Which Questions To Answer During The CAT – YOUR Low-Hanging Fruits

 

Notice, I say ‘YOUR’ in the heading. There is no such thing as universal low-hanging fruits. What you would have are YOUR low-hanging fruits. Let me explain how fruits came in suddenly into our CAT prep, and why I have capitalised the word ‘your’ three times already..

Firstly, within 10-15 seconds after reading a question, you should form an estimate regarding your possible chances of getting the question correct (accuracy) and how fast you’d be able to complete it (speed).

Pay attention to 3 details:

    1. Within 10-15 seconds AFTER reading a question
      • No point skipping a question just because it has too much text, or attempting one because it was very quick to read.
      • Do not skip a question just because it is from a module you generally find quite difficult.
      • Make sure you read all questions on the CAT. Do not go in with any bias. Take a few seconds after reading if needed to form an estimate.
    2. You are forming an ESTIMATE
      • You are not actually solving, you are just estimating whether you can answer with high accuracy and speed.
      • This estimation may actually begin while you are reading the question itself. So, you may not even require those 10 seconds to decide.
      • Since it is an estimate, you may end up being wrong – that’s fine. More practice will help you make better estimates.
    3. Estimating is not solving
      • To be very clear, I am not saying you’d be able to solve the question within 10-15 seconds after reading. What I am saying is that you’d be able to take a call after this point whether to devote more time to the question to try and attempt it, or skip it all together.
      • Those you are uncertain of whether to solve or skip you can mark for review for later.

According to your estimate of speed and accuracy, you could get the following 4 scenarios. I have added recommended action you should take based on the scenario on the right.

Accuracy: High, Speed: Fast → Go ahead and solve. Attempt if you get an answer.

Accuracy: High, Speed: Slow → Mark for review

Accuracy: Low, Speed: Fast → Try solving/ mark for review. Answer with caution

Accuracy: Low, Speed: Slow → Skip

accuracy-edited

Questions you can answer with most accuracy and highest speed become your lowest hanging fruits

Now, based on your preparation, and the difficulty of the test, ‘low-hanging fruits’ would vary for each individual. Your selection could be very different from someone else’s. So much so, your own selection for the same test could be different (somewhat) from one day to another. So, don’t worry about what anyone else’s low-hanging fruits are. Just focus and try to ensure you catch all YOURS.

And in any case, the underlying approach remains the same. Find the questions that you can answer with most accuracy and highest speed from all that remain, tackle those first. Repeat.

Find → Tackle (attempt, mark for review, or skip) → Repeat

You may also find the article To attempt or not to attempt useful.

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Anish Passi

Anish Passi is the founder of Test Cafe. With 99th percentiles in both the GMAT (760/ 800) and CAT (99.55 percentile), Anish has a keen understanding of how aptitude tests work. He has shared his conceptual and test taking expertise with students for over a decade, and has helped them master their tests, and shape their careers.
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