CAT 2021 aspirants are aware that the CAT 2021 exam, with many changes like reduced number of questions across all the three sections, in three time slots will be conducted on November 28, 2021 in 159 test cities by IIM Ahmedabad in morning, afternoon and evening shifts as a computer based test. CAT toppers at IIM Calcutta, SPJIMR, IIM Udaipur, MDI and CAT expert Arun Sharma, author of CAT Best selling books share below the must read last minute CAT exam day tips and test taking strategy.
Speaking to MBAUniverse.com, Arun Sharma, author of Bestselling CAT Preparation Books and 19 times CAT Topper (CAT 2018 99.99 percentile), shares his Last Minute Exam Day Tips and Do’s & Don’ts for CAT 2021:
CAT 2021: Key Changes
Before going through the important CAT exam day tips by CAT toppers, let’s know about the key changes in sectional time and slot timings of CAT 2021 for different sessions:
Slot Timings for 3 CAT Test Sessions
CAT 2021 exam sessions have increased to three. The CAT 2021 exam slots are of two hours duration each. All the three sessions will be conducted on same date - November 28, 2021, as below:
CAT 2021 Slot on Nov 28
Reporting Time at the Test Centre
8.30 AM to 10.30 AM
12.30 PM to 2.30 PM
4.30 PM to 6.30 PM
Sectional Time Limit of 40 Minutes for 3 Sections in CAT 2021
Each of the three sections in CAT 2021 – VARC, DILR, Quant will have sectional time limit of 40 minutes instead of 60 minutes earlier. You cannot move from one section to other until the time limit for the section which you are attempting, is over.
Accordingly, before the exam starts and during the 2 hours of exam, you should not feel nervous and remain calm and confident. Last minute CAT exam day tips and CAT 2021 last minute preparation tips as shared by toppers with MBAUniverse.com will help the test takers to improve their CAT score, so read on..
Last Minute CAT Exam Day Tips by CAT Toppers
Sharing the last minute preparation tips for CAT, the CAT toppers are of the view that CAT preparation time for basics is now over and you should gear up for the CAT exam day. Your focused attention on last minute preparation for CAT should now be on revisiting and strengthening what you have learnt, more practice sessions, taking Mocks, identifying and improving upon your errors, removing your weaknesses and further strengthening your strong areas instead of conceptual clarity, strengthening of fundamentals or starting anything new.
The last minute tips to CAT 2021 by toppers always help in last minute preparation for CAT and the D-Day plan for test taking. The important CAT 2021 last minute preparation tips and CAT exam day tips by CAT toppers at IIMs and other top B-schools are:
- Be Calm, Composed and Focused on your Goal: Shubham, IIMC
- Tweak Mock Taking Strategy & Switch off Mobile to Avoid any Stress: Nancy Jain, IIMC
- Take Full Sleep before CAT Day: Nandan Goel, IIMC; Rahul. IIMA; Tanuj,IIMB
- Stay Away from Negativity: Prateek, SPJIMR Mumbai
- Keep the Momentum - Revise, Book Mark and Solve: Sruthy, IIML
- Don’t let the Mock Score Cover your Head: Ekansh, IIMC
- Revisit your Own Concept Booklet: Pranita, IIMU
- Choose Right Set of Questions: Anish R, SPJIMR Mumbai
- Go through the Formulae: Venkata, IIMU
- Devise Strategy as per Time Slot: Nikita, MDI Gurgaon
- Perform at Your Best: Sirza Ghosh, SPJIMR Mumbai
- Treat CAT like Another Mock: CAT Toppers and Experts
- Skip the Question, if difficult: CAT toppers
- Adhere to Reporting Time: CAT toppers and Experts
CAT Exam Last Minute Tips by Toppers
If you are positive, remain cool and calm throughout the exam, you can score high and remain motivated. Any feeling of pessimism or the stressful feeling, fearing some problems related to preparation, exam room strategy or unanticipated technical glitches just before CAT 2021 is uncalled for and unfounded. You have to take the bull by the horn. Be confident and remain motivated, any dip in the confidence level at the eleventh hour may turn the tables against you. The CAT 2021 last minute preparation tips and last minute exam day tips by CAT Toppers studying at IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta with the test day strategy adopted by these toppers, are shared below
1. Shubham Bajaj, IIM Calcutta: Be Calm & Composed; Focus Towards your Goal
CAT 2020 topper with 99.98 percentile and IIM Calcutta student of MBA 2021-23 Batch, shares last minute tips for CAT 2021 aspirants, “ I was a working person, and I did save my leaves initially to take a couple of weeks leave before the D-day to keep my mind calm, composed and focused towards my goal. I did not appear for a lot of mocks during that time and on alternate days appeared the past CAT papers from 2017-19.”
