A 30-Day Crash Course Plan For CAT By a 99.99%iler.
Aviral Bhatnagar reveals what worked best for him during the last 30 days before CAT. Here’s what he has to share with us.
A lot of people have asked me what can be done in the last month to increase the possibility of cracking the CAT. I’ll talk about what I focused on which I think helped me give my maximum on the final day and score a 99.99%ile.
These are in strict order of importance, with number one being the most important. I call it the “4S CAT workout” (I totally have been B-Schooled). But seriously, it makes it easy to remember.
1. Sleep Cycle: This is by far the most important and most underrated component of peak competitive examination performance. I maintained this before the JEE and maintained it even better before the CAT. Giving such an examination is about preparation, no doubt. But it is also about rhythm. The mind responds best when it is trained to respond best at a certain time. Get your sleep cycle right on track so that you are at your mental peak at the time of the exam. Mine was in the morning, so a month before, I started sleeping on time and waking up at 8, because my exam was at 9:30 AM. Sleep is imperative, and if you’re in the right rhythm you will definitely hit top performance.
2. Simulation: Simulate the test environment as many times, at the same time of the day as the exam. This will make both you and your mind extremely adept and also “numb” to the exam. I actually remember having no anxiety whatsoever during the exam because I had actually “given the CAT” so many times before the exam. Try to replicate as much of the test environment as you can. Do as many mocks as you can, even upto the final day. TIME, IMS etc. are able to replicate the test window pretty well. I quote actor Amitabh Bachchan on this simulation strategy “I have cried for my father dying so many times that I don’t know what I will feel when my father actually dies”.
3. Study Yourself: I used to monitor my performance on each exam, each test and each question that I did every day. I maintained a pretty intricate and data heavy excel file on exactly what my speed and accuracy was for the day, by subject, drilled down to section, drilled down to the topic. This really helped me in identifying where I was doing well and could release the pedal and where I was doing badly and needed to step up. I was doing miserably at Verbal (and I ended up scoring a 100%ile), and I think this really helped me improve. I understood what I could attempt and what I could not. For example, I really hated para-jumbles, and I used to get them wrong all the time. Later, I stopped attempting them, and I didn’t do so in the final CAT too. The two questions I left out of 30 were para-jumbles. So, understand what you can do, what you should do and what you can’t do. The last part is really important. Negatives hurt, so be honest to yourself and be objective. Data doesn’t lie. That also means that you shouldn’t get emotional on some bad results, be cold like the data.
4. Strategize: After you have done the first 3, you will understand what you need to do to finally deliver the best. Strategizing involves thinking how you will approach each section, what topics will you do first, what topics will you do last, how will you manage time. For example, I used to run through the entire questions in each section for the first two minutes of the exam, marking the easy and the medium questions using the mark option. That helped me get the easy ones first, then the medium ones and I was finally left with a lot of time to attempt the hard ones. All questions carry the same weightage, so you should really be picking the easy cherries. I coupled this with my understanding of my strong and weak topics. In that way, I ended up scoring higher and higher and almost the maximum towards the end.
This story was first published on Quora.
About the Author:
Aviral Bhatnagar went to IIT Bombay and IIM Ahmedabad. He is a self-proclaimed geek, an avid reader and a student for life. He made his first excel sheet when he was 8 years old, and he devoured encyclopaedias and atlas as a kid. He is currently working as an investment professional at Guild Capital.