Last Month Before CAT
We will discuss in detail on how to plan, prepare and execute the Last month before CAT.
1. Mocks, Mocks, Mocks – Put Quality over Quantity
Aim to take at least 10-12 mocks in the last month – at the average of 2-3 per week. Do not plan to take 30 mocks in the last month – that can be counter-productive. Do not ratchet up your mock count to meet some notional target. You should spend at least as much time in reviewing a mock as you do in taking it. So, allot at least 3 hours for the review (it usually takes twice ~6 hours).
Your mind needs time to consolidate the tweaks you make, or the feedback you get from the mocks. If you take mock after mock without a break, scores will rapidly plateau. And we are back at that bugbear question “My scores never go beyond xx percentile even though I have taken n mocks. What do I do now?”
Take mocks when you are at your best, take them at the exact time slot when you will be taking the actual CAT, take them when you are not fighting some other deadline. These small details matter. Some people go as far as freezing attire, room temperature, food etc.
2. Worry about accuracy. A lot.
I never tire of repeating this. You should aim for near 100% accuracy in Quant and DILR and upwards of 80% accuracy in VARC. Worrying about accuracy is an attitudinal change. Make that change.
3. Revisit Fundamentals. It does help.
A few years ago we had a question that went broadly as follows
P(x) divided by x – 1 leaves a remainder 2; P(x) divided by x – 2 leaves a remainder 1. What is the remainder when P(x) is divided by (x-1)(x-2). This is a tough question and without any obvious method. But first principles always help.
The first bit of info tells us that
P(x) = [Something](x – 1) + 2
The second bit tells us that
P(x) = [Some other thing](x – 2) + 1
We need to write
P(x) as [some third thing](x – 1)(x – 2) + K and find this K.
Merely writing like this can simplify life. Let me elaborate
P(x) = Q(x) (x – 1) + 2
P(x) = R(x) (x – 2) + 1
Now, we need to get something where we have P(x) = M(x) (x-1)(x-2) + K. How do we get here?
Multiply first of the two equations by (x-2) and the second one by (x-1), we get
(x – 2)P(x) = Q(x) (x – 1) (x – 2) + 2(x – 2)
(x – 1)P(x) = R(x) (x – 2) (x – 1) + 1(x – 1)
Now, subtract the first one from the second, we get
P(x) [x -1 – (x – 2)] = (x – 2)(x – 1)[R(x) – P(x)] + x – 1 – 2x +4
Or, P(x) = [Something](x – 1) (x – 2) + 3 – x.
Or, the remainder is 3 – x. The basics are amazing, aren’t they?
4. Consolidate. Do not expand scope.
Now is the time to get better at things that you are already good at and dump the things that you are poor at. Prune the topic list, revise the stuff that you are comfortable with and forget about the topics that you hate. If you have not mastered coordinate geometry in 8 years, chances that you will grow fond of it in the next 4 weeks are remote.
5. Continue to read something every day
Reading habit matters. Read for an hour or so every day till the day of CAT (and beyond). Follow Bharath‘s reading list on Facebook/Youtube. Join the FB Group & Subscribe to the Youtube channel to receive daily updates on Fantastic reading articles to push your VARC Prep, on your devices.
Keep doing these things in the right spirit for the Last Month before CAT and trust the process and efforts. It will payoff.
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.