time cramming things, as that would increase your stress levels. It is best to rest and relax.

DON'T vary your usual routine - Try to eat, rest, and sleep as you normally would. Don't formulate a new and unusual sleep-study cycle for test preparation - chances are you'll end up taking the exam when you're not at your peak.

The day of the examination

DON'T get up only 30 minutes before the test - Make sure you are awake and alert well before time to start the test. Do not reach the examination hall half asleep!

Have a light meal before the exam - Even if you aren't hungry, do make it a point to eat something light - otherwise hunger, nervousness or even hypoglycemia could set in midway though the test.

DO dress for comfort and for a range of temperatures - Regardless of the season, you may find the exam room too hot or too cold due to heavy air-conditioning or overly efficient heating.

Reach the examination venue 20 minutes before the prescribed time - Arriving for the test with five minutes to spare only and finding that the venue is a labyrinth is a guaranteed stress-inducing nightmare. To avoid last minute panic, reach the test venue at least 20 minutes before the prescribed time.

Keep a cushion time for traveling exigencies - Murphy's Law does operate when we least want it to. So be prepared for any exigencies that can occur during your commuting from home/hostel till the venue.

During the exam

DO read the entire test through before beginning - Glance at all the sections and the different types of questions. This would help you prioritize areas and complete sections in the order that best suits you. Start with an area in which you feel confident. These steps will increase your sense of control.

DO skip immediately to another question or section if you're drawing a complete blank - Often just reading through the other questions will jog your memory or give you ideas about handling a difficult part of the test.

DO keep track of time and practice efficient time-management skills - Don't sacrifice valuable time on less-demanding areas or on single questions. Recognize what sections or questions will be most time-consuming and plan accordingly. And do keep in mind that all sections must be attempted.

DO try to keep a positive attitude - If you experience overwhelming stress, try closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing for a few seconds. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Tensing and then relaxing your muscles while seated can also help break the tension cycle.

While almost all test-takers admit to having a few exam-day jitters, some people experience severe and debilitating test anxiety that can negatively affect exam performance. No matter where you fall on the exam stress scale, you can use these dos and don'ts to help get your exam stress under control! Wishing you a happy and stress-free test-taking!

Try this 4 sure and u'll get to know the Difference..!!
Be Ready for CAT '06. The Countdown has already Started..!!
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Re: Stress Mngmt For Cat Prep - August 30th, 2006

hi... thanks for this.. all those artcles abt how to peak performance, needed one on how to calm down and take a breather
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Re: Stress Mngmt For Cat Prep - August 30th, 2006

Quote:
Originally Posted by bips
hi... thanks for this.. all those artcles abt how to peak performance, needed one on how to calm down and take a breather
the best way to do that is to close ur eyes momentarily and take very deep breath in and out couple of times. It would supply more oxygen rich blood to the heart and hence calm a person.


Regards,
Gaurav Mittal



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What is a MOCK CAT test?
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What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 3rd, 2006

Over the years, the competition to crack the Common Admission Test has increased. This is because CAT is your passport to admission to a good B-School.
In 2005 there were 1.75 lakh applicants and more than 80 participating institutes. In the face of such competition, every CAT aspirant should leave no stone unturned in his or her preparation. Apart from developing fundamental knowledge and sharpening skills through module tests, you need a full-fledged testing experience in a simulated environment.
The MOCK CAT provides just that. It's a test of two-and-a-half hour duration, which covers all the topics, from which questions are likely to be asked in CAT. It also tries to follow similar patterns, and poses similar levels of questions to the students. MOCK CATs simulate the actual experience as far as possible and are conducted by training institutes across the country.
Aspirants need to answer in Optical Mark Reader sheets just like CAT. These OMR sheets are then scanned and results are compiled in the back-end. Students get the results within one or two days on the web sites of preparatory service providers. In a nutshell, a MOCK CAT is an indispensable experience in the preparation for CAT and no aspirant should miss it.

How do I make the best use of it?


Before taking a MOCK Test, you should be thorough with your fundamental knowledge of mathematics, English grammar and verbal logic. Do a warm up by taking a series of module tests of shorter duration.

Then during the series of MOCK tests, you should experiment with various test taking strategies and finally come up with your own strategy. MOCK tests also provide an opportunity to test your resilience, because sitting continuously for two and a half hours and keeping your concentration level at its peak, is a challenge in itself.

