Tips To Avoid Negative Marking In CAT 2024, Check Now

by Rishabh Sethi Fri 14 Jun 2024 12:02 PM 231

The Common Admissions Test (CAT) is the gold standard of entrance exams in India, serving as a key to gaining entry into numerous B-Schools, especially the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The CAT exam features a straightforward marking scheme, comprising two types of questions: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and Type in the Answer (TITA) questions.

  • MCQs: For every correct answer, candidates receive +3 points, while each incorrect answer incurs a penalty of -1 point.
  • TITA Questions: These do not carry any negative marking, ensuring no penalty for wrong answers.

Given the intense competition, where over 300,000 students participate, every mark is crucial. Missing out on your dream college can come down to just a single mark.

The Importance of Every Mark: A Real-Life Example

Consider the experience of a student who took the CAT in 2023. She successfully secured admission at MDI Gurgaon, but missed the cutoff for IIM Ahmedabad's Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR) section by a mere 0.04 percentile. An additional mark would have made her eligible for IIM A, where her strong background, profile score, and interpersonal skills would have given her an excellent chance of conversion.

This real-life example underscores the critical importance of every single mark in the CAT. Each point can significantly impact your chances of getting into top-tier institutions and achieving your academic and professional aspirations.

CAT Negative Marking

There are two main reasons why students loose marks in CAT. While the first is rather plain and objective, the other one has a deeper meaning to it and goes in-line with the philosophy of the exam.

Its main purpose is to dissuade speculating: Additionally, it removes the chance that a candidate who has answered questions by random guessing all throughout the paper will receive a higher score than a contestant who is answering questions correctly. Without negative marking, every question would likely be answered, leading to inflated scores due to random guessing.

    For example - If a students had completed 20 out of 44 questions. If there is no negative marking, a student will randomly choose the answers for the rest 24 questions. Given that there are 4 options - we can safely assume the probability of a correct answer per question to be 25%. Extrapolating this, a student can possibly get 6 questions right. Raising the total number of correct answers to 26 and increasing the score by 18 marks. (Assuming 3 marks for every correct answer)

    The CAT exam is designed to test your managerial skills. With an abundance of questions and limited time, it challenges you to maximize efficiency, often requiring you to find quick, effective solutions rather than detailed, time-consuming ones. This environment forces you to think on your feet and make decisions under pressure.

    Negative marking in the CAT parallels real-world situations where it is often better to acknowledge what you don't know than to risk making a mistake. In the exam, an incorrect answer costs you just one mark; in real life, a wrong decision can have far more serious repercussions.

    This system rewards candidates who are confident in their answers and decisions, reflecting the real-world importance of making informed and careful choices.

    How to Minimize Negative Marking in CAT

    CAT is all about accuracy. It is not a game of speed. You need to solve less than 50% of the paper to score a 99%ile.

    Given that there are 66 questions and 120 minutes, you get 2.2 minutes per question. Since you have to solve 50 percent of the paper, you get 4.4 minutes per question. Clearly, all you need is accuracy. Focus on minimizing your incorrect answers and you're halfway there.

    1. Be Careful While Marking Option.

    On rough sheets, one should use extreme caution when answering the questions. After making sure the solution is right, check for the exact options. Additionally, pay close attention since even though you may have answered the question correctly on the rough sheet, you can have selected the wrong response when responding on the screen. This one of the most common mistakes that students generally make.

    2. Read the Questions Correctly

    This becomes a major problem especially in the DILR section. In the DILR section, read every sentence very carefully. Do not let you attention die down, often, there are clues hidden in the way that the questions are framed.

    The majority of the time, Students scan the questions quickly, begin answering them wrongly, and never come up with the correct response. In the end, it takes a lot of time to solve them wrong.

    Not only do you get penalised with a negative mark by marking the incorrect option, you also waste a lot of time while solving it.

    3. Avoid the Options Trap

    Make sure that you read the question correctly and completely. The question setters often trick students with the option. Let's say you find the correct values for A and B, and the questions asks you A*B, instead of that, under pressure, you calculate A + B. There is a high chance that the question setter will put the latter as an option as well.

    It is usually advised to check the option that corresponds to the question's right response. Before answering the next question, it is advised to double-check the marked response because many applicants mark the answers hastily.

    4. Focus on Accuracy

    Try answering only those questions where you are absolutely certain. In CAT 2023, you could've marked just 14 questions in the VARC section. Out of these, if 13 turned out to be correct - this resulted in a 99%ile in VARC. Accuracy is the name of the game. Attempting to respond to every inquiry may result in mistakes that may be prevented. Thus, take your time studying the questions and try not to rush through them.

    5. Elimination Method

    As explained above, some of the options are tricky in nature while others are there just so that you can waste your time. To reduce the number of wrong decisions, make educated assumptions and apply the elimination process. It will minimise your negative marks by assisting you in choosing from the remaining options and increasing your chances of doing it properly.

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