10 Mistakes CAT Exam-Takers Make

10 mistakes CAT exam-takers make
If your CAT score still isn’t where you want it to be after lots of practice, it’s possible that you may be making mistakes that you’re not even aware of. Not just on the exam itself, but in your approach to it. In this post, we’ll take a look at 10 mistakes CAT exam-takers make, and how you can avoid them.

Top 10 Mistakes CAT Exam-Takers Make

  1. Failing to Prepare

    Now, maybe you prepared a ton. When I say that “failing to prepare” is a mistake, what I really mean is “failing to prepare well.” If you’re studying for the CAT, you want to make sure you have the best materials possible: up-to-date, test-like, and with easily understandable answers and explanations. You also need to make sure that you’re doing the right kind of practice. Studying thousands of vocabulary words rather than practicing Verbal problems, for example, is the wrong kind!

  2. Not Training to Focus

    You could be getting 100% correct on your practice tests, but it doesn’t matter if you aren’t training to focus. You should take these mock exams all at once, in a three-hour sitting, in test-like conditions (e.g. in silence, forcing yourself to stick to the time limits). Otherwise, your mind just won’t be trained for exam conditions!

  3. Practicing on Paper

    An associated mistake is practicing on a non-CAT-like computer program. You should take the official mock CAT exam at least once before your exam, even though you won’t get a score: it’s worth it just to work within the interface. You need to know how the CAT works to master it!

  4. Going Too Slow

    You won’t have to polish up your math skills that much to know that 100 questions in 180 minutes = less than 2 minutes per question. Taking into account the time it takes to enter your answer in and wait for the next page to load, you’re down to about 1:30. If you’re attempting all questions, that is (see below for more on this!) Even if you’re not, you should know approximately how many questions you’ll attempt and calculate how long that gives you for each one—and then stick to that timing guideline.

  5. Going Too Fast

    Seems contradictory, right? Nope! While some exam-takers go too slow, others go too fast. This primarily stems from a lack of proper focus. And it can lead to some dangerous mistakes! If this is your problem, these posts can help you get back on track, particularly in the Quantitative section:

    NB: I realize these are for the GMAT, but you’ll find that much of the advice holds true for the CAT, as well!

  6. Attempting Too Many Questions

    If you have a really high accuracy score, trying to answer all of the questions (or even just too many questions) on the CAT can bring your overall score down. Why? You may not be spending enough time on each question to get it right. If this or the next point describes you, check out the following posts on how many questions to attempt on the CAT for some guidance:

  7. Attempting Too Few Questions

    See my above point. If you still have a low accuracy score by the official exam, try to up your speed and answer more questions. Doing that while maintaining the same accuracy score can drastically improve your overall marks.

  8. Underusing Rough Sheets

    Sure, most exam-takers will use these in the Quantitative Section. Most will use them in the Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning section. But taking notes on passages during the Verbal section can make answering questions there a lot easier, while making your responses far more accurate. This takes some getting used to, and you may be slower at first, but you’ll get faster eventually. A good reason to start preparing early!

  9. Relying on the On-Screen Calculator

    All that glitters is not gold! This seems like a gift—and at times, it will be. But when you find yourself typing in 4 x 3 =, you’re wasting valuable time that you could be spending actually answering the question. You know what 4 x 3 is! Don’t overuse the calculator.

  10. Forgetting to Breathe

    Seriously. Taking exams can flood our bodies with adrenaline and make your thinking far less clear in the drop-off than it normally is. Regular breathing can help you keep your stress under control, particularly in early sections, and let your skills shine through!

  11. By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh GMAT Prep!

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