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Strategies for MBA-CET

With the CAT gone, it’s now time to hone your skills for the CET!

Now that most of the calls are out, for all those who have not ended up with calls the CET is your last chance to get into an institute of repute! In fact odds of getting into a good institute low in the CET as well, compared to other important exams. For instance, more than 2.5 lakh students take CAT for about 1,500 IIM seats. The success ratio being 1:160 (ie for every IIM seat, about 160 students are competing). The same ratio for CET is around 1:260. About 40,000 students take CET, for about 150 open category seats in the top institutes under CET. So, how should one go about the 2.5 hours of CET? What should you prepare in the last 10 days before CET? Read on!

Strategy for taking CET paper
In all the CET related articles that have appeared before, we have been stressing on the fact that the CET paper pattern is very standard. Hence, even at a stage as late as this, you must have a proper plan while attempting the paper, to get through to the top institutes.

Why should you not take CET like any other exams?
1. Most of the other exams that you must have taken so far were accuracy based exams. CET is a speed based test. Hence, throughout the 2.5 hours your one foot should be on the accelerator. Try to focus on as many attempts as possible. For a good institute, your genuine attempts must be as high as 175 questions.

2. Selecting questions of a particular type (say Verbal or Quant) won’t help. There aren’t any sections in the CET. You won’t get questions of a particular type at the same place. Hence, you need to go sequentially in the CET and change gears every time.

3. Be sure about which options you are marking. Unlike other exams, in CET you need to mark answers with the help of black ball pen. There is no way you can change your mind once you have marked an answer. You need to be 100% confident about how you solve a particular question.
There are many ways of achieving an attempt of 170+ questions in CET. We at CPLC propagate the strategy of taking CET in two rounds. First round consists of high speed questions and the second round consists of low speed but high accuracy questions.

By now you must have taken several tests and you must have identified your strong and weak areas. Now, divide these on the basis of Speed. This facilitates maximizing your score in the least time. Identify the speed breaker (time consuming) questions for you. Avoid these questions initially. Now, in the first round solve the remaining questions in roughly half the number of minutes as the number of questions.

For example, some students find Visual Reasoning, Data Interpretation, Reading Comprehension and Number Series questions extremely time consuming. These would constitute a total of about 75-80 questions in a typical CET paper. So, in the first round, solve the remaining 120-125 questions in about an hour (60 min.). Now, amongst the questions that you had left in the first round, identify those which have a very high accuracy. Reading Comprehension, some Visual Reasoning questions and some Data Interpretation sets may a part of this. Let us say, these constitute another 45-50 questions. Try to crack these in the second round. In other words, solve these 45-50 questions in 80-85 min. (these are low speed questions, remember?). Finally in the last 5-10 min, randomly darken the remaining ovals (please take care that you do not darken any oval corresponding to a question that you have already solved). This would ensure that you attempt the entire paper in the stipulated time, with genuine attempts of about 170-175 questions. The idea is to get about 140 correct answers out of the genuine attempts and another five out of the random markings. 145–150 marks in the written test makes you a very strong contender for the top five institutes.

How is this strategy helpful?
We suggest that, instead of solving each and every question sequentially as they come, solve only those first that take less time to solve. If you were to take every question that comes your way in your stride at the first instance (including the speed breaker questions), you would go into the panic mode roughly at half time. Because you have been solving even the time-consuming questions initially, your attempts would be roughly around 70-75 questions after 75 minutes. Now, when you realize that you have more than half the paper to go in the next 75 minutes you start to panic and make silly mistakes. This affects your accuracy as well.

What our strategy ensures is that you attempt more than half the paper in less than half the time.

How should you prepare in the last 10 days?
Attempts to increase accuracy in your weak areas must be made even now. You can phenomenally increase your speed by the judicious selection of questions. You must plan your study for this week in the following manner: You need not brush up your fundamentals in Mathematics, as it is too much of hard work for too little gain in CET. Rather, investing time in knowing your calculations well and solving the Data Interpretation question in quick time might make a lot of difference to your final scores. There are another 30 marks that can be earned from English i.e., questions based on basic grammatical principles and vocabulary. Do practice with some exercises in English. Visual Reasoning questions are time consuming and are to be attempted towards the end of the paper. Do not revise these in the last week. Another area where the accuracy is low is Syllogism (questions based on assumptions, conclusions, arguments, probably true/false). Taking efforts to know the fundamentals in this topic may make a difference of 10 – 15 marks. But the areas where you should be scoring with 100% accuracy are Logical Puzzles, Eligibility Criteria and Input Output Flowchart.

Things that make the difference
Remember, how you perform in the exam depends on how stress-free you are before the exam. So do not exert yourself too much by spending sleepless nights or slogging throughout the day a couple of days before Feb 15. Forget how you have been faring in the practice/mock tests. Performance in the league matches is of no consequence once you are in the finals. This is the mantra that helped CPLC get eight of its students in Jamnalal Bajaj (out of 38 open category seats) last year! All the best!

– Manish Salian

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