CAT 2012 Preparation plan

With only around three months to go, it is a good time to think about the overall paper. We also need to keep in mind the changes in format. So, have given below our ideas of how the paper might be structured.

Caveat alert: This is our view of how they might structure CAT and might have absolutely no link with how CATIIM is thinking about it (Always good to get the disclaimers in early. This is the one thing they drill into investment bankers). With that out of the way, let us get to the sections.

This post focuses on quants. Will follow up with a verbal specific post

Quants
We would look at this as three segments, of about 10 questions each

Segment I: This is going to be the section that covers simple quant topics - Averages, Percentages, Profit & Loss, Pipes Cisterns, Simple Interest -Compound Interests, Shares, Progressions, Ratio-Proportion, Speed-Time, Races, Mixtures, etc. There should be around 10 questions in this segment. Almost all questions in this section will be do-able but time-consuming. Student should shoot to get 8-9 of these in about 30-33 minutes. Even if it takes more than 3 minutes per question, it could be worth it.

Take your time but get it correct

Segment 2: This is the set of concept-heavy questions - Number Theory, Geometry, Permutation-Combinations, Inequalities and perhaps a bit of Set Theory. These will be slightly non-formulaic questions. But these will help you save time in case you have the fundas right. Should shoot to attempt 6-7 of these in about 13-15 minutes.

Pick the correct questions and solve them really quickly

Segment 3: 3-4 questions of pure DI, 2-3 questions of DI presented in unconventional format, 3-4 of Data Sufficiency etc. Attempt 7-8 of these in about 22-25 minutes. In this segment DI will be time-consuming, DS will be hit or miss.

Overall, shoot to try 22-23 questions. This number should be good enough to hit 99th percentile +. There are two big mistakes that one should avoid.

1. Getting lots of practice for simpler topics, ignoring No.theory+Geometry: This is absurd. Get problems under the belt for the simpler topics, study from first principles for No. Theory and Geometry. One should know the basis for each formula, not just the formula. You should know how to solve problems like the ones seen here . And be clear on concepts in geometry

2. Skipping simple-topic questions because they take more than 3 minutes to solve: 3 minutes per question is good speed. If you understand a question based on Speed-Time and can definitely get it right in even 3.5 minutes, go for it. The concept-heavy topics are the ones where you should shoot to save time. Do not be in a mad rush for speed in the questions from the simpler topics. You HAVE TO get these correct. So, no point making some silly error here.