How to Use the 3-Round Strategy in CAT!

A time-tested strategy that has been used for years and that which has been proposed and supported by many CAT experts is that of the 3 Round Strategy. As the name suggests, the CAT has to be attempted in 3 rounds based on this strategy. In some cases, where the candidate is very strong with conceptual knowledge on the topics quizzed upon and has a clear sense of awareness of his strengths and weaknesses, the 3 Round Strategy transforms to a 2 Round Strategy.

So what is the 3 Round Strategy?

Basically, you will attempt the questions in the test in 3 different rounds, where the difficulty level of the questions in each round is progressively tougher based on your comfort with the questions. The duration of each round and the number of questions that you answer in each of these rounds is dependent on the comfort that you have with the concepts that the questions are based on.

What becomes crucial at this point is to identify what each question means to you as far as the difficulty is concerned. This is easier said than done. At face value, this means that if questions are from concepts that are you are not strong in do not attempt it, and if questions are from concepts that you are strong in, then attempt it. However, there could be questions in topics that you are not very familiar with where only the basics suffice to answer the question. What’s even trickier is on the other side. You may comfortable with a particular topic like Time and Work, but what when the question is a very complicated one? Knowing your key strengths and weaknesses and knowing which question to answer and which to let go is not the same thing.

But that doesn’t mean that you should not be aware of what concepts you are strong at which ones you’re not. You should build awareness of your abilities during your Mock Tests to such an extent that when you look at a question, you should be able to answer 2 questions. Is the question related to a concept that you are strong at and is the question easy enough to be answered?

How to attempt Round 1 questions?

The first thing to do is ask yourself the question from the last line of the previous paragraph. If the answer to both the questions is yes then go ahead and solve it. Sometimes after starting to solve the question, you realize that you underestimated the question. You are about to spend more time than necessary. That’s where the second part of Round 1 questions come into the picture. Do not spend more than 2 minutes on answering these questions. If you do then, let go off it and move on to the next one. Remember, you are a machine at the CAT. You can come back to these questions in Round 2.

How to attempt Round 2 questions?

While attempting Round 1, you must have read a few questions and realized that it would take you more than 2 minutes to finish solving the questions. Make sure that these questions are marked so that you can come back to the question in the second round without having to search for the question had gone. Now in the second round, answer the questions that you are familiar with but will take more than 2 minutes to solve. However, ensure that you don’t spend more than 4 minutes to solve a question at this phase. There also would be some questions that you started solving in the previous stage but then stopped because it was taking more than 2 minutes. Reattempt these questions. You might also notice that you now will get the answer faster than you would have before. This is your subconscious mind at work.

How to attempt Round 3 questions?

If you had a great Round  1 and 2, then Round 3 wouldn’t be much of a necessity. This round is where you try your luck by experimenting with questions that are remaining with a primary focus on those that seem more familiar. Beware that this does not give you license to unnecessarily mark answers for questions and undo the good work that you had done in the previous rounds.

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