Finally, I figured it out. It is so simple that I wonder how could I (and lakhs of other candidates preparing for CAT ) could have missed it. I am talking about attempting CAT and what sort of strategy one needs to employ in order to ace the exam.
First a bouncer, you cannot ace the exam per se. CAT is a test which tests your managerial aptitude. The word aptitude here is very important. It is not a test where you can employ tricks to score better (or even worse). More or less, CAT will accurately judge your aptitude. If you are destined to become a good manager then you will definitely score good at CAT (it doesn’t really matter whether you slogged for 6 hrs/day for a year or whether you just sat-and-gave CAT). Theoretically, you cannot prepare for an aptitude exam. And year after year CAT makers strive hard to prove this theory correct.
This leads me to conclude: there is no strategy. During mocks, I tried and tested various strategies. Each and every one of them failed. Reason: while doing the exam you end strategizing when in fact you should be executing. So, my conclusion is that one should not use strategies. Strategies only end up hiding (read lowering) your actual aptitude.
So, where is the essence of CAT? Here it is:
Just answer the questions you think you can answer. Leave the rest of the lot. If you have managerial aptitude, you will get a good percentile (no matter how many or how few questions you have attempted). If you don’t have managerial aptitude, maybe you are having aptitude for entrepreneurship, story writing, bungee jumping, etc. Everybody has aptitude for something or the other. Management is only one of the spheres of life.
The essence is so simple that people generally ignore it. Coaching institutes use this ignorance to their benefit while CAT makers at IIMs laugh at the fact that people really are preparing for an aptitude test, an activity which is guaranteed to lower their scores.
So, in the end all I can say is that just do what you know if you want CAT to judge your true aptitude level. Do not try to fool the system. It will end up hurting you only.