Average male engineer goes to IIM Calcutta: There is no dearth of opportunities for talented people who really want to leave a mark on this world. You can be an engineer or a liberal arts student, a doctor or a government officer, there still will be a lot of opportunities strewn along your way, if you only have an eye to identify them. I am one of those students who literally went from a ‘zero’ to a ‘hero,’ when I pledged to myself to ace the coveted CAT exam and managed to walk the talk as well. I did it without resorting to any coaching, however, you can probably resort to an Online CAT Coaching in case you feel it will aid your preparation. The fact resides that you should achieve your goal, this way or that.
Introducing myself, I am Himel Gupta, who was an average mechanical engineer with average credentials from an average college with no high hopes in life whatsoever. I did not even get placed during my college placements and after getting ridiculed from neighbours and relatives, and oh, not to forget, ‘Sharmaji’s son,’ I decided that finding a job with a measly salary not even enough to get by in a metro would fetch me nothing. Therefore, I had no choice but to take this leap of faith and thankfully, it worked out in my favor. I hope it works out for you too if you are someone who is in a similar position like mine.
I am sharing this story of an average male engineer goes to IIM Calcutta with you all here and CAT 2019 aspirants might find certain helpful tips in my story which might come in handy.
First things first, the CAT exam is an aptitude test and time management holds supreme importance in the exam, whether it is taking time out from your busy schedule to study for the same or while writing the exam. If you are an engineer, you will find that the CAT exam is tailor-made for you just like other competitive exams. You only need to have your CAT preparation strategy in place and give your all to this exam.
The CAT Exam Pattern and Syllabus are given below in order to give you a solid idea of what you are getting into and your probable challenges might be.
The CAT 2019 Exam Paper will comprise a total of 100 questions. The 100 questions will be divided into three sections as follows:
- Quantitative Aptitude – 34 questions
- Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning – 32 questions
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension– 34 questions
These 100 questions that make up the CAT 2019 Exam are of two types – MCQs and non-MCQs. MCQ stands for Multiple Choice Questions. Each MCQ has 4 options to choose from. And each question requires the answer to be typed on the screen.
In case you find a particular section challenging, you can take up an online course as well since it helps you streamline your preparation for the CAT Exam. There is no harm in taking up an Online CAT Verbal Course, Online CAT Quant Course and Online CAT DILR Course, if you feel you lack in any or all of them.
May-June is generally a good time to prepare for the CAT exam and if you have been preparing well before that, extra points to you for having your preparation on fleek! Devote at least 3 hours everyday to your studies and divide your time equally for all sections. Coaching is not mandatory if you feel you can have a focussed and disciplined approach towards your studies.
CAT Verbal Section
This section will help boost your overall percentile for the CAT 2019 exam. However, this can be a bit challenging for you if you are not well versed with English grammar and not in the habit of reading.
To ace this section, you must read one hour everyday. Read a good newspaper such as The Hindu and good books, fiction and non-fiction. You don’t have to spare extra time to dedicate to the same. In case you commute to work or college via metro or a local train, you can easily devote that time to a book or a newspaper.
Reading Comprehension is one of the most important parts of the VA section. You can easily expect around 5-6 Reading Comprehension sets in the question paper with 22-24 questions in aggregate. These RCs might me from diverse areas like Philosophy, Psychology, Politics, Economics, History, Science, Research, Sociology, Administration and more. To ace this part, one must be in a habit of reading and writing about versatile areas so as not to be thrown off guard during the actual exam.
Para Jumbles have at least 3 questions in the question paper which are generally picked up from magazines and editorials columns, where the lines of the short passage are jumbled and presented to you in the form of the question. It is crucial to make the use of the options, coupled with logic to arrive at the correct answer. Opening sentence, Closing sentence, Logically paired sentences, etc. are the ways to identify and eliminate the options. Enough practice of the para jumbles will enable you to identify the wrong option from the right ones.
Sentence Correction is another challenge in this section. To ace the same, master areas like Nouns, Pronouns, Adjectives, Tenses, Verbs, Punctuations, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Modifiers, Parallelism, etc. to do well in this answer. Focus on accuracy here, and in case you find yourself not being able to guess the answer move on to the next question.
Study the Vocabulary part since it is part of the syllabus, but refrain from giving it too much time since its representation in the actual exam has been observed to be zero of lately, and one can easily score a 99 percentile even without solving a single vocab question. Needless to say, this section has the least ROI. For better results, you may enrol into an Online CAT Verbal Course.
CAT Quant Section
For the Quant section, you must divide the section into three parts, viz; Easy, Medium and Hard. Generally, you must attempt the easiest questions early on and leave the toughest for the last. In case you encounter grave difficulty in acing this section, you can resort to an Online CAT Quant Course for better understanding and performance in the same.
- In the first go, go very fast attempting all the sitters and easy ones – mostly used to cover 30–40% of the questions – this used to take me around 25% of the time tops!
- While attempting the easy ones mark the ones which are of moderate difficulty level first.
- Afterwards, go solve these moderate difficulty level questions.
- Please note that most of the questions will fall in this bracket which will consume around 50% of your time.
- The rest 10–20% questions would be the tough ones and you will have ample time to attempt them. Even if you are able to attempt 50–60%, you will have done quite well for yourself.
CAT DILR Section
Data Interpretation is a tricky section of the exam, commanding 16% weightage in the overall CAT exam. The whole DILR section is always a tricky surprise in the exam, however, devoting one hour each day to the DILR section would do you a world of good. You may also enrol into an Online CAT DILR Course in case you find yourself struggling with the same. Also, you need to solve 15-16 questions in DILR to be able to score a good percentile. Therefore, with a decent practice of solving at least two sets each for Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation everyday, you are good to go.
There is no better time to start writing mocks as they are the magical potion for success in the CAT exam. Once you start writing mock tests and get a handful of questions right, you would know how to proceed further in your preparation. Attempting mocks followed by an in-depth analysis would boost your confidence and would be the icing on your metaphorical cake of the CAT exam!
Do write at least 3 full-length mock tests between April to June and at least 5 hours analysing it, which equals to 8 hours spent per fortnight on a mock. July onwards, once you are done with your basics, you should start taking a mock every week. This will help you keep both your preparation in check and master time management as well.
If you make it a point to study for CAT daily, rain or shine, and dedicate close to 6 hours per week on your VARC, DILR and Quant preparation, there is no stopping you! Write the mocks timely and you will be on the right track to ace CAT with 99+ percentile!