Testing times: How to Crack CAT 2017 ?
The Common Admission Test (CAT) is one of the most competitive exams in the country. It is a prerequisite for entry into the prestigious IIMs and host of other top B Schools in the country, including FMS, MDI, SP Jain, IITs and the like. Since it is an entrance exam to MBA institutes, it tests the aptitude of the candidate in areas of Quantitative Ability, Logical and Analytical Ability, Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability. These are some of the basic ingredients of a would-be manager. In addition, CAT tests the ability of the student to use the twin resources of knowledge and time to ace the test by handling the performance pressure.
CAT 2016 Exam had three sections
The first section was Verbal Ability, the second section was Data Interpretation + Logical Ability and the third section was Quantitative Ability
The first and third sections consisted of 34 questions each and the second section consisted of 32 questions; 16 each from Logic and DI. Each section had a time limit of 60 minutes making the total paper for a duration of 3 hours.
Given infinite time and no pressure, any above average student can get a score good enough to get a 99 percentile. The fact that the exam is time-bound and there is infinite pressure to perform (a la world-cup final), only the best finally make to the grade!
While the exam is easy, the fact that more than 200,000 write it for the coveted 4000 odd seats is what makes this exam the toughest around in the world.
Hence, to ensure that you come up trumps, you need a comprehensive strategy for preparation and for test-taking.
The ideal way to start the preparation for any exam is by taking a diagnostic test. This diagnostic test should ideally be of similar type as the previous CAT exam. Many a student falters in preparation because he lacks the overall view of the CAT exam and hence may waste precious time trying to do things that may not be necessary.
All good coaching institutes provide a diagnostic test at the beginning of the classes.
Assessing strengths and weaknesses
Use the scores of the diagnostic test to assess your strong and weak areas and work on these accordingly. In each of the areas, one should thoroughly identify the gaps in the level of knowledge. This will ensure that there is a clear cut understanding on where one is going to spend the next few weeks/months of preparation before taking the exam.
Making a study plan for CAT 2017
Remember that any plan that tries to capture the work for more than a month is going to fall flat. So while you can make a broad plan for the next three months, the detailed plan should be made for only a week.
The week plan could be as simple as completing two chapters of quantitative ability and one chapter of DI. But, make sure that you stick to this plan once you have made it. Never try to pack too many things in a week and find it impossible to achieve the targets. The idea is to gain confidence as you go along and start accomplishing tasks so that you are closer to your goal.
Preparing for the CAT 2017
There are three levels of preparation that are required to crack the CAT 2017.
• Exam Strategy for CAT 2017
CAT tests aptitude of a student in the following areas
• Quantitative Ability
• Logical Ability and Data Interpretation
• Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
Each of these areas has to be thoroughly prepared. Since students from all backgrounds (viz., BBA, BCom, B Sc, BE, B Tech, MBBS etc) write this exam, it can be safely assumed that the aptitude required would be that of the Class X exam at least in terms of the areas that appear in the exam.
However, the difference would be in the levels of knowledge and practice in solving these areas and hence a thorough study plan (even going to a coaching institute) is warranted.
Exam strategy for CAT 2017
Before writing the real CAT, it may be extremely useful to write some mock exams. The Mock CAT will give you a real feel of the paper as well as help you to strategise the way you will attempt the paper. Writing Mock tests at regular intervals will also help in two areas a) Hone your test- taking skills; and b) Identify your weak areas and help you concentrate on those.
As many as 2,00,000 students write the CAT and many have the ability to crack this exam. Incidentally, since the aptitude is of school level, many students can actually make it to the IIMs, too. Knowledge and test taking skills can be learnt/developed by practice. However, what is of utmost importance is the confidence one has in oneself.
CAT is as much a mental game as it is a knowledge and skills game.
— The writer is CEO, VistaMind Education Pvt Ltd