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CAT 2016: The Final Lap

What are the things you should do and things you should avoid doing in the next four days?


As we enter the last four days for CAT, the heart might be racing faster for some of you. If that is the case, you need to take a deep breath, relax and focus on a few essential things you should be doing at this stage. In fact, at this stage of your preparation, there are quite a few things that you should not be doing. Let’s go through this essential list of do's and don'ts.

1. Focus on finalising a strategy for the exam

At this stage, you should be clear with your exam strategy. Analyse your test performance; understand your strengths and weaknesses and formulate a final strategy to attack the exam. Keep in mind that there should be enough flexibility in this approach to account for any change in the exam pattern.

While figuring out your exam strategy, keep in mind that you have 60 minutes for each section. In every section, you should try to solve questions from your strength area first. Also, in Verbal Ability, make sure you select the two easiest passages first and solve them along with other Verbal Ability questions. The important consideration is that you should not miss out on easy questions in any of the sections.

2. Focus on Revision and Key Concepts

This is not the time to learn new things. Learning new topics, new concepts or new words would not be of any consequence at this stage. CAT is an aptitude exam, and by understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to elevate your performance in the exam. Do not go down the road of learning new things at this stage.

For Mathematics, focus on revising key concepts and formulas that you have already learnt. For Verbal Ability, make sure you try to solve the exam in a logical manner and avoid ‘gut-feeling’ based responses.

As far as reading goes, try to read one challenging article a day. This will keep your brain engaged without exhausting you.

3. Explore what you have learnt from Mocks

The best thing about mocks is that along with highlighting your performance, they help you learn some tricks and question types. In case you have these learnings noted down, you can quickly revise them. You could also browse through some of the tests you have solved to identify your key learnings.

Make sure you go through the analysis for tests where you have performed well. Understand what you did well in the exam and the factors that contributed to your good performance. Try to replicate these on the day of the exam.

4. Do not take too many Mocks at this stage

As mentioned above, this is the stage for revision and strategizing. This is not the stage for taking tests and burdening yourself with exhaustive test analysis. Take one to two tests and make sure you are mentally ready to perform in the exam.

5. Focus on your body and on being mentally relaxed

Along with the above things that deal directly with the exam, you need to make sure you are mentally relaxed and in good physical shape for the exam. Exercise, go for walks or take up any activity that keeps you in good physical shape.

Relax by meeting friends, watching movies and in general, by maintaining a relaxed approach. Remember, at the end of the day, this is just an exam, and there are bigger things in life than exams.

6. Do not think about scores, percentiles and ranks

The worst thing that you can do at this stage is to obsess yourself with scores and percentiles. Remember, this does not add any value to your preparation and just causes undue stress. Take up activities 1 to 5 mentioned above; those will contribute to enhancing your scores.

Last but not the least; it is all about enjoying the journey. CAT prep provides a lot of insights to students and hope you have had a similar journey too. Enjoy the process and stay calm.

Best of luck for your exam!

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