CAT FAQs – Most Commonly Asked Questions Related To CAT
Q.1. What is the ideal time to start with CAT preparation?
Q.2. How many mock tests one should attempt and from which month?
Q.3. How does one keep their morale up after a bad mock test result?
Here are my two cents on these common queries:
A1. Around 14-15 months for an average student taking the CAT for the first time, in which the last 2-3 months should be solving of atleast 30 mocks.
A2. At least 30. About 4 months prior to the CAT if you are taking the CAT for the first time.
A3. Review the questions again, see where you have made mistakes and focus on the next mock.
A4. Target completing 400 sets of DI and 400 sets of LR before the CAT. 2 sets a day for DI and LR each for 6 months will do the trick.
A5. “How to prepare for Quantitative Aptitude for CAT & Other Management Examinations” A Book by Arun Sharma
& A Book by Sarvesh Verma
Here is what I think:
- The ideal time to start for CAT preparation is subjective and depends majorly on your current level of preparation and aptitude. I am weak in Quant, so I started my Prep in March, and have been seriously preparing since mid-May. I have already given 4-5 mocks because I need that kind of practice.
I would say that July is the perfect time to start preparing for someone who is not struggling with any of the three CAT sections.
- Attempt mocks a fortnight after your start your CAT prep. Trust me, you learn through mocks. Treat your tests as study material and go through it thoroughly. Sit down for 4 hours and note down answers for all important and tricky questions. That will help you a lot later. For credibility, it must be noted that Avidipto Chakraborty (CAT 100 percentiler) gave around 60 mock tests in total, and followed the above-mentioned strategy.
- Morale goes down only if you compare your percentile. Keep this rule in mind: Let the first 15 mock tests be a learning lesson. By the 10th mock test, your strategy should be set. For example, I have given 4 mocks till now and my strategy is to focus only on accuracy, even if I am answering very few questions in my weak section. Like that, make your own strategy. It is an exciting process, to be honest.
I don’t think anyone feels bad after a bad mock. They feel sheer guilt. So instead of lamenting over it, let that guilt drive you. Analyse mistakes in your 5th mock test so you don’t make them in your 20th mock test.
- DI-LR is my weak area as well. But I am slowly getting over the fear. The key is a huge number of mock tests. We blame AIMCATs for being too tough, but that’s the beauty of it. Imagine being able to understand the solution to even the toughest of DI-LR questions. That is the power mock tests give you. So focus on giving mock tests and your fear will find its way out.
- I recommend TIME material. Arun Sharma is outdated in my opinion, although you could try LOD-2 and 3 sums from that for topics like Number Systems, Geometry and Algebra. Sarvesh K Verma has wrong answers in its answer key. So I don’t know how reliable it is.
All the best!
Hope to see you in an IIM.
Here is my opinion on your questions:
- According to me, you should start preparing at least four months before CAT. This is especially true, for freshers who have about 6-7 hours in a day to prepare. If you have a lot of work daily then you should start five to six months in advance. But, in the end, CAT is not about the time spent but the practice. If you can practice say two thousand questions for each section in a month itself then you will only take a month.
- Mock tests should be attempted after you have prepared everything else. They are more useful to understand your speed of working so you can separate your time uring the exam. So, the last month should be left only for mock tests. Attempt at least one per day, so a total of 30.
- There is no simple way to it. But, remember its ok to make mistakes. That what a mock is for. For me, I would rather be happy when my mocks used to be bad in the beginning because mocks bring out the mistakes that you make. So look at your mistakes, and learn from them.
- Practice! There is no other way. Practice as many questions as you can. One thing that you should keep in mind is you study schedule. Have a fixed study schedule, preferably, coinciding with the CAt slots. Your mind gets used to working/thinking when you regularly work. So if you study daily at the same time then your brain will be active at the same time.
- Truthfully, I could not find any ook which was very useful for CAT. Instead, the study material and practice questions from TIME and Career launcher were far better. But if you still want a book, look for the previous years’ questions.
- 6-9 months at max is sufficient. Too early a start may result in a loss of focus and too late a start might end up keeping too little time.
- Around 15 mock tests should be more than enough. Quality over quantity always. What is more important than just taking tests is analyzing those tests and learning from your mistakes.
- You may face a time where you go through multiple bad scores in Mock Tests. This is completely normal. What is important is that are you learning from your mistakes? Make sure you are not repeating your mistakes. One counter-intuitive approach in case you face a series of bad scores can be to just take a break from CAT for a week or so. Do what you love. A fresh mind can do wonders!
- Practice. Practice and more Practice. One small tip can be to split your 1 hour strictly into half hour for DI and half hour for LR to avoid missing out on not seeing any set altogether.
- Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. Apart from that, I used just IMS material which was more than sufficient.
I study at IIM Bangalore
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