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CAT 2015: Know the Strategy to Boost Your Score; How to Pick & Solve the Right Question

Last Updated - April 01, 2017

CAT toppers have been guiding the CAT 2015 aspirants through the suggestion to be selective on choosing the questions in CAT 2015 to maximize scores and attempts. Similar are the tips from Prof S K Agarwal, mentor on CAT 2015 preparation.

In his view the speed and accuracy are the bye products of this selection in your effort to achieve a high percentile in CAT 2015. There is less scope of getting shortlisted and converting the call despite scoring high overall percentile but not scoring similar high sectional percentile in all the 3 sections in CAT 2015 new exam pattern.


There will be 100 questions in CAT 2015 divided in 3 sections instead of earlier 2 as used to appear till CAT 2014. The questions on DILR have been taken out of Quant and Verbal sections and now have formed a new section with 32 questions of different type. It also implies that CAT 2015 will require you to score equally good percentile in the 3rd section also. Earlier you had the choice of attempting either quant or DI questions in first section and Verbal or LR questions in second section to a large extent as DILR questions also had around 33% share in each of the 2 sections. The choice ends in CAT 2015 and time constraint has again been introduced to solve each section individually.

Now the scene is that you have limited choice of selection and will need to judiciously pick the right question one after the other and will need to avoid wasting time.

The strategy

The success mantra to achieve the high sectional as well as high over percentile in CAT 2015 lies in your strategy to choose the right question to avoid any negative marking and thereby saving your score from going down.

There are 2 ways-

Scan the entire section: Not recommended for CAT 2015

You may scan the entire section first and then begin answering the questions. The greatest demerit with this strategy is wastage of time. You may be good in one section but not so good in other. The strategy to scan the section first would have been better if there had not been any sectional time constraint. The individual time constraint for each section in CAT 2015 exam is limited to 60 minutes. Out of these, if you spend even 5 minutes to go through 32 or 34 questions and then begin solving the selected one may call for stringent time management and greater speed clubbed with accuracy.


If you have a good speed, you would be able to solve 1-2 questions during the time you spend on scanning the questions. The situation may be worse if you have slow speed as you will be gasping for more time to solve more questions.  So make a cautious move.

Start from Beginning

Another way to move on with CAT 2015 test is to begin from question-1, solve if doable, else go to next. This way you will be able to solve more number of questions beginning with the easiest one in the first attempt.

A candidate used to solve approximately 40 questions earlier to score a high percentile. On the same pattern if you attempt accurately around 60 questions (20 in each section) in CAT 2015, you can score a high percentile. The major difference however in CAT 2015 is that you will have more sections but with total tally of same number of questions to choose from. In fact it will be a bit easier to choose the question of your choice while maximizing the attempts in CAT 2015.

Those who score high overall percentile of 99+ in CAT but score low percentile in one of the sections are either not shortlisted for PI round or even if  shortlisted are not able to convert the call. On the top of it one of the questions they face in PI round is ‘how come you have good overall percentile but low sectional percentile, tell us…’ It may be difficult to share a convincing reply in the PI round and there may not be any alternative left but to prepare again for CAT 2016.

Your choice of questions

Your choice of selection of right question to solve means that in your first attempt you should select the question which you can solve with confidence in less time. You may be able to attempt around 5 to 10 questions out of 34 in first attempt. This will boost your confidence level and morale. The next attempt may be a little longer and you may take more time but again the questions you choose should be of your strong areas and must be attempted diligently to avoid negative marking.

Prof S K Agarwal Verbal Ability expert and mentor on CAT 2015 preparation suggests that aspirants should pick the easy questions first as they will be distributed at random basis. So make sure that you don't leave any easy question. After this go through the moderate ones and at last pick the difficult ones.

It’s quite unlikely that out of 100 questions you will not get options. The advisable approach is to maximize your attempts by solving maximum number of questions from all the 3 sections but avoid temptation.


Don’t stick to difficult one; move on

You need to solve more questions in less time. Improvement in devising the strategy to solve more questions within the allotted time should be the focus of preparation now for CAT 2015.

Prof S K Agarwal reveals that temptation to attempt a question which you find difficult but still want to struggle to solve it will only result in wastage of time, losing your marks on other doable questions and inviting tension and panic on account of time constraints. If you leave it outright and mark it for review, you may come back to it if time permits and after attempting other questions of your choice in CAT 2015 new exam pattern

Please note that CAT 2015 will have 100 questions divided in 3 sections with 34, 32 and 34 questions each. Quant will have 34 questions; DILR 32 and VRC 34 questions. Total number of questions therefore remains unchanged to 100 as compared to CAT 2014. The proportionate time to solve these questions is 1.8 minutes per question and the entire test will have to be completed in 3 hours.


It is better to focus more on right kind of questions instead of more number of questions which may attract penalty of 1/3 negative marking.

Improve the speed

‘Practice more to improve speed’ says CAT preparation expert, Prof S K Agarwal. The challenge to choose the right question with a speedy reading habit solely depends upon the ability of the aspirants. Since no CAT aspirant goes to solve all the questions in all the sections, it’s better to improve the speed within the allotted time by practicing more and more. This strategy of preparation for CAT 2015 during next 45 days will not only boost the confidence level of the candidates but also will improve the speed.

Accuracy goes with right choice

If you select the right and doable question, your accuracy level will improve else it will go down, says Prof S K Agarwal. You can attain high accuracy level only when your reading speed is improved with clear understanding. When you opt for an answer option you should be clear on it. Else the negative marking may get you nowhere.

Non-MCQs need clarity of concept

CAT 2015 is going to place Non-MCQ type questions along with MCQs. To solve a Non-MCQ you need clarity of concept as the question will not be followed by answer option. You can write the answer only when your concepts are clear and you have practiced more.


In your preparation include also such type of topics and questions that had appeared long back in CAT and the questions which never appeared in CAT but have made their presence in other tests like XAT, MAH-CET, IIFT, CMAT.

With 100 questions in CAT 2015, you will have a good variety of questions on different topics  but don’t expect an easy test in CAT 2015. If you have practiced enough to crack the right answer option by improving the level of accuracy, you may expect a high percentile.

The best strategy to keep it balanced in the 3 sections is to periodically go for a set of mocks with 100 questions. Keep a clock with you and start solving.

CAT aspirants must have clarity on their basics, practice much, don’t panic and should maintain their calm. Be particular about the time spent on each question since you do not want to linger on a particular question for too long at the cost of not getting a chance to see other questions.







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