CAT is very difficult to handle with 9 to 6 job, but it has to be done. I started my CAT preparation after I completed 2 years at work and finally nailed it with 1.5 years of preparation. I have experienced how difficult it is to maintain work-life balance. Thus, preparing CAT along with work is next to impossible for many. It leads to two extreme steps. Either the aspirant leaves his job or he leaves his dream of an IIM tag.
Leaving the job for CAT is too risky because of the unpredictability of the exam. If you are thinking of taking the other step, then this post is not for you. You may scroll down to read some other post but keep in mind: -
You will never win if you never begin. - Helen Rowland
I am assuming the following conditions are satisfied to follow the steps mentioned in this post:
1. Saturday & Sunday off. (Weekend off)
2. Total time 12 hours outside the home. (Office + travel time + etc.)
3. You have only one goal in your life and i.e. CAT.
Some of you may get off on some other days or work unevenly on various days. So for the people whom the above assumptions are not valid. Please accommodate the schedule as per your ease.
1. Treat each section equally - Considering the increasing difficulty level of DI & LR with every passing year and high unpredictability of VA, do not live under the veil that you can cover one section with another. Focus on all the sections.
2. Weekdays - On weekdays allocate 6 (8-2 = 6) hrs. for studying (2 hrs. for each of the four sections mentioned below)
(i) QA: - Do it from old mocks/sectionals/books. You can use any of the two mocks (IMS, Time).
(ii) DI/LR: - Do it from old mocks/sectionals. You can use any of the three mocks (IMS, CL, Time). Practice as many sets as you can.
(iii) VA/RC: - Do it from old mocks/sectionals. IMS mocks provides you with the closest RC that you may get in CAT. You can practice from Time also but RC from Time is a bit lengthy and contains a bit easier question. The VA/RC section of last two years CAT was most similar to IMS mocks. You can use office time to practice old mocks, sectional, etc. (Given you utilize the time judiciously. Trust me, it is achievable.)
(iv) Newspaper Reading (The Hindu Editorial): - This should be finished at the office. Do not carry this task to home. 9 to 6 job provides you enough free time to read the newspaper. If you do not get enough time during lunch or while travelling, then you can follow other alternatives. Copy the editorial/article and paste it in either XLSX or notepad and read it. This way you will be at your cubicle and can utilize your time well. Do this whenever you get free time. Don't restrict yourself to only newspaper and diversify your readings. Keep in mind.
If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success. - John D. Rockefeller
3. Weekends/Holidays - On weekends/ holidays allocate minimum 12.5 hrs. for studying.
(i) 7.5 hrs. for studying (2.5 hrs. to each section).
(ii) 3 hrs. for mock.
(iii) 2 hrs. for mock analysis.
4. Till August - You should finish QA theory & formulas, all concepts of DI & LR and the basic understanding of different question types in VA & RC.
5. September & October -
(i) You should only do revision and attempt mocks and sectionals.
(ii) You Should give at least 2 mocks each weekend with their analysis. Do not miss any centre-based mocks. Attempt them at the centre to prepare yourself for the exam like scenarios. (It will make you feel comfortable on D day).
6. Last month (November) -
(i) 1 mock each day and along with its analysis.
(ii) I would advise taking a month leave before CAT. If it is not possible then take at least 2 weeks off before the exam and give mocks at exactly the exam time.
7. Meanwhile, take out time to pursue your hobbies. Keep in mind CAT is not the end, it is just the beginning of your DREAM.
If you can dream it, you can do it. - Walt Disney
All the Best. Please feel free to ask any query in the comment section.