As we all know, the Common Admission Test (CAT) is an examination that tests not just your aptitude in various subjects but skills such as time-efficiency, speed, and accuracy. Hence, aspirants must work diligently and ensure their preparation is water-tight and enhance specific skills that will come in handy while taking the exam. For meticulous preparation, a strategy must be first made, which you can abide by and thereby trace your path to excellent scores.
Here are the Top 5 Tips For CAT 2021 Exam Prep that you need to keep in mind while devising your strategy:
1. Start with a target: Of course, you know this, but the unique aspect of this that I would like to make sure you know is that this target should be in terms of ‘net score’ and not in terms of percentiles. CAT has a substantial percentage – percentile connect. While you will have a percentile that you wish to score, make sure that you convert it into a percentage first. Then, based on the accuracy levels you achieve, convert the percentage target into percentage Attempts/Corrects targets. The logic of scoring in the CAT is always – take care of the number of attempts, your accuracy & you take care of your percentage of marks. Take care of your percentage of characters, and you can easily take care of your percentiles.
2. Do not underdo your DI and LR sections: This is another standard error that aspirants make. I see many students spending 80-90% of their preparation time in the QA and Verbal portions. Doing this does not allow your DI & LR problem-solving skills to develop, ultimately leading to sub-optimal scores. It is a fact that DI & LR sections require the least amount of time for preparation since it is about problem-solving abilities and building them, and there is no fixed syllabus to be covered. Yet, it is imperative to have at least 25% of your preparation time in DI and LR. Remember, you will be spending 33.33% of your CAT time in DI & LR. Hence, do not underdo your DI and LR prep. You can refer to books like How to prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT and prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT to make these two sections your strong suit. Also, remember it is vital to treat DI and LR as separate subjects.
3. Ensure there is ample testing window: The critical phase of CAT preparation happens when you start appearing for mock tests and analysing your mocks’ performance. Based on the analysis, you keep going back to the question types and keep working on them until you get the speed and accuracy going in each question style. One of the most common mistakes people make is to take mock tests for less time than required. To ensure you have sufficient mock tests to take, you can also refer to the book, How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT, where you get previous years solved and unsolved question papers along with online tests on Pull Marks that are accessible via QR code given on the front cover of the book. Remember, it takes at least 3-4 months of the testing- analysis- groundwork cycle to ultimately develop your actual potential scores. Any shorter period of test-taking would lead to not reaching your likely possible scores.
4. Cover all portion: Do not do selective study for CAT Quants; it is dangerous. Portion wise, the quant section of the CAT is highly unpredictable; hence make sure that you cover all the chapters. You can apply a little bit of selectiveness in deciding which chapters to deep dive into and just cover for the first level of questions, but do not make the mistake of not covering specifically selected chapters. Imagine three questions appearing from an uncovered chapter & if you are planning on attempting 18 questions out of 26, you would need to be trying 18 out of 23. You would have used up almost half the choice you had at the start of the paper – just because you did not manage your preparation timelines well.
5. Focus on your sentence and paragraph comprehension in Verbal: The crux of being able to solve RC and the verbal question types that are being asked these days in the CAT is to comprehend long sentences written on unfamiliar topics in high-quality language. Hence, your first focus in your verbal preparation should be to ensure that you have worked extensively on sentence comprehension. If you can understand sentences, you can understand paragraphs, and if you can understand paragraphs, you can understand passages & that is the key to mastery of the Verbal section. Once your strategy for all sections is in place, you should begin with your preparation. It is important also to remember that you need to be stringent with yourself about your set timelines. After all, a plan can be successful only when it is executed well. Stay dedicated and keep yourself motivated to focus on your exam well and come out with flying colours in the examination.
Arun is the CEO of Mindworkzz and author of the best-selling books on CAT from McGraw Hill (How to Prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT; How to Prepare for Data Interpretation for CAT; How to Prepare for Logical Reasoning for CAT, How to prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for CAT). An alumnus of IIM Bangalore, he has trained many aspirants across the country and guides aspirants towards excellence.
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