by Chinmay Das, IIMA
The number of CAT applicants keeps increasing year on year, reaching a record 2,32,434 applications for 2016. A meagre 0.5 – 1% of the applicants make it to the call list of the top 3 IIMs – A, B and C. In order to make it to this list, one needs to perform brilliantly in CAT. It is suggested that one take a systematic approach to any such competitive exam.
I’d like to share my strategy which helped me crack not only IIT-JEE 2011, but also CAT 2015. I call this the ‘1-2-3 strategy’.
There are 2 key factors while appearing for any competitive exam:
#1 – Attempt all questions which you know the answer to.
#2 – Don’t waste time on questions which are very tough and you wouldn’t be able to solve even if you spent as much as 5 minutes on the question
The 1-2-3 Strategy
Every question paper comprises of 3 types of questions:
Level 1: Easy questions which one can answer without investing too much time
Level 2: Moderately difficult questions which one will be able to answer after investing some time and doing a quick analysis.
Level 3: Difficult questions which one can answer only after a detailed analysis is done.
The 1-2-3 strategy dictates that a student tackle all the level 1 questions first. These questions take up the least amount of time and will enable one in gaining some quick correct answers. As soon as the exam starts, it is suggested that the applicant skim through the questions one by one without solving and whenever he/she finds a ‘Level 1’ question, answer it quickly and continue.
Once the candidate is done with all the ‘Level 1 questions’, it’s time to tackle the ‘Level 2’ questions. To identify such questions, look for questions whose process of solving might seem familiar or the problem can be solved through the direct application of a known formula/concept. Typically, every such question should take no more than 1 minute to solve. Skim through every question and solve all the ones you feel belong to this category.
After you’ve tackled all ‘Level 1’ and ‘Level 2’ questions, it’s time to work on the ones requiring some deep analysis and application of multiple formulae / concepts. Typically, any competitive exam consists of 10-20% of such questions. Set a hard deadline for attempting every such question. Because it takes some time to solve these questions, one might waste a lot of time trying to work on a few problems and not attempting the remaining ones due to a lack of time. It’s recommended that a candidate work on every such question for a maximum of 2.5 minutes and move to the next question quickly.
Cracking CAT isn’t all about answering most questions correctly, it’s also about utilizing your time efficiently to score your personal best.
Best of Luck!
Chinmay Das is a student at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
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