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1) One does not STUDY for CAT, one PRACTICES for CAT.
2) Take mock test percentiles seriously, but do not take them too seriously.
My key takeaways for CAT aspirants
Your way is the right way:
There is no right time, right way or right amount of preparation for CAT. Contrary to popular opinion, CAT does not require a great quantity of study, it requires smartly planned, qualitative preparation which is personalized to your own strengths and weaknesses.
Mock tests are supreme:
Beyond a point, the number of hours studied or the number of sums solved becomes a worthless measure of your preparation. Measure your preparation only by three indicators from the mocks:
i) Attempts- how many questions you can solve during mock tests
ii) Accuracy- how many of the solved questions do you get right
iii) Percentile- subject-wise percentile and overall percentile
Know when to move on:
While it is important to work harder on difficult topics, there are some topics which are not even worth the effort. Every CAT aspirant, based on their skills and academic background, will find topics that they are just unable to get right in spite of significant effort. If you are faced with such a topic, MOVE ON!. Remember that not more than 3-4 questions in the CAT exam will be based on a single topic. Further, you may not even have enough time to attempt them. Consider that you can always come back to such elusive topics later, if you finish preparing for everything else and still have time left (unlikely). Ask yourself :
Balance is important:
Do not focus excessively on one subject at the cost of another. With CAT, a moderate but balanced subject-wise percentile will give a far higher overall percentile, than combinations of very high and very low subject-wise percentiles.
Similarly, do not choose between Accuracy and Attempts- both are dangerous in isolation, but make a winner in combination. Reasonable number of questions attempted with high accuracy is the way to go!
Seek advice, but form your own strategy:
Find out as much as you like about other people’s CAT journeys, but only for suggestive inputs. Do not solve Arun Sharma because they solved Arun Sharma. Do not drink kombucha because they drank kombucha. Take all tips that past CAT takers give with a pinch of salt, only to decide your own approach and targets. If your approach is meeting your targets, don’t change it. If it is not, analyze mocks to find out where the issue lies, and make specific changes.