Hi! Let me begin by thanking everyone for the overwhelming response on the NMAT post. Because of the sheer volume of comments, I haven’t been able to reply to everyone but I will do it as soon as possible. This will also be my last post of 2020 and the resolution for 2021 is to bring more (and better) content to all of you.
In this post, I am going to talk about my SNAP 2020 experience and share preparation strategies for the next attempt. Though I’ve covered most of it in my SNAP Live Analysis session available on our YouTube channel, writing helps me put it in a more organized manner.
As you’re aware, SNAP is being conducted in this new 60-minutes-60-question format for the first time and they have given candidates the choice to take either one or two attempts out of the three dates (Dec 20, Jan 6, Jan 9). The best score of the candidate will be considered for the final percentile calculation, as clarified on the official website.
The SNAP 2020 – day 1, was nowhere close to my expectations. SNAP 2019 had thrown a difficult quant section, TITA questions, differential marking, and was a fairly challenging paper. When they announced this new format of 60 minutes and 60 questions with 1/4th negative marking, I was hoping for a difficult paper which would have restricted the number of genuine attempts. They could have followed one of these models:
(1) 60 minutes, 75 or 80 questions, easy to moderate difficulty with 1/4th negative marking and made it a pure speed based test
(2) 60 minutes, 60 questions, difficult questions across the sections with 1/4th negative marking
But SNAP decided to offer an easy test instead. Imagine seeing these questions in a national level MBA entrance test:
- A person sold 2/3rd of his stock at x % profit and rest at y % profit. Find his overall profit %?
- If cost price of m articles is same as selling price of n articles, find his overall profit or loss %?
- Alloy A and B have elements M and N in different ratios. If equal quantities of A and B are taken, what will be the ratio of M and N in the final mixture?
- Number of students in three classes are x, y, z. If each of these is increased by p %, q %, r %, then what will be the ratio of the new number of students?
- Two trains of equal length cross each other in x seconds while traveling in opposite directions. If the speed of the faster train is y % more than the other train, find the speed of the faster train.
The problem with easy tests is (1) students get a false hope and they think that they did ‘well’ because their individual performance seems better than their historic performance. In reality, the relative performance is what matters! (2) You can’t differentiate yourself from the crowd. In a pure-speed or a pure-content test, one can differentiate oneself in a more pronounced manner.
Anyway, let’s not spend more time on the rant. I will share how I went about taking the test which might help future takers in framing a strategy. This is the order that I followed and the approximate time that I spent on that particular area:
VARC (First round, time spent ~7 minutes)
I was pretty clear about the first section that I wanted to tackle. A day before SNAP, I was talking to one of the students and I told her that there was a high chance of no RC in the paper because there is a limit to what skills can be tested on the basis of mere 15 questions. Even if RC had appeared, I would have done it in the first round itself as one doesn’t know how difficult or easy the remaining two sections might be and it’s not advisable to jump frequently from one section to another. Most of the questions were pretty straightforward and I had attempted around 12/15 in the first 7 odd minutes. I skipped a question on parajumble, a vocab question, and a grammar question and decided to explore other sections.
Suggestions: The section can be wrapped up easily in about 10 minutes as there is no RC and anything more than 10 minutes is too much. Vocab and Grammar are extremely important so you may want to prepare for it well, especially knowing the technical stuff (metaphor, hyperbole, similie, etc) will help a lot in SNAP.
QA (First round, time spent ~20 minutes)
Most of the toppers rely first on their speed and then on their accuracy. Even if that means making a few silly mistakes here and there but it results in a net positive return because the more you solve, the better chance you have of scoring in the higher bracket. When I think of the questions now, I realize that I have definitely messed up a few quant questions where speed reading resulted in wrong interpretation. In about 20 minutes, I was done with almost all the questions except one. I decided to move on to LR at this stage.
Suggestions: QA had all the standard topics but the level was much lower. Don’t leave a particular topic altogether. Lot of students leave topics such as logarithms (which actually can be mastered pretty quickly) for CAT and then they never do it for other tests. If there is anything that you’ve not done, you can still do the basics of it to survive.
