February is a lovely time to start preparing for the CAT Exam! It gives you enough time to prepare while at the same time, doesn’t give you the illusion of an abundant time supply. It helps one stay away from being complacent as well, so February is definitely ideal to start preparing for CAT 2021. Let’s explore this further and also delve into preparing for the CAT Exam.
February may still seem too early in the CAT universe, where a majority of aspirants seem to come out of their slumber only around June or July. So why start your CAT Preparation early?
Why start early?| CAT Exam Preparation
The first advantage that February has going for it, is that it is NOW. NOW is always the best time to start preparing for any new project. In this case, the CAT. February is right now and it is a beautiful time for preparation so grab it. You can keep waiting for everything to fall in place, for that magical time to present itself to you…or you can actually begin and see where it takes you.
Secondly, there is a beautiful time window in February, that presents the opportunity to learn everything from first principles in an unhurried fashion. What do I mean by first principles? Take Geometry for instance. The sum of 3 angles of a triangle will equal 180 degrees. Almost all of us know this…but how many know the proof of this rule?
Learning the fundamentals helps to build an understanding of a topic from the ground up.
It can be exhilarating to run through the fundamentals and even stop to explore something further, without having to worry about completing the syllabus on time.
The latter is what will happen if you start in June. You’ll be scrambling to complete topics and the pressure keeps on mounting. A lot of times I see students complete 5 topics, and then when they come back to the first topic, they’re scratching their heads wondering what they’re even reading. They make the mistake of not revisiting topics enough.
Starting in February helps give you enough time to prepare in a spiral. Start with 1 and work your way to 5, revisit 1 – 3, work to 6 and 7, and revisit 4 – 5. Constantly revise. Revision is key to acing the CAT Exam, particularly the Quant Section, where your fundamentals are absolutely essential.
Starting early also gives you a beautiful buffer. What do I mean by that? The buffer will provide you with ample time to switch jobs, or prepare for an interview, or follow that IND vs ENG Test Series with fervour. You will not be as hard pressed for time as you would have been if you started in June.
Study, assimilate, revise, and practice. Then after June, crank up the intensity and go for mocks. Let’s dive into CAT 2021 Preparation now.
The 3 Pillars of CAT Exam Preparation
I’m definitely a huge bore about this, but I maintain that the following is a beautiful format to prepare for anything:
The fundamentals, your absolute basics come into play in the first part. This is where you get your ideas right along with a sense of clarity about what you’re learning. This sets up how high you can go, and how quick you can run later on.
The second part, is the drill. The CAT Exam in one of the most competitive exams out there. So you need to automate formulae and mathematical processes.
The last part of course, is Mocks. You need to know and benchmark stuff with respect to the real deal. You need to build speed, tackle tougher questions and sit in a room for 3 hours with relative ease. It is likely that CAT 2021 will revert to its original pattern of 3 hours. Looking at the overall picture, managing the 3 sections and analyzing your performance are some of the crucial things involved when it comes to Mocks.
Start taking mocks by May at least and assess everything. Revisit and revise.
What are the other thoughts and ideas to keep in mind?
1. Read a lot: Read tons of diverse stuff. Peruse irreverently from blogs, newspapers, magazines, online forums, books, novels and poetry too if you must. Aim for variety in styles, length, source, and content. Your mind has to get very comfortable with just picking stuff up and reading. You cannot afford to get drained out by reading because the CAT Exam has amped up its Reading Comprehension year by year.
Check out Bharath’s Reading List for your daily reading needs and get comfortable with the idea of reading.
2. Stay focused: Stay focused with the idea of preparing for CAT and be micro-focused. Achieve micro objectives. Say you’re preparing for an hour and a half everyday. Make sure those 1.5 hours are distraction free and full of intent. Go for small chunks and big intensity.
3. Keep at it: During this journey of preparing for the CAT Exam, there will be several instances where you will feel like you aren’t cut out for this. Doubts about your abilities, your mock scores and n other things will crop up.
Very often in life, it happens that the measurement doesn’t correspond with the improvement. This will happen in your CAT Journey as well. You might have become way more comfortable reading passages, but are yet to see an improvement in your VARC Scores. That doesn’t mean what you’ve been doing is wrong. You need to have the wherewithal to stay on the path, keep an eye out of errors and keep at it relentlessly. The impact will come.
4. Enjoy yourself: Learn for the joy of learning. Solve some sudoku puzzle one day when you don’t feel like solving a DILR Puzzle. Revel in the unravelling of Quant concepts and read with a sense of curiosity.
You’re preparing this in order to achieve something and cross off those objectives that have led you down this path. They are undoubtedly important but don’t let them completely govern you. Prepare with a sense of joy and stay focused.
What about the sections of the CAT Exam? How should you prepare for CAT 2021?
Head on to these wonderful links which cover the 3 sections of the CAT. They will prove to be immensely useful. W
We will release an article focusing on individual strategies for working professionals and freshers as well. Stay tuned.
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Stay Safe and Best Wishes for CAT 2021!
Rajesh Balasubramanian takes the CAT every year and is a 4-time CAT 100 percentiler. He likes few things more than teaching Math and insists to this day that he is a better teacher than exam-taker.