Is April the perfect time to start your CAT Prep?
What does “Preparing for CAT from April” exactly entail?
It involves everything from the decision to take the exam, to the moment you finish the two hour exam (not exaggerating). A lot of aspirants sit on the fence and procrastinate for a long time about whether to take the exam or not. So, after weighing all your options if you have decided to go for it, kudos to you! The force of that determination itself boosts the initial phase of your preparation. Secondly, CAT exam is a dynamic test that improves upon itself each year. Learning doesn’t stop outside the exam hall!!! The 2 hour in itself is a phenomenal experience for every serious aspirant.
5 Maxims on Preparing for CAT from April
Let me start explaining this with a prologue.
CAT primarily tests aspirants on the application of concepts. As the syllabus is vast and you need to build a strong foundation, the sooner you start the better it is.
Quant requires one to revise extensively after learning the fundamentals. LRDI requires regular practice of a wide variety of sets, and VARC demands a disciplined reading habit to do well in the exam. Given that you need to excel at each section to get into a top B-School, the more time you dedicate, the more promising the results can be.
Even if you are amidst your semester exam, read passively for 30 minutes whenever you take a break, and try to solve a few CAT – level questions whenever the preparation-fever kicks in. Even little effort from your end counts enormously, and helps to maintain a positive attitude.
With this brief about why it’s important to start early, let’s dive into the question at hand.
1. Learn from First Principles
This is the most crucial aspect of your preparation. Learning and assimilating fundamental concepts is extremely important to handle CAT questions. Having a thorough grasp of concepts helps you think laterally to arrive quickly at solutions. Learning from first principles is indispensable for Quant as CAT tests your deeper mathematical intuition.
Let me take a quant question for example:
If you solve this fantastic question and assimilate the concepts, it’s equivalent to covering the entirety of instalments. The main purpose behind paying instalments is to pay lesser than what you would have ended up paying if you paid the entire amount at the end. The funda (which is your holy grail) is based on time value of money. It primarily has a wide application in the field of finance. So, Learn this concept right away and know its practical importance.
2. Reading Habit
As most of you already know, it is super important to develop a sustained and diligent reading habit to do well in the VARC section. From my experience so far, I can confidently say that there is a direct relation between reading daily and doing well in Reading Comprehension. To prepare well for VARC it is advisable to read for 2 hours on a daily basis to build your comprehension skills organically.
I have often seen students de-prioritise VARC because they think that it’s beyond their scope. If you are especially underconfident or find yourself weak in VARC, don’t panic. Comprehension is not a language skill as much as the ability to think critically. It does not require you to know the nitty-gritty of grammar. CAT basically tests you on how dexterously you understand an idea. And, in order to achieve this, a flair for reading is a must.
But why is it a must you ask? Well, think of it this way. Imagine yourself to be a painter who wishes to capture the beauty of the backwaters of Kerala/ or the Himalayan mountain ranges. The most basic skill you need to accomplish this feat is “to know how to paint”.
Learning how to read is akin to the fundamental skills of painting. The comprehension part is similar to a painter observing a shadow cast by the sun, or the different shades of green on a leaf. Reading has to be second nature to you to crack deeper questions that require you to think critically. Common sense dictates that if you are completely occupied with reading the words and sentences, it’s not entirely possible to apprehend the tone/ purpose of a passage. So read on… read away to glory!
3. LRDI – is (not) your undoing
LRDI is definitely not your undoing. I am not saying this to sell you an idea. This is to wake you up from a deep slumber that you may have gone into because of popular opinion. It is understandably tricky and time consuming. But with the right preparation strategy you can cross the threshold that catapults your chances of getting into a coveted B-School.
To know more about preparing for CAT 2022 LRDI from an experienced test taker, watch this video now
There are 3 very important things that determine how well you do in LRDI.
Beyond this, anything that strikes you while solving are brownie points that help you solve quickly. So hang in there and don’t give up yourself.
4. What’s the perfect time to take MOCKS?
TODAY! This can’t be stressed enough. Mocks are the most reliable methods to check if your preparation has borne fruit. Don’t postpone your mock taking at any cost. Take one every week, starting either from today or this week. Next, keep taking 1 per week until you feel you can stretch it to 2/3 mocks per week. While there may be abysmal lows and triumphant highs, the most crucial aspect of mock taking is to develop tenacity. (I’ll discuss more about mocks and their analysis in the upcoming blogs)
There are some weird things that happen in mock which may never have happened to you in a college exam. One such thing is fatigue and mental tiredness. Mocks can be mentally exhausting because our brain is not trained to work at hyper focus mode for a long duration. As this takes time and patience, the sooner you start the more time you have to get accustomed to unique problems that only you will encounter.
A rather odd thing I experienced was going blank even while solving easy arithmetic questions. In these cases, I knew the method, but just couldn’t think it through till the end. Likewise, each one of you has to face your hidden drawbacks while preparing for this exam, and only an astute mind (which each of you already have) and a patient heart can overcome it.
If you want to take a brief assessment to know where you stand, try 2IIM’s diagnostic test for free and get a detailed report that highlights your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Following a Routine
It is super important to follow a routine while preparing for this exam. Don’t let even a day go waste. Do something even on your worst days (there will be some), and grasp as much as possible on your best days. Don’t have sky-high expectations from the get go. Remember, CAT is a Marathon, not a 100 m race. Sustainability and perseverance outlasts everything else.
Follow a schedule everyday and aim for consistent growth patterns that you know are reliable. I noticed an interesting relation between consistency and reliability during my preparation. I could never achieve similar results when I was striving for it. Instead, when I relied on a few skills which are entrenched in me, and expanded that over time, the performance also improved as a consequence of that.
No, I am not quoting anything from Priyanka Chopra’s Memoir. I am not going to preach anything more on preparing for CAT from April. I am not going to bore you with the importance of self belief.
It’s unfinished because you have just begun your journey. You have a long way to go, and your efforts are what can get you across the finish line. So, this is just a gentle reminder of that.
We believe in testing before committing.
So, Sign up and sample 40 hours of CAT content for free.
Curious to know what our students have to say about us? Click here
Cheers and Best wishes for your CAT 2022 folks!
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.