The A-B-C Approach

The A-B-C Approach

QA has been a pain point for many of you aspirants especially during mock tests.

As far as the last year’s CAT papers is concerned, QA section brought nightmares to many non engineer aspirants. To tackle such a section, getting your basics right alongwith ‘The Strategy’ is essential.

Basics can be only excelled after practicing different type of questions thoroughly. Strategy, being equally important calls for understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses, plus, executing the right approach.

What does the Right Approach means?

The right approach requires attempting ( includes questions not answered) at least 32 questions in the allotted sixty minutes.  If you would have given mock tests, many of you would have found a difficulty in even seeing all 34 questions in mock tests. In this scenario, attempting at least thirty questions becomes a challenge

To get through this challenge, the A-B-C approach can be adopted. While solving the section with A-B-C approach, the 34 given questions need to be solved in rounds.

In Round A, questions with easy to moderate difficulty level must be solved. These can be judged by the amount of time limit to be devoted to each question. If you anticipate that the question can be solved in less than 1minute and 30 seconds, then this question can be designated as that of easy to moderate difficulty level.  Round A must not take more than 40 minutes.

Round B consists of questions which are difficult but solvable. These questions are such that these may be solved within 3-4 minutes.

Round C includes questions which appear to be very complex to an aspirant. These questions must be solved after solving the A and B type.

How to implement the A-B-C approach?

Once the Quantitative Ability sections starts, starting from question no. 1, read the question thoroughly. The question may be categorized into two types-

New type- 

An aspirant encounters a new question if a similar type has not been tried by him in the past.  To tackle such questions, an aspirant will have to make a structure of the question mentally.

 If the structure can be made easily  in your mind and the solution appears to be easy, you can solve the question then.  As soon as you start solving the question, keep a check on the clock. If you are able to solve the question within 1min 30 seconds, well and good, but if not, mark the question to review it later.  Now, keeping a check on the clock for every question is difficult. In this case, you need not need to literally check the clock. If you would have given a mock test, you might have noticed that as soon as you start solving a question. A clock subconsciously starts ticking in your head.  You need to keep a check on that particular stopwatch. As soon as the stopwatch says stop, you will have to go to the different question.

But, if you face a difficulty in structuring the question  or even after structuring, solving seems to be difficult or time consuming process, mark the question for reviewing it later.

Attempted type-

An attempted type is a category which has been seen by  an aspirant earlier in his preparation. Although, these types of  questions may appear to be easy, these are an easy bait for an aspirant.

To understand how an aspirant can yield to this bait, consider the following example-

If an aspirant sees a question of number theory which he has done in the past, he gets excited, he thinks to secure these three marks. He starts solving the question. Even when the timer shows three minutes up, the student does not give up on the question burning more time. Actually, the urge to solve the question one more time is the root cause of problem.

So, to ace the QA section, you need to solve the questions first which are of easy to moderate level (Round A), difficult but solvable questions in the second round ( Round B) and very complex questions in the end.

The number of questions in Round A, B and C will change with the level of preparation. For a person who is new to mock tests, Round A will include 12-15 questions, Round B will include 3-4 questions and Round C will include 0-1 questions.

With time, as you perfect the art of testtaking, the ideal number of questions must be as follows-

Round A- 20-22 questions

Round B- 5-6 questions

Round C- 0-2 questions

Ultimately, you need to remember that you can ace this section only after thorough practice. So, this strategy can be perfected only after giving ‘n’ number of mock tests. You just need to have patience and consistency to excel.