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Strategy to crack MBA 2014

Author qualified SNAP in 2011 with calls from SIBM , SCMHRD, SIIB , SCIT , qualified CAT 2011 with 99.12 percentile and secured calls from MDI ,FMS ,6 IIM s , IMI ,NITIE , IIT B, IIT D , IIFM , NIBM , qualified XAT 2011 to secure BM and HR call from XLRI , BM and HR call from XIMB , GIM and TISS HR call , NMAT 99.99 percentile and NMIMS call .

To write about exam strategy first one need to know about the author and his exploits with the strategy. Usually every strategy has an environment which influences the fate of that strategy and also depends on various other factors to be successful. There are hundreds of coaching institutes in india each with a qualified set of faculty to guide aspirants on various aspects of exam strategy as far as mba entrances and engg entrances are concerned. However having gone through both with 99 percentile and above scores I believe it is time a commoner writes of his own way of dealing with these costly tests . I have written a few articles before relating to ROI perspectives as to various aspects of MBA education that one should keep in mind while choosing to do mba as such and also on various specializations and scopes relating to each. Now lets come down to the core thing how to maximize scores with respect to each of the competitive entrances. Let s start with SNAP : Instead of going in details of breakup of marks which you will get anyways in google . But still just to give it a proper perspective it is usually a 2 hour test , total marks is 180 and has 4 sections namely QA (40 questions) , GK ( 40 questions) , LR ( 30 questions of 2 marks each) , English( 40 questions) . So total of 150 questions each with 1 marks excepting the LR questions which are of 2 marks each. Now if u have read the above lines for the first time only you should obviously understand where the stress lies. It is obviously the LR section . So ideal strategy should be to invest 40 minutes in LR and try to solve all questions accurately But also simultaneously keep in mind not to mark wrong answers or unsure answers because the negative marking would also be twice in that case. Questions of SNAP are the easiest among all mba entrances so it should not take a lot of time . One should always try to maximize the attempts in such exams. In my time , I attempted 30 questions out of 30 in LR section and around 15 questions out of 40 in GK . In the 2nd hour time was becoming short so I started with my strongest section which was Quants and I raced to 26 questions out of 40 in the next 30 minutes precisely. I felt I could have solved the last 10 also but then time was not there so I felt that let me go through the English section and after that If I get time I will come back . I started with the english section and questions were straight and easy . The vocabulary based questions I knew the answer so those 10 questions took hardly 2 minute to solve. Rest questions were also mostly sitters. I solved around 36 questions in that section in about 25 minutes and then moved back to Quants section and did more 4 questions from that section . So total attempt became 30 LR + 15 GK +30 Quants+ 36 English = 111 out of possible 150 questions. If I analyze it hour wise , At the end of 1 hour I had total attempts of 45 questions and had completed 2 sections out of which LR section for me took around 50 minutes to solve all questions. I was more or less sure with everyone of them .However when I came back and checked

Strategy to crack MBA 2014


the keys by various coaching I found that 3 questions out of 30 were wrong . SO basically at the end of one hour my net score was 27*2 +15*1 - 3* (2/3)(GK all correct did not guess any so attempt was low below 40%)= 69 marks- 2 marks= 67 marks . In the next hour , I attempted total of 70 questions out of which 26 in Quants were right and 29 in Verbal were right . So my effective score for my efforts in 2nd hour was 26* 1 + 29* 1 4 *( 2/3) -7*(2/3)= 47.25 marks . So a grand total of 114.25 . That year that was some mis prints in quants section question and that caused a lot of hue and cry across all centres and those questions were taken back . I secured calls from SIBM , SCMHRD , SIIB , SCIT .

So if u ask me what should be the strategy I think by reading the above paragraph you must have already understood it should be LR first , GK second , Quants third ( Strongest section for me , for someone who has verbal strongest should start with Verbal the 2nd hour) , Verbal fourth( The last section left after the attempting all else) . Ideally try to get the third section attempted within 30 minutes giving atleast 3o minutes time to get done with the verbal . If your quants is weak u should then try to maximize verbal since all questions have equal marks so no point wasting time behind quants for 30 minutes when u can utilize that time in verbal or in any other section .In the end u need a good score.Overall I think one should attempt around 120 questions out of 150 with good level of accuracy for calls to all colleges.

