Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ThE final 30 days ...

Please read this post first : Introduction to ThE final 30 days

What We will be doing in these 100 hours spread over 30 days.

5 Sectional tests of QA / DI / VA each ( preferably from previous year mocks or other similar sources and with 20-25 questions in a section in QA/DI and 20-30 questions in VA)
5 Full length Mocks.
Revision of topics where we are comfortable.
Learning new concepts.

Notes we have to maintain

1.) DI sets we couldn't solve in the Mock CAT.
2.) New concepts learned.
3.) Words which came across us in the sectionals and Mocks.
4.) Mistakes that were committed in the mock-cat or the sectional and which could have been avoided.

The basic gyan.

Every day starting from today, make sure to give 3 hours to CAT, and plus do remember that you have to give 10 hours extra.


Every day, we have to do 3 things.

1.) Learn at-least one new concept, which may be from pg testfunda , totalgadha , some book, some friend, some blog or from anywhere else but we have to read at-least one thing which we didn't knew earlier and note it down + understand it.

2.) Solve at-least 1 DI set, if there is some unsolved DI set in the note 1 for DI we talked about earlier solve it, else get some DI set from any of the above mentioned sources and solve it.

3.) Read the three notes you have written (note 2, note 3 and note 4).

These 3 tasks will take about 60 minutes of your time everyday and sometimes a little more, in all making it an approx 35 hours.

Now we will divide the 30 days into 4 parts : 5 days before taking a full length mock, 5 days where you take a full length mock CAT, 5 days after taking a full length mock, and 15 other days.

For the sake of simplicity I am assuming that one will be taking a full length mock every 6'th day (though it might not be exact 6 days, but try to keep enough time in-between two mocks so as to make sure you can have proper analysis and not too much time to be out of touch of mocks.)

So lets suppose you will be taking full length mocks on 5'th, 11'th, 17'th, 23'nd, 29'th day.

On normal days ie. day 1,2,3,7,8,9,13,14,15,19,20,21,25,26,27.

1 sectional test : 40 minutes.
analysis of test : 80 minutes.
Total : 120 minutes.

What does analysis means // This is one point where my point of view differs from that of coaching institutes and others.

See that
If you wasted time on questions which were difficult to solve.
If you wasted too much time on a question.
If you quit a question just one the verge, and could later solve it in under 3 minutes ( a DI Set in under 15 minutes).
If there was some easy question you didn't/couldn't solve.
If you left a question even without reading it.
If all the questions are at-least familiar to you, if not go through the topic they belong to, and ensure that you can solve any similar question.
Check that if any of the questions could have been solved by some quicker method.

In 15 days : you will have done 15 sectional mock-cats ( 5 from each topic)

On days before full length mock CAT 4,10,16,22,28 .

Solve 3 sectional mocks (which you had already solved) and see if your score improved, if not try to modify your analysis part from next set of sectionals.

total : 3 * 40 =120 minutes.

On the day of full length mock 5,11,17,23,29 .

before giving the mock, be relaxed as if it is the real CAT and do what-ever you would do in a real CAT (just do remember to not to repeat any of the mistakes that you have written in your notes).

total : 135 minutes.

On the day after the full length mock 6,12,18,24,30

Analysis of the mock CAT.

total : 120 minutes.

NET TOTAL : 96 hours 15 minutes ( rest 3 hours 45 minutes, munaafa ..... "Congratulations, you have earned this time and can enjoy this".)

Introduction post : ThE final 30 days.

A lot of people have been asking me to write something about " What to do in the last few days " and I've been telling them that I will be writing such a post soon, so finally today is the day, when I will be writing that post, but I thought lets make a few things clear before you read that post.

Please understand, that you are the best judge of your-self, its you who has to decide what do you want in life, to decide your priorities and to check if something is working for you.

What-ever the post contains are my personal views on how to make the best of the final 30 days, its not to be considered as the rule-book but as a guide book which might help you in getting your dreams come true but how to use this guide book in the best possible manner is all your call.

