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5 things to keep in mind while writing CAT exam


Every CAT aspirant who is all set to write the exam wants to know the things that he must be mindful on the exam day.

There are three things that will decide the outcome of the exam:

  • The amount of sincere efforts that you have put in the months and weeks leading to the exam
  • Your state of mind right before the test and the during the test, including your physical health
  • Your common sense

You might wonder as to why I have not included the ‘difficulty of the paper’ and the most important of all factors: luck.

According to me, these two are not at all important because as far as difficulty is concerned, it is going to be the same for all the students; and as far as luck is concerned, it might play some role here and there, but it is not likely to change the course of the game on that day. After all you are not out for a treasure hunt; you are writing an aptitude test for which you have prepared for months.

Now since only two more days are left, out of the thee things mentioned above, the first is already a part of your karma and cannot be changed. Let’s see why the other two things are so important.

How to be in the right state of mind:

Your state of mind right before and during the exam will play a major role in the way you answer the questions. Let’s not forget that most of what you will see on the screen on the exam day would be already familiar to you. You would have solved similar questions having similar difficulty either while practicing or while solving the mocks and sectional tests.

So if you are likely to be familiar with much of what you will see on the screen, then what is the thing that will make a difference. That thing is ‘how well you are able to filter and use what you have learnt in the course of your preparation’.  Too much anxiety, nervousness will adversely affect your ability to filter, recall and remember what you have done in the past.

To be in the right mental and physical health, you must spend the day before the exam resting, taking good amount of sleep, and eating the right kind of food.

Why is common sense so important?

A careful analysis of past years’ CAT papers shows that a good proportion of questions in all the three sections are based on common sense and practical logic.  A person without any preparation would be able to solve such questions as effectively as someone who is well prepared for the exam.

In other words, not everything in the paper is academic in nature. It is for this reason that you often come across someone who wrote the exam just like that and did moderately well, scoring well over 90 percentile without any strategy, plan or exhaustive preparation.

The reason why I am cogently writing about this common sense thing is because I want the students to be ready for it.  Plenty of questions in LRDI and Reading comprehension are simply based on practical common sense. To let your common sense come to your rescue, you should not let your past performances, your preconceived notions be a hindrance.

5 things to keep in mind while writing the exam:

  1. Scan the section first; this will give you a fair idea of the overall structure of the paper, question distribution and some sense of the difficulty level.
  2. Ensure that you don’t miss having a look at any of the questions/sets. Seeing a question is one thing and attempting it is quite another.
  3. If the question is familiar to you, and is similar to those that you have practiced in the past, and you think will take less time to solve it, you must attempt that question there and then.
  4. You must come out of a question if you feel it is taking too much of a time without giving you any breakthrough.
  5. Reserve the last four minutes of the section to scan all the questions that you have marked and whether you have marked them correctly or not. Sometimes in non-MCQ questions we end up entering the wrong figures. The last four minutes will give you time to undo the silly mistakes that you might have made in haste.

Finally, you have to act and think wisely. This is just an aptitude test. You will never do well in an aptitude test if you are under severe stress or have allowed your nervousness get the better of you. Read the RC passages and the LR sets with a high degree of curiosity.

Let common sense prevail in whatever you read and interpret. Everything else will fall in place.

From Team Bodhee Prep, we wish good luck to all the CAT aspirants!!

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