This is the time of the year when CAT aspirants face this moral dilemma – to give or not to give CAT this year. Although the question looks very objective in nature, but for a greater good in this blog we will try to answer this question from a logical point of view.
So should you give CAT 21 or drop the idea of giving the exam this year? – This is the question. Well before giving the answer to your question let me ask you a couple of questions first.
Why are you writing CAT in the first place?
If the answer is because ‘someone’ has said to you that, you can buy a Mercedes Benz post your MBA (ahem!), then it might be a good idea to leave the preparation at this stage. Because if you are not internally motivated to prepare for this exam, you will not be able to sustain the drill part, even if you are given 4 years of time to prepare for CAT. But if you have one genuine reason to sit for the exam (and wanting to work at managerial levels to create a valuable impact), then you should most definitely work your way around things and take CAT 2021 this year.
Are you really doing enough?(Think again!)
Keeping it simple and short: are you happy with the effort you are putting in? For those of you who are currently facing this dilemma, the answer would be a no. Now if this is the problem then you have to find a solution for this, because that’s what a manager does – solves problem!
For the next few weeks, you would have to give up something, because there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Other than few things such as exercising on a daily basis or listening to musics, most other things can go. Are they gone or still sticking to your daily schedule? Make a quick check and see how you can reform your activities.
Now that we are done with two basics questions for which you would have to find your own answers, let’s get to the business end of this article.
What is going wrong with your mock CATs?
The first thing that you need to do is analyze mocks. If you have carried out the analysis for some of the mocks, you should be able to spot something very important: there are always and I mean always questions that you should have solved in the exam but they skipped your attention and you were busy solving questions you had no business of solving in the first place. Well, address this question with a simple strategy: as of now, focus on your strength areas, and make sure you solve all questions from these areas. The next thing that you have to identify is whether you are scoring too many negatives in the exam. It means you’re taking too many chances. You have to slow down and stop taking those chances. Try this for a couple of mocks and see what kind of improvement you observe in your scores.
Now let’s say you are done with the above, have maximized your score but still cannot perform well. Now the question we probed at the start is important.
Should I give CAT or drop the idea of giving CAT this year?
If you had one reason to sit for the exam in the first place, then the answer is no, absolutely not. Try to formulate what needs to be done. Do not accept the defeat before you compete.
Is there enough time for that?
Technically, there is a lot of time. It all depends on how you use it. Remember, CAT tests you on logic and not on rote learning. This is a test where you can easily attend 75% of the entire paper without having any practice and any prior knowledge about this exam at all. So there is time and you should prepare for CAT 2021 and write the exam this year.
How to make the most of 4 months for CAT 2021 then?
Start with the Arithmetic section. Arithmetic is the backbone of CAT Quant. You can easily cross the 90th percentile in Quant if your fundas of arithmetic are in place (I know you want to get 99+ percentile in Quant, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to get the 90th percentile. Because in order to get there you have to cross the 90th percentile first :P). Then go for topics like Geometry or Algebra depending upon your level of comfort with the topic. Make a list of topics you are comfortable with. You need to cover one topic from this list every day, if possible. Remember, your strengths should be strengthened. At this stage, do not think about leaving topics. At this stage, try to cover as many as possible. You can think about topic selection at a later stage.
Practice sets every day from a good question bank which contains high quality DILR puzzles. Seriously, 2 to 3 sets a day are a must. If you just do that, the rest will take care of itself.
Reading and RCs, two things you should place emphasis on. Make sure these two are sorted and the others would follow.
4 Important things you should keep in mind
- Do not focus on how much time has gone, and how you could have done better.
- Focus on weekly improvement, set smaller milestones and focus on the process and not the results.
- Remember what needs to be done for each area. Do not bother yourself by thinking about what will happen in CAT, whether you doing the right thing and so on.
- If you put in genuine effort, whatever the results, you would feel satisfied that you did your best. Better to focus on the effort than results.
If you are still confused about where you stand right now, and is this is the best thing to go ahead with, take some time, watch the video shared below. It explains in detail as to how to assess your current situation, opportunities and find the best possible plan of action for yourself.
Best wishes for CAT 2021. Always remember you can, you will, and you must.
Abhishek Mukherjee works for 2IIM. Apart from solving interesting math questions he likes to eat biriyani and watch movies.