You should take the result of a MOCK Test very seriously. Most of the preparatory institutes, give an all India percentile rank, similar to CAT, and it points out exactly where an individual aspirant stands vis-a-vis his or her competitors across the country.
Most of the national level service providers in MBA preparatory education provide a detailed analysis in their web site. These analyses are exhaustive and very helpful for the students. But aspirants should use this feedback and analyses for their improvement.
When are they conducted?

MOCK test series, provided by various service providers in MBA entrance test preparation industry, typically begins in the month of July-August and continues till CAT, ie just before the third Sunday of November.
For other non-CAT entrance examinations like XAT, MOCK tests are generally conducted after CAT.

How expensive is it?
You can enroll in a MOCK Test Series programme at a price ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 4,000 depending upon the number of MOCK Tests and whether other facilities like web-analysis, all India ranking etc are available or not.
But the price should not be the primary consideration. Before enrolling in a programme, an aspirant should be sure of the quality of the tests and availability of other facilities.
Gautam Puri is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and managing director of Career Launcher (CAT training institute).


Source : Rediff



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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 3rd, 2006

It's not too late to crack CAT

In my experience, it's possible to score well in the Common Admission Test and get calls from the best B-schools even if you start preparing now.

This year, CAT is scheduled for November 19. It's still not too late to get a headstart. All you need to do is keep these pointers in mind.



Ground rules first
Before I share how I prepared for the test, here are three ground rules:
1. There is no one-size-fits-all method here. What worked for me might ruin your chances. So be careful before you follow anybody's advice.
b. You might have heard this one before -- CAT is a test of aptitude. Truer words have seldom been said. It takes a very basic level of proficiency in mathematics and English to excel at CAT, as long as you know how to use that proficiency.
c. Nothing works like hard work. Except, maybe, smart work.


Books are your best friend
I have always maintained I got lucky as far as CAT preparation is concerned. In a way, I started preparing for it much before I had any inkling those three letters together meant anything other than a cute, furry animal that meows, purrs and laps up any milk left uncovered. I always used to reading like there was no tomorrow, you see!
CAT is broadly composed of three sections: Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability.
Nothing prepares you better for CAT (or even life, as I like to believe) than the company of good books. So, by the time I solved my first mock CAT paper, I was already well-prepared for the VA part. Being an engineer did help a bit with the Quant section, but not all that much, as I will describe later. The only novelty was the DI aspect of the paper, which I got used to in a short while.


Engineers miscalculate here
Coming back to my bete noire, QA. I made the same false assumption most engineers make, and many are forced to go back on. I was confident I would crack all DA questions left, right and centre (it is just Standard 12 mathematics, isn't it?).
I was in for a huge shock when I couldn't clear the cut-off in my first test. Given enough time, I could solve almost all questions in the QA section. In the time I was given, however, I could come up with only a morale-shattering performance. That's when I decided to pull up my socks, and take the bull by its horns.
I had not joined any coaching class for preparation. I would suggest you do the same (keeping rule (a) above in mind), unless you have problems keeping up motivation levels or feel you need to cover a lot of unfamiliar territory in the prescribed syllabus.
I began conscious preparation six months before CAT. I was comfortable with VA to begin with, and used to solve sectional tests occasionally. Ditto for Reading Comprehension practice.
Sectional tests for DI and Logic were slightly more regular.


Bracing up for my bete noire
I needed to work on QA mainly, and I began by going through the entire syllabus during the summer vacation. Any standard reading material from one of the better coaching classes would suffice for that. Every chapter I finished was followed by fairly intensive sectional tests related to that portion.
I took pains to ensure I devoted at least one hour daily to this, and thus finished the 'Quant' syllabus in a couple of weeks. It's very important that you are familiar with the entire syllabus, or you will do no better than trying to get through a dark alley wearing dark sunglasses.
After I was done with the entire syllabus, I began with a (painful) series of test-paper solving-plus-analysis, which continued till November. I was solving three or four papers every week initially. But, by mid-September, I realised I was overdoing it. As a result, I was not enjoying solving the papers.
So I took a break for about a week and resumed with one or two papers on a weekly basis. My scores improved substantially. Which proves that you need to enjoy the process, and not treat it like a bitter pill being forced down your throat.


