MOCK TAKING BEST PRACTICES TIPS from CAT 99.87%ile
Profile: Non Engineer
I will highlight some of the key mock taking best practices that I employed when I targetted CAT exam.
1. Learn from your mistakes
a. When you attempt questions, do not consider the question done if you answered it correctly. Know exactly why the wrong choices are wrong and why the correct answers are correct. If you do the same, you will be much more confident in the exam. I did not do the same initially and this impacted my performance in the exam. I got in the habit of doing such thorough analysis; Discuss every answer choice and pin point the reason why it’s incorrect. Doing so is absolutely vital both during your practice and in mocks. While practicing, ask yourself – why do you think choice A is incorrect etc. It will help boost your accuracy.
2. Spend Dedicated Time every day
a. With responsibility at home and a more than full-time job, I knew I had to take some serious steps if I were to prepare for CAT the right way. So with complete buy-in from my family (make sure you have your buy in; believe me it saves a number of fights and headaches!!), I put aside 2 hours in the morning for my CAT prep. I did not have to think whether to study or not. It also forced me to sleep on time. I did have to miss out on a few sitcoms. There were days when I could not spend time with family and friends. But believe me- it was worth it in the end.
3. Test Taking Strategies –
a. No need to do ALL questions
i. This was a real eye opener for me. I realized that I did not need to attempt ALL questions to get a high percentile ; I could get 99%ile in quant even without touching 10+ questions. When you know that you only need to get ~40 questions instead of 50, you can focus your energy on fewer questions. Believe me – it helps.
b. Recognize Takt Time for common question types
i. Another strategy of Cetking introduced the idea of Takt time for a question type. For example, I take more than 2 minutes for Evaluate questions whereas I take less than 1.5 minutes for an inference or assumption question type. Knowing that I need this time to solve a particular question type otherwise my accuracy will go down was very useful. Your mock reports wil help you calculate Takt Time.
c. Before taking test, know which questions to skip
i. So combining the above two strategies, before taking any mock and before taking the CAT, I knew when to skip certain questions. These were the questions that were from my weak areas. I would take an educated guess instead of wasting more than 2 minutes on each of these questions.
1. Bold Face in CR – If I am running behind time and the argument is reasonably long one. Bold face answer choices are really tricky and these questions were a hit or miss for me.
2. P&C and Probability – If I do not understand the scenario in the question in the first 30 seconds. This section is too broad to study. At the same time, you get very few questions from this section.
3. Inference question in RC – If it is a broad inference; i.e. inference from multiple placed in the passage rather than from one section and if I cannot eliminate 3 choices in first 30 seconds. I had a real difficult time on these ones.
ii. This helped me focus on my strengths and allowed me to spend more time on questions I could confidently handle.
All the best