Graduate scores 99+ Percentile: ”We are made to persist, that’s how we find out who we are.” This quote echoes true for me, who decided to write one of the toughest and trickiest entrance exams of the country called the CAT exam. I was an economics graduate pretty enamoured by how trade, public finance and monetary systems were intertwined with each other and wanted to pair my curiosity for the same with industry knowledge and hence decided to go for an MBA. Juggling college, CFA preparation and CAT preparation was all but too overwhelming for me and hence, I failed to convert any calls besides MDI and IIFT, which are amazing as well but amassed willpower to write the CAT exam once again so I can get calls from BLACKI. Read on to find out how a graduate scores 99+ percentile and made his way to the holy trinity of B-schools namely IIM A, B and C.
Also, read on to find out the do’s and don’ts of CAT preparation.
CAT 2019 Exam: Do’s
- Since you are nearly six months away from the CAT 2019 exam, the first mantra would be to familiarise yourself properly with the CAT 2019 Exam Pattern and Syllabus and gather adequate study material and join a CAT 2019 Coaching if the preparation seems to be too daunting for you. Retakers should start going over old notes and go through 1-2 questions from each mock CAT.
- Make a mental map of your areas of strength and weaknesses and how far you have to go in terms of your CAT 2019 Preparation.
- Read as much as you can as it will help build up your VARC section exponentially. Also, make sure you do not give up this habit of reading as the exam draws closer. Reading would help you wade through RCs faster and would also help you in the longer run. Therefore, you must dedicate yourself to reading newspapers, books, maagzines, journals etc. for at least 30 minutes to 45 minutes daily.
- Take up at least 2-3 speed maths tests daily until the D-day. This will make you really fast and good with your calculations and will prop up your accuracy, save time and build your confidence.
- For the sections you are weak in, do take sectional tests. I was weak at VARC, so I practised VARC from different mocks to ensure I was in a constant practice mode.
- Invest good amount of time in grasping basics and practice as many mocks as you can since it is the accurate representation of the CAT exam. CAT Mocks will help you analyse your speed, accuracy, pain points and time management skills so you can improve your preparation strategy further. Also, practice previous years’ question papers as well so you get the idea of the level of difficulty for the CAT exam.
- Make sure you do not end up missing out on the easy questions during the actual CAT exam. They say that it is the easy questions which serve as a normalizing factor across slots. So, if you end up erring on them, you might mess up your overall percentile despite doing the other questions significantly well. Easy questions are the differentiators, so it would be a sin to mess up in them.
- Assimilate the preparation of all the three sections like VARC, DILR and Quant in your weekly schedule like this:
- Topics like Para jumbles, Misfits, Summary writing and Critical Reasoning are really very important for the CAT VARC section, Since it takes time to build up on grammar and such topics, you must practice the regularly.
- Practice 2 QA topics a week and LR-DI set varieties (this should be done especially at the time when you are nearing the CAT 2019 exam).
- Take 2 Mocks a week and analyse them, because doing both is of paramount importance.
CAT 2019: Don’ts
- First and foremost, do not lose your focus and compare to your peers. Prepare seriously for the exam but at your own pace.
- Do not indulge in any activity which might hamper your physical and mental health.
- Do not get overstressed about your preparation journey or the exam. Last minute breakdown can have huge consequences.
- Do not panic for any reason. Keep your confidence and morale intact and not let insecurities cloud your preparation.
- Do not be overconfident if you score well in the Mocks.
- Do not overanalyse Mocks and take them to be a parameter for your actual scores. You must, however, keep track of your performance curve and keep going.
- Do not waste time unnecessarily on a question you are stuck on. Proceed to the next set of questions and discuss the ones’ you were not able to complete with your peers or mentors in traditional Online CAT Coaching.
The aforementioned strategy bore fruit for me when I scored 99.82 percentile and managed to get calls from IIMs ABCLKI and FMS. Even my strategy for the interviews was as simple as my preparation strategy – just be yourself. You need to prepare well for your interview, yet it is the place where your knowledge and expertise comes a full circle – the interview rooms I went to were all unique, tapped different dimensions of me and left me spellbound.
But I can tell you this, that above and beyond any preparation tips and formulae mnemonic, the biggest takeaway from my journey is to believe in yourself – you are your biggest fan and critic and your biggest source of motivation too, because the best motivation is self-motivation. With this mindset, you are sure to win that battle. So get out there and give your 100% to CAT 2019. Good Luck!