This is the most crucial time of the year for MBA candidates who desire to take the CAT exam. This is the time to work hard and give your best. Remember there is no substitute for hard work, and this is your only chance to get closer to your goal. Start your groundwork today. The common Admission Test (CAT) is the toughest management entrance exam. About 2 lakh applicants appear for the exams every year, yet not even 25 % of students make it to IIMs each year. This is not just an entrance test, but it shows your capabilities to adhere to the timelines. Therefore, managing time is the most critical aspect of this test that decides your performance. In this blog, we will be discussing a few widely used and effective time management tips and techniques for CAT exams.
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Why is Time Management Important?
A lot of emphasis is laid on the time to be devoted to each section in the CAT exam. The ability to manage time and put to use your most precious resources is what decides your success in the exam. Although there is no perfect answer to what is the right amount of time to be allotted, definitely there is a right approach to bring out your best performance.
CAT is fundamentally a different exam that throws a large number of questions in insufficient time, necessitating choosing which questions to attempt. The marks and difficulty levels do not parallel with each other, therefore spending more time on difficult questions will lead to losing more marks. This compels candidates to pick less time-consuming questions. Also, there needs to be a big focus on the accuracy of your attempt, to shrink the chance of scoring less. Your performance in CAT depends upon how you strike that balance between accuracy and time management. The more you maximize when more you optimize.
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Time Management Tips for CAT Exam
1. Perfect Your Basics
Start focusing on preparing for the exam as early as possible. Having close to 6 months is ideal for preparation. Verbal Ability and reading comprehension, quantitative aptitude, data interpretation, and logical reasoning are the four sections of the CAT Exam Syllabus. Bifurcate your time for preparing each of these sections. Start with covering the basics in the initial stage.
When you are aware of the key components, sections, topics, and kinds of questions asked in the CAT exam you will be clear about the preparation strategy. Gather the best CAT study material, before you decide to prepare. Since the coming months are crucial, devise a well-chalked-out timetable to cover maximum topics from the syllabus, moving from the most important to the least important chapters.
You need to ensure a high score in each of the 3 sections because there is a CAT sectional cut-off score that gets you into the shortlist. Make day planners and weekly schedules to determine how sufficient the available time is. Plan a period for the end of the term preparations also. Keep studies your only priority during this period and practice regularly to ace the questions.
2. Partition Your CAT Planning Time Depending Upon Your Qualities and Shortcomings
Now that you are familiar with the syllabus and have the basics covered, recognize your strong and weak sections. This empowers you to see how much time needs to be assigned to each section and each topic. Focus your time and energy on the areas that you are not comfortable.
There are some questions, particularly in Data Interpretation that needs a lot of calculation effort. Utilize this time to perfect these areas. Practice calculation-based questions regularly. Also practice questions from Logical Reasoning, Data Interpretation, and Reading Comprehension that demands a lot of practice.
Practice is the key to perfection. Reading through a few chapters and questions does not suffice for a good score in the CAT exam. Practice as much as possible to perfect your weak subjects. This will help you stay confident when you start attempting the mock tests.
3. Take Mock Tests
Once having completed the CAT syllabus, it is advisable that you attempt as many mocks as possible, with time limitations. The ultimate purpose of the mock test is to train the candidates on how to distribute time wisely during the exam between sections and questions. It gives you a tentative idea about how well you can score. Mock tests are not for practicing more questions, but they help you fine-tune the timings during exams. Take at least 1 mock per week towards the last days of the exam. Analyze it properly to identify your strengths and weaknesses and use it to improve your test-taking skills.
Time Management Plan for CAT Exam Day
- Start with scanning through the question paper to judge the level of the exam and the questions.
- For QA and VA, start with solving the easiest questions first. Extremely lengthy or difficult questions must be left for attempting only when you are left with time to do them because this is not the time to try and attempt unfamiliar questions.
- Rest of the questions that are neither difficult nor easy be marked for review. After scanning the entire section, attempt the marked questions. This is to ensure that no easy question is left out and that time is not being wasted on extremely difficult questions.
- Each section is allotted 40 minutes. At the same time, 2 minutes is the average time that can be spent on each question. Strictly stick to the time assigned for each question. If the time exceeds more than that, then it is sometimes wiser to leave the question and move to the next.
- See which section is the most comfortable for you to solve and are less time-consuming. Do not hesitate to leave a question out of a set of 4 questions if that consumes a lot of time. Do not think that if they have picked up a set, they must attempt all the questions from that set.
- Set an exit time for the questions. This means that if you have 1.5 minutes to solve one question, devote 1 minute and see if you will be able to solve the question or not. If the answer is no, then feel free to move to the next question. This makes sure that you are not wasting your time on any one question.
- Solving a difficult question and an easier question fetches you the same marks, so invest your time in solving easier questions first.
- Many examinees have their favorite question types. But this should not limit them and tempt them to spend endless time proving themselves.
- TITA (Type-in-the-response) questions tend to be time-consuming at times. There are lesser probabilities of getting the answers right in this section, so take this section towards the end, so that time is not wasted.
- Save time for revision. After completing the test, revise the answers to find out if there are any mistakes?
- Find your own strategies, as they become more effective for you, individually.
Having a better judgment about what questions to leave, saves you a lot of time towards a better performance in the CAT exam. This comes only from the extensive practice of questions and a clear knowledge of the basic concepts. Always practice under time pressure. Being able to determine what questions to attempt and what to leave gets you to a higher possibility of scoring to your maximum potential. Deciding which questions to drop is an important skill that you need to develop during preparation time. Preparation is all about nailing the art of cracking it. So now, we hope that the above CAT Exam time management techniques are surely going to help you ace a good performance in the exam.
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