Is CAT 2016 your first CAT attempt?

In this third article on 150 day CAT strategy, I would be dealing with the 150 day first time CAT takers strategy. I have divided these CAT aspirants into two brackets:

  • Early Starters: Those who started their CAT preparation at least 3 months ago.
  • Recent Starters: Those who have started their preparation in or after June/July

In this article, I’ll be discussing the first time CAT takers strategy for the Early Starters

  • Early Starters: For the students in this bracket, my basic assumptions are that they would be well aware of the CAT pattern and that they would have covered basics of few topics in each section of CAT.

If you fall into this bracket then my suggestions are as follows:

Focus on Fundamentals: Your main goal should be to build a strong conceptual base within the next 2 months. Below is the strategy which you can follow for each section:

  1. Quant: Solve the fundamental books. Pick one topic at a time, build the concepts of that topic, solve at least 100 good quality questions of ranging levels on the topic, write a few (3 to 4) topic tests, analyse your performance and move to the next topic. Solving all the MCQs at the end of each fundabook is essential.
  2. Verbal: Firstly focus on vocab and reading. Make it a point to read at least 4-5 editorials of English Dailies, also set a target till CAT to read at least one book on different genres. After a month of vocab building and reading, start attempting various types of questions. Make it a point to solve few questions of each variety – RCs, PJs, CR, and Grammar – each week. Take sectional tests. Analyse and Analyse!!
  • LR/DI: Although LR and DI appear in two different sections of CAT but the same remedy can be followed for both. Be thorough with the basic calculations.  These two topics can be tackled by solving a good number of questions. Practise few caselets daily.  Out of all the areas these areas are the easiest to master.

For CL Students, MBA on Demand is a tool which can be used to build on the concepts. Besides, Adaptive Test Gym tool can be used to build efficiency in a topic and sectional test.

Write Mock Tests:

Writing Mock test and analyzing them thoroughly is a key part of your preparation.  Mock Tests are the only way to test your readiness for CAT. Bad selection of questions, improper time management, fatigue, drop in intensity during the 3 hour examination, are some of the common observations which boil from the lack of writing enough tests prior to the actual exam.

REMEMBER: Writing mock tests is a part of your preparation. And so DO NOT DELAY WRITING MOCKS IN THE PURSUIT OF WAITING TO CLEAR FUNDAS FIRST AND TAKING MOCKS LATER.  As a ground rule a minimum of one full length mock and 5-6 sectional/topic tests should be taken per week.

The next step to follow after any test is to analyse your performance.  In an exam like CAT – which requires a mix of speed and knowledge, you need to be categorically aware of your strengths and weaknesses.  Management exams are as much about leaving a particular question as they are about attempting the other, and so knowledge about where to invest your time becomes critical.  In-depth analysis of the test will make you more enlightened about yourself.  As a thumb rule, “N Minutes test should be followed by at least 1.5 N Minutes analysis”

You must also seek the advice from the experts or teachers on how they would have attempted the mock.  Usually, understanding their perspective – and if you can seek advice from multiple sources, nothing like it – will sharpen your own strategy.

To Summarize: Focus on Fundamentals of each subject and simultaneously focus on writing mocks. Analyse your performance in mocks and seek help from experts to further hone your skills.

Enjoy the process, and results will take care of themselves.

All the best
Siddharth Mehta
Career Launcher, Bhilai

About Siddharth:
Siddharth is an avid reader and a fitness freak.  From running a marathon to writing blogs, Siddharth is someone keen to explore his new talents. His passion for teaching can be felt in his positively charged classes and his informal interactions with his students to whom he is a mentor and a motivator.

Siddharth is an XLRI alumnus.