CAT preparation from June: Three tips for aspirants with full-time jobs.
CAT preparation from June while working is more like a game of chess. You need to plan, be patient, consider the surprise factor, and strategize. It is not an easy feat to accomplish, and that’s why all B-schools appreciate work experience—cracking CAT while working is not easy but not impossible either. While you have just about five months starting from June to prepare. It is still doable provided you have a solid plan and execute it without mishaps.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while preparing for CAT.
- Have clear and achievable deadlines.
- Set your priorities straight
- Take mocks and mock analysis seriously.
Have clear and achievable deadlines:
Let us start with something you would be familiar with, Meeting deadlines. The only difference here is that you would be setting your deadlines, and you would be your judge and jury. It is a herculean task but manageable. Make a schedule on what topics to cover, set hard deadlines, and meet them. You can use customised schedules to help you in planning. Now that you have over five months. It would be wise to split your preparation into three phases.
- Phase 1 (June-July): Covering Basics
- Phase 2 (August- September): working on strengths and weaknesses.
- Phase 3 (October-November): Revision and rigorously taking mocks.
Phase-1 (June-July): Covering Basics:
Most of the CAT syllabus is quant is math from 8th-10th standard. So conceptually, it is not tough. Learning the basics doesn’t imply learning the formulas alone. You need to have a strong understanding of the concept and have a good amount of practice to be familiar with the application. It is imperative to build your solving speed. That’s one more reason to practice a lot. For DILR, keep a minimum set of puzzles that you should solve for a week and get familiar with solving them. Most of the test series would start conducting their mock exams, and it is crucial that you don’t miss them. It is completely fine if your scores are low initially. Just get used to the interface and the testing pattern.
Phase 2 (August- September): Working on strengths and weaknesses.
By now, you should have finished your basics of your CAT preparation, so it’s time to move to the next level. Now that you know where your strengths and weakness you should focus more on your blindsides. It’s okay to leave out a few topics if you aren’t too comfortable. Focus on what you can improve and strengthen. Also, mock exams will be a regular part of your week, so you need to focus on them and the analysis. You need to spend at least 20 hours a week on your CAT preparation. Plan your work week accordingly to accommodate your CAT preparation.
Phase 3 (October-November): Revision and rigorously taking mocks.
This is the last leg of preparation and the most crucial one. You need to get your mock taking strategy right and take a lot of mocks. You are expected to take at least 20-25 mocks on average. And mocks are the most crucial part of the preparation, especially in the last 40-50 days. Taking mocks and analyzing them helps you understand your mistakes and prepare for the finals. I suggest keeping the last 7-10 days dedicated to CAT prep.
Setting your priorities straight:
It is quite a task to balance both work and preparation. But it is imperative that you balance both and not let one slide over the other. Try to plan your workday to accommodate your CAT preparation. Make sure you have at least two hours a day. Also, try not to overwork and let it overlap with your preparation schedule. With work from home being a new norm, people tend to overexert themselves to work and forget other things. I can’t stress this enough; you cannot take your foot off the gas in your CAT preparation stating work as a reason.
Take mocks and mock analysis seriously:
At the risk of being redundant again, I can’t stress the importance of mocks and mock analysis. Try to complete all the mocks in the test series and follow through and analyze your mistakes. Mocks are the best place to try different test-taking strategies and find out what suits you. Also, working on a clock to solve questions makes you get used to the pressure, so the final exam becomes like just another exam.
It may appear that you have lost time and it’s normal to feel that you should have started your preparation a bit earlier. But still this is an achievable. Starting your CAT preparation from June leaves you with more than 140 days to prepare which is more than sufficient if you can utilise it properly. All the best for your CAT-2022. – Harish V
Harish is an alum of IIM Bangalore who can’t stop talking about Chelsea FC