How To Crack The CAT In 60 Days
The MBA entrance exam season is on the brink of getting started. A number of candidates will be fine-tuning their preparation right now, whilst there will be others who would be struggling to kick the inertia out of their systems and start their preparation. Those who fall in the latter group do not let the lazy voice within u tell you, “Be Practical, It’s Too Late”. Run away from those who spread negativity. You may come across acquaintances who may say, “I’m preparing for last one year and it’s not working for me” or “These exams are really difficult to crack, it’s not our cup of tea”. Remember these are the people who don’t plan realistically or have laid-back attitude. The basic syllabus for these exams is roughly the same as Mathematics and English taught in the class VII-X. So, ideally, if your fundamentals are in place then it should take roughly 250 hours of preparation which means just 5 hours for 50 days or 3 hours for some 85 odd days i.e. max 3 months. But you need to be very focused in these 3 months and practice religiously. Also, you need not run after solving more and more questions but rather focus on solving different varieties of questions and remember the method used to solve these questions. There is a need to master the art of solving questions using shortcut techniques.
Having said all these, how to plan these exams is a valid and essential question. To begin with, time should be divided at the time of preparation in 2 phases. I am sure most of you are through the first phase i.e. foundation. But let me take you through that for those who are about to start their preparation.
Phase 1: Concentrate on building your basics and improve your accuracy
During this Phase, cover the basic concepts in quantitative aptitude for all the topics. This is the phase where you build on the basic principles and prepare yourself for the tougher questions. Remembering reciprocals till 30, squares till 30, cubes till 15, and multiplication tables till 20 is a must to increase speed.
For e.g. If the question is: After giving a discount of 9.09% shopkeeper still manages to gain a profit of 11.11% then find the mark-up percentage?
If we know what 9.09% is and 11.11% is then this question can be solved in less than a minute.
If the cost price of an article is Rs. 9 then it makes a profit of Re. 1. Thus, selling price should be Rs. 10.
If the marked price of an article is Rs. 11 then the discount given is Re. 1. Thus, the selling price should be Rs. 10.
Now, the cost price is Rs. 9, mark price is Rs. 11 then the marked-up price is Rs. 2 over the cost price of Rs. 9. Thus, mark-up percentage is 22.22%.
So, remembering reciprocals helps to save ample time in many questions in Quant as well as DI.
Also, making an equation and solving it makes the solution ugly and waste more of the precious time. So, the focus should be on learning the art of solving a majority of the questions without using equations.
For the verbal section, set aside 1-2 hours every day to reading. Read different genre of articles varying from fiction to politics to science to anything. Just build a reading habit and get the mind ready for any topic, style or subject. Vocabulary building will also play a rational role in this phase.
Phase 2: Concentrate on increasing number of attempts
In this phase, start by practising 1 Data Interpretation set, 1 Logical Reasoning set, 2 Reading Comprehension, 5 Para Jumble, 5 Summary and 20 Quant questions and on a day to day basis. Try to improve your concentration by practising for 4 hours at a stretch. This will help reduce concentration lapses during the Mock Test and eventually the actual test. It is the time that you start practising 2 Mock Tests on a weekly basis and try to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t take Mocks like a mock test rather take it like your actual test mimicking the exam day scenario.
2 months before the exam, your motive should be to find out your strengths and weaknesses. The focus should be on SWOT analysis of your preparation in stage 1. Followed by it, work towards improving on weak areas by providing exhaustive practice. One should divide syllabus into four different areas:
High Speed High Accuracy
High Speed Low Accuracy
Low Speed High Accuracy
Low Speed Low Accuracy
- Dedicate 2 days to practice questions in A and try to build 100% accuracy in the questions from these areas.
- Dedicate 3 days to practice questions in B and try to move them in A.
- Dedicate 1 day to practice questions in C and D to improve accuracy and try to move them in B.
In every mock that you take, try to increase your attempts slowly and gradually. Before every mock that you take, analyse the questions that you either attempted wrong or didn’t attempt in the previous mock. Without that it won’t make any sense to take the next mock. Your analysis should include questions like (a) Where did I go wrong in these questions?
(b) Why did I not attempt these questions?
(c) Why am I making mistakes in these areas?
(d) Am I selecting the right questions?
(e) How many questions that I skipped were do-able?
Also, make sure that the mistakes once made should not be repeated.
More importantly, do not take 2 Mock tests on the same day to increase your Mock count. It won’t help. Analysis after every test is very important in order to improvise your scores in the next test.
Tips to be followed:
- Admit to yourself that “I will not know all of the answers.” No matter how hard you have studied. Don’t let your ego to come across while attempting Mock and Actual Exam.
- If you feel nervous on a question, skip to the next question. Don’t waste time on a question that you don’t know. Again, you may know how to solve but it might not click at that time. So what? It happens with everyone. Just skip that question for time being and you can revisit if you have time at the end.
- Never panic about the test. You will still be the same the person whatever marks you get, so it doesn’t matter how well you do. Go with this attitude and you will bell the CAT.
*Having said all these, your success in the exam will depend on the mix of your preparation level and luck on that day. So, if one exam doesn’t go well, don’t worry, next will.
All the best!
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