CAT 2018: Tips how to get high score    Posted Date:  08-10-18

CAT 2018: Here’s how to get high score.

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta will conduct the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2018 on November 25.

The last date to register for CAT 2018 has been extended from September 19 to September 26.

Here are some tips for verbal ability and reading comprehension section:

The VA-RC section is possibly the most important among the three. A lesser known fact is that top B Schools zero on the verbal scores when it comes to evaluating aspirants with very little separating them.

So, students will do well not to just target the cut-off score but instead maximize attempts and accuracy in VA-RC.

Broadly, the section comprises questions on Reading Comprehension (24 MCQs with negative marking) and Verbal Ability (10 non- MCQs with no penalty for wrong answers).

The RC portion entails reading passages of varied lengths on topics covering economics, philosophy, history, science, social issues et al. The objective is to assess the ability of students to speed-read and answer questions on a variety of subjects.

The VA part tests students on reasoning, grammar and vocabulary. The questions cover sentence correction, choosing the appropriate word, para completion, jumbled paragraphs, picking the odd sentence out, closest summary, critical reasoning etc.

How to manage time:

Students should invest the first three to four minutes assessing the sequence of passages to be attempted.

Needless to mention, the 'easiest' passage should be attempted first. The candidate can grade the passages based on the style of writing and the complexity of subject. An informal or narrative style is always a safe bet for better comprehension.

Argumentative style also is easy to understand because the author would definitely have presented his case cogently.

Likewise if the subject is something you are comfortable with, e.g. technology, sports or movies, you will read it with interest thus enabling quicker understanding. Once you are done sequencing the passages, you can either choose to go passage by passage or answer select questions from each passage.

Question types in RC are specific questions (where you just need to navigate to a particular portion and figure out the answer) and summary questions (where you necessarily have to read the entire passage to get at the answer).

Logically, specific questions are less cerebral than summary ones so it would make sense to attempt all the specific questions of all the passages in the first sweep. One can set a time limit for this and move to the next portion, say VA, where you could tackle easier questions like grammar, para completion, etc.

Tips for attempting MCQ's:

  • Here, too, at the end of the self-imposed deadline the candidate can transit back to the passages and attempt answering the summary questions in the same order
  • When a candidate is down at the last couple of minutes, it is inadvisable to attempt MCQ's. Instead, one can attempt the more difficult of the jumbled paras without the fear of a penalty mark being lopped off

Verbal ability questions:

VA questions like jumbled paras, odd sentence, para completion, para summary, essence question, etc are all governed by rules. The candidate must be clear what the constituents of these rules are so that you can pick out the right choice methodically instead of going by gut feel.

Most students squander away their VA marks because they go by what 'feels right' or because they try solving them at the far end of the section and end up making silly mistakes.

Common mistakes by students:

A cardinal mistake made by test takers is to treat the non-MCQ questions as less important since they don't attract negative marking. This lulls them into complacency and they blow away their chances of pocketing precious marks.

The key to a good score is to sensibly utilise the initial three to four minutes by marking out all the 34 questions in ascending order of difficulty. That way, whatever you miss out due to paucity of time will never be the ones you could have scored off.


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