Common Mistakes Committed in CAT Preparation

By N Shiva Guru|Updated : September 8th, 2017

Preparation Mistakes

Any CAT taker is prone to mistakes during two phases: (in fact three but the post-CAT phase mistakes are not relevant at this point of time): Preparation and Exam

Spending Too Much Time on a Section

Many students believe that it is sacrosanct to spend the major chunk of their time in Quantitative Aptitude and there is some truth in their belief: the ideal time split for Quant, LR&DI and Verbal are said to be 2:1:1. Most of the students find it ideal to spend 4 hours in a day: college students in their final year will have no problems in finding the time to study while working professionals surely have to sandwich the times of study in between sessions of work. Coming back to the time spent in each section, it is better to always stick within the time frame for every single day and not become indulgent and focus on just the one section which interests you.

Other Challenges Faced

It’s not very easy to stick to routines, especially when it is intensely demanding. There’s the phase of slack during which the student just has to keep going, once the person warms up to the schedule, it is important not to take any breaks to ‘chill out’. Otherwise, most students, coming from a system which requires regular studying, do not find it hard to fix up a schedule and follow it religiously. It is the finer hacks which then matter.


This is something to be considered and the solution for this is person specific as only each individual would know the marginal difference between pushing him/herself and having a burnout. Burnouts are bad; they affect the productivity and set a student back by weeks when each moment is precious.

Mistakes in the Exam

Besides the nerves before the exam, which can be gotten rid of by writing about it and speaking about it to someone who listens and means well. There are other issues as well which are the following:

Getting Stuck Up in A Question

It might have happened innumerable times in mock CATs but still sometimes the lure of the possibility of success in a problem is simply too irresistible, especially when you know by normalization, a question has greater weightage because it is difficult. However, more than 5 minutes in a difficult problem is absolutely not worth the time and it is okay to move on to the next question. This mind set to let go when a solution hasn’t arrived within the pre decided time is something that has a steep learning curve.

Not using the same strategy as the mocks

The mocks are practice grounds and the strategy that has worked out well has the best chance of clicking in the main exam; so unless the exam is a nasty surprise, following the successful mantra that has already worked out would be the best way to go about the main exam.

Not assessing the risk involved

It is important to chart out the Easy, Medium and Difficult Problems before starting any competitive exam, let alone CAT, especially for the quant section. The questions in the rest of the sections can be taken by the merit and solved. Hence, it is very important to assess the risk of a certain question before solving.

Not taking a break after a section (concentration)

Understanding that a human mind’s concentration can take only so much (this might vary with people according to their endurance levels), there is a provision to take a break and it is only logical that the students take it; brief breaks of two minutes between sessions of intense concentration are great for performing better.





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