Male Engineer Goes From Scoring 66 Percentile to 99 Percentile: No two journeys are alike, though the destinations might be same. If you are determined enough, you would reach your destination sooner your later. This is what Anurag, an average general male engineer vouches for, who managed to go from a 66%ile to a whopping 99.85%ile. He recommends Online CAT Coaching to achieve the high percentile, so let us learn how to score that coveted 99+ percentile through his story.
Anurag was an average student through and through and a GEM (General Male Engineer, haha, whaddya’ guys even think). However, his stunning CAT Scorecard which led him to the prestigious IIM Calcutta looked something like this:
- QA: 99.8%
- LRDI: 99.85%
- VA: 87.33%
- OA: 99.85%
Want to score the same? Read on to find out how:
His tips are segregated in the following manner:
A.) How to start?
B.) QA -> Quantitative Ability
C.) LRDI -> Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
D.) VA -> Verbal Ability
How to kickstart CAT 2019 preparation?
- Register on any website which lets you attempt and review a Mock Test for free. In case you have enrolled into CAT 2019 Coaching already, you can write one of their Mocks. Many students would resist writing one initially because they are not into the habit of sitting for 3 hours and would feel distracted and be tempted to quit. The whole point here is to instill in you the habit of preparing for the CAT 2019 exam. The point here is not to test your knowledge but only to see what you know and don’t, where you stand in terms of your preparation and how much of hard work is required to be put into your existing preparation level. Enroling in a CAT Online Mock Series is recommended.
- Once you are done with the Mocks, check for solutions and the topics you already know about. You would soon realise that there are some topics you need to brush up on and others which you have no clue about. The Mocks will decide your future course of preparation.
Section A: Quantitative Aptitude
If you are targeting 99.5+, you should memorise the following:
a) Reciprocals, Squares and Cubes up till 30.
- Power of 2 up till 12
- Power of 3 up till 8
- Power of 4 up till 6
- Power of 5-6 up till 5
- Power of 7-10 up till 4
- Power of 11-13 up till 3
c) Square Root up till 10
d) Factorial up till 10
e) A few important numbers like 999=27*37, 1001=7*11*13, 21^3=9261.
f.) Some numbers have the property wherein the sum of the factorial of the digits is equal to the no itself. 1, 2, 145 and 40585. Please remember these:
g) There are 15 primes till 50, 25 till 100, 46 till 200 and 168 till 1000.
h) How to find the sum of the first n natural nos. Sum of squares of n natural nos. Sum of cubes, sum of 4th powers. Please remember the formulas. Especially the last one (fourth power), most people forget that.
i) A ruler is not allowed in any of the exams, but you can use your hand as one. Check the length of your fingers. Also check the length of the 3 sub-division on your fingers. Use your right or left hand, whatever suits you. Ensure that you remember these values by heart. These values will help you solve 90% of the geometry questions. Also, buy a protractor and make sure you can make the angles 30, 45, 60, 90 properly. First with the protractor and then without it. Based on the question, make a rough figure. Then based on your lengths, find the answer and then scale up to the value given in the question. Geometry has a lot of formulas, memorize them or use this approach to improve approximation.
j) Make sure you are good with the Unitary Method, since half the QA syllabus can be solved using it.
l) Most students go solving the maximum number of problems, which is the wrong way to go about it. Instead, focus on the basics. You day one should be devoted to memorising all the formulas and comprehend as to why a certain formula is there. Ensure you memorise all formulas for a certain chapter. Imagine setting a question paper and thinking what possible questions would you include in the same? Therefore, you must read a formula, try to frame questions based on that formula and then memorize the formula. You cannot memorise all the formulas in one go, so take it easy. If you can manage the same, you would have solved all questions by the time you finish reading the theory.
Example: Let us assume you are studying Numbers. You see the formulas for HCF and LCM of 2 numbers. Then you see the factors of a number. Now think of possible questions on this. Let’s say 72.
- How many odd factors are there?
- How many even factors are there?
- What is the sum of the odd factors?
- What is the sum of the even factors?
- What is the product of the odd factors?
- What is the product of the even factors?
- How many factors are squares of natural numbers?
- How many factors are cubes of natural numbers?