2. Nancy Jain, IIM Calcutta: Tweak Mock Taking Strategy & Switch Off Mobile on D-Day
Nancy Jain, CAT 2020 Topper with 99.72 percentile and IIM Calcutta student of MBA 2021-23 batch, said, “I had to tweak my mock strategies several times which ultimately prepared me for the uncertainties that were waiting for me on D-day” and adds further, “I decided to switch off my phone since the morning itself. I knew my phone would be full of notifications as soon as the slot 1 candidates would come out of the exam hall. As I did not want any last-minute panic, I decided to stay away from any news related to the exam on D-day.”
3. Nandan Goel, IIM Calcutta: Relax & Take Full Sleep
Nandan Goel, CAT 2020 topper with 99.95 percentile and IIM Calcutta student of MBA 2021-23 batch, said, “On the day of CAT, I took an 8 hours sleep, reached the venue well before time and didn’t take any books along with me. I listened to songs and resorted to various other means to remain calm and not get scared of the competition which I can see in the form of hundreds of test takers in front of me.”
According to IIM Ahmedabad student of PGP 2020-22 Batch, Rahul Gupta who scored 100 percentile in CAT 2019, “I tried to keep myself relaxed on the day of exam. Worrying too much makes me do silly mistakes which I wanted to avoid. My centre was from my place so made sure all the bookings were done properly so I don’t have to worry about them on the day of exam. Tried to get a good sleep the night before and tried not to think much about any topic or subject to avoid last minute panic.”
TanujRuia, CAT 2019 Topper with 99.69 Percentile and IIM Bangalore Student of MBA 2020-22 batch shared, “On the CAT day, I made sure that I slept more than my daily average and had a heavy breakfast. Since my exam was in the afternoon slot, I thought of revising just the few basic Geometry formulas in the morning. I was pretty calm and composed. As I had given a lot of mocks earlier, I was pretty relaxed. So there was no such pressure.”
4. Pratik Prataprao Patil, SPJIMR Mumbai: Stay Away from Negativity
Pratik Prataprao Patil, CAT 2020 topper with 99.11 percentile and SPJIMR Mumbai student of PGDM 2022-24 batch said, “On the day of exam, I just made sure I stay calm drink lot of water and stay in the moment.” In a clear message for the CAT 2021 aspirants, he suggests
- Have patience when preparing for VARC. It is not something which is formula based and hence it takes time in changing the methodology being comfortable with it and then reflecting those in results. Come what may, reading is very important. Read anything but make sure you read.
- Be as calm as possible on the day of exam
- Stay away from negativity and believe in yourself.
5. Sruthy, IIM Lucknow: Keep the Momentum
Sruthy S Kumar, CAT 2019 topper with 97.71 percentile and IIM Lucknow student of PGP 2020-22 batch, shared her CAT day strategy, “As the CAT exam approached, I began concentrating more on revising concepts and questions rather than taking more mock tests. During my mock analysis, I had bookmarked some important questions in each section and I stuck to solving these questions with a timer. One week before CAT I stopped taking mock tests but I regularly took VARC sectionals as it’s very important to keep the momentum. And something I found very useful was the routine I followed. Once the CAT admit cards were out and I realised that I had a morning slot I started aligning my studies to fit the D-Day routine. I started waking up early morning and took all the mock tests in the morning slots and stuck to this schedule till the last day. This will really ease you come the CAT exam day.”