Serious mock tests
Take your mock tests very seriously. They make a world of difference. You can join any of the all-India level test series, but you need to be regular. Treat each test like the real thing. This will help you push yourself further, and will also reduce the anxiety you might succumb to in a high-pressure test like CAT.
Analyse each paper you solve earnestly. The number of papers you solve every week has no (positive) co-relation with your CAT performance. The effort you put in while analysing a paper, on the other hand, does. A two-hour paper (two-and-a-half, if we go by this year's CAT regulations) warrants at least four hours of careful analysis.
After you are done with your paper, take a break. Don't start analysing in a bored frame of mind.
Once you have relaxed, sit down with the paper and try to solve the questions you missed. Spend some time with the questions you solved, thinking of shorter solutions you might have overlooked.
Next, go through the solutions for each question, irrespective of whether you got that question right or not. Learn, don't just read. The mistakes you commit now should not be repeated again. The questions you missed now should be cakewalk for you if you encounter them again.
A good way to teach yourself to be more careful is to calculate the marks you lost because of careless mistakes, or because you overlooked easy questions, and try to see how much higher your percentile would have been if you had been a wee bit more careful.
Mock tests, at least the All-India ones, give a very good idea of where you stand on a relative scale. Make full use of this information. Don't feel intimidated if you see the topper score in 100s while you get a measly 40. You just need to score a little above 50 in a standard test to get calls. At the same time, realise that people scoring more than you are not more intelligent or more capable. They are just more careful.
I have deliberately avoided giving tips about preparing for VA. Someone, who was doing badly to begin with, and then overcame those problems, would be better placed to do that. The only thing I know is that, unlike fast calculation, high comfort-level with a language takes much more time to develop. But you don't have to win the Booker here. Getting a moderately high score in VA is enough.
Finally, the one thing I tell anyone who cares to listen -- CAT is an over-hyped phenomenon. Enjoy it, irrespective of whether you 'crack' it or not.


Arnav Sinha is a PGDM first year student at IIM-Calcutta. He scored a 99.98 percentile in CAT 2005.


Regards,
Gaurav Mittal



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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 3rd, 2006

CAT: Crack Data Interpretation, Logic
The countdown has begun for the Common Admission Test scheduled for November 16, 2006.
We have already covered Reading Comprehension, Verbal Ability and Quantitative Analysis.
This time we look at Data Interpretation and Logical Ability/ Data Sufficiency.
Normally, DI accounts for 25 to 30 marks and LA/ DS accounts for the rest. However, these days, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between DI and Logic. In CAT 2005, there were no Data Sufficiency questions.
Skills needed for this section
The trend has shifted from easy-to-understand-data-with-difficult-calculations to more logical questions with lesser calculations.
Though the trend has moved away from long and complicated calculations, it's not advisable to attempt CAT without being reasonably good at quick calculations and approximations.
To start with, you should know how to interpret various data formats. Tables, line graphs, bar graphs, pie charts, three dimensional graphs, flow diagrams and cumulative frequency tables are some of the data formats that have featured in CAT over the years.
But one of the most critical foundation skills you need to develop to do well in CAT is understanding percentages. You should have a very good idea of percentage calculations, comparison of fractions (to determine highest/ lowest percentage), average annual growth rates and related concepts like market share, market share increase and decrease, etc.
DI problem solving
DI is a skill and it requires continuous practice. You may notice that your improvement is slow for the first few weeks; then it picks up. Make sure you spend some time on DI every two to three days days, even if it is only a couple of hours. You need good quality problems to practise on.
Unfortunately, there is a dearth of quality 'logical' DI problems that is the trend in CAT these days. I would suggest Mock CATs as a source.
It is very important to analyse any exercise or test you have solved. Focus on the method of solving and the clarity with which you are able to understand the problem. The second and third time you solve a problem is when you see it with clarity.

Logical ability

The key to doing well in logic is similar. You need a methodology or approach to logic questions, as well as regular practice in solving a wide variety of questions.
The basic approach should focus on:
  • Understanding data and representing key data in symbolic form, so that you have a summary of the given data before solving the problem.
  • Focus on what the questions require of you, before starting the solving process.
  • Understand the problem type. For instance, linear arrangement, circular arrangement, distribution, binary logic, etc. Each problem type has a certain common approach which will take you part of the way towards solving the question.


