CAT Preparation Strategy by Nivedita Das (IIM Sirmaur)
Even before you start preparing for CAT, you should be very clear on how much you want to crack CAT. How much are you ready to put at stake for your dreams. Are you willing enough to give up frequent Whatsapp chats, watching movies during the last three months and other beauties of life? If the answer is yes, then kudos! you are definitely ready to bell the CAT.
Below are the steps that I followed to prepare what I consider to be one of the most important examinations of my life.
1.Figuring out weak areas:
The first and foremost thing you need to do is to figure out the areas of your strengths and weaknesses. Pick up any past <<<cat paper>>> and try to solve it within the stipulated time. Then see where you stand. Chalk out a plan on how to improve your weakness and leverage your strength. Suppose if LR- DIs is your weakness, put more emphasis on this section. But that does not mean you will neglect the other two sections.
2.Prepare each and every
Pick up topics from each section and prepare from any standard book or <<<material>>>. Don’t leave out any area because it seems difficult to you. For example, many students tend to leave out probability, permutation-combination because they find them difficult to deal with. Don’t ever commit this mistake because you never know, in the actual examination, problems from these sections can be very easy, very basic. So never ignore any topic, just go through the basic concept even if you find it difficult. Try to note down each day’s learning- formulas, concepts, short tricks, and strategies in a copy such that when you need to revise, you find all the things in one place. If you find it difficult to prepare all by yourself, you can join any <<<classroom classes>>> to help you out.
3. Take as many mocks as possible:
This is the main “mantra” of cracking CAT. Take as many mocks as you can. Don’t wait till you finish the entire CAT syllabus. Cause by the time you complete the entire syllabus, it might be very late to start taking the mocks. Start appearing for the <<<mocks>>> right after the first 3-4 months of your preparation. Take at least 2-3 mocks each week (preferably during the weekends). But never stop after taking the mocks. Analyze the mocks thoroughly. While analyzing the mocks, take into account the following points:
For the questions you haven’t been able to solve:
Carefully look at the problems you haven’t been able to solve. Was it because the concept was unknown or because you ran out of time? If it’s the first, learn the new concept and write down somewhere so that you can revise it quickly before you take the next mock. If the reason is the latter, then find ways to increase your speed.
For the questions you solved but that went wrong:
Try to find out where you went wrong? Was it a calculation mistake or you applied the wrong concept? If it’s the latter, then relearn the concept and write it down somewhere for a quick check before the exam.
For the questions you correctly solved:
While analyzing, don’t skip the problems you have solved correctly in the mock. Your answer might be correct, but you might have taken an approach that is more time-consuming. Look at the ways these problems have been solved and try to find out a shorter method of solving the same so that you can save time and invest it on some other problems.
Trust me, you will learn a lot more by taking and analyzing the mocks than you would learn simply by solving problems from books. So make sure you take the mocks very seriously
Read loads and loads of articles, editorials, etc. to familiarize yourself with a vast range of topics that can come up in RCs. READ, READ, and READ. Read anything you lay your hands on. Read informative newspapers like The Hindu, ET, Mint, etc.
5. Stay motivated:
The last and the most important thing that you do is to stay motivated. Trust me there will be days when you will feel like quitting. Frustration will build up when your mock scorecards won’t show satisfactory results (god forbid!!). But don’t give up. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. And the destination is indeed beautiful. Take it from the person who has been there.
About the Author:
I am Nivedita Das from Kolkata, West-Bengal. I pursued B-Tech in Electronics and Communication engineering from the Netaji Subhash Engineering College. I have worked with TCS Kolkata for 3 years as a developer. I have experience working with an NGO, where we spent time with Autistic children, trying to help them live a better life. Apart from being an avid reader, I also like listening to music, baking, and stitching. Currently I am pursuing MBA from IIM Sirmaur.