CAT 2016: 3 days to go! 10 last-minute preparation tips by IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore & FMS toppers

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Updated on December 1, 2016
CAT 2016 next 30 days preparation plan and how to utilize the 5 days Diwali holidays is suggested by CAT toppers and experts
CAT toppers studying in MBA/PGP 2016-18 batch at IIMS, FMS, SPJIMR and the experts unanimously agree and suggest the comprehensive section wise preparation plan to bell the CAT 2016

CAT 2016 exam is 3 days away and at this eleventh hour you need some key last minute tips from CAT 100 & 99 percentilers who are studying in top IIMs, FMS Delhi or other top rated B-schools to advise and guide you in your preparation and test taking strategy on D-day.

The guidance and tips from CAT 2015 toppers for CAT 2016 aspirants at this eleventh hour move around to keep your confidence level high and remain motivated. How to best utilize your next 3 days to crack CAT 2016 and maximise your score in the exam are the key guidance tips shared by the toppers from FMS Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and other IIMs.

The number of Mock tests that you have taken are supposed to have provided sufficient grooming and lift to your preparation level. Toppers share their experience and advice how you should proceed now for actual CAT exam on December 4, without getting any feeling of nervousness and ensuring that the actual CAT could become just like another practice test.

Practice more on mental calculations: Prateek Bajpai IIM Ahmedabad
IIM Ahmedabad student and CAT topper with 100 percentile shares the last minute key tip for CAT 2016 aspirants not to depend on on-screen calculator in CAT 2016 exam as it may prove to be more time consuming. Prateek advises the CAT 2016 aspirants “It is very important to make it a habit and part of life to do mental calculations. It will not only help in Quant and DI but also throughout your life. Solve more RC passages on varying topics and fix a time limit to solve each of them.”

Don’t skim & go by the order: Pranjal Agarwal IIM Ahmedabad
Pranjal Agarwal, student of PGP 2016-18 at IIM Ahmedabad and 100 percentiler in CAT, shares a key tip to attempt the questions in order without skimming to maximise your scores.

Emphasising on final strategy for CAT 2016 exam, Pranjal advises “I would stress on going in order. If you want to score really well, you shouldn’t start by skimming over the questions and then deciding which ones are easy; your preparation should be such that you know you have to attempt all the questions. Just make sure that you have a point where you realize that a set is just taking too long to solve or that you are unable to solve it. Overall, it’s important that you solve at least 80% of the questions in each section. I had only left the 4 questions in DI and attempted all the others in the other sections.”

Target TITA questions first: Harshit Goswami, IIM Udaipur
Harshit Goswami who scored 98.01 in last year CAT and is the student of IIM Udaipur suggests the CAT 2016 aspirants to focus on 28 Non-MCQs first before moving to MCQs. The basic reason behind this strategy is that these Non-MCQs have no negative marking, so if you attempt them first and if they are correct you are the winner, if they go wrong, you have nothing to lose.

Sharing his CAT day strategy Harshit says “I targeted TITA - Type in the Answer questions first as they did not have any negative marking and were doable in less time and this left enough time for RCs.”

Another important suggestion while getting ready to attempt MCQs in CAT 2016, shared by Harshit is “Going for wild guesses is a sign of naiveté. It is better to leave such questions and get 0 marks than to attempt and get them wrong for even worse -1 marks.”

Learn to say ‘No’ to a question: Saransh Garg FMS Delhi
The biggest problem during the last few days that overpowers CAT aspirants is the increase in their anxiety level, loss of confidence, losing the cool leading to messing the CAT exam. In their anxiety CAT aspirants forget the art of saying ‘No’ to an unwanted and time wasting question.

Saransh Garg, MBA student at FMS Delhi and CAT topper with 99.98 percentile shares key tip which is more important than getting confined to preparation, suggesting “I would ask all the candidates to remain calm and confident. Do not give up because it’s not as difficult as it looks. Read as much as possible. Also, learn to say no to a question and move to the next as time available is less. Focus equally on all the sections.”

DILR tricky – last minute practice will help: Pranjal IIM Ahmedabad
100 percentiler in CAT 2015 Pranjal Agarwal, IIM Ahmedabad student advises the CAT 2016 aspirants not to even slightly ignore the newly created DILR section as it has same weightage as other 2 sections. In next 3 days good practice on DILR questions will be helpful to crack this section with high score.

Sharing the last minute tip, Pranjal suggests “For Data Interpretation, it is important to practice very much and the same applies to logical reasoning. Data interpretation generally has several types of questions available, and many forms of data that could be given to you, including line charts, pie charts, histograms, tables, etc. Be sure that you first are able to understand exactly what the question is asking you and then try to eliminate as many calculations as you can.

