CAT 2010: Know what to do and not to do on the D-day

 | October 21,2010 07:17 pm IST

No matter how prepared you are before exam, you tend to loose confidence when you enter the examination hall. The environment forces one to do so and those who surpass this emerges as clear winners.


The key to cracking CAT is how one can keep his calm during the exam, managing stress, strategizing the attempts while keeping space for last moment variations. As a part of CAT 2010 series, CoolAvenues has come up with tips to be followed on the D-day.

Things to do during the exam:

1- In the exam, take the computer tutorial diligently. Don’t rush through this part, as for those who are not yet familiar with giving the test in computer, it may prove a real time-wasting strategy to stop and check for help when the test is on.

2- Never let your personal emotions come into picture while solving the questions. Don’t think too much on why you could not attempt a particular question even if that question was from a section you were strong in. Just move on. Remember that the ability to leave a certain problem is as important as the ability to select. The order in which you attempt the questions within a particular section partially depends on this ability.

3- Instead of putting too much emphasis on getting the problem right, put more emphasis on getting the problem right in the shortest possible time limit. This will help you avoid too much deviation from the sectional time limit you have set for yourself in the test.

CAT, which is now online, tests 2 important skills:

1: Stress handling
Handling pressure and uncertainty is one of the crucial elements of CAT. The CAT examination spans 135minutes, but if you are able to handle the pressure in the first 15 and last 15 minutes, your chances to excel increase.

Some pointers to help you excel at this stage are: -

  • Keep your strategy flexible.
  • When we appear for a test, there is this fear of the unknown. It’s like a cricket captain deciding to do “fielding” in the final match after winning the toss because of preconceived notions (it could be past records, dew factor etc.). But absence of a sound strategy if the ground conditions change on that day will ensure that his previous efforts come to a naught. So, please be ready to change your strategy as and when the situation demands.

2: Strategizing and managing time
The 1st step here is sequencing and prioritizing, which means: -


  • Deciding on the sequence in which you will attempt the various sections.


  • When the test starts, you have to make a choice as to which section (QA, DA or VA/RC) to start with. You should start with that section which is usually your strongest section, or in which you usually tend to score the maximum without superseding the time limit per section. So, if QA is your strongest section, then start with QA.


  • The next section should be the one which is your stumbling block, i.e. weakest section and the last section should be the one in which you are neither the strongest nor the weakest. So, attempt your strongest section first followed by the weakest one followed by the average. But, it also depends on the pattern.
  • Allocating an approximate time to each section.
  • Prioritizing questions within sections.


Allocate an additional 5-10 minutes to a tough section and take out 5-10 minutes from an easy section.

It is also important to allocate equal time to each section. To avoid pressure at the end, you should ideally allocate 35 minutes to each section, thereby saving 30 minutes in the end. In these 30 minutes, you can make a better choice of attemptable questions out of the remaining questions, as you would have gone through all the three sections in first 105 minutes. While you do this, remember not to attempt RC or LR questions in the last 15 minutes of the test. This is so because reading RC passage takes 7 – 9 minutes and it might just turn out to be a tough passage. This would mean the entire time spent in reading the passage goes waste. The same is true for LR sets.


The bottom line remains - Do not quit. Most candidates who decide to quit or give up their answer sheets do it in panic and not realistic ground check. Give it your best shot and leave only when the final bell rings!

Also check the last moment preparation tips : CAT 2010: Time to consolidate and not experiment