Ok now that we are done with SNAP next we look at second most easier exam ( in terms of questions asked) that is NMAT In Nmat choosing dates is a big issue as it is a computer based exam. Usually taking early dates is essential in case u want to reappear . In other cases also I believe that taking early dates is better than taking dates later because difficulty level increases later. Usually it has 48 Questions in Quants Section and a time limit of 60 minutes and LR section has 40 Questions in 38 minutes and lastly language skills 32 Questions in 22 mins. You can choose the order in which u want to attempt at the beginning of the exam. Usually the question level Is easy and will not need a lot of rework. Just make sure to be attentive throughout. I started with Quants as it was my strongest section and also because it has maximum number of questions , then followed it with LR section and then English in the end. As far as I remember I was told that there is no negative marking . So I had already made up my mind to attempt each and every question . The first 20 questions of maths seemed easy in my set and I solved them in the first 15 minutes without much fuss . After that there was one matrix related question and I got stuck in it for about 5 minutes .I could have advanced but then I felt the question might have sub parts so I stuck on with it . I had previously made up my mind that I wont stop in one question for more than 1 minute and if I cant solve I would put a mark on options b or c as it they are more probable ones for answer. Now due to that one question I felt I was losing time drastically and started to regain speed but then once u spend 5 minutes on one questions immediately taking speed was difficult. I was not really happy to

Strategy to crack MBA 2014


guess things as such because in competitive exams it is always important to go for accuracy in general. So I was kind of in a mental conflict as to whether to push for speed or go for accuracy. In among all this time sped away. At the end of 58 minutes my net attempt was 40 questions . In the last 2 minutes I just filled C option in all the rest questions. I felt out of 48 around 36-40 would have been correct. Next section was LR and I was frantically looking for a favorable set of linked questions . I got 2 back to back each had 3 parts. I did those 6 questions in about 10 minutes and then attempted another 24 questions in the left time of 28 minutes and then followed the same strategy of marking C option in the left questions. In this section I thnk around 26-29 questions were right. In the last section which was English there were RCs . I schemed through them and was attempting vocab questions mostly . I attempted a sure shot 9 Questions and another 12 questions which seemed more or less sure and filled C in the rest.Overall I would say around in this section I would get around 15-18 correct. So overall number of corrects would be around 84-87 net. Score I got when I got the result was 264 . Which means around 88 correct. The percentile was 99.9and I got the call for NMIMS Mumbai campus.

Now for aspirants I would say dont attempt in a hurry as such around 75 correct questions is enough to get a NM call although yes it is true that the more u score the better the chances of convert is as the score is given high weight age in selection process. I would recommend go for 35 good attempts in quants , 25 good attempts in lr and another 15-18 in English . That would do . In case of NM I think Quants part is very important and 35 atleast should be correct otherwise I think in LR section it would be hard to make up for that as I think the time is 38 minutes and it would not be possible to do more than 30 questions there even if u are good at LR because it takes time to read questions. English part also you would need time to read RC s so 20+ good attempts is difficult . Although yes even with less than 210 score u can meet the cutoff for other campuses of NMIMS but it is worth the try to get into NM mumbai campus.

Ok now lets look at CAT which is 2nd toughest exam after XAT in terms of difficulty of questions. Unlike NMAT and SNAP actually strategizing for CAT is lot more difficult due to the normalization thing. No one really knows what kind of set he or she will get and hence it becomes more of a luck game. It was at that time a 2 section thing(30 Questions each ), DI and QUants punched in one section and Verbal and LR punched in the other with net time of approximately 2 hours apart from the time that u get to see the tutorial . My time was the first time in which 2 section scheme was launched , the level of difficulty of questions was really easy and many of my friends attempted 60 out of 60 questions . My exam centre was kind of distant so I made sure to go their early and gave myself enough time to stay silent and observe , as I felt calmer that way. Here also there was option as to which section I want to attempt first . I decided to go for Quants and DI section as Quants was my strength and I wanted to start with my strength . The questions were very very simple and needed not much calculation and some were just one liners and even without calculation I could get to the answer. By the end of 30 minutes I had already attempted around 24 questions and I felt I was rushing to fast maybe so I told myself to

