This post is continuation of the previous post and shall focus on 2 things…. How I attempted CAT and my strategy… how I prepared for GD PI
How to prepare for CAT … you have Arun Sharma, coaching class material… shortcuts etc.. But below is a short write up on prep for written
One thing I would like to mention as to why writing the Part 2 is totally different from 1st and I target a diff audience cause when I started… I found few tips on how to prepare and how to strategize …. I had talked with so many but still couldn’t come up with how to actually prepare a strategy to my needs…. But after so much experimentation…luck… failing… etc.. I found something that worked for me…
1) Written Prep
For written, I knew I had to start from scratch, unlearn most of things…. Hence I solved Arun Sharma again completely…. Also solved most of the questions on QA VA lessons threads at Total gadha…. I believe they are the definitive work on basic and advance concepts of Quant… It helped me strengthen the topics I was weak at or help me memorize shoortcuts…. Topics like euler,crt,last 2 digits etc were definitely a time saver and helped me gain an edge…. If you do not have much time before CAT.. do not go for Total gadha as these require practice and patience to understand, learn and imbibe
For VA, mocks were enough… but I focused more on attempting the paper rather than preparing for VA….I do not have any Verbal improvement tips as it’s the last thing I can offer.
2) How to beat CAT ??
Before you read further, bear in mind, this strategy is not one solution fit all strategy… worked for me.. but may not work for you… so find your own strat or tweak mine… but find something that works for you… it helped me from 90 percentiler to 99.9 percentiler
To sum my strat in a line, here goes
” Moderate attempts of 20 in each section with very very high accuracy is enough”
I had tried everything, but all were a failure.. so this was something I hadn’t done before and felt…lets see how this shapes up.
I decided first to find out how many qstns I can solve without taking a risk , or being 90% sure of…. Soon I found it was around 14- 15 in QA and accuracy reached 80-85% and VA around 70% with 20 qstns… VA will still giving me goosebumps
I started trying to analyse mocks more deeply, not just question wise, but time wise, how much time was on productive qstns, was my question selection right, did I miss easy qstns, finding a pattern of qstns that I am doing wrong again and again… so as to either improve upon… or ignore them completely so as to save time and improve my attempts
In QA, I found Geometry, TSD took more time and accuracy was not good, Number syatems can be solved using shortcuts and accuracy was good… PNC was above average accuracy and Probability was time consuming….Venn diagrams were pretty much easy…
In DI, I had worst accuracy and time was wasted a lot on caselet style qstns, but hey… Histograms and pie charts were good .. and I had good accuracy… Also in most caselets 2 out of 3/4 questions were simple and took least time… but overall QA accuracy was better than DI accuracy
In VA this was tougher, but soon I realized grammar qstns, phrasal verbs, had to be left out completely as accuracy was losing and it was completely random…. PJs and PCs were to be attempted if I am 90% sure… I have to
RCs , I found philosophy articles were tough for me… Science…Economics were high scoring for me as I used to find it interesting…. Literature RCs were average ….
LRs were my favourite but little time consuming depending on sets
So, after all introspection I knew now which areas to focus,…. Which qstns to completely give up… which qstns to leave… but how do I develop a knack of all this info and apply in exam…
So this strategy had to be practiced a lot in mocks… a lot…. Mocks were my area of experimentation… a lot of experimentation was done and theoretical expectancies were verified with actual results and soon it was showing in mocks… Stratgy was working… but nothing could have been said … that would it work in CAT??
So now comes how to solve an exam with so much info at my disposal?