Believe it or not, this way you have completed half a chapter! Think of more questions that you can make. If your basics are clear, no question would be a problem for you.
Now, since your first couple of days have been invested in memorising formulas and not solving anything, these formulas will be deeply rooted in your brain and can be recalled at leisure. Start solving problems on the third day of your study schedule. Solve a few problems in the coming days using the formulas you have learnt and re-learn them in case you have forgotten any. This way you would also know which formulas are to be used frequently.
Some chapters are also interconnected, therefore, you can make groups of such chapters and try to finish off all the topics in the said group in one go. For example:
- Ratio Proportion, Unitary Method, Percentage, Profit and Loss.
- Simple equations, Simultaneous equations, Inequalities, Time speed distance and work, Quadratic.
- Numbers, Bases, Miscellaneous equations.
- Surds and Indices, Logarithms.
- Coordinate Geometry.
- Probability and PnC.
- Functions and Graphs.
P.S. To clear the cutoff in this section, the first 3 with mensuration and a bit of geometry/numbers will be enough.
Section 2: Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation
This section is all about speed and practice. Having the right strategy and executing it correctly can act as a game changer, as was the case with me. With thorough practice and the ability to choose the right sets, I was able to improve my LRDI section which fetched me a percentile of 99.85%.
The formulas (a) to (d) would be of immense help to you besides the Online LRDI Series, which will help you increase both your speed and accuracy.
When you start your preparation initially, start off with the sole intention of solving all the questions of a given set. Do this exercise every day and move to two sets a day gradually. Then move on to 3 sets and 4 sets every day. This way your time taken per question will also gradually decrease in contrast due to adequate practice. Speed will soon follow.
The LR section is all about how to interpret and analyse things and checks your thought process. A personal recommendation would be to buy this book called ‘Puzzles’ by George J. Summers. The LR section is also simply not restricted to getting the right answer but also improving your thought process.
While solving a question, try to comprehend the data given to you. Think about it for 10-15 minutes and write down the approach you would like to use for the same. In case you cannot solve it, use the hints and the solution scheme. Ask yourself if you were thinking in the right direction and analyse the difference between the method given in the book to your method. Try and analyse what you missed due to which you failed to solve the puzzle. Try again for 30 minutes and keep trying until you get it right. After a few more attempts, look at the solution.
The aforementioned exercise fulfils your objective of improving your thought process and not getting the answer right in the first attempt. Looking at the solution in only 5 minutes of attempting the question will lead you nowhere. Therefore, this book demands that you solve questions again and again and use the answer for verification only. Solve only 1-2 puzzles everyday or a maximum of three.
If you follow this process the right way, your scores in the LR section will improve in a month’s time and stay at 99%.
Another important hack would be to memorize the alphabet-number conversion table. A=1, B=2, C=3 and so on. You will come across questions based on this in your mocks as well as in the exams.
Section 3: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Just for your information, I scored only 69 in Class X and 72 in Class XII respectively. My verbal score, however, shot up from 43% to 87% and I cleared the verbal cutoff comfortably.
If you also suck at English just like me, then these tips might just help you in clearing the sectional cut off. I was not into reading at all before I decided on writing for the CAT exam and therefore, I used to keep forgetting whatever words I used to learn from the GRE word list. Thereafter, I resorted to ‘Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis.’ I somehow managed to complete all the chapters in this book in a few months and would advise you all to do the same.
Where RCs are concerned, both comprehension and concentration is required to tackle this section. Also, no matter how many speed hacks you use, you can never trade comprehension for speed.
To improve the same, you should start off by reading 2-3k word long articles on News, Sports and opinion from the Guardian’s global edition. You can register on it to recieve a mail every morning at 10 am. Read for at least one hour covering everything from Culture to Technology to Art to Literature. Gradually, you will gain momentum and read for at least one hour. You can do the same while traveling in a metro or train to utilise that time.
When it comes to Verbal, you must always eliminate choices and then mark instead of directly trying to find the correct answer. You must eliminate choices and then start answering. If in doubt, leave. As for the Grammar section, you can always answer a few of them based on instinct but it is good to have a command on them. Some sitters are always there in every paper.
Last but not the least, writing Mocks and analysing them is of paramount importance and the more you practice writing them, the better your score will be! Good Luck for CAT 2019!