CAT 2019 is now 90 days away, and there are many late-bloomers who have been prodded to rush into their CAT preparation by the release of the official CAT notification. But is it possible to crack CAT in ninety days? Can the vast syllabus of the QA section, the arduous RCs of the VA-RC section, and the mind-boggling puzzles of the DI-LR section be mastered in a matter of just three months? Yes! Not only are we saying that it's possible, but we also tell you how to do it! Here's a ninety-day plan to crack CAT 2019.
Cracking CAT 2019 In Three Months - Is It Possible?
First things first - three months are more than sufficient to crack CAT! One needs to have the confidence and a plan to back this confidence to reach your goal. It is NOT an IPL final that ONLY one team would win. There are close to 5000 seats in the IIMs alone and you are looking at getting just ONE!
Let’s understand on a broad basis what should be done from now to the 24th of November.
How To Crack CAT In 90 Days - Three Key Levels of Preparation
There are three levels of preparation (In the parlance of IPL!)
- First Power Play
- Middle Overs
- Final Slog
First Power Play
This is the first 30 days to 45 days of preparation. You need a solid foundation to ensure that you can build on the same and be ready for the actual CAT exam on the 25th of November.
There are three broad areas to prepare:
- Quantitative Ability (QA)
- Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning (DI-LR)
- Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VA-RC)
One other area, General Awareness & Current Affairs, though does not appear in the CAT exam, is also very important for one to be ready for the post CAT exams (IIFT/SNAP/XAT/TISSNET) as well as the GD-PI and WAT processes.
How To Prepare For CAT In 90 Days - Quantitative Ability (QA)
The best way to prepare for Quant is to divide the entire area into areas – Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry & Mensuration, and Pure Math.
Over the first 30 days to 45 days of your preparation, you have to go through every concept in every chapter and solve the exercises thoroughly. There are roughly about 17 to 18 topics in the whole of Quant area and it would take 2 to 3 days per topic to finish by giving about 2 to 3 hours a day.
After solving every chapter, taking a slip test/topic test would be of utmost importance. You would figure out whether you have really understood the topic or not.
Those students who have completed the basic material should revise all the topics so that the concepts are better understood.
How To Prepare For CAT In 90 Days - Data Interpretation - Logical Reasoning (DI-LR)
To be good at DI, your ability to calculate fast can make a huge difference. Spend 10 minutes every day on Speed Math techniques.
DI can be subdivided into the type of graphs: Table, Bar, Line, PI, Triangle, Spider etc. In addition, Games and tournaments, Cubes and Venn Diagrams can also form the base of DI. Solving about 8 to 10 sets of each type of DI graphs can make one completely comfortable in solving.
LR can also be subdivided into types of questions such as Deductions, Connectives, Selections, Arrangements, Distribution, Circular Arrangements, Order Sequencing, Networks and Routes, Binary Logic. Apart from these, any miscellaneous puzzles can appear in the LR area. The prep for LR would be very similar to DI. Solve around 8 to 10 sets from each type of LR set and it would be good enough!
By covering one type of question in every 2 to 3 days, you can easily go through all types of sets/variants/questions in both DI and LR within 45 days.
How To Prepare For CAT In 90 Days - Verbal Ability - Reading Comprehension (VA-RC)
Verbal Ability can be divided into three broad areas viz., Vocabulary, Grammar, and Verbal Reasoning.
There is no way you can learn a hundred words in a day consistently. Ideally, learning about 5 to 10 new words a day (every day for the next 100 day) will help you get richer in vocab by 500 to 1000 words. In addition, you can improve vocabulary by revising the words that appear in the Mock tests Since the words that are given in CAT are the words normally in vogue, it is very likely that by going through the Mock Tests and Sectional tests, you would come across almost all words that may appear on the exam.
Grammar is a habit. The more you read the better your comfort zone in Grammar. There is no other way but to practice as many questions that come your way and keep reading. It looks like a simplistic way of preparation, but this is the only way. There could be hundreds of grammar rules and try to remember them would be futile.
For Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, getting familiar with the type of questions and paragraphs is the key. Make sure that you spend at least half-hour every day on this area so that you are either taking a slip test or reviewing one.
Reading the editorials of the Newspaper(s) is and continues to be a very good way to improve comprehension. Do not stop that ever!
If you want to score 99+ percentile in the VA-RC section of CAT, here's a solid test-taking strategy by a CAT 2018 VA-RC 99.3 percentiler.
The next 30 days after the first round of preparation are very critical for your preparation. Those aspirants who are working should understand that this is the most important phase of your prep. It is better to take leave from office at this juncture (in September maybe) than taking leave in the last few days before CAT.
By the end of September, you should have finished learning all the concepts. The month of October should be used to solve as many exercises in all the areas/topics as possible. Confidence builds up if you find that you can solve almost every problem that you see. October should also be used for a complete revision of all areas/topics that you have already done in the previous month.
Apart from the prep part, you need to continuously take Mock CATs. Analysing the Mock CAT and making corrections for the next one is an important part of your overall preparation.
Here is a complete guide to mock test analysis by CAT 99.9 percentilers, and CAT experts!
Final Slog - The Last 15-30 Days
The last 30 days require you to finalise your strategy of attempting the CAT Paper and iron out the issues that you are facing while taking the mocks.
Common Mistakes To Avoid During Your CAT Preparation
Typically, issues that make one falter are:
- Inability to solve the first few questions correctly, making one nervous.
- Taking more time to solve a question than required.
- Getting stuck in a question/set that you know and being unmindful of the time.
- Ego hassles of letting a question go!
- Taking too much time to decide on an RC/Vocab question.
- Not sticking to basic time limits within a section (e.g.: the division of time between VA and RC or DI and LR)
- RE-CHECKING/RE-CALCULATING an answer (especially when you have cracked it in the first minute and are flabbergasted to find such an easy question in CAT!)
If you're struggling to remain motivated after consistently under-performing in mock tests, this is what you need to read right now!
Since CAT is a Computer Based Test (CBT), it is useful to get comfortable with the mouse (clicks!). Reading on a computer instead of on a paper should become a habit and utilizing this time for the same is advised.
In addition, the most important part of any competitive exam is the strategy you adopt. Given enough time, you will realize that you can always solve almost all the problems. The fact the same has to be done within a time limit and that too make as few mistakes as possible makes the task onerous and challenging.
Last Word of Advice
Every student, whether he is a BE, B.Tech, B.Com, BA, BMS, BBA or MBBS can become a Manager. Hence any exam that tries to test all these has to be at a level, which is comfortable to all the students with these degrees. The only common level that these students have is at the 10th Std Level. Hence, the CAT and other such exams test aptitude at that level. Each one of you is capable of getting there if you prepare systematically. There is enough time to revisit your school level math and aptitude.
Start now; you can make it!
All the best!