Preparation Strategy for CAT 2019: Over 2 Lakh people take CAT every year, and approximately 1% of those will be shortlisted to join India’s elite business schools – the IIMs. But how did they make it there? What was their preparation strategy to crack CAT and get a 99+percentile? What were the various hiccups in their journey to their dream B-school? Chirag is an engineer from IIT Madras and will graduate in 2019. Chirag scored a 99.92%ile in CAT 2018 and has converted his call to IIM Ahmedabad. Here, he discusses with us in detail the strategy he employed to crack CAT 2018, and gives his two cents to CAT 2019 aspirants on the ideal way to prepare for CAT.
“I took up an Online CAT Coaching for my entire preparation along with a CAT mock tests series. I spent around 5-6 hours/day for studying and preparing for the exam. My weakest section was Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension whereas the strongest was Quantitative Ability. Managing studies/work with preparation is very important. Planning is of utmost importance when you have got a lot on your platter. I, being a final year student, had to manage studies, placement preparation, and CAT all together. First, you need to prioritize by importance and urgency and then plan accordingly. Thus, I would plan my day to have dedicated slots for each of them not compromising any” said Chirag.
Preparation Strategy for CAT 2019
Chirag describes his entire CAT Preparation which he divided into three phases:
Long before CAT: You need to understand the reason behind doing an MBA and thus get motivated to study for CAT. The mock tests had made me realize my strong and weak links and thus I worked hard upon improving. My focus was on writing as many tests as possible in a D-day simulated environment. The Online CAT Mock Test Series helped me a lot in this regard. This also helped me strategize the way I will attempt the final paper from the sequence of answering to the time management.
A day before CAT: It is very important to stay relaxed and have a good night’s sleep. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, my centre was 40 kilometers from my residence and just to ensure I sleep well, I booked a hotel over there a day prior. The maximum you can do is revise the formulae for QA. But apart from that, I would advise not to do anything else but relax.
The day of the CAT: It is important to be calm and composed while answering. I would fluster in Verbal always. However, I made it a point to attempt less and increase accuracy. Even though Quant was tough, I ensured that the time dedicated to each question was sufficient. This way I was able to attempt many where the other aspirants actually defaulted.
Sectional Preparation Strategy for CAT 2019
For quant, the first thing to do is clearing the basics. There are multiple books available in the market, videos on YouTube or Online Quant Coaching which are really helpful in clearing the basics concepts. “Once I had my basic concepts cleared, it was all about solving as many questions as possible from different books, online materials, and mock tests,” said Chirag. The entire strategy here circles around selecting the right questions. According to Chirag “Once I was done with my conceptual basics, I picked up my first couple of mocks and analyzed them to see whether I was wasting time on the tough nuts. I devised my strategy in a way that allowed me to go through all the questions on the test while solving only those that I was confident about”.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
Read and practice various types of LRDI questions. Try solving as many LRDI questions on all difficulty levels, as possible. Once it is done, you will develop the methodology and will come to know beforehand whether you will be able to solve a particular LRDI question set, when it appears in the examination or to skip that. Enroll in an Online CAT LRDI Course and get the updated CAT Logical Reasoning preparation material of best coaching institutes. Attempt more CAT Logical Reasoning mocks and analyze your errors after completing each one. Solve previous DI-LR sets and revisit the sets you were not able to solve in the mocks. CAT is too unpredictable for DI-LR and you should be well prepared for it.
Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
RC is the key component in this section. Reading Comprehension in CAT command 24% share in overall CAT exam and 70% share in the VARC section. Your mission to crack CAT should be to focus more on the RC passages in CAT. Read newspaper editorials and articles. After reading the passages, make a summary of the same which should be one-third of the passage size. Check if all the key points are covered in the summary of RC passage. Improve your reading speed. Join an Online CAT Verbal Course and understand the Verbal Ability syllabus and solve as many CAT Verbal Ability questions as possible and understand the approach and then attempt mocks and analyze each one of them.
Mock Test Strategies
Sometimes, mock scores can be very demotivating for CAT aspirants. CAT Mock Tests are not only meant for the scores, but they are also for making you sit in a simulated environment for 3 hours and focus on the questions, developing the strategies for the final day. Getting low scores in mocks will make you analyze where you were wrong and improve for the better. Thus, getting demotivated by poor scores and not writing the mocks will only lead to uncertainty in your strengths and weaknesses in preparation and the dilemma when answering in the final paper too.
Tips for CAT 2019 Aspirants
6 months are good enough to crack CAT given that the individual is focused. You need to give some mocks even though you are not prepared to understand where you are strong and where you are lacking. A 99+ doesn’t require you to be the best in all three. You can focus on your strengths making sure the third one is not neglected. This will help you to strategize a study plan. A good plan will help you to balance your work life or academic life with ease. They should also focus on one set of prep material and write as many tests as possible.
Always remember, peer learning is extremely useful when it comes to a competitive exam like CAT. And please don’t pressurize yourself too much. It’s true there are 2 lakh other CAT candidates with a similar dream, you have to rise above them and prove yourself, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Have faith in yourself, and cherish the next 5-6 months. Good luck!