CAT Preparation Strategy for Freshers
Let us start by readdressing the age-old yet the most important questions. Can I start my CAT preparation from June and still clear CAT? Is there any particular preparation strategy for CAT freshers? When should I start taking the mocks seriously? These are a few age-old questions that most freshers preparing for CAT would have in their minds. And in this blog, we will try to address these questions.
To start with, who is a CAT fresher? Anyone who is currently doing their final year in UG are considered a freshers. Candidates taking a break year to prepare are not considered freshers. Now that we have addressed who freshers are, let’s get to the next question.
Can I start my cat preparation from June and still crack CAT?
The simple answer is Yes. CAT syllabus is almost in lines with your 10th standard math. So all you need is to get back to the basics of quant and practice problems. The trick part of CAT lies in applying the concepts and the time taken to solve them. And that’s why practice is essential. The same goes with VARC, The questions are solvable, and all it takes is continuous practice. Reading articles from standard journals goes a long way. And most importantly, all of this can be accomplished even if you are starting from June while balancing your academic curriculum.
CAT Preparation Strategy from June:
If you a fresher, just starting your CAT preparation. There are certain things you should keep in mind while planning. Firstly, remember that it is going to be a race against time, so planning is important. There is no one right plan or strategy, each of us have a different strategy that works for us. Although I’d suggest you keep two things in mind while starting your preparation.
- Establish a timeline
- Balance between academics and CAT preparation
Establish a Timeline:
Since there will be less than six months left to prepare it is imperative that you set deadlines and more importantly follow through them. You can split this window into three parts,
- Covering the basics (June- July)
- Practicing with mocks (August- September)
- The last Lap (October- November)
1. Covering the basics (June-July):
If you are starting now, let me assure you that you have just enough time besides your academics to cover your basics. So it is of utmost importance that you prepare a schedule to cover the various topics. You can either make your own schedule or use a scheduler to assist you here. Also don’t just memorize formulas, try to understand the concept as most of the questions won’t be straight forward application and understanding the basics helps you in a long way. Try to give at least two hours a day to prepare your basics for CAT. The mock exam series would also be starting by June. Be sure to not miss any mocks. Don’t worry about the scores and the percentiles. Just get a hang of the interface and make sure to do the mock analysis right away after the mocks.
2. Practice with sectional tests and Mocks(August-September):
By this time, you should have a good grip on the basics and it’s time to move to the next level. It is good to test out your basics with sectional tests to understand the depth of your preparation and know where you stand. You can expect to have a mock exam every week, so keep a time slot of your weekend dedicated to mocks and mock analysis. Mock exams give you a feel of what to expect in the CAT exam, so be sure to take them seriously. You should also be familiar with your strengths and weaknesses by now, So dedicate your preparation time accordingly.
3. The Last Lap (October-November):
This is the phase where things get heated, topic wise preparation should be completed by now and it’s time to fine tune your basics with revisions and mock examinations. Since you will have your semester exams coming by around the same time. It’s of utmost importance to plan your days accordingly. The last leg of your preparation is all about mocks and mock analysis. I’d suggest you take at least 20-25 mock examinations before taking your CAT exam.
Balance between CAT and Academics:
Preparing for CAT doesn’t mean you can take your foot off the gas in your academics. Most of the IIM’s and other B-schools place significant weightage on college CGPA besides 10th and 12th scores. You need to strike a balance between maintaining good scores in college and preparing for CAT. Try to boost your CGPA as much as possible before appearing for CAT and the subsequent process. Also CAT happens to be in the month of November right when semester exams are around. So you should strike a balance such that you. ace both.
CAT is not as hard as it seems, you just need to be patient consistent and practice. Almost all IIMs admit around 20% of freshers every year. Just plan well, trust your preparations and give your best shot. All the best.-Harish V
Harish is an alum of IIM Bangalore who can’t stop talking about Chelsea FC