How to Score Higher on Your CAT Exam Paper

How to Score Higher on Your CAT Exam Paper

If you’ve gotten the results from your official CAT exam paper and aren’t pleased, don’t worry! You still have a chance to score higher on this year’s exam. Similarly, if your scores on practice tests aren’t where you’d like them to be, we have some tips that can help take your score to the next level. No matter what your situation, if you’re looking to score higher on your CAT exam papers, read on!

Before the Test

There’s a lot you can do before the official CAT exam to score higher this time around. If you’ve read my posts before, you may have some idea about what my first tip is…

  1. Test Often!

    What do I mean by this? In the three months leading up to your official exam date, you should be taking at least one practice test a week. I know, it sounds like a lot—and it is. But it’s also the single most important thing you can do to boost your score. David gives great advice on where to find mock CATs online, and if you’re still not convinced, check out my post on whether you should take a mock CAT (answer: yes!).

  2. Evaluate Your CAT Exam Papers

    You’re really only getting a fraction of the benefits of taking a mock exam if you don’t evaluate them afterward. You must, must, (MUST!) spend time afterwards—several hours minimum—to see what you did right, what you did wrong, and what you did by accident.

  3. Become More Accurate

    Once you’ve evaluated your exams, go back to your lessons or drills in that subject area and work on them until you’ve improved your accuracy score. By “accuracy score,” I simply mean the percentage of questions you’re answering correctly, before you translate your score to the CAT 0-300 scale.

  4. Get Faster on CAT Exam Papers

    Is it better to be fast or accurate? On the CAT, it’s better to be both! You can use this exercise to improve your accuracy: complete a set of ten questions in a particular subject area. Take note of how long it took you to finish them, but don’t set time limits. Next, do another set of ten questions, this time timed to ten seconds less than you took last time. Stay with this timing, repeating the drill until you can get your accuracy score back to where it was with the untimed set. Then, keep taking ten seconds off your time until you’re averaging around 1:30 per question.

During the Test

  1. Guess Better

    By “guess better,” I’m talking about eliminating wrong answers wherever you can. On the CAT, it’s to your advantage to guess on a question if you can eliminate at least one wrong answer, preferably two (statistically, even with the wrong answer penalty, you’ll come out ahead). You boost your chances of gaining, rather than losing, points by guessing the same answer each time, wherever possible.

  2. Strategize

    Stay focused throughout the test. Use the answers by plugging them in for unknowns in math problems. Know when to cut yourself off, based on how many questions you’ve decided beforehand that you’re going to attempt. Is your cut-off time at two minutes? 1:45? Know it and stick to it. Finally, make sure you stick to the rules, rather than using your intuition. If you know that a choice is grammatically correct, but another one just “sounds” better, go with the one that follows the rules. Our ears are notoriously faulty and more casual than exams are!

After the Test

After the test, breathe! There’s not much else you can do. While you wait for your scores, it may feel interminable. Use this time to start getting other aspects of your IIM applications together. And no matter what, rest assured that you did all you could to score the best you could by learning how to score higher on the CAT exam paper today, and then putting those principles into practice.

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