For example, if a question is asking about the growth of sales from 10 years ago to now and the options are something like 56%, 112%, 180%, 204%, then it’s not necessary to get the exact percentage answer. You can estimate to find out whether the sales were 1.5 times, a little more than double, little less than triple or a little more than triple of their previous value. If you can do this effectively, you can save a lot of time that otherwise would be spent in calculations, even if you have a calculator.

For Logical Reasoning, it is best advised to practice and adopt an elimination strategy in the questions. Do not try to rush to the answer. The purpose is to eliminate all the unfeasible options or combinations/sequences in a given question by using the clues given. Then, it may be possible that you can get a single correct combination/sequence or there might still be ambiguity left, depending on the information given.
The questions that follow would also only expect you to eliminate the other options. There are no shortcuts for this section; you just have to logically eliminate wrong options. The best way to improve here is by practicing to improve your speed.

Analyse the Mocks & Synchronise with CAT day: IIM, FMS toppers suggest
You are advised by the toppers from FMS Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore to revise and further strengthen your strong areas and find out more strong areas from the weak ones.  IIM Ahmedabad student and CAT topper with 100 percentile, Pranjal Agarwal advises CAT 2016 aspirants to “Review all the tests you have taken to identify your weaknesses. That is important so that you can work on those weaknesses specifically as in the end, you are required to perform almost equally well on all the sections. So make sure you are caught up with the latest trend and advice too.”

CAT topper with 99.98 percentile and FMS Delhi student of MBA 2016-18 batch, Saransh Garg emphasizes that CAT 2016 aspirants should “Do post mock analysis as it is extremely important, or else you won’t improve. It’s time to realize whether to work on speed or content.”

Mohit Sharma who cracked CAT, NMAT and IIFT with 99.98 percentile and opted for IIFT suggests to stop taking mocks during the last days. Sharing his strategy Mohit says “I stopped giving mocks at this time and just analysed the previous mock results in which I had done pretty poorly. I started formulating my strategy for D-Day and dedicated my efforts to shortcut tricks and mathematical formulae”

Develop Time management strategy: Shashank Heda IIM Bangalore
IIM Bangalore student and CAT topper with 99.99 percentile Shashank Heda emphasizes on deeper analysis and advises “Analyse the mistakes in each section. Identify the gaps.  Check if all ‘Easy’ and ‘Medium’ difficulty questions were attempted. There might be something wrong with time management/question selection if most of the questions that were attempted belong to ‘Difficult’ or ‘Very difficult’ section. This would imply that the time spent in solving two ‘Very Difficult’ questions could have been better utilized in solving three ‘Medium/Easy’ nature questions.”

Check for your speed & Accuracy: Ananth Radhakrishnan, IIM Bangalore
In next 3 days you will not learn new concepts or new topics. The need in view of Ananth Radhakrishnan, IIM Bangalore student and CAT topper with 99.85 percentile is to ensure how good you are with your speed and accuracy to take CAT 2016 exam on December 4 as CAT is more about these 2 things than about how much you have studied.

Sharing the key tip for CAT 2016 aspirants with his own experience, Ananth says “My primary strategy when it came to CAT was to prepare myself in terms of getting timing and accuracy right.  What I always felt was that CAT is not a difficult paper inherently in terms of the topics covered, rather because of the time limit in which you have to complete it coupled with the dire need of accuracy while doing so.”

Find new & faster ways: Abhay Agarwal, FMS Delhi
Abhay Agarwal FMS Delhi student and CAT topper with 99.99 percentile shares key tip “Learn from your mistakes. Find new and faster ways to solve those questions which consumed most of your time. Apart from this, There can be n number of problems specific to each candidate and answer to all those problems lies in that analysis.

Devise your own CAT day Strategy: Ananth IIM Bangalore
In view of IIM Bangalore student Ananth Radhakrishnan it depends solely upon you how you would attempt CAT 2016 exam. To achieve your desired goal and to crack CAT 2016 with high score, you need to devise your own test day strategy.

Sharing the key tip Ananth says “In terms of how to actually approach the exam, the kind of strategy you use would solely depend on what you are comfortable with. Do not bother yourself too much with anything on the last night.”

Since the CAT 2016 is going to follow the pattern of previous year CAT exam with 100 questions divided in 3 sections containing 72 MCQs and 28 Non-MCQs, the CAT toppers studying in MBA/PGP 2016-18 batch at IIMS and FMS and the experts unanimously agree that above last tips will help to maximise your score in the exam.

It is expected that IIMs might increase their intake in PGP 2017-19 as suggested by Shri Prakash Javadekar, Uninon Minister of HRD, Government of India to all the IIMs. If you can score well in CAT 2016, you may get the chance of studying at one of the coveted IIMs in the country.  

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