Harvard Business School (SPNM), MBA: SP Jain Institute of Management & Research, Master of Information Technology, Virginia Tech.
Everyone has a dream to score 100 percentile in CAT, but keep wondering on how to achieve it. Definitely, to reach this goal, you need to work smartly, strategically, and consistently. One’s self-preparation remains the key factor as revealed by most of the toppers of the CAT. A serious preparation is more than enough to crack CAT. And the final few weeks are most important when it comes to your final preparations. Let’s look at how you can also achieve the 100 percentile mark!
What steps should i follow to get 100 percentile?
Seeing the amount of time left from now which is around 6 months it is essential to stick to certain points and follow them throughout. Let’s look at it step wise step:
1. Evaluate yourself and make a structured plan:
Firstly, it is important to evaluate oneself and the amount of time he can dedicate to preparation for CAT apart from other activities. Most people fail to do this and end up with an unstructured schedule which in no way is going to help. They tend to try to catch up with the syllabus in one go rather than retaining the topic and practicing it. Prepare a fixed schedule and stick to it for the rest of the month. Also, your study schedule should not be such that it includes only rigorous learning, but it should include activities that you like apart from a study that would help you relax. So, the first step towards your 100 percentile goal would be to fix a robust schedule to plan that you vow to follow without fail. Time management would play a key factor in preparation, and it would go hand in hand with your study plan.
Also Read – Study Plan for CAT
2. Refer to the right amount of relevant study material:
Once the schedule is in place, start collecting relevant material, and stop searching for more material. Don’t confuse yourself with a lot of material because having a lot of material will not guarantee learning. Instead, going through the required amount of material and being systemic in approach will have more effect than collecting more material. “Zyada ka matlab behtar” would be a deadly attitude. So, to know what material needs to be collected one needs to know the syllabus of CAT and optimize it. Optimization simply means making a list of topics, identifying your strong and weak areas, and accordingly, the material needs to be collected.
You can refer to different newspapers for RCs, try to get some help from previous years’ papers, and collect it. These topics are such which need practice rather than preparation. And most important don’t fall in the trap of collecting material. Instead, try solving a variety of questions and learn from the insights made.
3. Go through the basics:
This may sound silly, but this is where most aspirants go wrong. With the presumption that the difficulty level of questions in CAT is high, most students start solving difficult level questions without going through basic concepts and solving basic questions. You have to understand that without your basics being strong you will not be able to solve to the optimal level. Basics are the foundation, it’s like the roots to a tree; if they aren’t strong enough the tree is bound to fall. It is a fundamental requirement that all your basic concepts should be crystal clear, and only then should you proceed towards the next level (moderate questions).
Invest enough time in solving Quants from R.S. Aggarwal or Arun Sharma, start with getting your grammar completely clear for Verbal and solve each and every type of logical question, whether it be blood relation or directions. Believe me, this may not show directly but in the long run, you will be prepared to solve any damn question that CAT throws at you during the main exam day.
4. Don’t be lazy in giving mocks:
Yes, mocks take up a lot of time. Investing 3 hours of your day on mocks can sound hurtful for an aspirant who may feel a need to rather invest time in learning new topics. However, mocks are the most effective way you can crack CAT. If you ask any previous topper, you will notice they have this aspect in common; they have invested enough time in solving mocks. In fact, we have come across students who have cracked CAT just with the help of mocks! Mocks are like an Indian Thali, it has all dishes from starters to desserts, gives you the whole array of proteins, vitamins, and nutrients you require from a meal! They don’t just give you feel of how the real mock is going to be like, but also prepare you for the actual deal.
In the final few weeks, giving mock tests will be most important. You should focus all your time then on solving mocks, preferably once every 2 days. This way, you learn to manage time and strategically choose and leave questions in that time.
Also Read- How to Improve Vocabulary for CAT
5. Focus on each section:
As you may be aware, CAT is not just about getting an overall high percentile. You might score a 99 percentile and still not get into any IIMs. The reason? Almost all top B-schools look at sectional cut-offs as criteria. This means if you score 100 in Quants, but 70 in Verbal, chances are that you will not qualify for any IIMs. This is why you have to focus on each section and ensure you cross the stable cut-off for each of the three sections. This was for the general public, now if you want to score 100 percentile, of course, you have to score the highest for each section. That’s why you can’t just focus on your strengths or weakness, you need to have an all-round preparation and continuous practice of all sections, which takes us to the next point.
6. Focus on both your weaknesses and strengths:
While it’s true that one needs to dedicate more time to weak areas and make them strong, it’s also important to understand that you cannot ignore your strong areas. You don’t want your strengths to eventually land up in weak areas due to lack of preparation. Dedicating specific hours for each topic would be important here. If you are weak in say, Quants; the dedicate a few more hours each day for this compared to others. But let’s say you give 3 hours every day to Quants, you still need to give 2 hours every day to Verbal and Logical Reasoning. This way while you are improving your weaker areas, you are also maintaining the other sections. One important thing would be not procrastinating and just being consistent in your efforts.
7. Routinely evaluate yourself
Once you follow a schedule, studying would not be a difficult task. It just takes a good amount of dedication. The difficult part comes in evaluating what you have learned so far. Continuous evaluation will give an insight into how well you have prepared for your topics and where mistakes were commonly made so that you can work on it next. Without analyzing and measuring, remember that most of your work is going to waste. At every junction, evaluate your performance in numeric terms.
Let’s say you take 2 mocks every week and are currently scoring 90 percentile. You have identified topics like Critical reasoning and Number systems that need more work (maybe you are losing most marks here). Now once you work on these topics, attempt the mocks again and see are you improving. Ask yourself questions like, Which topics am i unable to solve? Am i improving my score in every test? Which section areas do I need to work on next? In this manner, not only will you keep on improving, you will see a huge increase in your score by the time the D-day approaches!
Pay attention to your physical and mental health
The most important out of all the points if to remain healthy throughout. Your preparations will be fruitful when you remain healthy and have peace of mind. It does impact your score and your performance. If you ask past toppers and alumni, you will see that they work on themselves in other ways than just 24 hours studying.
Generally, a person with a good physical state who does some physical activity and keeps himself fit can concentrate more on the exam than the one who does not invest in keeping himself fit. Try to dedicate a minimum half-hour towards yourself and this would surely make you feel better and relax your mind, which would eventually help you to concentrate better. Don’t think that by exercising you are wasting time. That time is in fact adding up and enabling you to be ready and perform better. Another thing that would matter is happiness, whatever you learn should make you happy and you should feel good about your preparation. Some people follow a very uptight schedule which is a course of time becomes soo stressful that they give up completely on it. Your mental and physical stability both are important, don’t let CAT get to you, but take control of CAT in your own way.
These simple steps can go a long way in your preparation for CAT. Remember to be consistent in your preparation and don’t procrastinate things. One important thing would be to have some takeaways every day, when you invest time in a topic or subject, ensure that you learn something from it. Apply simple logic to every problem, most of them can be solved with just that. Also, on the day of CAT just be calm, don’t be stressed, and attempt the exam with a cool mind. If you have prepared well, nothing can stop you from scoring the hundred figure!
All the best!