How to attempt the CAT 2017 Paper?
Common Admission Test (CAT) 2017 is just 3 days away and the aspirants have already begun to experience nervousness and butterflies in their stomach. You won’t find a happy someone about to appear for CAT 2017 because you won’t find anyone at all. Now is the time to lock yourself up in your rooms and prepare your minds for one of the biggest management entrance tests of India. As the 2017 generation jumps into piles of books and notes, you should consider yourself lucky to have come across this article.
Glad you asked. After all the conceptualising of topics, practice of mock test and preparation of notes is done, most of the students miss out on preparing a strategy that will work on D-Day, the actual CAT paper. Sure you have gone through previous years’ question papers and probably you have aced all of them, but a sudden change in pattern can catch you off guard and can risk your only chance at prestigious management colleges in India. And that is why, we decided to help you with the one question that should be hovering in everyone’s mind.
Also read: CAT Do's and Don'ts
How do I attempt the CAT 2017 paper?
To be honest, there is no specific strategy, no proper guideline. But there is a way that you can design one for yourself. This article encompasses all you need to do to come up with an effective plan that will help you tackle the CAT 2017 paper without any hassle.
To start with, let us have a look at some changes in the latest CAT pattern:
- CAT this time will be conducted for complete 180 minutes (3 hours) instead of the 170 minutes before.
- There would be 3 major sections: Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude.
- Every section will be allotted a time of 60 minutes (1 hour) to solve. Because the examination mode is online, the each section will close automatically with your saved answers after end of 1 hour.
- The question paper will have both MCQ and Non MCQ questions.
- MCQ questions will have negative marking but Non MCQ questions will not have any negative marking.
- According to a test video released by the official website of CAT, the Non MCQ questions would be subjective answers which will have to be entered via virtual keyboard using the mouse.
Number of questions
Time allotted (In minutes)
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
* : The pattern has been officially specified however the number of questions may change
Important note: The candidates will not have a choice on which section to attempt first. The sections will be presented to the candidates in the order mentioned above.
Now that we have a clear idea on how the paper will be presented to us, we’ll move on to how can we tackle each one of these. One important rule which is common for all the sections is to Scan, Identify and Attempt questions in the order of Easy, Moderate and High difficulty levels. This rule will be more clear once we go through each section individually.
Also Read: CAT Preparation Tips
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension:
Most of the candidates who have a knack for Quantitative Aptitude find this section to be tough. However it is a fact that this section can be scoring with lots and lots of practice. After we have solved hundreds of comprehensions and grammar questions, it is time now for some important points to remember.
- Usually CAT question papers have 4 passages for reading comprehension. Many CAT toppers have admitted that all of these can be easily solved in the first 30 minutes. But in order for this to happen the candidate should have lot of practice in reading and comprehending as the passages can get confusing at times.
- One trick that candidates can use is to skim quickly through the passage, solve the questions which are basic or easy (The ones that have factual straight forward answers) and then move on to questions that are indirect and require your full attention.
- All of this procedure should not take more than 7.5 minutes for one passage which will give you time for other verbal questions.
- The other questions depend completely on your preparation and the different types of questions that you have encountered. Here too, follow a simple procedure. Scan all the questions and attempt the ones that you find easy or the ones you are familiar with the most.
- While attempting you can use the choosing by eliminating method. Eliminate all the options that are definitely not the answer and zero down on the right one. Answer those and if you have time on your hands you can attempt the difficult ones. But be careful as MCQs have negative marking.
- Another important thing to remember, because this year the Non MCQ questions will have to be typed via virtual keyboard through a mouse, remember to save enough time because more time will be spent on typing the answer than framing it. Unless you are used to a virtual keyboard, keep this point in mind as the Non MCQ section does not have negative marking which means, well you can do the math.
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:
This is one section that most candidates let go of as it sounds easy however truth be told it is not. Logical Reasoning section too like other sections has different levels of difficulty which is so confusing at times that if taken lightly can be risky even for the one who excels at it. Even for data Interpretation, it is important to be familiar with different data types, which again, comes by practice. Some pointers for this section are:
- The most important part, read the question carefully. Read it twice or thrice if needed but be absolutely clear about what the question demands of you. DI and LR sections have the most confusing questions in all management entrances.
- Do not, at any point, assume any data which is not specified in the questions. At times you may be tempted to do so as it would seem “obvious” but this section is not the test of your knowledge of that field in general but your reasoning skills with the available data.
- For the DI questions, identify which data type questions you are comfortable with. It is okay if the number of questions is less. Accuracy and not losing marks is what we have to focus on. Attempt the questions which come easy to you and you are familiar with.
- Again as specified in the VA section, choose the answer by the process of elimination. Eliminate the answers which are definitely not the answer and zero down to the correct one.
- LR is all about word play. Pay attention to important words like “all”, “some”, “none”, “other than”, “unless” and more. These words are game changers and can change the meaning of the question completely, which is why you should stress on point no. 1. Other game changers can be “un-“, “non-“, “dis-“, “only”- which can mean there are other ways and “if and only if”-which specifies there is no other way.
- For LR draw diagrams on your rough sheet to understand the question better. If a question says a table of 12, draw the table first and avoid doing the permutations and combinations in your head. As you do it on paper, you will be more sure of your answer.
- Follow the pattern specified at the start. Scan, Identify and Attempt questions in the order of Easy, Moderate and High difficulty levels. It will be very useful.
Quants is one section which comes naturally to majority of the crowd. Ask anyone and 7 out of 10 people have strong mathematical skills. Which is why, the entrance tests too have a higher difficulty level for particularly this section as compared to the other two. Some important to-do’s to keep in mind for this section are:
- Start off first and foremost rule specified above. Reiterating again: Scan, Identify and Attempt questions in the order of Easy, Moderate and High difficulty levels.
- Look and attempt familiar questions first. Most of your time will go in vain if you try to understand a question that you have never come across which will leave almost no time for the ones that you can easily solve. Remember, an exam is not a place to sit and solve a difficult question, it is something that has be done at home. Exam is where you solve as many problems as accurately you can.
- This is a pointer for preparation phase, even though there is not much time left. Try to solve simple mathematics in your head. Do not take out a pen and paper for every little problem. Every second in CAT is precious so train your brain to make simple calculations in seconds to give you ample time for the other questions.
- After you are done with easy and moderate questions, if you have time, do not move to the difficult questions straight away. Check your previous answers, cross check if needed. This will help you be confident of your answers, even if the number is less. Then if you have time, move to the questions in higher order of difficulty.
Also Read: Points to remember for CAT
Each section for CAT has some or the other hack. But there are also many common points that you have to remember while giving the exam.
- When in doubt, take a chance on the question only if it is a choice between 2 options. Don’t take a chance if there are 3 options as the probability of the answer to be wrong is more, 66.666%.
- There is no need to attempt all the questions. Difficult question or not, every question carries the same amount of marks, 3. So for every easy question you solve you get 3 marks but for every difficult question that you are not sure of can make you lose a mark. Accuracy is important than quantity.
- Opt a method mentioned above for questions that are doubtful. Choose the answer by the process of elimination. Eliminate the answers which are definitely not the answer and zero down to the correct one.
- Follow the S-I-A in the order of E-M-H level of difficulty rule. Scan, Identify and Attempt questions in the order of Easy, Moderate and High difficulty levels.
- Last but not the least, be confident, cool and composed. It will do wonders.
It took you approximately 7 minutes to read this article and it was not your time wasted. This can help you save lots of time in CAT 2017 that otherwise would have gone vain.
Hope the article is of help and CAT 2017 proves to be the turning point of your life.
Best wishes of luck to all!