How To Prepare For CAT in 80 days?
Early morning, you opened your eyes and all of a sudden you realized that your CAT examination is less than 3 months ahead and you haven’t even started your preparation. A loud bell rings in your head and the panic mode is activated. You sipped a cup of coffee and start looking online for some guidance but couldn’t find anything helpful.
Don’t worry- a few seconds ago you have entered the right place. During my preparation for CAT the last year, I discovered a few techniques that helped me score 99+ percentile in the very first attempt. Before we start, I urge you to the given video to get an overall idea of how to proceed with CAT preparation (There’s a secret tip at the end too).
FROM TEST CRICKET TO T20
Preparing in 80 days is no different than switching your gears while playing T20 cricket. All you have to do is adapt. If you have looked into the video mentioned above, you would have realized that I divided the CAT preparation journey in three phases. The same principle applies here too.
You have to cover your bases first- no bargain here. Allot yourself a time frame of 50 days to cover the basics and solve 50 quality questions (10 basic, 25 moderate & 15 difficult) from every topic. Remember, it’s a tradeoff you are making because of lack of time. So, make sure you solve all the questions by yourself (take help from your teacher ONLY if you couldn’t solve by yourself even after 5-6 attempts).
For Quantitative Aptitude (QA), I encourage you to solve a bunch of questions in a stipulated time frame so that you could get into examination mode straight away. For example- try solving 15 questions in 25 minutes, or 26 questions in 40 minutes (CAT 2020 pattern).
For Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, the key is to get into the reading mode. Read 8 to 10 articles daily. Sources like- Aeon, The Guardian, Arts & Letters Daily, The Scientific American etc. should be a part of your daily dose of practice. In addition, you have to solve 3 Reading Comprehensions and 10 Verbal Ability questions daily.
For Logical Reasoning & Data Interpretation (LR & DI), you must learn to ‘pick’ up sets according to your comfort level. Needless to say, you have to learn some basic question types to be able to solve the questions asked in CAT. So, in the interest of the limited time, I suggest you to solve at least 3 sets from LR and 3 sets from DI. It will take some effort and time from your side, but trust me, it will pay you off big time on the C- Day.
In addition to the coaching material/ reference book, you also need to solve the past year papers- particularly from 2017 to 2020. This will give you a thorough understanding of what level of questions are asked in CAT. Remember, CAT does not require you to solve all the questions. You have to pick and choose from the given set of questions and solve 60 % questions, with 90 % accuracy- that’s it (the benchmark was even lower for CAT 2020).
I also suggest you to simultaneously start giving the sectional tests. Try giving a total of 3 sectionals a week (1 for each subject). Remember, sectionals are only there to give you an idea of how to maneuver through each section. Solving one section in isolation and giving a full-length mock in one go are two very different things. So, do not treat this as your expected ‘performance’ in CAT. Just take the learnings and move ahead.
Now that you have completed phase 1 successfully, its time to shift our gears. Its time that you start with sectional tests. You hardly have a month in hand now. You have already gone through the sectional tests and are comfortable with different sections in isolation. Now its time to bring everything together.
When you give mocks, remember the following points-
- Give the mock in one go. This will simulate the examination environment. At first, it might be a challenge for many of you to stay focused for 2 hours straight. But that’s okay. Stay calm and do not leave your seat till the alarm rings after two hours.
- Learn to manage your bio- cycle. Remember, however desperately you might need a break, you will not be allowed to leave the hall before the exam gets over.
- Analyze the mocks properly. You will not see any improvement in your score if you do not analyze. 80 % of your learnings come from how you analyze your mocks.
- Do not waste time comparing the percentiles you obtain in mocks with the previous year score vs percentile chart and making stuffs up in your mind. It’s a sheer wastage of time. Just see if you are able to solve 60+ % of questions with 90+% of accuracy or not.
In the last 5 days, just revise what ever you have studied and whatever you have learnt from the mocks. It is highly recommended NOT to learn any new concept.
Remember, CAT is 20% knowledge and 80% how calm and composed you are during the exam. Its very easy for the examination pressure to bring your morale down and let you feel overwhelmed during the examination. So, here comes my secret tip I was talking about. Learn to meditate. Trust me, no amount of motivational talks and counselling sessions will help you to get over the exam fear than meditation.
Now that you have made it to the end of this blog, just note down the key points and get back to study. The clock is ticking and you must prepare well to bell the CAT 2021.
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