Hey guys! I hope you have figured out your CAT matrix through our LIGO approach.
If you have no clue what that meant, please read the Step 1 to CAT preparation here!
Behold, we have reached the black sheep of my CAT family - Quant.
The section I always knew would be the stuff of nightmares for me and I was not disappointed.
34 questions and my god was I lost in it!
This section of the article is only relevant if you think you are hopeless at maths. If that’s your strength, please skip right ahead to Nikunj Rakyan’s answer.
My VARC heavy - LRDI good - and Quant weak strategy:
I wanted only 16/34 correct questions in Maths. 48 marks.
I would almost invariably get around the 70 mark range in the VARC section by attempting all 34 questions.
I would also get around 3 sets right in LRDI - fetching me another 36 marks.
Hence, another 48 marks would put my total at 154 (Around the 99%ile mark in the CAT).
You can rework this formula as per your strengths!
Look back at your LIGO matrix and derive what is that magic number of questions you need to get right in your least preferred section. That really gives you a boost of confidence and helps set achievable targets, which start to seem more attainable than not.
Coming back to how I worked my quant strategy:
16 on 34 is less than 50% of the paper. So, I only need 50% of 10th standard level math questions to go correct to ace CAT, provided all other factors remain constant. (Keep telling yourself this till you believe it!)
How do we get there?
Step 1 - Breaking down the QA syllabus:
Broadly the topics covered are - Arithmetic, Algebra, Number system, Geometry and Modern Math.
I would recommend breaking it further down to sub-topics and doing a good old SWOT analysis. Let me break down my matrix so that you also get an idea of what I mean by “sub-topics”.
How to make your own matrix:
Tip 1: Aim to be able to do the simpler sums/repetitive questions across all topics, irrespective of their SWOT categorisation.
Tip 2: Enough strategizing, start executing! Solve that sectional! Pick your desired number of questions and aim for as high an accuracy percentage as you possibly can manage
(PS – It is 100%).
Step 2 - How to actually attempt a quant mock test?
Now that you know your SWOTs at a sub-topic level, it is not always the case that you get all questions from your topic of strength right or that you will always mess up a question on a topic that you consider to be your weakness.
The SWOT categorisation helps in
a) Figuring out what areas need work and attention
b) A strategy to attempt questions rapidly and with confidence in the mocks
But you will still need to do a ton of practice to start seeing your scores boost up.
The first thing to do while attempting a mock is to Look at all the questions. I know you are rolling your eyes at me for dishing out basic common sense as if it were Gospel truth but trust me there are so many people who are not even able to see all the 34 questions in the section! (Myself included, when I started out)
This is because we start to solve them in whatever random order they appear in the exam and miss out on the low hanging fruit that is served later on. The first priority is to be aware of all the questions offered to you so you can make informed attempts, especially in a section that is not your forte.
Just like you would do at a buffet. Look at all the options available and then gorge in on your favourites! ^_^
Thus, just like LRDI, it becomes important to visit every question, but unlike LRDI, you must solve the ones you can immediately.
Spend around 10-15 seconds on a question and decide whether you are going to solve it or going to circle back to it.
Now if you decide to solve a question and input the answer, great! You can forget about it (Unless of course, you mark your answer for review). These are your type A questions.
But if you are circling back to it, make sure you write down if it is a:
The questions where you have a rough idea on how to start but are afraid you may get stuck half way, or
It seems to be a moderate difficulty question but from a topic you are not very confident in.
Your LIGO says that these type of questions are not worth spending valuable seconds on and redirect that time to a Type B question, or
Even the paper setters did not expect the smart ones to touch these gifts from Satan.
Step 3 - How to analyse a quant mock test?
Now that you know what your strong suit is and how to actually give the mock, it becomes very important to review how your strategy is translating into action.
By now, you know what topics you NEED to be acing and also want to see if your efforts in other topics are yielding you results.
I know you are tired of my ABC analysis so to shake things up, I am adding in a D to the mix.
The only way to know your ABCD (Besides attending nursery) is if you see the solution to each and every one of the 34 questions after your test, even the ones you got right! (Initially at-least). It really shows you the best way of approaching a sum.
That is why it takes more time to analyse a test than to give it.
I know that some of these may sound very obvious to you right now, like “Read everything carefully before you solve them”, but believe me they are not as easy to execute.
There have been countless mocks where I ended up sitting and solving the Quant section in order instead of just going to the next one and did not end up seeing all the questions!
Therefore, the only way any of these strategies will work is if you make them!
Translate the theoretical potential into practical execution and I am sure you will discover a comfortable pattern that is unique to you and see your scores better themselves with each passing day.
Wishing everyone the very best!