CAT Preparation Tips

CAT Preparation Tips

Important Note:- CAT 2009 is going to be online so prepare at least 10 mock tests on computer.

The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) are India's premier management institutes. IIM, not to mention is the deity to CAT aspirants. Last year one is added to the list i.e IIM Shillong which increases the probability of getting into IIM, af course if number of aspirants remain the same; but still this number is very bleak. So what matters the most in this world of competition is how you prepare for this tough and 'smart' exam, yes, smart is the key word because the person who prepares smartly is the winner of this game as there is a famous adage: Don't work hard work smart. So overall I will be discussing about some smart techniques for killing this meow (CAT).

What you need to firstly do is to see where you stand currently i.e what are your strengths and weaknesses, and you can do this by taking one or two mock tests. Never fear if you find that you are weak nearly in every area because converting your weakness to your strength doesn't need more time, it needs smart time. After deciphering your strengths and weaknesses, it's time either to collect the reading material or to join a coaching class. Many students ask why do we need coaching classes; well then the answer to this question is: coaching institutes will organize your study habit; off course they aren't alchemist who will turn you into gold. But if you are a working official and think that you are a good manager in organising your study time then nothing is better than that. Therefore, organized study is the first main key point to this smart journey of preparation; after all you are going to become a manager so everything should be organized and managed.

Second key point is 'Stick to the Rules'; though the irony is CAT never does but by not sticking to the rules they are checking whether you does. So; make a timetable of your study plan and keep it in your pocket or paste it on your notice board of office or home. Timetable of every aspirant will be different so keep in mind your weaknesses while making the itinerary. Give more time to your weaknesses and practice as much as you can. Main problem with many students is that they organize their studies for few days, and after that they procrastinate the assigned targets or don't give the required time to their studies. But perseverance and patience are the two traits which every aspirant should have as CAT will check your patience by giving you a whole together a different paper; so you should maintain your calmness and don't get flummoxed.

Third point is to keep track of your performance and your mistakes. After all you are preparing to improve and if you are not tracking your performance then how will you get to know whether you are improving in your weak areas or not. Never repeat your mistakes. Keep your mind fit by eating healthy food and by reading some good novels and newspapers. Good is a subjective term but here what I imply is read those novels or articles in newspapers which you hate reading in normal circumstances; CAT is not good in giving your favorite RC passages. After all for ESLs (English as a Second Language) reading is the strongest tool to hone its English skills.

Lastly, never think that your aim is to clear written exam. You are not preparing for getting a call, you are preparing for getting into IIMs, so participate in GD sessions and keep yourself updated with current affairs. If you haven't join any coaching institute then you can join any public forum online or offline for practicing GD and Interview sessions.

At the end I will summarize my rules:

a) Know your strengths and weaknesses.

b) Organize your studies.

c) Keep track of your performance and mistakes.

d) Read healthy.

e) Keep preparing for GD & Interview.

As it is not in my scope to give you each and every aspect of preparation but I have tried to write some of the key points which I have noticed in every IIM student. So, don't just toil, have some smart oil.

Preparation Strategy

I would like to recommend you to spend at least 5 hours a day for the ultimate preparation.

Concerned tasks for CAT preparation

* Preparing Maths
* Preparing Data Interpretation
* Preparing Analytical reasoning
* Preparing Reading comprehension
* Preparing Verbal ability
* word list
* Reading

There are two phases of preparation

First phase:

In this phase you should get good grip on fundamentals and get familiar with all chapters and problems. Do not look for speed solving or feel any sort of pressure while preparing fundamentals. Learn with your own efficiency, without getting into fundamentals clearly speed solving is not useful. Please manage to allocate at least one hour a day for reading newspapers, magazines. It is better to subscribe for any good magazines during the preparation. Get in touch with current affairs.

I request you to schedule your weeks to prepare accordingly because haphazardness will waste lot of time. If you have been preparing without any study structure then whatever you may achieve would have been increased up to 50%. Try to shuffle the subjects also, so that you do not get bored with one subject. A good time table for 1 days look like below:

Day 1:

1 hour reading

2 hours of math

1 hour of analytical reasoning / data interpretation

1 hour of reading comprehension exercises / verbal ability

Second phase (self analyzing and improving):

By the time you finish the fundamentals which is about second week of august, you will get a fare idea on the area of your weakness and strengths. Make a tabular form of topics categorizing strengths and weakness to have a clear picture on it. Keep weak areas in mind and try to improve yourself by focusing them more.

From second week of August you can take section tests along with revision of topics in alternate day, here if you think you have to allocate more time you should do.. You must start taking comprehensive tests by the beginning of September.

Things you look to learn in comprehensive tests of 2-3 hour long, is how to manage paper so the attitude here should be the same like a batsman who wants to score as many runs as possible in the last 10 overs in onedayers. You should think of scoring as much as possible, but most people will get emotional to have a challenging problem and stuck up solving only that problem.

After you tested yourself spend time to analyze it. The key points to analyze your test:

  • Speed: see if your speed is better than previous tests, notice if you do not understand basics you cannot apply them to tougher problems. Both these attributes are a prerequisite for speed solving;
  • Concentration: Most of we do not use two hours sitting at a stretch; a high degree of concentration is also not easy for first time test takers. Comprehensive tests make us to sit for two hours at a stretch and we increase our attentive span.
  • Time Management: the most important value provided by the comprehensive test is an idea of our strengths and weakness. So you should manage time and allocate certain time to each section depending on your strength and weakness
  • Accuracy: accuracy is the number of correct questions out of attempted questions. if this is low you need to go and revise the chapters which are reducing your accuracy because marking wrong option will impose negative marks in cat
  • Finding traps: you should avoid false positives or false negatives i.e., you shouldn’t leave easy questions thinking they are hard and attempt hard questions thinking they are easy.
  • Analyzing your progress on the above four: compare with the previous attempted paper on above all points

Take comprehensive test for yourself on every alternate days with analyzing and revision of topics on another day,

Some institutes also conduct all India mock test on weekends please try to give as many mocks as possible you can.

Try to attempt at least 30 comprehensive tests (including all India mocks)

Finally give yourself a break on every weekend to relax and start fresh from the following Monday.

Best of Luck

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