A few assumptions that I am making for a reader(so that he can get benefits from it)

1.) You are actually willing to bell the CAT and it ain't just a time-pass or an option for you(Though u might be showing this to others.")

2.) You can spend 100 hours in these 30 days. and preferably these are spread evenly.

3.) You are flexible and willing to change and to learn.

And finally a word of precaution ....

I am just another CAT aspirant, I haven't been there and done that, never appeared in CAT before and I do have a lot of short-comings, I do commit a lot of mistakes in the mocks, I am just a mediocre and lazy guy who is not particularly great in either of QA/DI/VA.

So if you are reading this post, be warned that what-ever I am going to tell you may not be the best for you.

p.s -> The actual post will follow in a little time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mistakes I won't Repeat

In this post, I am making a list of the mistakes which I have committed in previous mocks (and I am sure some of you must have made these or other) So lets make sure that none of us repeat any of these mistakes in future.

1.) Going on a speed spree, while accuracy goes for a toss. Its good to have great speed but not on the cost of accuracy, we have to have a proper balance among the two.

2.) Not marking a question even after solving it. We have to have confidence in ourselves. At times we don't mark a question even after solving it, since we think that the answer can't be so simple.

3.) Watching watch too many times, and taking un-necessary pressure about the time remaining, its good to have an eye on the watch, but don't get obsessed by it. Its okey if u gave a few extra minutes to a question or a section.

4.) Investing (actually wasting) too much time in a particular question (particularly DI set). We have to make sure that its not a matter of proud to solve a set while making the score bad. At times one feels that since I have already wasted some minutes on a particular question, so let me take a few more minutes and solve the question, we have to learn when to say no to a question and carry on with other questions.

5.) Wasting too much time on a particular section thinking its too easy / too difficult and spending a few more minutes will ensure clearing cut-off / getting good score. Remember if it is actually so, you can always come back to it after completing other sections don't ruin the entire paper in hope of doing good in one.

6.) Solving questions on feel, (particularly in QA/DI) don't mark an option just because it looks good and more so if its actually a +3 / -1. Though its a good method if you are able to reject a few options, and even then use it only when you are sure of clearing cut-offs in that particular section.

7.) Don't get complacent, at times after solving a few questions in a section, we feel its enough and I would be able to score good in this section so lets leave it and move on, just do remember if it seems easy to you, chances are that it will be easy for others also and there is a slight chance that you haven't actually that good as you think it is.

8.) And last but most important, a lot of guys feel always at extremes, a lot of guys to whom I have talked, say things like I am extremely good in one/two section while I am extremely bad in some other, so they don't work for improving their so called extremely good section, but please realize that there are a lot of smart guys over there and no-one (I repeat no-one is perfect) so you can always get better even in the section you feel god-like.

More-ever CAT always has a few sitters in every section, so with a bit of common-sense you can always clear the cut-off in ur weakest section, remember CAT prefers smart work over hard work, don't over-do yourself not in your weakest section not in any other, analyzing your-self and do that with-out taking any extra pressure of doing good in a particular section.

I hope we won't be repeating any of these and other similar mistakes......

Cheers .....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Those 135 mintues ....

THIS POST IS REPLICA OF MY POST IN THE PG THREAD "The most important 135 minutes), I am posting it here for those of you who are not on pg (though its a great place to be for all CAT aspirants), in hope that it might help you in some way

I am not a winner, I am not a loser, though there is one-thing sure


CAT isn't just an exam for me (I am sure it won't be just that for any of you) its a way to prove myself, its the pay-back time to all people who have believed in me, even when I failed, and I failed miserably (more about this in the "coveted" post.

