CAT Preparation Strategies For The Last Three Months By An IIM Lucknow Student

With less than three months to go for CAT 2017, I can’t help but think about the phase when I was in the same situation. Mounting exam pressure, crunch deadlines at the office, shrinking social life, all of this and what not. CAT 2015 was my third attempt. After two casual attempts, I had made up my mind to give in my 100% for CAT 2015. I had started my preparation almost nine months before the exams. What followed was months of hard work and sleepless nights, but all of this finally paid off. I had calls from IIM C L K I and all new IIMs. I finally aced IIM Lucknow and became a proud Hellite.

In this article, I will share with you a few pointers that helped me ace the exam. They are not words from the Bible but simply a few strategies that worked for me. Do give it a read. I hope they help you meet your goals too. 😊

1) Mocks, mocks, and more mocks: I absolutely cannot emphasize more on their importance. If you haven’t already started giving mocks, begin right away. A minimum of 1 mock a week in September. Their number should increase exponentially in the coming months. While many people recommend giving mocks by all main coaching centres, I would suggest picking up one or at max two and solve all their mocks.

2) Work on your weak areas: Many of the aspirants in a rush to complete the syllabus ignore their weak areas. This is the single most un pardonable sin you can commit. A lot of people may not even be aware of their weak areas. The only way to do so is to analyse the mocks you give. Ideally, if it takes 3 hours to give a mock, you should spend three more hours analysing it.

Ask yourself the following kind of questions while analysing mocks –

•     Where did I make silly mistakes?

•    What questions were simple but I did not attempt them?

•    Was there an easier way to do this question?

Spending time doing so will not only make you more confident but also help you uncover areas that need more practice.

3) Re-visit your fundamentals: Spare a few hours each week for revising fundamentals.  Solve the easy questions, revise the formulae, take topic based tests, etc. This will allow you to revise the core concepts of different topics.

4) Build a strategy: It sounds hi-fi, but it is pretty simple. If you follow the above three steps diligently, it may even come naturally. All you need to do is figure out how you will attempt the paper on D-Day. E.g. this is what I used to do:

– Begin with the sitters. Look for questions that you can solve in 1-2 minutes. Usually, these are the questions from topics you are most comfortable with.

– Leave the questions from topics you hate for the end, but not without reading. You may not like geometry, but there may be a really easy question that you cannot miss out on.

– Keep your ego aside while solving the paper. You may be really good at algebra, but the question may be really tough. Do not let that play with your mind. CAT is an exam of attempting but equally an exam of skipping. Remember, an easy, and a tough question both fetch equal marks. So do not spend too much time on one single question just because you considered yourself an expert in the topic.

5) De-stress: Do something to take your mind off CAT at times. Go for a movie, play a sport you like, hang out with your friends and family. Do absolutely anything that makes you relax. The time you spend enjoying is not really wasted. It will help you revitalise for the coming day.

I hope these tips help you ace CAT, but as I said before, these are not words from the Bible. These are merely some tricks that worked for me. I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

I’d be more than happy to answer the queries you may have. Good Luck!

samaksha vaish

Samaksha Vaish is a second year student at IIM Lucknow. He is also a member of the Industry Interaction Cell and Manjunath Shanmugam Trust.




Hey, Do not neglect it completely. At least go through the basics so that you do not miss out on easy questions


I gave cat last year, secured 96%ile. However,this year I’m working in a startup with a lot of work pressure and minimal free time to study.
From your journey, can you suggest anything which helped you ace CAT while managing work pressure at the same time?


Hi, All I can suggest is devote as much time as possible during weekends. Also you may consider taking a 2 month leave before the exam.


1) Find out where you are making mistakes.
2) Get in the habit of habit reading quickly, will help you with RCs

abhishek agrawal

I need ur help sir
I am the student of mechanical engineering 3rd year
As my english (verbal)
Section Is soo weak
Write now I am confuse from we’re to start or to pick the verbal section..
Please suggest something