What is Strategy in the context of CAT mocks?
We often hear the word ‘strategy’ in the context of CAT mocks. It has become such a common word now, but do we really strategize everything? All of us talk about strategy for CAT mocks, but when we take mocks, we just solve questions without thinking of any strategy as such.
In my MBA, I realized the true meaning of strategy. My strategy professor simply says that “strategy is all about making choices that among different options that will help you achieve your goal.”
Yesterday, one aspirant asked me about the CAT mock strategy and this definition popped up in my mind.
So, in this article, I will talk about the choices we should make in a CAT mock test that can possibly help us achieve our goal, i.e., a good mock score. I will simply explain the cat mock strategy that worked for me. I feel it might help you as well.
What was the situation?
To be honest, in my initial few mocks, I struggled to attempt the questions, let alone getting them correct.
I remember, in the first few mocks that I took sometime around this time in 2017, I would be hardly able to reach the 20th question of the Quant section. In the LRDI section, I would spend so much time in the first few sets that by the time 10 minutes are left, I would be left with four sets to see.
While analyzing the mocks, I realized the following things.
- I was trying to attempt the questions as they appeared. In doing so, I was spending more time in relatively tough questions.
- There were many LOD1 questions that I failed to notice in the mock test because they appeared among the last ten questions.
- I had been committing silly calculation mistakes because I was getting nervous. It is obvious because when you have to solve 34 questions in an hour, and you have managed to solve only 15 questions in the first 45 minutes.
- While doing the mock analysis, I felt I could have solved at least 8-10 more questions in this mock.
How did I get around this situation?
I talked to my mentor and told him what I was doing. And he was pretended as if he already knew what I had been doing. He simply told me, “you are choosing the wrong questions to answer. You need to be picky while answering the questions in the mock tests. It does not matter whether you are solving an easy question or a tough question, both will fetch you equal three marks only. However, if you manage to pick up the easy questions, you will be able to solve more questions in the given time. So, learn the art of leaving questions. Don’t fall in love with any questions. Be selfish, and attempt only those questions which can easily fetch you three marks. And that made sense to me.”
From there on, I decided that I will be very choosy in answering the questions in CAT mocks. So, I executed the following points.
I skimmed all the questions of the Quant section and the LRDI section in the first five minutes.
- To whatever extent I could, I divided questions into three categories.
- A – LOD1 (Very easy formula based questions, generally 8–10 such questions appear in the CAT exam).
- B – LOD2 (Questions of moderate difficulty level. If you have practised well, you would know how to approach the question and would be able to solve it in 2 minutes. Generally, 16–18 such questions appear in the CAT exam).
- C – LOD3 (These are tough questions that you might not have seen before. These questions require you to think a lot. Generally, 3–6 such questions appear in the CAT exam).
- I started solving LOD1 questions first, followed by LOD2, and then LOD3 if time permitted.
- In the LRDI section also, I first skimmed through all the sets and followed the same method of categorization.
- In the verbal section, I checked which all RC topics were in my comfort zone and decided to attempt those first. The para jumbles could be tricky, so I used to it at the last after completing RC and CR questions.
But how to identify which questions are easy and which are tough?
It comes automatically with practice. But if you are not able to identify, do the following for the first five mocks that you have taken. Do this for the sections in which you are not able to identify your strong areas and weak areas.
- Make an excel file and write down all the topics of Quant in different rows.
- For each topic in each mock, identify the number of correct, incorrect, and unattempted questions.
- The topics with maximum right answers are your strong topics.
- The topic with maximum wrong or unattempted questions is your weak areas.
- From the next mock onwards, first, solve the questions from the topics of your strong area, and then go to solve questions from weak areas.
- In the weekdays, work on transforming your weak areas into strong areas.
What was the result of this approach?
I succeeded in attempting (to solve or not) all the questions in the mock test.
- I did not feel stuck in many questions.
- My speed and accuracy improved.
- My scores gradually improved.
- I realized the importance of time management and felt that the CAT exam was manageable if you manage your time well.
Initially, it felt a little tough to implement this in CAT mocks, but then gradually, it became a habit that continued till the CAT exam, and it helped me immensely. I hope you have got my points. Try implementing it. I hope that it will work well for you.
All the best!
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