FAQs on last minutes to CAT?


What should be the Optimum Strategy for CAT?

There should be no fiddling with your Test-taking strategy at this late stage. As long as you know that the strategy you are using is giving you rewards, don’t change it… For example, you would know if your best bet is to scan a passage and then move onto to the questions, while another person could be more at ease scanning questions before going onto the passage. So just stick to whatever works best for you. 


Will the analysis of the MOCK Tests help now? 

Test taking is the most important aspect of your preparation now. Take two or at the most three MOCK tests in the last week. Test taking should be followed by an in-depth analysis of the complete Test. Analyse what mistakes you have committed and how you will rectify them. Also check the questions that you have missed, and whether you have missed any ‘easy’ question! That will help in your choice of questions later. Remember, CAT is not about last minute cramming and revising. It’s about being alive and mentally alert, here and now. 


What be done to give finishing touches to the preparation? 

Do away with your urge to cover the complete syllabus instead of revising or analyzing the test. Besides spending time on why some answers went wrong, also concentrate on why some answers were correct or whether there is any better way of doing the question. Furthermore, in any well-planned CAT Test, you will not be able to complete the whole section or Test. So go through the questions that you did not attempt and see if you made a mistake by leaving out those and attempting the ones you did. Also remember than in every Test, there will be both difficult and easy questions. This is where the concept of revision comes in. With regular revision, you gets better and better at questions and are able to do them in a short span of time.

Revise specific fundae, where you feel that there is a lacunae and your score can improve if you have better clarification on that part. For example you can go through the chapter of subject-verb agreement if you feel that you are making too many mistakes in Sentence Correction type Question because of that chapter.

Acclimatize your body clock: You must acclimatize your body clock to the test timing i.e. you must for the next few days practice test at the time during which you have booked you slot (1000 hours or 1530 hours)

Sleep timings: You must condition your sleep time according to your test timing, for example if you have booked the morning slot then you must start sleeping early and getting up early 2-3 days before your test day. If you sleep late then it is highly likely that you might not be able to get up early having fresh energy on the test day and which might affect your performance.


‘Which is the easiest way out and which are the easiest questions?

One of the biggest pitfalls is that as students we always search for short cuts, asking  ‘ A critical issue here is the tremendous urge to skip questions. We tend to lose concentration at different stages during the exam and tend to skip questions because of the pressures of time. But things get better if you follow a couple of golden rules. If you want to identify the questions to attend, it is imperative that you read all the questions. Decide in two readings whether you are going to attempt the question or not. This is perfectly normal and don’t let it bother you. It will take not more than 15 seconds, at a very leisurely pace, to read a question. But if you read the question faster, you would have saved a few seconds. These can then be spent on understanding the question.

While reading the question, your attitude should be, ‘let me give everything I have.’ Concentrating for those two hours and 15 minutes is not easy, but imperative.


What has been the cut-offs in the past CAT?

 If we take QA section historically the cut off marks (93-95 percentile) of this section is hovering around 25-30  % of the marks allotted to the section in the last 5-6 years with CAT-2006 being the only exception when the QA sectional Cut-off marks was approximately 38-40% of the allotted marks, at the same time LRDI sectional cut off marks has varied from 20-30 % with CAT-2007 being the only exception when LRDI sectional cut off was approximately 35-36 % of the allotted marks. VA Cutoff marks has been approximately 20-32 percent of the allotted marks in the previous 5-6 CATs


Any Final Tips for the C-DAY?

 CAT is not the end of your life. Many a time, very high potential students have not made it to the IIMs because they could not handle the pressure. So unwind, go for movies, do things that help you relax, go for walks, listen to soothing music, meditate…. People who stick it out, hang in there and continue to peg away will make it.

Learn not to carry despair into other sections. Be robotic in those two hours and 15 minutes. Act mercilessly and ruthlessly. Do not yield to sentiments. So what if you have messed up in English, quant is another compartment, maximize your score there. It’s a difficult preposition, but you have to be sensitive to the fact that at the end of the day it’s a game of nerves.

Fluid Management: This would be very important on the test day. Those of you who are taking the test in the morning slot, should not consume any fluid after 6.30 a.m. and those of you taking the test in the afternoon slot must not consume any fluid after 1 p.m. as it has been specified in the instructions by Prometric (www. catiim.in) that you should entering the test arena at least 1.5 hours before the start of the test and you will not be even allowed to go to washrooms. Bad fluid management can affect your test performance.   