6. Ekansh Gupta, IIM Calcutta: Don’t Let Mock Score cover your Head
Ekansh Gupta, CAT 2020 topper with 99.91 percentile and IIM Calcutta student of MBA 2021-23 batch advises the CAT 2021 aspirants, “Things might change on the D Day so in case you are scoring well don't let it cover your head in case you are not scoring up to your expectations please keep putting in effort.”
7. Pranita Maheshwari, IIM Udaipur: Revisit your Own Concept Booklet
Pranita Maheshwari, CAT 2020 Topper with 98.81 percentile and IIM Udaipur student of MBA 2021-23 batch, shares her last minute tips for CAT 2021 aspirants, “My mentors always guided me to not panic at any moment and stay calm throughout” and suggests, “There should not be any questions to be seen or solved a day before CAT day. Rather, one should go through their own drafted concept booklet.”
8. Anish R, SPJIMR Mumbai: Choose Right Set of Questions
Anish R, CAT 2020 topper with 99.6 percentile and SPJIMR Mumbai student of PGDM 2022-24 batch, shares CAT 2021 last minute tips for the CAT aspirants, “I went through all the questions in the first few minutes, and picked the easiest ones to start with and then gradually went on to the more difficult ones” And adds further, I focussed on choosing the right set of questions after reading through all the sets. This worked well as I was able to eliminate the sets that I thought were hard and was able to pick the low hanging fruits quickly. In the last 5 mins, I remember being able to solve a question set just by making an educated guess and keying in a few options, eliminating some others. This helped me score a 99.95 in VARC section, shooting my overall to 99.6%ile.”
According to Nancy Mittal, CAT 2019 topper with 97.16 percentile and IIM Kozhikode student of 2020-22 batch, “I had planned to stay calm and pick right set of questions and my main aim was high accuracy.”
9. Venkata Satya Srikar Medisetti, IIM Udaipur: Go through the Formulae
Venkata Satya Srikar Medisetti, CAT 2019 Topper with 98.44 percentile and IIM Udaipur Student of MBA 2020-22 batch, said, “I reduced my preparation over the last couple days to relieve stress. I collected formulas in one place, I carried it along with me to read on the way.”
10. Nikita Agarwal, MDI Gurgaon: Utilise Time as per your Time Slot
Nikita Agarwal, another CAT 2019 Topper with 99.22 Percentile and the student of MDI Gurgaon of PGPM 2020-22 batch, shares her CAT day strategy, “The CAT day is the only thing that matters in the end. It is very important to have a calm mindset on D-day. Since I was in afternoon slot, I had this urge to get information online, from friends regarding the difficulty level of paper. But I realised that this is only going to affect my mindset, so I woke up, had a healthy breakfast, spent some time with family and left for the centre. I had stopped giving mocks a week ago before the CAT day. I only focused on revising the basics from the notes I had prepared, analysing my past mocks again and that’s it. On the D-day, the first section turned out to be a bit harder than expected. I was stuck on one RC for 15-17 minutes. This slowed me down and I panicked. I thought I couldn’t perform well in first section. DILR was already my weak section, but I knew I had to cover up for VARC, so I put all my efforts in this section. After solving 3 sets, I realised I couldn’t solve the whole another set, so I solved the questions without solving whole set. The last section was relatively very easy and well, it all worked out in the end. So yes, my strategy was to just do give my best without getting panicked if I mess up a particular section.”
Working Professional, Hari Ashwath Ramachandran with 3+ Years Work Experience cracked CAT 2019 with 99.44 percentile and has joined SPJIMR Mumbai instead of many IIMs, shares, “I was allotted to the 2nd Slot (Afternoon slot), 24th November, 2019. I woke up at 6:30 that morning, and sat down to solve some LRDI puzzles. I completed an entire section, glanced through some basic QA problems and concepts, and went through the newspaper (the editorial followed by the business and economy section, as usual). I tried to not let the stress get to me, and I stayed well hydrated through the process. My strategy was in place, and I knew what I had to do and how I had to approach each section (For instance, since my RC skills were strong, my strategy revolved around completing all 5 RCs before jumping in to the VA part).”
