For CAT aspirants, this is probably the most critical time in the preparation cycle. At this stage many students realize that their percentile is witnessing no improvement in the practice tests, despite their best efforts. While most students attribute this phenomenon to inadequate aptitude or intelligence, very few consider a vital factor-one’s behavior pattern during the test.
Your test score is directly dependent on both, your ability, as well as your behavior during the test. You will be surprised about the degree of change you can bring about in your test score by closely analyzing your behavioral pattern through the duration of a test. If you go back to the way your mind worked during the exam, you will realize that for major time frames during the exam, your mind was not working at all, i.e you were thinking sub-optimally. Hence, though most students are able to solve a question in matter of seconds, when there is no examination pressure, they struggle with the same question during the actual test period.
How can a student monitor and change his behavior? What are the components, which you need to measure under behavior patterns?
1) Your inherent and expressed insecurity with a particular section is the amount of residual fear that you carry within your mind with respect to a particular section. If you carry negative beliefs in your mind about a particular section (and/or a particular question type), it is bound to impede your ability to score well in that area.
Your expressed insecurity on the other hand, is the amount of your inherent insecurity that is brought out while solving the paper.
A negative belief, which declares, I cannot solve QA, I cannot solve DI, or I cannot solve English, is the main reason for these insecurities. If you allow any of these insecurities to persist, it is likely to hurt your chances in the CAT.
Hence, your goal before the CAT is to do away with these insecurities as completely as possible. While doing this, you should focus on dealing with each section by breaking it into different question types/chapters.
2) Your behavioral pattern in the first five to 10 minutes of the test.
This time period can be defined as the warm-up time during a test. Students make the mistake of either being too cautious or too nervous during this time period.
3) Your behavioral pattern in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the test.
Often, good students falter in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the test paper. To combat this you need to train your mind to keep its bearings, when the pressure is on.
4) Your reaction to not being able to solve a question
Some students permit the negative emotions experienced by them when they are unable to solve one set of questions, carry forward into the next set of question as well. If you have this tendency, you need to guard against it through a lot of positive thinking.
5) Your tendency to hold on to a question/inability to move on to the next question within the appropriate time
With every exam that a student writes, the general tactic is to keep attempting a question till you crack it. In CAT the paradigm changes. Here you might be better rewarded for leaving questions unsolved, rather than trying to solve it from different angles and wasting your time. For all you know, the next question might take just 15 seconds to solve.
Points to keep in mind:
1) Continue to solve an increasing number of questions during your preparation phase. That is how you will convert negative beliefs into positive ones.
2) At the same time, concentrate on the above mentioned behavioral patterns by replying your test behavior in your mind.