I have too many bad habits, and honestly speaking I love having some of them. One of these is the strong urge to "prove my-self right, come what may".
In CAT perspective, people have been telling me to do this and to do that, because it is what his brother/sister/friend has done and he is in some premier college. There were suggestions ranging from to mug-up the word-lists, to learn squares, cubes of natural numbers and what not, to not bother much about speed but work on accuracy, to read norman lewis, wren n martin, barren, to solve arun sharma and I don't know how many other books. To solve tougher questions(which either take more than 5 minutes time to solve, or which need some particular methodology without which they are un-solvable) because they will make me ready to face comparatively easier questions in CAT, to solve the paper with this strategy and that and what not.

But with these bad habits, I have a good habit, I do know about my-self, my strengths and weaknesses and I do know what I want from life and what I can do for it. I knew that I can't do a lot of things, unless I can't convince myself that I will do myself some good by remembering Barren's 3000 (or so ..) words, I am not gonna do that.

I always believed in one thing, if I can keep myself interested in CAT till the D-Day I can make it. So kept things simple, kept things in control so that they seem fun, when I appeared in my first AIMCAT(actually aimtest), the only thing in my mind was to have fun (and may be to prove that THIS IS THE RIGHT APPROACH), I thought nothing about strategy, I thought nothing about cut-offs, just a simple n basic guideline was there " GO THERE AND DO YOUR BEST IN ALL THE SECTIONS". I scored 99.23 percentile with VA at 80.92 percentile and rest 2 at 99.xx .

From that time to this, nothing much has changed, I am planning to follow the same simple strategy in CAT ' 09." GO THERE AND DO YOUR BEST IN ALL THE SECTIONS".

At times, I am compelled to show others how important a particular strategy is in cracking CAT, or that a particular book will do wonders for your preparation but honestly speaking the most important thing that can help you is "KEEP THINGS SIMPLE AND LOVE THE JOB YOU DO".

At 22'nd jan, I may feel shattered, and every-one reading this post after that date may feel, that's why he is not there.
But those 135 minutes are mine, I am gonna do what I love and what I have believed in those 135 minutes.
That way, I might turn out into a failure by not being there, but I will survive coz I still loved my job, I loved my preparations (this is what people call it), I loved my mock-cats and my discussions with puys, with my KDT and PGDT team-mates and with my hostel friends.

