IIM CAT Preparation Tips

IIM CAT Preparation Tips: September 2004

Sep 29, 2004

2 feet above the paper view of each question

Look at each question from a relatively macro perspective. As you read the question, see if the answer choices give you any clue. More often than not, it will not give much of a clue at this stage. It will just let you get an idea as to whether the answer choices are really close or are they spaced apart. For instance, if you find answer choices for a DI question as 34.3, 34.38, 34.42 and 34.55 skip the question. What is the point in wasting time computing to two decimal points accuracy. Anyway, after you become an MBA you will have the best of calculators and Pentium HT machines at your disposal. What the IIMs are probably testing with such questions is to find out if you are smart enough to skip the question.

You have skipped questions where answer choices really close. What next? Proceed to solve the question. In many instances, even though at the first step answers may not give you much of an idea, as you proceed with the second or third step of solving the problem the answer choices will start making lot more sense. Make it a habit to take a quick glance at the answer choices after each step. It is tantamount to taking a glance at the rear view mirror when you drive a car (that is provided you use the rear view mirror for the intended purpose!!). This time around, it will give you more clues that could help you eliminate answer choices that are not plausible. If your elimination leaves you with only one choice, go ahead and tick it and proceed to the next question. Do Not compute till the last step. It might help get a sense of satisfaction to get the answer after solving all the steps. But then, getting peace of mind in one question will surely cost you missing out on three more.

There will be adequate number of questions in quant section where you should be substituting the answer choices and solving them instead of solving up the logical way. This way you will cut down the time you take for that question by over 50%. Saving time on 10 such questions could mean you will be able to attempt 3 or 4 more questions. Well that is essentially the difference between getting four or more GDPI calls from the IIMs and getting no calls.

Best wishes

K S Baskar
Director - Ascent Education
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Sep 6, 2004

Skipping tough questions is the key to success

… Do not get unduly concerned if you seem to skipping questions. In the first go attempt only those questions that are really really easy (that will take around a minute or less to answer). Though this is generally true across all three sections, it gains greater importance in the quant section. As you go through each question if you encounter a question that you do not know or happens to be difficult, put an X mark next to it, skip it and forget it. If you find a question that you know, but will take 2 or more minutes, put an A next to it, skip it and proceed. Attempt in the 1st round only those that will take about a minute. After exhausting all these easy questions, if you still have time come back for the questions that you have marked an A. This way, your selection of questions follows the rule of attempting the easiest ones first and then the tougher ones. Putting X and A marks next to the question eliminates the necessity to re select questions when you revisit the section.

On an average, students who crack CAT need to get about 50% or lesser of the number of questions in the quant and DI section as their net score. That essentially translates to skipping every other question, provided you can maintain very high levels of accuracy. So, go ahead and skip questions that are difficult. It will be more detrimental to get stuck in a question and spending a lot of time on it than skipping a question that is easy by mistake.

K S Baskar
Ascent Education - Classes for CAT - XAT - GMAT