Regards,
Gaurav Mittal



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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 3rd, 2006

CAT 2006: How to ace Verbal Ability

Of all the sections in the Common Admission Test, the Verbal Ability section can be solved the fastest! On the flip side, it happens to be the most difficult one to prepare for.
To crack this you need a grounding in grammar and a good grasp over your vocabulary. But don't fret; CAT 2006 is scheduled for November 19, which gives you five months to prepare. Verbal Ability format
In the 1990's, the emphasis was more on vocabulary while now it is moving more towards reasoning in grammar. So it does not only matter whether you know the meanings of many words, but whether you know how to use them.
A case in point is the set of questions that featured in CAT 2005. For instance, one had to find the meaning of four underlined words used in the same sentence. The words mentioned were klang, fingummy, crupping and plunk. Sounds tough? However, if you read the sentence and understood the context, you could easily guess the meaning of the words without having prior knowledge of what they mean. Of course, you have answer options to choose from, which makes it easier.
This clearly reflects that CAT is moving away from merely having knowledge of vocabulary to concentrating on the usage of words and the reasoning behind it.
Broadly, three types of questions have been used in CAT in the last six years.

i. Paragraph forming
You have four to six sentences labeled A to E, which are actually a part of a paragraph. These are presented in a jumbled order and you are expected to rearrange the sentences such that the sequence forms a coherent paragraph.
You must understand the meaning of the paragragh to determine the correct order. You will develop this ability as you start to read more (it also helps if you are a good writer). With the help of a few techniques these questions can be solved very easily in most cases.
Step 1: Identify the START
Begin by trying to identify the first sentence of the paragraph. This will eliminate all other choices.
Step 2: Find a LINK
When you read all the sentences given, you can find links between any two sentences. This would reduce the choices further.
Step 3: Identify the END
Sometimes checking out which statement/sentence could be the concluding line of a paragraph can also help zero-in on the right answer.

Preparation tips
  • The technique works only if your fundamentals are strong; read EVERYDAY.
  • Do five to 10 questions daily. Find the correct answer, analyse your mistakes and find the reasons for it.
  • In a week your target should be 50 to 75 questions. At the end of five weeks you would have done around 250 to 350 questions!
  • Post that, implement what you have learnt in the MOCK papers. Ensure that you do it within a certain time limit so that you do not overshoot the time available.
  • As you go along you will find that there is a pattern being established. Your notes will help you realise this.
ii. Grammar
You have six to seven types of questions related to the correct usage of grammar. The format changes over the years. For instance, you could be asked to point out the error in a sentence.
You don't need to be an expert on grammar. But work at developing your abilities in the functional usage of words, idioms and phrases. This can be achieved by going through any book that gives a summary of the rules of grammar.
Thompson and Martinet's Practical English Grammar would be good starting point. CAT coaching institutes also provide such books on grammar (in their material).
However, there is NO shortcut to grammar. So start by completing the basics of grammar and continue practicing through as many questions as possible.

iii. English Usage and Vocabulary
Vocabulary will help in all types of questions that feature in CAT ie synonyms, antonyms, analogies and fill-in-the-blanks.
One way to start building up your vocabulary is to read Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. There are close to 50 exercises/sessions in that book and ideally one can finish the same in as many days. In addition, you can read All About Words by Rosenblum and Nurenberg or any books by Wilfred Funk.
But the best way to improve your diction is by reading (yes, once again the same thing). After you have finished the reading for the day (for Reading Comprehension), check out the meanings of all the words that you have come across for that day and write it down in a book or make flash cards for yourself.
Everyday you may come across a minimum of at least 10 words to which you either do not know the meaning of or are unsure. This exercise will ensure that over the next 150 days, your repertoire of words would increase by at least 1,500.
CAT has always (save the last year) given words that are currently in vogue. You will find these words in any newspaper and not just in editorials but also in sports pages.
Hence it is the diligence with which you jot down these words when you encounter them and revise them regularly that will make you prepared for this area.
In addition, a better diction will improve your reading speeds to a large extent.
A consistent effort every day is required. Thankfully we have close to five months; all it takes is 30 minutes a day to crack this section!


AKRS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM-Calcutta with an engineering degree in electronics and communication from Osmania University. He was with Maruti Udyog Limited in Gurgoan, Delhi and Kolkata before joining T.I.M.E. , Hyderabad, as director of the CAT course. He has been training students for CAT over the last eight years. You can mail him at [email protected]



Regards,
Gaurav Mittal



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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 3rd, 2006

CAT 2006: Nervous about Quant?

You have a little less than five months to prepare for the Common Admission Test scheduled on November 16, 2006.
The Quantitative Ability section worries you; numbers, geometry and algebra make you nervous.
Relax. Remove all negative thoughts like 'I cannot clear the cut-off' or 'I go blank at the very sight of Quant questions' from your brain.

True, t
hese are genuine concerns. To resolve them, all you need to do is work proactively. First, tackle your fears. Then start solving problems in a systematic manner.