Strategy to crack MBA 2014


slow down. I decided to revise the answers which I felt never was possible in any other entrance. I attempted total of 28 questions out of 30 . The last 2 questions I had marked initially but I removed them as I was not sure while revising. The DI sets were easy too . I was more or less very satisfied with my performance in the first section ( I secured 99.16 in this section) . That sense of calm and feeling of satisfaction helped me focus better on the 2nd section as I knew that this one will be decisive now. I made up my mind from before that I want to attempt LR first as I will know there that I am able to answer the question correctly or not . So I began with the 2 LR sets and the question was easy so finished those 10 questions in about 10 minutes. I even cross revised it . I then moved on to solve the comprehensions because I felt that grammer was never my strength and I was never sure with them . I read 3 comprehensions one by one . I found similarity of these comprehensions to ones that I had faced in my life and hence my interest level was good while reading them . I did not miss details . One of them was historical and I liked history and scored 90 plus in it in class 10th . I was happy with them so I knew that now atleast I am sure of 18 questions of the 30 . I need not attempt the rest 12. But still I read on the last questions . I found 2 fil in the blanks sitters so I attempted them. Then the grammer was not there instead there were parajumbles. I was not very sure whether to solve or let go . I just for sometime felt that I have already done enough I dont need to do more . But then I was also knowing that it is competitive exam and cant waste time here. I solved each parajumble and even the FIJ . There were a few sentence completions towards the end too and I solved them too . I was not sure whether to fill them or not . I filled the parajumbles because I was more or less sure of them by then and I was not sure of the FIJ so I did not fill it . I attempted a total of 28 questions there too . So with a total of 56 questions attempted I was more or less happy with CAT . After coming out however I found many people who attempted 60 but In the end the percentile came out to be 99.12 with 95 in verbal section. Although I was expecting more in verbal but it was ok I was happy with it.

If u ask me to recommend a strategy I would say start with your strength section and try to attempt based on questions. Read each questions thoroughly , dont guess here . What ever u can or answer u get after full solving u put it in there from among the options and pause for a few seconds and cross check the answer and then move on. As far as subsequent CAT s are concerned I would say dont attempt too many as the level of difficulty has risen. Attempt only those u can confidently say that this is the only answer and no else. Now last of this series is XAT . IT is undoubtedly the toughest exam I have ever faced by a mile. The question of XAT 2011 was comparatively easy but then it was stil jaw breaking and seemed to mock the examinees at the face . In XAT it is always critical to hold your pulse and maintain belief in ones ability. I had solved previous years papers and had gone through XAT 2010 paper and previous 10 years papers . From them I learnt one important thing that in XAT even if u can solve 5 toughest tough questions and dont commit mistakes unnecessarily then u will get through . So accuracy is of extreme importance. In my time I made it a point that I dont attempt more than 12 questions per section come what may. If I have extra time I will revise but not attempt any further.

Strategy to crack MBA 2014


In XAT at that time GK was not there . So that way I was lucky . I started with Quants because It was my strength and I felt I would be losing confidence if I start with anything else as the question paper level can be such that there is no surety I would be able to solve any of the 40 questions in that section. Quants fortunately after laboring for sometime I got a decent hang of it and solved around 15 questions in the first 40 minutes . In XAT at that time there were 3 sections and since there are sectional cutoffs so I dedicated 40 minutes each to the sections . So after the 40 minutes I moved on to the next section . But there I was feeling a bit tensed as it felt tougher than quants section as I was previously expecting. I decided to persist and read all the questions in that section first and marked which ones I can attempt the number was coming out to be 9 of the 40 was more or less sure category. I attempted them one by one and then chose 3-4 more questions which I felt if I can solve and solved them . This I did because I felt 12 would be ideal attempt in this section and is my maximum performance . Rest I cant solve or is beyond my knowledge ambit. In the last section I chose to solve was that of LR . I knew I wont attempt any more than 2 sets of 5 questions each or at max 2 and half set and no more. So again I took my time and attempted and exact 2 and half set . I cross checked each of the answers. Although when I came out I found that I had just attempted a total of 39 questions ( 15 , 12 ,12 ) and that was perhaps the lowest attempted by others in my room who all attempted 50 or beyond. But then I was silently happy that I knew what I had attempted and was silently sure that I had given my very best and I could not have done better even if I was given to solve the paper again. The results came and yes 14 12 12 were correct only 1 Quants question was wrong out of the entire paper. I knew I was through . I ended up getting 96 percentile in quants 89 percentile in LR section and 91 percentile in English section . Secured both BM and HR call from XLRI where I joined later with HR convert. Secured all calls from XIMB and GIM too.

If u ask me to recommend anything I would say for XAT always read the questions thoroughly . Dont get carried away by the jaw breaking difficulty . Only attempt those which u know and are perfectly sure of. In many coaching institutes and in google u will find a lot of test papers solve them meticulously . Any time spent in solving this hard questions will immensely benefit u during the actual exam . Thank you , hopefully my experiences and suggestions come to some help to you all. All the very best for your life and career . Bye !