How to Approach the Mock CATs and The CAT?
Dear CAT aspirant, we hope your preparation for CAT is going at full throttle.While thinking of CAT mocks, the first thing to figure out is how many CAT mocks should one write? It is advisable to write anywhere between 50 to 100 CAT mocks. Let us assume you have 6 months left for CAT and you plan to write 50 mocks. You should distribute the mocks with 2-3 in the first month of your preparation and increase it up to 12-15 in the last month. If you have more time, then you can increase the number of CAT mocks per month.
In the first month of your CAT preparation, you should be focussing on clearing your concepts and equipping yourself with the CAT tricks to solve various types of questions. In the first 4-5 mocks you should try various strategies to attempt the paper and zero-in on the one that suits you the most. Please note we will not mention the number of questions to be attempted as it entirely depends on the difficulty level. Never go for CAT or any CAT mock with the target of solving these many questions. Naturally an easy paper will demand speed and a difficult paper will require accuracy. You will be able to judge the difficulty level of any paper only if you have written a sufficient number of CAT mocks. Let us talk about the strategies section by section.
VARC in CAT Exam:
The verbal section generally contains 24 questions on RC and 10 questions on verbal ability. You may solve RCs first in 40-45 minutes and verbal ability questions in the remaining 15-20 minutes. Or, you can go in the reverse order. Try both the strategies in two mocks each and you will have an idea of what suits you. Generally people attempt RCs first as these 24 questions are bundled in sets. Naturally solving a RC set takes more time than solving individual questions of verbal ability. Hence even if you have limited time after solving the RC part, you can go for some standalone questions for verbal ability. Your focus should be to utilize each of the 60 minutes provided.
DILR in CAT Exam:
This section consists of 8 sets of 4 questions each. A common and advisable strategy is to scan the 8 sets in the first 5-6 minutes and get a rough idea of what the type of sets are. Some sets will be heavy on calculations and require less logical reasoning. Some others will be the opposite of this. Some may seem easy while others may seem difficult. Some sets shall be so long that reading the entire set will take upto 5 minutes, let alone solving it. While you scan the sets in the first few minutes, make a list of the order in which you shall attempt the sets. It is advisable to keep the easy ones at the top of the list. Also, you may solve the sets requiring logical reasoning before the ones requiring heavy calculation. The rationale behind the list is to figure out the easily doable sets in the first. This will stop the pressure from building and help to keep a calm head. Doing the most difficult or calculation heavy sets at first will require more time and getting stuck will build pressure.
QA in CAT Exam:
The QA section contains 34 questions. As there are no sets here, you should not waste your time on scanning the entire paper. Start from the first question or from the middle of the paper if you want. Do the following:
- If the text is so long that only reading it will take 1.5-2 minutes, skip it instantly. You will have time at the end for the skipped questions. Also, skip a question if you are not able to figure out how to proceed in 1-2 minute after reading the question.
- Once you have found a doable question, a general rule of thumb is to absolutely not spend any more than 3 minutes on that question. Only if you are sure of solving it in a maximum of one more minute, then you could think of spending an additional few seconds.
- Please note there will be some easy to moderately easy questions distributed throughout the paper. Your priority should be to find and solve them. They will give you the time to go back to skipped questions in the end.
- Keeping these things in mind, you should be able to go through the entire paper in 45-50 minutes. By this time you will be done with all the easy and moderate questions. The remaining 10-15 minutes shall be for skipped questions.
- While you skip questions, note them down into two groups, group one for the lengthy ones and for those in which you made partial progress. Second group for those which are best left unsolved owing to their difficulty level. Doing this will save you some valuable seconds.
- Note that these are advisable strategies. A good number of mocks will help you find what strategy suits you.