CAT 2022: 10-day preparation plan by expert to avoid last-minute jitters

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CAT 2022: With just a few days left for CAT 2022 , here are some tips and insights that you should keep in mind. Before entering the examination hall, remember that CAT always tests the same skill sets and that 80% of the paper will be from expected areas – and that should be your target. Forget the other 20% of the paper. There won’t be a major change in the types of questions asked and that should help you sleep peacefully the night before CAT. In addition to the above two, about 40% of the paper can be categorised as easy – identify, solve and score!

Expected level of difficulty (LOD) : The expected LOD would be similar to the last 2 years, and whatever be the surprise, it would be for 1st slot only. Those in the 1st slot need not fret, though, since normalisation, invariably, helps those in this slot due to the aforementioned reason.

Tips for VARC: Level of difficulty should not change a lot, for VARC, as compared to last year. That implies, net correct* of 11-12 questions should see you score 95%ile. Remember to read RCs using the question paper button to save time and effort. Give enough time to reading and you’ll find comprehending much easier. Stick to your planned and practised strategy. Don’t experiment and stick to the topics that you are comfortable with. Over the last 10-12 days, continue reading and build up an appetite to read across genres. You will have 15 minutes before the exam starts to read the instructions and understand the platform. Utilise that time by reading what is on the screen to get into the flow just before the exam starts. This is similar to how bowlers warm up just before the innings starts – helps ensure that you are switched on from the very first second.

Tips for DILR: Expected to continue its trend of testing your presence of mind. However, plan your section well and you should do well. Take 6-8 minutes to soak in the section. Identify the sets/questions you would be attempting. Use the question paper button while going through the sets. Do try to keep an eye out for Topics which are from your areas of strengths. Advisable to focus on questions rather than sets as one needs to attempt a meagre 11-12 questions out of 20 questions for a 99+ percentile in this section. Plan wisely. Your focus should be on accuracy and not attempts and on questions not sets. The 4 question sets are generally easier, try acing those 2 sets to ensure a 90%ile and then use the momentum created to correctly answer a few questions in one of the 6 question sets.

Tips for QA: Expect LOD of QA this year to be similar to what was seen over the last couple of years. Don’t be afraid to use choices, substitution & elimination techniques to solve questions in this section. Remember your concepts well as it is expected that the questions would be more conceptual based rather than formula based. Arithmetic and Algebra would comprise 65% of the paper and many questions from your areas of strengths might be towards the latter half of the paper. I encourage you to skip to question 22 (the end) if the first few questions seem difficult and move backwards, in this section. Net correct* of 9-10 should see you score 95%ile with ease.

General Tips: This is not the time to pick up a new topic as starting with a new topic so close to the exam date will only lead to confusion and reduce the quality of understanding the concept. Instead, revise, polish, and optimise the things you already know. Revise all the basic concepts, brush up on the formulae, and time yourself on mock tests. Make sure your notes are thorough on the basics and you revise them properly at regular intervals. Closely analyse your mock test answers. Make a note of where you’re going wrong the most and which other areas need improvement.

Overall, this is the time to focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses. Even if 60% of the exam is from your areas of strength and you ace this, you still stand a chance to be in the top 1% of the candidates who write CAT 2022.

Aim to write 5 mocks over the last 10 days. Take all the Mocks in the same slot as your CAT exam. The law of averages states that you might not score the best in all these papers and that is ok. Do not let it affect your confidence.

Overall, tell yourself that it’s just a test and act as though you are the only person in the room. Most importantly keep calm and adapt to the question paper. Keep your documents ready and wear sandals/slippers to the examination hall since shoes may not be permitted. Overall, chill and try to enjoy the paper.

All the best

*Net correct = Final marks÷3

Final marks = (Number of questions answered correctly * 3) – (Number of questions answered incorrectly * 1)

Thus, net correct of 10 questions means 10*3=30 marks and could mean 11 questions answered correctly and 3 answered incorrectly or 12 answered correctly and 6 incorrectly etc.

(Author Gautam Bawa is Principal Director, BYJU’S and Vice President, BYJU’S Exam Prep. Views expressed here are personal.)

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