Common mistakes by CAT test takers

During CAT preparation, students commit the same set of mistakes that are repetitive in nature. The journey to your final destination, getting admission in IIMs or other reputed MBA colleges, will be filled with many hours of toil and burdensome work. But the right way to crack CAT is to work up a smart strategy and improvise it as you progress through your preparation journey. At the same time, you must be aware of the common blunders committed by CAT aspirants. To ease your CAT preparation, we bring you a list of some mistakes which you should avoid to crack the CAT entrance exam.
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1. Not going through the CAT syllabus
The first and foremost thing which the CAT aspirant should do is to study the syllabus minutely. Many a time, it has come to our notice that the students have just a vague idea of the topics that need to be covered. For instance, it is imperative for you to know that reading comprehension is a major component in the Verbal ability section of CAT. It is essential for you to make a list of topics which fall under different areas namely - (Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). Enhance your understanding by going through the CAT exam pattern as well.
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2. Not formulating a strategy or a study plan
During CAT preparation, sometimes students study for just 1 or 2 hours and skim the topics. Not having a strategy or a study plan is somewhat similar to walking through a maze. The study plan has to be formulated keeping in mind your strong areas and weak areas. Moreover one has to keep in mind the weightage given to each section of the exam. Further, after the exam, candidates are expected to gear up for WAT, Group discussion and Personal interview stage. So, it would be wise if you develop a regular habit of reading newspapers and magazines to learn about the current affairs’ topics.
3. Not devoting enough time to each topic
Another area of concern is when students do not devote ample time to understand the concepts and jump to another topic. Instead of rushing to complete the course, you should first focus on understanding the basic concepts of each area.  When the concept knowledge is incomplete, you cannot perform well in the exam. For instance, in critical reasoning questions, you should have a proper understanding of the terms like inference, assumptions etc. In other words, you need to learn about different question types for individual sections.
4. Not attempting enough mocks or over attempting them
The intention behind creating CAT mocks or CAT test series is to provide a guideline to the CAT aspirant. The type of questions which come from different sections of the CAT exam gives an idea to the student about the level of preparation which they have to put in. After attempting a mock exam, you can gauge your strengths and weaknesses with respect to various topics. But on the other hand, you should be careful not to over attempt the mocks. Some students sit for the actual CAT exam with certain preconceived notions based on the mock tests, which in turn can hamper their performance. Although the mock tests imitate the actual exam in many ways, it can never be exactly the same. So, it is always better to be ready for a few surprises in the CAT.
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5. Not analyzing the mocks
Students who do not analyze mocks are not able to find out the areas of improvement. Test Analysis gives you insights into the the factors such as correlation between number of attempts and accuracy, time spent on each question, selection of right questions in terms of difficulty level etc. All these parameters are crucial to estimate and predetermine so as to attain a good score. Therefore analyzing the mocks forms a critical component in your CAT preparation journey.
6. Procrastinating
In simple words “procrastination” means to delay or postpone action. This is a major problem which many CAT aspirants face. Students defer their CAT preparation as it is a daunting task for them to focus on different areas of the entrance exam. The right time is now; so start your preparation right away.
7. Adopting a pessimistic attitude
Getting demotivated or feeling hopeless itself makes the way to defeat. Such an attitude will create greater troubles in your preparation than solving them. If you face problems in any subject or topic, then you should seek help for the same as soon as possible. Remember that a negative attitude is more likely to waste away your energy than help you by any means. The correct way is to stay positive and focused.
8. Not setting targets
Students who do not set targets end up spending a lot of time on the topics which otherwise might require less time to prepare. Therefore it is advisable that have a target set for each day and study accordingly. This is essential because some topics carry more weightage in exam than others.

9. Not having a balanced approach
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The difficulty level of the CAT paper varies every year. The projected number of attempts and the expected percentile for a particular year could be different for the next year. Students should have a balanced approach while emphasizing on increasing their number of attempts and nailing a high accuracy. CAT is more a test of complex decision-making rather than speed.
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10. Spending too much time on one’s area of interest
It is quite natural for anyone to prefer to spending more time on topics and subjects that seem interesting and fetch good score easily. But in CAT, you need to clear the individual cut offs of all the three sections namely (Quantitative Aptitude (QA), Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DILR) and Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC). So, an ideal way is to learn and master the whole lot of important topics and practice frequently asked questions.
Conclusion : Finally, you should definitely go through previous years’ CAT papers to assess the difficulty level of the exam. Also, you should be thorough with the process of CAT registrations, eligibility criteria, cut-offs, syllabus and exam pattern.
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