So, If you have the CAT exam in first slot and need to report at 7 AM, you may not have time to do any thing and will also have to sleep early as you have to wake up early. But if you have your exam in 2nd or 3rd time slot you will get some time to revisit the things and may also have some time to interact with your friends you had appeared in the morning slot to get a glimpse of the exam.
11. Give your Best in the Exam
Sriza Ghosh who cracked CAT 2019 with 98.62 percentile and is a student of SPJIMR 2020-22 batch is of the view to perform at your best withouting losing your calm. According to her, “My CAT strategy revolved around staying in control of my emotions. At the end of every section I took a minute-long break and closed my eyes. Moving from one section to the next is onerous, however this practice reduced the sudden stress. For VARC, I solved all the RC passages first and then moved to the VA section. A very smooth shift from one part to the next ensured that no time is wasted in getting in the zone for the next part.”
Manya Gumashta, IIM Udaipur student said, “My main strategy was not to let the stress get to me, and to not ruin the other sections just in case one section goes badly. This helped me majorly because while giving the exam I had realised that I’d spoiled my VARC section, but I went on and gave my best in the next two sections, which helped my increase my overall percentile.”
12. Treat CAT like another Mock
CAT toppers are of the view that on CAT day you should treat CAT just like any other aptitude test and suggest the CAT 2021 aspirants to think like wise. According to them, “Before CAT keep reminding yourself that it’s just an aptitude based test and you just need to perform to your full potential without any panic attack. You have been performing well in your mocks and so, try to give yourself the confidence by thinking of your mock percentiles.”
After taking so many different mocks, has already made you so comfortable with the pattern that the final exam would feel like any other mock. Focus more on the revision of concepts and analysing your previously attempted mocks.
13. Learn the art of Skipping a question
Only lot of Reading and trying to attempt all the questions without assessing and managing the limited time available in CAT exam is not a good practice. Knowing more only is not sufficient, you should learn to say no to a question and move to the next as time available is less. Focus equally on all the sections. The time spent on one single difficult question will go waste as there are equal marks for each correct answer. It is very much possible that you may attempt correctly two questions instead of one only during the same time that you have spent on the difficult question. So better to skip it.
14. Adhere to Reporting time
Please note CAT 2020 has three slots instead of earlier two slots. Accordingly you should adhere to the reporting time as due to social distancing norms the process of entry to the testing lab will be slow. CAT toppers recommend to arrive at the CAT test centre well in time to avoid any last minute rush
CAT 2021, a single day affair on November 28, 2021, will decide the fate of 2.31 lakh aspirants going to take test and seeking admission in top rated IIMs and other B schools in India. Test takers should understand that they need now a very relaxed atmosphere, full night of sound sleep without stress on their mind.
More seats in IIMs in 2022
Almost all the IIMs have increased the intake for 2022-24 batch. Not only IIMs but also other top B-schools like FMS Delhi have also increased intake. IIMs are on the path to double their intake in coming years. More candidates will find admission opportunities in IIMs in 2022.
Moving ahead with this strategy, IIM Ahmedabad has slashed its qualifying minimum CAT 2021 percentile to 80, IIM Indore, Kozhikode, Udaipur, Trichy, Amritsar, Nagpur have already announced their increased intake in PGP 2022-24 batch.
At present there are 20 IIMs and if each one adds 50 to 100 seats in 2022, it will come to around 2000 additional intake. With all this and more in the offing, you stand more chances to get admission in IIMs than earlier. Not only this, the IIM Act 2017 has empowered all the IIMs to award MBA degree instead of PGDM now.
We hope that this article of MBUniverse.com on the last Minute Preparation Tips for CAT and last minute exam day tips by CAT Toppers is found useful by you. It will help you in your last minute preparation for CAT and planning the test taking strategy on CAT 2021 exam day – November 28, 2021.
Read more inspirational stories & secret mantras of CAT Toppers, only on MBAUniverse.com
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