CAT-2018: A Simple approach to ace the exam

Well, CAT-2018 is about six months away, and this is the time when anxiety starts to kick in. Remember, this is where you need to be mentally strong and up to the challenge. Do not allow your negative thoughts and energy to dominate you and side-track your preparation.

There are quite a few common thoughts that pass through the minds of students at this stage. I will analyse these thoughts and provide you with information that will help mitigate these thoughts. Remember, it is critical to dispel negative thoughts and energy at this stage.

Thought-1: I do not have the perfect exam strategy and do not know how to crack the exam

Well, you all know Virender Sehwag, right? Well, the Sehwag way to play cricket is very simple: SEE THE BALL, HIT THE BALL.

You need to adopt a similar approach: SPOT THE EASY QUESTION, SOLVE THE QUESTION!
It is as simple as that!

cat-question-solving-approach
The exam is nothing else about maximising your attempt and the number of questions (maintaining the lowest possible average for time spent on a question) you solve for this exam. How do you achieve this? You simply spot the easy questions in the exam. I am not kidding: this is the simplest strategy in the world to crack competitive exams. And as with most simple things, it works best.

In fact, I will share a personal anecdote here. The first time I prepared for CAT (as a serious aspirant back then), I used to struggle with the Quantitative Aptitude section of the exam. I was clear with the basic concepts for this subject, but when it came to the exam, I just could not solve questions within the given time limit. I had an abysmal attempt in the section and could barely solve 2 to 3 questions in the whole section. My mentor back then had a simple piece of advice for me: with every test, I need to increase by attempt by two questions. That is all! The pressure was completely taken off, and in the next mock, I solved five questions. The mock after, I solved seven questions. And this way, I could get myself up to 14 to 16 questions in the section, one question at a time.

I call this approach the Virender Sehwag way to doing this: as simple as possible! Take no pressure and no burden: do not over-complicate matters. Just spot the easy questions and solve them.

Thought-2: I have not covered enough topics, and there is no way to clear the exam now.
The first thing you need to remember here is that you do not need to cover all topics in detail to clear the exam. You simply need to maximise your strengths to do well in the exam. That is all your need to do.

Thought-3: I have no chance as I am not scoring well in mocks.
Well, mocks are called mocks for one thing: they are not real! They are practice tests to help you prepare for the exam. These mocks don’t count for anything, and no one is going to be ever concerned with your mock scores. The only thing that matters is the final exam, and you should not mentally weigh yourself down with your mock scores.

Evidence to support the above assertions?
There is evidence to support to this: every year, we meet students we never expected to clear the exam. How come these students managed to clear the exam without being so-called ‘serious aspirants’? Well, they did a couple of things right:

  1. They maintained their focus in the exam.
  2. They focused on maximising what they knew and did not focus on what they could not solve.

Remember, once you unburden yourself from the approach of solving the maximising number of questions, you simplify the process for yourself. Focus on solving the maximising number of EASY QUESTIONS (questions from topics you are confident about), and you are in a good position to ace the exam.

This is what the Sehwag way is all about. Hope you rock the exam with this simple strategy!