LR (First round, time spend ~20 minutes)
LR didn’t offer many surprises, apart from the weird common-sense/physics based puzzles. My strategy was to skip such questions and the moment I saw something arbitrary, I skipped it. Input output, arrangement, blood relations, coding decoding, calendars, clocks felt pretty simple and at the end of 20 minutes, I was left with random puzzles only.
Suggestions: Similar to quant, don’t leave any topic from the list that I’ve mentioned above. Possibly the only thing that you can’t prepare for is random physics questions/puzzles that they ask but as the number of such questions is going to be low, it won’t affect much. If you have time, going through random logic puzzles (sample below) from Shakuntala Devi’s book (available freely on the web) will help.
- Suppose a clock takes 7 seconds to strike 7. How long will the same clock take to strike 10?
- Find a number which is equal to three times the sum of its digits
- When my uncle in Madura died recently, he left a will instructing his executors to divide his estate of Rs. 19,20,000 in this manner: every son should receive three times as much as a daughter and that every daughter should get twice as much as their mother. What is my aunt’s share?
- A cement block balances evenly on the scale with three quarters of a pound and three quarters of a block. What is the weight of the whole block?
- If you have 20 white socks and 20 brown socks and there is no light in the room, how many socks should you take out to be certain of a pair?
With about 13 minutes to go, I had 7 odd questions to solve. I did a second round in the same order and marked each of the questions, irrespective of whether I was sure or not. The rationale is simple. If I have attempted 50 questions with a good amount of certainty, say 90%, I am looking at around 45 correct and 5 wrong which will give me a net score of 43.75. If I mark the remaining and I get all of them wrong, I will be at 41.25. I am not a serious test taker so my score doesn’t matter. but if I get even half of those 10 questions correct, I am pushing myself to 47.5 which is a significant upgrade on what I would have scored otherwise. I was done with the entire paper (including some half chances) in about 55 minutes.
Risk Reward Calculation:
|Attempts||Accuracy||Total Right||Total Wrong||Net Score|
|60||50% on remaining 10||50||10||47.5|
|60||40% on remaining 10||49||11||46.25|
|60||30% on remaining 10||48||12||45|
|60||20% on remaining 10||47||13||43.75|
|60||10% on remaining 10||46||14||42.5|
|60||0% on remaining 10||45||15||41.25|
As always, I am not happy with my attempt. Simply because I messed up a couple of easy ones due to the pace at which I went about the paper. Instead of spending those last five minutes reading the notice board of the computer lab, I should have gone through my responses quickly to see if I’ve messed up somewhere. It seems that I won’t score better than what I did last time, and there is no way to fix that for another year 😰.
Obligatory two cents for aspirants:
- Every mark counts. As there will be hundreds of students at the same score, every single mark is going to make a difference to your percentile. Don’t take unnecessary risks, at the same time, don’t be too conservative.
- If you end up finishing the test before time, don’t sit idle. Have a look at the questions that you’re doubtful of or do a quick run through the entire thing.
- IMS mocks – Must do! You need to adapt to this 60-60 pattern more than anything else and the best way to prepare is through mocks. Take a mock, see where you are making mistakes, go back to material/myIMS and solve more questions of that area.
- Experiment with the section order in your initial mocks. Also think of the backup strategy in case something goes wrong.
- Pace yourself well. A common problem for most of the students is maintaining a good pace throughout and not knowing when to leave and when to stick around. Time management is the most important thing in a speed based test.
Live Mock Session
Edit: A few days after posting this, I conducted a live mock solving session with a group of students. Don’t worry! You haven’t missed out on anything and can watch the recording of the session here: SNAP Live Mock Recording.
To summarize, go fast and attempt more while maintaining accuracy. If you get your speed and accuracy equation correct, I am sure something will work out! Wish you all the best for the upcoming test(s).
PS: Happy new year to all my readers! Hope things fall in place soon in the form of better scores and converts.
A small request: Subscribe to the blog by entering your email ID so that you get notification of new posts.
I would love to hear from you! Keep visiting this space for more articles and if you have any article suggestions or queries, please leave them in the comments. Share this with your friends and co-aspirants. Happy prepping! 🙂