CAT Instructions: You must visit www.Catiim.in and read all the instructions carefully and follow them strictly.



More Last Minute Tips from Recent CATters

Another first hand account of what successful CATters did in the days before the test:
Gaurav Sharma – NSIT Delhi and IIM-A


More Advice :) & Fun Videos

Like the new Reliance Mobile ad – advice toh sab log dete hein (which incidentally we like quite a lot :), we thought we’ll spare you a long note on what to do in this last week to CAT in this post.

A few things which do help are:
1. A little revision
2. A lot of relaxation and feeling good about yourself / feeling confident
3. Making sure all your tools are in place

There are a number of posts on this site which do discuss the above in more detail, please refer to them for inputs on what to do in this last week.

With special reference to point number 2, we thought we would share a few enjoyable / fun videos that we found on the internet, which are likely to loosen the nerves, help you relax and generally bring a smile to your face.

So here goes installment 1 – do throw it in between some of the Algebra and Geometry :)

  • Nice concept, nice music and inspirational in its own way

Last lap to CAT

Finally, we are at the crucial juncture of CAT, with barely a few days left for the exam. Our advise to you is to concentrate on your strengths and to remain calm.

How should the last minute CAT preparations be?
It should essentially be practice and revision. No new concepts should be done at this stage. It should be selective and intensive study. Identify the type of questions which you are good at and revise them so well that chances of making a mistake in those questions are minimised. In the last month it is only strengths, strengths and strengths. Nothing else! Do it so thoroughly that there’s no scope for error.

Ignore the weak areas in the last lap because even in the worst case-scenario you are not going to attempt all the questions. You might as well leave the questions you are not comfortable with. Revise a lot. People tend to practice a lot — but practice without revision will not work. Continue reading

Fun advice for CAT – Updated!

Remember the last post about what you can do to relax in these last few hours before CAT.

Here’s the second installment. Our advice remains the same:
1. Do some light revision
2. Be confident: Relax and feel good about yourself
3. Make sure all your tools are in place

And here are the videos to help you do just that:

Last Minute Tips from Recent CATters

A few pearls of wisdom from CL students currently studying at the IIMs – what they did in the week running up to CAT.

Kapil Khurana, 1st Year, IIM – Lucknow


Dr. Yashavi Barapatre – IIM A


What to do 10 days before CAT?

10 Days to CAT

Make a plan. Make a pledge. Stick to it. While making a plan keep in mind the following guidelines that you will not touch any fresh area. For all three aptitudes to be tested (Verbal, Quant and LRDI) divide the major topics in these respective areas into seven clusters, one cluster to be done each day. While making the clusters keep in mind that you put only those topics wherein you are very comfortable or comfortable. Skip areas of discomfort. Also avoid completely new topics like plague. For LRDI, as there are no topics per se, divide the forty odd questions of your test series into seven clusters with five to six questions in each cluster. Also, lay your hands upon a book which is moderately challenging for you with about five hundred pages. And, read no more than fifty pages.

9 Days to CAT

Wake up fresh after at least six hours of sleep. Go to sleep no later that 12 pm. No late night movies please. Start with the first lap of your 50 pages target for the day. Reading will warm your senses and boost your appetite for the rest of the problem solving to come. You may finish your target of fifty pages in one go, however, after each tranche of reading you need to introspect and ask yourself three questions: a) What was the author saying? b) Why was he saying what he was saying? c) How was he expressing the same?

For your quantitative aptitude pick up the first cluster from your planner and revise the associated basic formulae, basic concepts and standard problems. After this activity, pick up any Mock CAT Test Series you may have joined and solve any question that has come from that area in the Mocks starting from Mock 1. Do the same with Verbal Ability. For LRDI, pick your first cluster.

Next five days to CAT

Continue diligently with the regime you have set on the first day. There may be one odd day when you will not be able to stick to your regime. Don’t let such puny things lower your morale. After all you’re human. Keep moving. You will also have at least one bow – day.

Last three days to CAT

Utilize the first two days of these last three days to revise all those areas which you could not as per your regime as it got spilled over. A million dollar question is – what if something is still left, don’t sweat over it, not even a single person who is going to write the exam has been able to cover the syllabus one hundred percent.

One day to CAT

Decide what you like to do most. Read a book. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Loiter with friends, but don’t discuss the exam. No practice, no revision, no questions. Give yourself a treat. Put together your tool-box, sharpen your instruments. Rest your lower back; have a warm, good meal, sleep early and enjoy the paper.