Writing CAT for the first timeMeghna Chauhan
CAT toppers do not favour repeated appearance in CAT exam year after year to crack the exam with a high score. Their view is to intensify your self-preparation in a smart way instead of beating about the bush and gaining nothing.
Going by the past CAT exam trends, most of the CAT 2018 toppers are expected to be the first timers or at the max second timers. It is a rare phenomenon that after 3rd or 4th attempt suddenly a candidate becomes CAT topper unless there are some drastic changes in the attitude and preparation strategy of the CAT aspirant.
Set deadlines to cover CAT syllabus
Plan well and set deadlines for yourself. For CAT 2018 you need to cover huge amount of syllabus in small time. To prepare well you have to plan well and setting up deadlines serves as a check for your plan and keeps you motivated.
CAT no doubt has a vast syllabus and now with more questions the test paper has widened its spectrum further. The pressing thought and dilemma can be cleared if the aspirant has a lucid picture before him in regard to the factors that would guide the preparation journey.
Plan Time bound practice
Time-bound practice can sure sail you through CAT 2018. The trickiest part of clearing CAT is to get to the right answer in least amount of time. This can be done only if you practice with a check on time whether it is MCQ or Non-MCQ type of question.
There is no substitute to hard-work, this specially holds true for CAT. The more you practice the better you will get.
Make a good peer group
Working with other motivated individuals preparing for 8 will help you to continue even in tough times. You can also discuss tough questions. It also helps while preparing for GD/PI.
Always take expert opinion
Talking to an expert – mentors at coaching classes or online tutorial, helps you to gauge your performance against others. They can help you in working on your weaknesses and teach you important time-saving tricks
Many books confuse more
Too many books create confusion. Some of the books have questions much tougher than those asked in CAT. Preparing from them won’t do any good.
Move on-leave the sticky topic
With a vast syllabus covering so many topics it is easy to get stuck on a hard subject. You should remember that everything is relative and spending a lot of time on one subject is not advisable
Time to go for Mock test series
Enrol for a mock test series for CAT 2018 new exam pattern. Be consistent in taking the mock CATs. Perform a thorough analysis after each mock. The analysis will help to figure out the loopholes and your weak areas so that you could improve on them and further fine-tune your strategy. Above all, go about your CAT preparation with a cool head. Your success in CAT 2018 will be attributed to your calm demeanour and the discipline that you show in writing Mock CATs consistently.
Also Read: How to improve your vocabulary for CAT 2018
Don’t quit your jobs for CAT 2018
CAT is the type of exam which can be cracked with a systematic preparation plan. You need not study for many hours but need to prepare as per CAT exam syllabus to gain more in less time.
It is not the overall CAT percentile but your balancing act in sectional percentile score which can get you through CAT 2017. You may not be sure how many times you wish to appear in CAT since there are number of 99 percentiles who are still striving for an IIM. They dropped a year or quit their jobs, prepared for CAT, scored a decent percentile but did not get call from any IIM. These aspirants fought again with the same fate.
They lost 2 years after graduation, gave-up their jobs and again remained at the same ground. As a matter of fact, despite scoring high overall percentile, all these candidates lagged behind in scoring high sectional percentile in one or other section.
The other side of the coin is that, there are number of candidates who were working and worked till one or two months prior to the CAT exam, scored fairly high overall and sectional percentile and converted more than 3-4 IIMs of their choice.
A year’s drop doing nothing after graduation or quitting the well paid job to prepare for CAT 2018 may not be a very good decision as a well-planned preparation strategy utilizing the available time may serve the purpose of getting above 99 percentile.
Plenty Vs. Scarce time: Waste or utilize
Those who dropped the year or quit the job could not manage the plenty of available time with them as it was not well managed. They also now and then deviated from their preparation schedule. Instead of realizing and improving their other skills also on other components of IIM selection criteria since CAT score is only one of the many shortlisting and selection parameters, they did not look-up to work upon the other components which have higher weightage in IIMs selection process..
Besides, with the changed CAT exam pattern of increased number of sections from 2 to 3 and many content level changes, many candidates do not realize that more practice is required at the equal level for the newly created DILR section as it now plays key role in shortlisting criteria. Such candidates stuck to old preparation pattern and lost in the race to cross the CAT score cut off in newly created section.
Full day study not needed
You need about 3-4 hours a day to prepare well for CAT 2018. If you have already started your preparation to improve your weak areas, you need to go for planned strategy for next 75 days which will need around 3-4 hours a day that you can very well spare out of your busy schedule.
Follow a different preparation plan
To achieve your career goal of getting into IIM-A, IIM-B or IIM-C, devise a preparation strategy which can balance between the study and job very well.
Please note highly competitive CAT 2018 may not be tough but it has inherent risk. You cannot be sure of getting into an IIM despite scoring 99 and above percentile in CAT 2018. The admission to batch 2018-20 in IIMs reveal the painful story of many such toppers who could not get a call from any IIM although they scored a percentile above 99. So it is not only a CAT percentile of 99 but you need to target each and every part of CAT 2018 exam to get into the IIM of your choice.