Five-point action plan for Quant
1. Address your maths phobia first.
You will not be in the best state of mind to crack CAT if past failures/ inabilities in mathematics continue to haunt you. As they say, it's okay to lose a couple of battles. Keep your eyes trained on the war.
2. Make a roadmap.
'Divide and win' is the key; your preparation should be divided by topics and every topic should be further divided into sub-topics, type of questions, etc.
Once you have a topic-centric roadmap of the entire Quant syllabus, carefully ration the time you want to devote to each section of quant per day.
3. Strengthen your fundamentals.
Start your study by checking your fundamentals/ concepts once again and see which concept should be applied to get the right answer.
4. Adopt a systematic practice technique.
Don't jump at solving problems immediately. Make the effort to understand the basic theories behind the mathematical concepts, howsoever trivial they seem to be. Then, solve the example problems without glancing at the solutions. When you finish, compare both your solution and the printed solution. Finally, look at the theory and formulae again and then attempt more exercises.
5. Focus on weaknesses.
A common problem: Since there are so many other areas, if students are weak in a particular area (say geometry or permutations and combinations), they neglect these questions and leave the solutions to choice.

This is a disastrous strategy.

Identify the areas you are not comfortable with. Numbers, geometry and algebra account for a huge chunk of questions in CAT, hence they deserve due attention.
Sub-sections of Quant
In CAT 2005, there were 19 marks' worth of questions pertaining to numbers. By leaving out this area, you will face a psychological block, leaving you less confident while solving the test.
For the next one month or so, you must attempt each and EVERY area of Quant at least once. Don't leave ANY topic undone.
Quant is divided into four main parts. These fours parts have to be done in a systematic manner. Part 1 is probably the most important part. Hence, in the run-up to CAT, you should do these areas at least three times. All the others should be done at least twice in the coming months.
Part 1: Number and Geometry & Mensuration
These two topics have to be considered separately as there will be a large number of questions in these areas.
Part 2: Arithmetic
Equations, ratio proportion and variation, percentages, profit and loss, averages mixtures, simple interest and compound interest, time and work and time and distance.
Part 3: Algebra
Indices, logs and surds, quadratic equations, progressions, special equations and inequalities.
Part 4: Pure Maths
Functions and graphs, number systems, coordinate geometry.
Study tip: Apart from the books that coaching institutes offer, look at books like Trishna's Quantitative Ability published by Pearsons.

Persistence is the key
If you cannot solve a problem on one day, sleep over it and tackle it the next day. Sometimes, even the simplest of questions elude you and you may get frustrated. Even the best of mathematicians face the same problem and therefore leave it for another day.
Do not merely just look at the solution and think you have understood the problem. Ensure you understand the logic behind the answer.
Spend time on the same or similar questions once again after a few days so you are sure of your expertise in that area.
In case you still cannot solve a problem the next day as well, talk to a faculty member if you are attending a training institute or to someone who is good at Quant.

Time management, a must
  • Take mock CAT tests twice a week and devote 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to the Quant section.
  • For at least 45 minutes after the test, analyse how you fared in Quant. Identify areas in which the questions were asked and the number of questions asked in each area.
  • After returning home, solve every question in the Quant section without setting yourself a time limit. Then, go through the solutions. This will give you the confidence that, given sufficient time, you can solve almost all the questions.
  • Make a note of how you solved each problem during the test and try to work out better and faster solutions.
  • Over a series of a few mock tests, see if there is a particular pattern in the type of questions and areas from which you attempt questions or tend to falter. For instance, identify the type of questions which attract your attention at first glance during the test.
    Analyse how long and accurate your answer attempts are. The aim is to solve the questions quickly.
    Next, identify the set of questions and topics you generally tend to ignore. You need to start working on the basics in these areas as well.
    After this, work at fine-tuning your strategy for the exam. You need to be able to select questions that seem easy or are not lengthy and ensure you get the required marks.
The final word
It may be heartening for you to note that, in CAT, the cut-off for Quant never goes beyond 12 marks (out of 50). There have been times when the cut-off for Quant was as low as eight marks. Besides, the fact that you have close to 40 minutes for Quant, and a range of 12 to 15 should would give you enough confidence to attack this section.
Last but not the least, there is no shortcut to success... or mathematics. Speed techniques and supposed shortcut formulaes don't help in CAT.
CAT tests your ability to understand the fundamentals of each area. Hence, spend quality understanding the basics to ensure you are ready for this section.


