Updated: Jun 29, 2020
When I was preparing for CAT, I came across these 5 unique techniques that helped me sharpen my mind. These techniques take less than 5 minutes a day, but can go a long way to help you with your CAT preparation.
#1 - Number Plates
The credit of this technique goes to one of the Quora writers, who mentioned it during his/her preparation, this used to be a routine activity for him/her and later became so for me as well.
How is it done: While travelling, all you need to do is to observe the number plates of vehicles around you and mentally calculate their sums/differences. You can do this with about 20-30 vehicles a day.
You can keep changing the problem statement, e.g. calculate the sum of all digits, the two 'two digit' numbers, the alternate two digit numbers, the number formed using the sum of corner digits and the central 2 digit number (all types illustrated below):
This activity can be easily performed and requires nothing else except your mind. I used to practice this on my way back from the coaching centre and it really helped me utilize my travelling time.
#2 - Internal Timer
The rationale behind this technique is that you need to be cognizant of the speed with which time elapses. Often while solving a CAT question, we tend to forget how much time we have spent on it.
How is it done: First of all decide after how much time do you want your mind to give you a reminder. Let's say, it is 1 minute (generally, you would want to spend a minute per question in QA in Round 1). The next step is to ensure that you're wearing a wristwatch when you want to practice this technique. Now, all you have to do is to notice where the seconds arm is and then take your eyes off it. The target for you is to look at the watch again exactly when you think it would be at the same point when you last saw it.
This technique will ensure that when you're solving QA questions during the exam, you will know when 1 minute has gone by, thereby being aware of the choice of spending more time on the question or skipping it.
#3 - Mouse & Calculator
This technique is fairly intuitive but very less often practiced. Most CAT aspirants appear for mocks through their own laptops, thereby not being exposed to the interface that they'll have to face during the exam.
How is it done: For this technique, you'll have to purchase a wired computer mouse. You will have to practice using it as an attachment to your laptop while taking the CAT mocks. To take this even further, you should open the Calculator of your laptop and try getting comfortable with using it with a computer mouse.
This might seem redundant at the moment. But, for aspirants who don't appear for proctored mocks, it can be an uneasy shift from using the laptop mouse to the computer mouse, which is what CAT centres have.
#4 - WhatsApp Space
While sharing the VARC tips, I mentioned that improving vocabulary is not necessary to sail through this section. However, having a good set of words in store will always come in handy, even if not necessarily in CAT. Similarly, for preparing GK, I mentioned that you need to be up to date with the happenings around.
How is it done: Use your WhatsApp to create a group of 2 members (add someone you know closely). Then, remove the person from the group and pin the group to the top of your chat list. This way, you'll be the only person in the group that always appears on the top of your chat list. Whenever you come across new words or any important news article that you need to take notes of, put it down in that group.
The reason this technique is very useful is that often we're not comfortable with using new apps or sticky notes. But, since we're used to opearting WhatsApp, it becomes handy to take notes like this.
#5 - Sudoku
I can't emphasize on the importance of this technique. Solving Sudoku puzzles can really help in sharpening your mind and making your logical reasoning strong.
How is it done: The easiest way to solve a Sudoku puzzle is by going to this website. Just refresh it and you'll be served with a brand new puzzle. During my travelling time, I often used to set targets of solving 1 medium and 1 hard Sudoku puzzle.
If you use the traditional approach of solving a Sudoku puzzle which appears in newspapers, you'll be limiting yourself to one puzzle a day. Through this website, you can solve as many puzzles as you want a day. I used to solve about 4-5 puzzles a day. It entirely depends on how much you like it.
Hope these activities bring about a change in your calculation speed and mental abilities. You can write to me on the blog using the chat option if you have any queries.
For more on CAT, I strongly suggest you to browse through this category of the blog.