CAT 2018: 10 Tips to Improve Your CAT Percentile by 30% in One Week

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Updated on November 22, 2018
Below are shared 10 key tips by CAT toppers and suggestions to improve your CAT 2018 percentile by 30% in next three days and turn your cherished dream of getting into IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta or Lucknow into reality. After taking the CAT on November 25, check your score on CAT 2018 Percentile Predictor with your CAT performance to explore your admission chances in IIMs
10 Tips to Improve Your CAT Percentile

With three days to go for CAT 2018 exam day, your CAT preparation must be over now and you are sure interested to know the tips and tricks to improve substantially your CAT score which should also reflect in the freely offered and nearest percentile disclosing  CAT 2018 percentile predictors. Unlike earlier CAT exams which used to spread for a period of one month, now the CAT is shrunk to one day two sessions exam. It is immaterial, whether you are appearing for Slot-1 or Slot-2 of  CAT 2018 exam on November 25, 2018, since the exam reporting time even for slot 2, doesn’t give you time enough to discuss about the feed back for slot one. So better strategy is to focus on your own skills and strengthen what you know. There is no need to begin anything fresh on your preparation.  

CAT toppers and experts suggest following ten tips and strategies for the next three days before CAT exam and for the exam day to substantially improve your CAT percentile in the exam. Please note that the last three days before CAT needs a well devised strategy to crack the exam with high score. This is more important after putting in many months of preparation as all depends on the 3 hours of your testing duration.

Following tips and suggestions will be a good aid to improve your CAT 2018 percentile:

1. Keep your Score target clear
Are you aware that Zero marks in CAT is equivalent to 30 percentile. That means almost 30% of total aspirants score zero marks or negative marks. If you score high in CAT 2018, it is all about a slight push on what you are studying. You will be surprised to know that candidates cracking 8 correct out of 32 questions scored a sectional percentile as high as 85 in CAT.

If you continue studying and practicing questions for long hours without any clarity on concepts, it may not take you anywhere. It will be better to focus on relevant concepts and practice a variety of questions based on it to build your basics and have clarity on the concept.

2. Clarity of Concepts: A Must
Clarity of concepts is a must to crack CAT 2018 with high percentile. If your concepts are clear, you can practice the questions based on the concepts. For example a simple question -   if 2 and 3 are the roots of a quadratic equation ax2 + bx + c = 0, what is the value of (a+b+c) ?

The answer should come from you in less than a minute. Do you know the answer?

The answer is - cannot be determined uniquely.

3. 50% Score can award 95 percentile
If out of 34 questions in VARC or Quant section in CAT 2018, you are able to crack around 17  right in each section, you will be able to score 94–95 percentile which is good enough to get call from top IIMs and other B-schools.

160 Raw Score = Scaled score 195
Going by past trend and allowing for all the odds, it is anticipated if you can score more than 200 marks with sectional score of 74 in VARC, 57 marks in DILR  and 73 marks in Quant, it could fetch 99.9 percentile in CAT 2018. Please note this is not your raw score out of 300, it is the scaled score which is reflected in your score card after IIMs complete the scaling process. Your required raw score to get scaled score of 195 and achieve 99 percentile could be much less say, around 160 or 165 marks out of 300.

Therefore, the CAT 2018 aspirants should not worry as their low scores could fetch them high percentile. This you can also check on CAT Percentile Predictor 2018  when the CAT exam is over.  The need is to keep watch on your sectional strategy to attempt CAT 2018 exam. To a large extent it can be estimated that your total marks of 193 to 195 could award you a percentile of 99 and above in CAT 2018. Besides a gap of 10 marks is expected to exist between the award of 99 and 100 percentile in CAT 2018, going by the past trends.

However, now you need to achieve the target of 99 and above percentile with high and balanced sectional percentile on the CAT 2018 exam day. So you should devise the strategy that could hit the target.

With 3 marks awarded for each correct answer and -1 mark for every wrong answer to an MCQ and no deduction for wrong answer to Non-MCQ has made it difficult for the candidates how to assess whether they would get the desired high sectional and overall percentile in accordance with their performance in CAT 2018 exam yet the chances to increase your percentile have improved with 28% Non-MCQs, if this number appears in CAT 2018 exam as shared in official CAT 2018 Mock test released by IIMs. 

4. Devise the Exam Strategy
f we assume that CAT 2018 exam has same difficulty level as that of last year, experts are of the view that you need to attempt around 65 questions in CAT 2018 to achieve the same high percentile of 99 and above. In view of the experts Students should consider CAT 2018 as a string of 3 sectional tests of 1 hour each. Now a candidate should only be looking forward to maximize the number of attempts.