Success or Failure,
for one thing I am sure...
No matter what comes out,
I am gonna survive.

~~~~ Live ur life, not to be a hero BUT to live your life and mind you, living your life ain't same as just being alive ~~~~

Sunday, October 4, 2009

AIMCAT : 1007 : Analysis and how to maximize the score .

My perception before the AIMCAT : As CAT is close, TIME would refrain from doing too much experimentation or giving a paper of high difficulty, but as this paper is a pencil paper test so number of questions might increase a bit.

Overview: Paper was almost on the lines of expected, except for equal no. of questions in all the three sections.

Aimcat Analysis : The test consisted of 72 questions, with 24 questions in each of three sections QA,VA and DI. Total time available for the paper was 135 minutes, with no sectional time limits.

QA :
The section can be marked as an easy to moderate section. It had a lot of sitters along with quite a few time taking questions. There were quite a few questions which could have been solved by proper observation and option rejection, with-out knowing about the concepts involved.
The paper was pretty easier in comparison to previous Aimcats and CAT 08, so the cut-off score is bound to be on the higher side. But to score very high marks in the section wasn't easy considering a few tricky and speed-breaking questions scattered here and there in the paper.

Expected cut-off : 28 for 85 percentile.
40 for 95 percentile.

DI : DI is often considered to be the most dreading section of Aimcats, and going by the recent Aimcats it usually has the lowest cut-offs, this time the condition is a bit different. DI was the easiest section of the paper (individual perceptions may vary) with as 15 out of 24 questions (4 out of 6 sets) were based on interpreting simple figures.
Remaining two sets were decent and required some thinking but one out of them was very similar to set already been asked in previous aimcats and hence can be considered as considerably easy.

Expected cut-off : 30 for 85 percentile.
40 for 95 percentile.

VA : VA was comparatively the most difficult section of this Aimcat, a lot of inferential questions in the RCs with quite a few arguable answers as provided in the answer booklet made life difficult for people who depend a lot on RCs. 5 vocab based questions were also very difficult, and I wonder whether more than 20 percent people would have got 2 or more correct.
In contrast, the other VA questions were pretty easy because the easy option rejection.

Expected cut-off : 20 for 85 percentile.
28 for 95 percentile.

OA :Though this paper was not even close to the standard of actual CAT papers, it was pretty good for the lessons it provided.

Expected cut-off : 80 for 85 percentile
100 for 95 percentile
115 for 99 percentile.
Lessons one needs to learn.

A lot of guys would have done better if they had idea about the difficulty level of the paper. Last few questions in QA and the last two sets in DI were among the easiest questions of the paper, while a lot of guys would have wasted quite a lot of time in doing the more time-taking (time taking isn't same as being difficult) questions and hence lost a chance to maximize their overall score. Therefore it is very important to ensure that no question remains unattended (read unread).

A lot of people, mostly engineers depend too much on RC for scoring in VA section, the paper was a kind of wake up call for them (including me:P). Quite a few answers are debatable, this should be used as an excuse.

Going into a paper with too many predetermined constraints like solving x number of questions isn't always a good idea, rather one should try to maximize his score by solving as many questions as he can in the allotted time.

Will be posting some questions which could have been solved even without knowing the underlying concepts + some questions which could have been done in less time than it usually takes while solving the questions using formal approach.

P.S. -> The lessons mentioned in this post apply on me as much (read much more) than they do on anybody else. I am scoring a total of 117 (courtesy to 14 wrong questions in such a simple paper).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Strategy For attempting mock-CATs and CAT .

Disclaimer : Every-one has different strengths and weaknesses, so the strategy and approach of one may not work that well for some-one else.
The author has tried to do post the strategies in the most generic way and they are based upon the common methodologies adopted by him, his friends who are scoring consistently in the higher 99s and those who have belled the CAT in previous years and are in the IIMs, FMS, XLRI.

Assumption : i.) As explained in the previous posts, there are some topics which are repeatedly found as the major areas tested in CAT, so the reader must have gained some proficiency in them till now.
ii.) CAT is a paper of 2:15 hours, is online and provides facility to bookmark a question / skip the question / come back to previous question.

QA : Start from the very first question, if it is from a topic you r good at, read it, see if you can solve it under 3 minutes, if yes solve it, if no bookmark it. If it is from a topic you aren't good at, read it, if it looks too easy solve it, see if you can do some value putting etc, if you can't leave it.

Once you have seen all the questions and hopefully solved some of them, you can be sure that you haven't missed any sitter from the sections you are comfortable.

Depending on the time left with you, you can either solve the bookmarked questions right away or go to the next section and come back if you have time left.

DI : ever leave a set untouched. // work on a set for 3-4 minutes and see if u r heading some-where, if u feel u can crack it under 10 minutes, do it. If u feel u can crack it but it will take time, bookmark it, if u feel it can't be done in exam conditions forget about it.

If u have wasted 6-7 minutes on a question aren't able to get a definite direction but have a feel that u will be able to crack it . DONT BELIEVE ON UR FEEL book-mark it and leave it, u can always come back if time permits.

Always look for the individual questions like Data Sufficiency etc. which are usually (but not always) easier.

Even if u aren't able to crack a set, have a look at the questions, at times there are some questions in a set which are pretty doable and some which are time-taking, this isn't that significant in Aimcats but in actual CAT papers, u will almost always have some of these kind of sets.

VA : Okie, I am not really good in VA, so I won't say much , though I would like to make two suggestion to those who have good reading speed but aren't too sure of VA.
Trust on RC, reading comprehension are high-investment high return questions, though u need more time to do them w.r.t. VA questions, but u have higher accuracy in them.

Don't do RC questions with-out first reading the passage, I know that a lot of coaching institutes say that one should read the questions first before reading the passage, but I would suggest to at-least try reading passages first and then attempting the questions and see which one has higher accuracy.