– Sumit Singh Gandhi, founder-CEO, CATKing
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based test for admission into a graduate management programme. The test comprises three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). The exam duration is three hours, with one hour per section. In 2020, IIM Indore decided to conduct the CAT Exam in two hours with 40 minutes devoted to each section. Going by last year’s trend, CAT 2021 is likely to have 76 questions in total, consisting of 54 MCQs and 22 TITA questions.
Worried where to start from?
Study plan for six months: Divide the study plan in three phases.
Phase 1: Study plan for June, July
- Get your basic concepts clear: Having crystal clear concepts means you have a thorough knowledge of all the applications of a concept and you have, through practice, learned the subtlety and acquired the fine fidelity of applying it in actual questions. Since CAT asks tricky questions, the more ideas you have of applying the concepts, the more edge you get in the actual exam. There is no shortcut here. You might be intelligent but not having a clear understanding of the concepts would land you in a soup. “A mansion is built only when the foundation is strong”. Being thorough with basic concepts is crucial because it is the base on which your strategy rests. Try to complete your syllabus once till 31st July.
- Set your weekly targets: You need to determine a time each week to focus on your goals. Flexibility and consistency are required to put this time aside to give mocks once in 15 days and stick to it. Try to get at least 5 questions correct in each section. Fix up a plan and turn the world upside down.
- Get involved in curricular activities: You should get involved in the curricular activities especially for the non-engineer students. Try finding what more talent you have other than academics which will make you stand out from the mass. You can get involved with an NGO; do some small projects as well as some certification courses which will be an asset for your resume. Try to manifest-Trying to visualize your thoughts and feelings about your dream college; this will then help you to feel more positive and motivated to make these changes a reality. This will then push you to take some action and ultimately manifest your goals into your life.
Phase 2: A study plan for August, September
- Go for the shortcut tricks– Try to solve the questions using tricks so that you can complete them within seconds while others take much time to solve them. This can give a huge difference in the ultimate scores.
- Aligned Prep – Make a habit of reading for at least 30 mins every day. You can watch BBC channels to try to get the feel of the corporate world. You should start reading AEON Essays, Newspapers, Novels, etc.
- Sectional preparation-Prepare a separate strategy according to each section. Pay attention to not only the section you are comfortable with but also to the one you have a tough time understanding. Having a holistic approach is vital to crack CAT.
- Strategies for mocks: After getting the whole idea about the question and pattern of CAT, try solving mocks twice a week.
- Accuracy-Identify questions that you wish to attempt from each section. Select questions from the entire lot which you are confident of solving accurately. Proceed to the questions where you are somewhat confident of reaching the accuracy level. The last set comprises questions where you are confident of making informed guesses which can steer you to a level close to the accuracy level required. Get at least 8 of them correct in each section.
- Improve on your weak and strong areas-Identify your weak areas and practice more questions on them. Learn from the mistakes and try to avoid the same mistake in other mock. Try solving more questions of your strong portions in mocks.
- Time Management-After you have conquered your weaker areas, now your focus shifts to time management. This will gradually increase after you keep giving mocks using the shortcut tricks more.
- Analysis-One thing many forget is analyzing the mocks. Thoroughly analyzing each mock will help you set a Mental map of your current preparation and you can mold your strategy accordingly. Give more time to analyze your mocks. Even look into the questions which you guess. After analysis, try solving the questions on your own so that you never forget them.
Phase 3: A study plan for October, November:
- Focus on your strength -Try to focus on the stronger portions and do more questions of them while solving the mock. Playing on your weakness means to try to eliminate the questions which are your weak parts. This you will gradually get to know when you solve mocks.
- Practice and revise whatever you have studied till now-Regular practice and a lot of mock tests helps to achieve goals.
- Give mocks once in two days-Fix up a time and sit for the mock at the same time every 2 days. Give the mock on one day and analyze it on the other day. Set up a schedule accordingly.
- TITA questions-Always solve TITA questions as it has no negative marking. Last year we had 22 TITA questions which means even if you mark some wrong answers so marks will be deducted.
- Use Options-Some questions can be easily solved using the options first. So, try solving some questions using the options given. This will make you solve questions more quickly than others. This in turn will make you stand out from the mass.
CAT examination tests not only your academic knowledge but also your time management skills and your prioritization skills as well. Make sure you have a clear exam-taking strategy planned out in your mind (Revised and Thorough!) before you go for your CAT 2021 exam.