Going by the past trend as happened in last year CAT, the initial estimate by the experts for the score required for a 99 percentile in CAT 2018 is:

CAT 2018 Section
Target score (Net marks out of maximum marks 300
Number of questions attempted
Total number of questions
160 (Net score)

According to the experts “The correct strategy would be to not ignore any area and attempt all questions types. LR and DI which are usually ignored have now become very much important”

5. Strategy to Attempt each section in Exam
Since there will be no negative marking for Non-MCQ type questions, a student should begin each section by attempting all the non-MCQ questions in CAT 2018. The non-MCQ questions should not be seen as a problem. Many Non-MCQs have the choices to select from, as your right answer. The difference lies that you have to type in the answer in the given space on the computer screen instead of clicking on the correct answer choice. It is also expected that Non-MCQs will have a low difficulty level as against the MCQs which also have negative marking clubbed to them.

6. Non-MCQs: Add 28% Score With No Negative Marking
CAT 2018 with an overhauled exam pattern is no doubt a great challenge for the IIM aspirants. But the no penalty Non-MCQ type of questions are also a great relief to CAT aspirants that will add to push your CAT percentile predictions 2018 upwards. Past CAT toppers suggest to practice more on such questions as there is no fear of negative marking for Non-MCQs. CAT toppers also suggest to first solve in the exam these Non-MCQs – more popularly known as TITA (Type In The Answers) questions and then proceed to MCQs with negative marking

In the next 7 days of your revision and revisit to CAT syllabus, you could find much more to turn your cherished dream of getting into IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta or Lucknow into reality, if you begin utilizing judiciously your time and develop shortcuts to solve the different type of 100 questions divided into 3 sections.

7. LoD is Subjective Only
The question asked in CAT 2018 may have different difficulty level for different candidates. If you know the topic, have practiced on it and can crack it, it has low LoD but if you do not have conceptual clarity and can’t solve the question, it has high LoD. So don’t think that the particular question has high or low LoD as the LoD concept in CAT is relative and is dependant upon your skill set.

In fact, level of difficulty in questions asked in CAT 2018 depends whether you have practiced similar questions or are seeing it for the first time. If you find yourself average in an area, it means you have not solved similar questions. It is your time - to go through the concepts and solve the questions - that will take you to higher levels of problem solving skills and will improve your score in all the CAT percentile 2018 predictions also.

8. Be Confident Through Out
If you begin believing right from the beginning that you cannot get into IIM A, B, C, you can never get one. You must prepare with a clear focus on CAT 2018. Instead of more time spent, more concentrated and limited study hours can give you more confidence. Never think that you cannot and won’t get into top 3-4 IIMs even if you are not scoring high in initial days of your preparation.

9. Make Right Use of On-screen Calculator
CAT 2018 Mock test published by IIM Calcutta also has the facility of on-screen calculator as you will find in the actual CAT 2018 exam. You should practice well on this calculating device that may save your time in calculation. Over the years CAT has transformed itself to be a logic based paper and the calculations in the QA section are never very difficult or lengthy. Even in DI, the problem area for students is ‘what to calculate’ instead of ‘how to calculate’. Online calculator reflects the fact that IIMs require students who can interpret the data well and need not be great at calculations.

Although the calculations in CAT are never expected to be extremely difficult, a student should not refrain from using the calculator in times of need. Calculator might prove to be useful in DI and QA questions with extremely close options. Attempt CAT 2018 IIMC Mock Here

10. Make Best Use of Sectional Time Limit
Sectional Time limit of one hour each to attempt the questions in the individual section is a bonanza for serious CAT takers in 2018. The sectional time limit which was re-introduced in CAT exam in 2015 after a break of one year. It has continued since then. In view of the experts it will have positive effects on the test taking of the students. Due to the restriction of switching between the sections you need not worry about the time management.

Check How You Study!
The types of questions asked in CAT are finite. A question is difficult only if you are seeing it for the first time. If you find a question difficult even if you are seeing it for the second time, ask yourself - Are you honest enough with your preparation? While spending full day in study, what was the real time spent on study? So it is better to limit your study hours allowing more space for activities necessary in everyday life instead of getting confined to a room, quitting your job and gaining nothing even after 24 hours of study.

Strong Fundamentals: Key to Success
Getting your fundamentals strong does not require long duration study hours. Instead fundamentals imply how and where you can use a concept and what are the limitations?

For example - What will be the LCM of 10, 20 and minus 30?

Or, Can I call (-2) (minus 2) an even integer? Can I use unitary method in directly proportional relations or inversely proportions relations?

If you have this clarity on other topics also, give a few practice sessions to it, else further check what remains to be completed.

If you are jack of all and master of none, the first job is to identify your natural strength area. It can be Quant, Verbal or LR or none. Since DI / LR is more about practice, practice upon quality content, regularly. Then try to get into the areas which need to be improved further instead of grabbing all at a time.

No Experts Needed
CAT 2018 in fact will be the exam for common candidates. IIMs do not need a professor in English Literature or in Mathematics. Instead an average student at IIM is the one who has good academic record and may not be a topper in his bachelor’s degree. The candidate also scores well in CAT exam by systematically following the study plan, is flexible in his approach, is conceptually clear among other factors.

Stay tuned to for more updates on CAT 2018