CAT Preparation | How to Prepare for the CAT? | Common CAT Pitfalls

CAT Preparation procedure

Overview on CAT Preparation 

The obvious answer is the Wrong Answer

Time is the biggest enemy

Compare & Discard

Use Short cuts only when necessary

Analyze Strengths & Weaknesses and create a study plan unique to yourself

Managing Test Anxiety

Negative Marking

Process of elimination

A common question that arrives for a cat aspirant is how to do CAT Preparation? Before one dives, over-enthusiastically, into preparation for the CAT, it is wise to acquaint oneself with the common potholes that aspirants stumble and trip over. This will allow one to realize where they are likely to go wrong and take precautions accordingly.

The obvious answer is the Wrong Answer

As the number of questions isn’t very high, it is unlikely that the test-setters are looking to waste time by throwing obvious questions at you. If you feel that a question was ridiculously easy, it is probably true that you went wrong somewhere. Check again and attempt it once more. The obvious answer is most likely to be the wrong answer. There may be some fine detail that you have overlooked.

Time is the biggest enemy

Certain questions are included specifically due to their nature to take more time to answer. The first step is to better time management is to recognize these questions in cat preparation.
The best way to acquire this ability is by continuous practice. Only through constant test-taking will you be able to, gradually, instinctively make out which questions will take you longer to solve.

The next step is to know what to do upon coming across such questions. Skipping them and moving ahead to finish the easy ones first, is the smartest approach usually. Another method is to give yourself a limited amount of time to attempt to solve it. If it hasn’t been solved by the decided time, move on.

Compare & Discard

This method is immensely useful for the Reading Comprehension section of the CAT Exam.
While there may be a ‘Perfect’ answer to a question, it may not appear as one of the options. What then needs to be done is to compare the different answer choices and choose the best one available. Another way to approach this method is to read the RC question, and form your own answer, in your own words. Then, read through the options available to pick out the one most similar to the answer you have framed.

However, in case of RC, it is a big game of word-play. The smallest of details must be given attention and it important NEVER to assume facts that have not been given. Take care to take the meaning of an option as a whole, and not concentrate on the meaning of individual words, as this can be highly misleading

Use Short cuts only when necessary

It is extremely important to be aware of all the possible shortcuts that are available to
you, however, these are to be used only if you are unable to apply the ‘regular’
methods. While this is a safe idea to consider, some coaching institutions do teach the students tricks and shortcuts which will always give the correct answer when applied correctly, and will also save a lot of time. If one is well versed with these shortcuts, it is sometimes a smarter option to make use of them.

Analyze Strengths & Weaknesses and create a study plan unique to yourself

In cat preparation while not ignoring your strengths, always keep in mind your weaknesses and plan accordingly. Know your areas of weakness and concentrate on practicing those. Do not, however, ignore the other sections. Constant and regular practice of old papers and practice tests online gives invaluable experience. Many aspirants undermine the worth of taking full length practice tests. They concentrate on simply working out problems section-wise from a wide range of books. This doesn’t help one when it comes to time management and the student loses out on the experience of writing the actual test.

Managing Test Anxiety

More than anything else, the CAT is a test of your ability to work under the constraints of time limits and a pressurized environment. There are hundreds of brilliant students who score MUCH lower in the CAT than they do in their practice tests. It is important to manage your test anxiety. Be prepared, and find activities that allow you to relax while not entirely distracting yourself from the test and the preparation. Listening to music, sitting with eyes closed, etc are some such ideas.

Negative Marking

Negative marking is a part of CAT. Aspirants are advised to not take wild guesses in the Exam paper. Only if the student is able to eliminate 2-3 choices, then he should take a guess. Otherwise there is no point in wild guessing, as it may drop ones chances of making it right.

Process of elimination

This process holds true for most multiple choice tests. The best way to narrow down the number of options and make your life easier is by eliminating choices that are wrong, for sure. Then concentrate on the remaining choices,; it is infinitely easier now.

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