Being hyperselective in selecting questions in attempting [ I do only 1 set of DI, touched only 3 question of VA (but made sure LR was all correct and RC I attempted , i think, 6-7 out of 9) and solved around 14-15 questions of QA]
my strength QA,RC,LR
my weakness- VA n DI [only caselets I hate] my strength 36-40 qstns my weakness -20 qstns my CAT attempts – 36 [32-33 from my strengths]
I knew my CAT attempts were low from any standards…. Will it yield results… Will it work ?? Well the result showed I was right…
Why I did this 1) so that I give more time on things I can solve better 2) Accuracy improves when I give more time and playing on my strengths
Advice to future aspirants
First of all… My advice is anti advice of what everyone might have given you… people say increase your reading speed, improve ur weakness, – didnt work for me
Only way to crack cat according to me – Find your strength – make them stronger and attempt only those
Why i say this – cause I attempt 18-20 each section , with 90-95% accuracy and your percentile will go up
Stop wasting time on attempting more qsns in least time…. CAT is all abt accuracy
RCs are not that tough that u need to read fast and attempt maximum… I spent 25 mins on 3 Rcs and attempted 7 qsns… In LR i attempted all 9-10 with 100% accuracy and VA- I skipped grammar qstns [truly speaking I dont bother to even check if easy or tough…I just skip it…. Also I skipped Phrasal verbs… ]…. when i said i know i need to attempt 18-20 …. i know i will be skipping many… so whichever i attempt … i am able to give 3.5-4+ min time to each questions so that my accuracy doesn’t dwindle
Similarly in QA. I hated Geometry and rarely did I attempt geometry…. Also I didn’t bother to read TSD qstns with long paras [who has the time for it]
This strategy is very risky… you can say high risk …high rewards or no risk no rewards But I always made sure…. I MARK ONLY THOSE QSTNS whose ANSWR I WAS DAMN sure…. else skip it or dont bother
How I developed such skill….. You need to be calm n composed before you develop such practice over time…. When you start….you may not have guts to skip a qstn you like… bt accept it…. every qstn is not doable…. Find your strengths…my case QA and LR
Also… this may seem a shocker…. I attempt only 1 set of DI or none and spend rest of time in QA as it was my strength
Now skipping DI, VA and focusing on QA,LR and RC was my forte and I developed it really hard…. may not work for you… find what works for you… But be sure… it works for you
One more thing, Mocks were for me experimentation ground….. I sometimes scored low … sometimes in triple digit… but what mattered most was my accuracy and use of time….High Percentiles did not matter at all as low accuracy would be against my strategy and efforts… the game was for me now about accuracy… I tried not to be sad or happy with low or high percentiles… but yes I was angry on me when my accuracy levels dropped below 85 %… So accuracy in mocks is a better judging criteria and more inline with normalization according to me (not sure how much valid that statement is)
Dont apply this strategy to SNAP…. IIFT and XAT , I applied this with a little change
But another honest thing… nobody can teach you how to attempt a paper…you need to learn yourself that maintaining a composure in exam with forgetting all your worries, past and mistakes made in any section or while solving will help you clear …. Coaching teaches you only IQ… Its upto you to build an EQ…
3) GD PI Preperation
Regarding GD PI i am the last person, who has a history of failures…. and would recommend reading Zzeke’ post which I always respect and consider as definitive work but there are few thing extra I did and would like to mention here… I would say… A long term strategy in 4th year’s beginning helped… a lot
When I had 99.9 CAT, I knew I had to do something different…. Such percentile and calls I got would be a one time opportunity and letting it go like I had done for XL and SPJ like last year would be a disaster
So these steps were taken… some long before I had a call…
1) I joined Toastmasters International in Infosys, it helped me how to prepare a speech, review content, speak and get hold of audience . It helped me in debates,speeches,extempores etc
2) I prepared GK along side an IAS friend…. he is one of the most knowledgeable friend I have met…. We preapred notes tgether on History, Geography, Gk,current affairs, Politics(both are favourite), stats from newspaper editorials etc
3) Also refer to a post by Zzeke on AIWSTAC His method of preparation for GD PI is an eye opener…. I realized I had done nothing till now… as much he had for his GD PI. Blindly followed his strategy and it worked
4) Strategies tips/techniques/ content in GD PI workshops at @GenesisMentors helped a lot…. They helped me get personalized feedback and I felt one needs feedback from friends or mentors on your improvement…. Preparing all alone would be a disaster as you would never knew where you need to improve…. I would like to thank @manish_harodia Sir, Brijesh Sir and Rakesh Sir for having faith in me and instill confidence when I didn’t have in myself.
5) I am a regular reader of Indian Express and Business Standard and Jagran Josh [GK books]…. since an year and made notes, or have healthy discussions on important topics with my IAS friend…. So all this I did and unconsciously it helped me a lot
6) I also had a friend who was preparing for GMAT…. He guided me on how to write essays…SOP etc… IF it wasn’t for him my IIM C/FMS SOP would have been disaster
7) Prepared notes on HR questions/some important technical questions GK as I had forgotten and revised them daily…. While alone, spoke aloud the answers for these to depict confidence as and when Interviewer asked them….
8) Introspect yourself…. The most difficult thing I think is to know yourself… once you do more of that… you shall have more clarity of thought and confidence
9) Personally like to thank @Sandeep_PT sir, his contribution on GK thread and PT education’s WAT and GD topics availability online helped a lot in staying aware and really good points which I spoke in GD
So yes that is somewhat I did unconventional………..
But Read Zzeke’s post though…. that’s enough to crack any GD PI
Also if you think how did I have so much time for this…. the answer is I worked in a project which was more like Bench
[Note: This is a post on the user’s CAT journey that has been captured in his own words. We have not edited it in any way when publishing it as an article. Cover image is from http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up]