My Learning From CAT Exams - Patrick Dsouza

  • This season for exams is over. So thought about sharing my learning from the various exams I have given. To start with, let me put forward my results for this year (some scorecards attached). I had given three exams in all.

    CAT16 – 100%ile (Scored 100%ile in CAT for the third time)

    XAT17 – 99.999%ile - Rank 1 (second time in a row)

    CET17 – 99.99%ile – (CET does not give out a 100 %ile, the top scorers get 99.99%ile)



    The results were special as the score in CAT was around 250, which is actually around 30 marks more than most of the 100%ilers many of them have scored in the bracket of 219 and 220. This itself was an achievement to be able to perform better than the best in a very competitive exam. To add to this, coming first in XAT exam for the second time in a row and being able to ace CET was icing in the cake. There are a lot of learning from the CET exam I gave, but in this article I would want to focus on the learning from the CAT exam.

    Let me start with my CAT15 results - Scored an overall of 99.99%ile with 99.93%ile in VA, 99.67%ile in DILR and 99.98%ile in QA. As far as I know, I missed the 100%ile by less than a mark in CAT15.

    Learning from DILR section: Though I was happy with the CAT15 result, what I was not happy that time was my DILR result. I am quite strong with respect to logic and do well in Maths mainly because of tackling the questions logically. I have scored 100%ile twice before in both the DILR section and the Maths section and I usually am able to attempt all the questions in the two sections with some time to spare in most of my previous CAT attempts. But CAT15 was a nightmare with regards to DILR. I went back and analysed. I realised that I did the same mistake what I tell others not to do. I tell students not to predict the paper before the exam and go with an open mind. I went with an assumption that I would be able to solve all the questions of DILR as I have usually done. So I did go sequentially without bothering to pick the easy ones. That was not a good decision and it resulted in me attempting the tough questions first and then leaving out the easy ones in the end. This I rectified in my CAT16 paper. I chose the questions correctly and was not able to attempt all the sets but the fact that I left the most difficult questions helped me to score a 100%ile in the DILR section for the third time. So one of the main contributors of increasing my score from 99.99%ile to being 30 marks more than the some of the other students who scored 100%ile was DILR. And the change happened only because of change in mindset and the change in strategy.

    Learning – Don’t try to predict the CAT paper – don’t take it for granted.
    Strategy plays an important role in optimising your marks in the paper.

    Learning from Quant section: I clearly remember discussing questions of Maths with one of my friends who is amazing at Quant. This was just before CAT16 results were out. When he told me some of his methods I realised, how less I know about Maths. It actually shattered my confidence with regards to Maths section. This also happens when I see questions from the various forums where they discuss CAT Maths questions. I hardly can solve half of them. But when the CAT17 results were out, my confidence in my methods was restored. I scored a 99.96%ile in Maths section in CAT16 and have scored a 99.98%ile in CAT15 and have scored twice a 100%ile in the Quant section. I also realised that I who am scoring decent marks in the Quant section, gets scared with such questions, I wonder what is the plight of average students who go through these forums. What I have realised is CAT Maths is not pure Maths, but involves simple methods to crack the exam. Unfortunately students instead of focussing on methods focus on learning formulae.

    Learning – CAT Math is easier than it looks if you learn the right techniques

    Learning from Verbal section: I always knew that reading is the most important aspect about improving your Verbal section. I always used to recommend students to read editorials of newspapers, magazines and topics which students are not comfortable with. Last 2 years I have been a little lazy about reading editorials. But I have picked up reading something that I like just before the exams. Read Lord of the Rings, P G Wodehouse and other books that I like reading. I still managed to score high in CAT Verbal section in both 2015 and 2016. What I realised is that it is not only important to read but also enjoy what you read.

    Learning – Read a lot. But more important to enjoy what you read.

  • Hello sir
    I am facing a lot of difficulty in quant and lr Di .
    It would be really helpful if you can discuss some of your strategies and approach that you follow while solving these sections.

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