Regards,
Gaurav Mittal



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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 3rd, 2006

CAT 2006: Reading Comprehension made easy


You have five months and two weeks to prepare for the Common Admission Test, which will be conducted on November 19, 2006.
We have already suggested a study strategy keeping this timeframe in mind. Now, let's tackle each section of the paper.
The Verbal section in the Common Admission Test comprises Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability. This article explains what Reading Comprehension is and how you can prepare for it.

CAT itself has undergone a huge change over the last few years. There was a time when there were 100 questions, 50 each of VA and RC. The emphasis was on speed; within an hour or less, one had to attempt these 100 questions.

From CAT 1999, the number of questions in these two areas reduced considerably.
CAT 2005 had just 30 questions in the Verbal section, of which only 12 were for Reading Comprehension.
These changes mean you need to rethink your strategy for RC -- in terms of preparation, as well as answering the paper.


Reading Comprehension
You need to concentrate on 'Reading' and 'Comprehension' to ensure a good score.
This means you must read as well as understand a range of topics like economics, philosophy, psychology, medicine, arts, anthropology, genetics, politics, etc.

How important is reading speed?

Some experts say you need to have a minimum reading speed of around 350 words per minute to be able to make some headway in the exam.
There are two problems with this theory.


Is it required?
The faster you read, the better it is for you. However, your reading speed need not be constant. It keeps changing with the topic. If you are an economics graduate, your speed in reading about medicine could be slower than your speed in reading about economics.
In CAT 2005, there were just 12 questions in three passages with a total of around 2,500 words. You would have approximately around 20 to 24 minutes for this area (depending on the time you allocate to the Verbal part of the exam). Clearly, a reading speed


Is it possible?
Let's say your reading speed is 150 wpm. If you read for about half an hour today, with a conscious attempt to improve your speed and comprehension, can you make it 155 wpm in a week? The answer seems an obvious YES.
If you continue doing so every week, can you improve your speed by 5 wpm per week? Again, the answer is YES.
You have close to 23 weeks. If you diligently make an effort to read for at least half an hour every day from various sources, you should be able to improve your reading speed by a cool 125 wpm in the time that remains.
This means, even if you read at 100 wpm at present, you can reach close to 225 or 250 wpm before the exam.


Comprehension -- what is this?
Increasing your reading speed is easy, provided you read for half an hour every day. What about improving your comprehension?
Comprehension ensures you understand the gist of the topic/ passage in the first reading itself.
To improve your comprehension, you must read a variety of topics and keep increasing your repertoire of knowledge.
We suggest a four-step method that should be of use to students preparing for CAT and other entrance exams.

How to improve comprehension
This four-step process should help you grasp the gist of any article or passage as the weeks go by.
Step 1: Read the editorial of any newspaper once (preferably a well known English paper such as The Hindu, The Times Of India or Hindustan Times) every day.
Step 2: Write down a two to three line summary of what you have understood from the first reading.
Step 3: Reread the editorial again. This time, check the key points you may have missed and make a note of them.
Step 4: Underline all words in the article/ editorial that are not familiar and jot down the meanings of these words with the help of a dictionary.
The above simple four-step method looks easy to implement, but requires continuous effort for two to three months before you see an improvement in your comprehension.
The key step in the above process is Step 2: writing down the summary. A mental note of what you have understood will not help.


Reading Comprehension in CAT 2005
If you look at the trend of the CAT paper over the past few years, the number of questions as well as the number of passages have reduced. This means you need to read fewer words.
However, the weightage given to the section remains the same. Even in CAT 2005, 20 of the 50 marks were for Reading Comprehension.
Your preparation strategy, as we said in the beginning, should keep this in mind. Reading fast is an asset; however, if you don't understand what you are reading, it can actually become a liability.
For example, CAT 2005 had three passages; each of them had four questions. Eight of these questions carried two marks each while the other four carried one mark each. Last year, the cut-off for the Verbal and RC section, which included another 30 marks of Verbal, was close to 13 marks.
If one had done two passages (eight questions), and done it correctly, then, even if one took 20 minutes for the same, he/ she would have got the cutoff in half the time allocated to the entire section.
This clearly indicates that, as you prepare for this section, your emphasis should be on comprehension rather than reading speed.


Regards,
Gaurav Mittal



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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test?
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Re: What is a MOCK CAT test? - September 17th, 2006

Has some one uploaded recent MOCK CATS from TIME/IMS etc? From where can I download them?
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