Tomorrow’s the day it all starts, the D-Day you’ve all been preparing for all year round. From now on it’ll be a whirlwind of exams, interviews, discussions, results, cut-offs and finally you will be off to a B-School. Those of you who are taking the exam on the first day will, understandably, have a few more butterflies in your stomach than others. Though CAT 2012 is not expected to be much different from CAT 2011, the first day always packs in quite a punch. Those of you taking the exam in the first few days will get done with it quickly and have more time to concentrate on other exams, those of you taking it later will go in with a fair idea of what to expect.

1. Spend Time Wisely: The time limit of 70 minutes will ensure that you don’t spend all your time on only one section and miss out on the sectional cut-offs. But, these individually timed sections also means that within a section time has become even more precious. With only 30 questions in a section, it is important that you get enough time to read and attempt all questions. Do not let solving questions become an ego issue. If you’re stuck at a particularly difficult or time-consuming question, it is better to leave it and move to the next question. There probably is another easy question waiting to be capitalized upon.

2. Speed up: Speed matters. Not only when you’re solving questions but when you’re reading them! The faster you can read all the questions and select those you think you should attempt; the better will be your chances of a good score.

3. Accuracy First: Accuracy is of paramount importance in the new format so avoid making random guesses. Remember with just 60 questions even a single incorrect answer is criminal.

4. Eliminate your options: Read the options carefully and narrow down to the probable ones. Never make the mistake of attempting a question without reading the options. Sometimes, the options are such that solving the question may not even be required. You can safely eliminate some of the options based on pure logic and common sense.

5. Identify the sitters: Identify and attempt the easy questions first as you’re sure to earn marks. The questions that are very difficult should be attempted later Read all the questions before you start attempting any. Often students miss out on the easier questions because they were too busy trying to solve the questions that appear before them.

6. No room for silly mistakes: You can’t afford to make silly mistakes in one of the most important exams in your life! Often students make mistakes when they’re practising and then forget about them. The right way to go about it is to reprimand yourself so that you never repeat it again. Taking your silly mistakes lightly can cost you precious marks in the CAT.

7. Revision is suicide: There is no time in the CAT for revision, period. If you don’t get the question right in your first attempt, well that’s too bad. Checking your answer and revising will only mean wasting very precious time.

And one more time…..
• Get familiar with the CBT interface, understand the functionality of and start using the “Mark” and “Review” buttons.

• Ensure that you read all 60 questions in the exam- You don’t know where those elusive sitters may be hiding.

• Prepare all the topics thoroughly- With the exam becoming predictable and with fewer questions there is not much scope for picking your favorite areas.

• Chase a specific number of questions to clear the cut-offs – Nobody can tell you what a safe score will be unless of course you plan to attempt almost everything in the paper.

• Be left without any buffer time for reviewing “Marked” and “Unattempted” questions

• Speculate on the composition and difficulty level of the paper- This will create unnecessary panic. Remember that even if the paper contains questions on a totally unexpected/unprepared topic they will be there for everybody taking the exam.
Buckling under pressure could bring your score down quite a few notches. So, here is the last but the most important tip – Relax. Sleep and eat well. Be confident. This is but the first step in a journey that will last a thousand miles…..

Best of Luck!