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50 days to CAT: It's about speed and accuracy

50 days to CAT: It's about speed and accuracy

CATFUNDA ,  12-Sep-08

The number of months you had till CAT has now turned into number of weeks and probably number of days. The date is 16thNovember. So exactly how many days are you left with?

Considering Sundays for taking mock CATs, and a few other days spent celebrating festivities, you have approximately 50 more days (and nights) with you.

And to make the most of these 50 days, most of you would have devised a plan of action and would be adhering to a strictregimen.

So what constitutes your 'must do' list? Let's ask a few fundamental questions here.

Should you keep polishing your areas of strength and keep areas of improvement at bay? For example:What should one do if he is already good at arithmetic, algebra, jumbledsentences, narrative passages, pie-charts, histograms and trend analysis?Should he keep improving on the same and leave out the other not-so-very-strongareas?

What if that person is not very good at geometry, probability, vocabulary, fact-inference-judgements,abstract passages, numerical based puzzles and caselets? Is it pragmatic toleave out these areas as there is hardly any time left to work from groundzero?

The questions posed above are not merely yes-no type, and require careful analysis. One needsto look at the attempts and scores history of the past mock CATs and keepworking on improving them after every successive mock CAT. One should spend anequal amount of time, if not more, on post-test analysis. An effective way todo it is to keep the two most important aspects of the test in mind − speed andaccuracy.

Let's say you have attempted 8 mock CATs till date and this is how yourconsolidated speed and accuracy table at the end of all 8 tests looks:

Online CAT Preparation. Analyse your performance in mock CATs.


Your areas of High Accuracy

Quadrant IV is your area of High speed-High Accuracy:
Keep strengthening all the areas in it to ensure they remain so till the day ofCAT.

Quadrant III is your area of Low speed-High Accuracy:
Here you get the answer right after spending considerable time and energy onit. One implication is that you are comfortable with this question type but notusing the short-cuts effectively. Second possibility is that you are taking itas a personal challenge to solve this question type and won't rest till you getit right − A great killer instinct which needs to be channelized. Identify theaspects that slow you down. Work on them with respect to specific questions andtry and move as many question types as you can to quadrant IV.

Your areas of Low Accuracy

Quadrant I is your area of High Speed- Low Accuracy:
Identify the reasons why you can solve these question types fast, but get themwrong most of the time. It maybe because you are hurrying through the questionwithout taking into account a simple but often overlooked idea. Or maybe youare not truly comfortable with the question types, but find them to be easylooking at the question structure only, which tempts you to attempt them.Whatever the case maybe, identify the cause, work on it and try and move as mayquestion types from quadrant I to quadrant IV.

Quadrant II is an area of real concern with Low Speed- Low Accuracy:
It implies that you are usingprecious exam time on questions which don't earn you any scores. In fact, theyreduce your overall scores due to negative marking. The next 12 − 18 days shouldbe the only time you spend on the questions falling in this quadrant. Try andmove as may questions to quadrant III, and later to quadrant IV (by 5thNovember).
After 2 − 3 weeks of dedicated efforts, if you find that there is hardly anyimprovement in some question types lying in this quadrant, it would be wise toleave them out completely and concentrate on questions lying in quadrant I, IIIand IV.

Some do's of the speed- accuracy model:

  1. Check what you are doing during the test.
  2. Do prepare a new 2 x 2 matrix after every successive mock CAT.
  3. Do spend time (at least 2 -3 hours) preparing the matrix, filing in thetopics in the quadrants and evaluating what (and why) went right and wrong inthe test.
  4. Keep all the previous speed-accuracy matrices in front of you whileevaluating the current one. This will help you develop a trend analysis of your attempts and scores.

The speed-accuracy model will help you specifically inthe following ways:

  1. It will give you a bird's eye view of your level of preparation and yourimprovement at any given time.
  2. With careful analysis, Quadrant IV will become bigger, accommodating moretopics from quadrant I and III after every successive mock CAT.
  3. It will help you freeze your question attempt strategy and thereby on youroverall paper attempt strategy for 16th November.

Good luck!

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