Five Last – Moment Tips For CAT 2016 – Arkaprabha Sanyal, 99.44%ile In CAT 2015 – IIM Udaipur

Hello Future MBAs,

This post is for you! Yes you, hunched over your reading table desperately trying to figure out if Q is P’s aunt or R’s brother or grappling to memorise the synonym of “abnegation” or “legerdemain” and at the worst case wondering at why that fly, that particularly irritating fly, decided to play Kabbadi between two running trains – and all this with a constant keen eye on the table clock and a nagging feeling at the back of your mind that says – “Time is running out”! Trust me, we have all been there.

The last week before CAT is particularly mind-numbing, the preparation for the final frontier where all those Mocks would count for nothing. I know that you are possibly going through the most nerve-wracking experience that you have encountered yet in your lives. So here’s five easy tips to help you out with less than a week to go for the exam –

1.   I am sure you have heard it a thousand times before but even at the risk of sounding repetitive I cannot but reaffirm the importance of the basics. Formulas, are deceitful creatures. They seem friendly at first, ‘easy pickings’ you would tell yourself but right on the day of the exam, as the digital clock silently moves on, many a times, you will be left to wonder if there was a plus or a minus at the denominator! If you haven’t made it yet – MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE IMPORTANT FORMULAS. Go through it at least once a day for the next five days. It alone won’t make you a master at quant, but it will certainly help to minimise those silly mistakes. And when it comes to CAT, one small mistake can end up being the ultimate distance between you and your dream college.

2.  Rather than solving full-length papers or mocks, try and solve short quizzes or papers especially on topics that you are weak in. Follow the 3:1 policy – devote 3/4th of your total available preparation time to the topics that require brushing up and the remaining 1/4th to your core areas of strength to make them shine even brighter. Time-bound targeted practice goes a long way in making a difference in the final few days before CAT. Practice intensively and without a break during that particular time of the day coinciding with your exam. This prepares your mind and body in the best possible way.

3.   Please don’t try and memorise the dictionary. Contrary to popular belief, it never really helps in the long run. Instead search the net for the most common “root” words in English and try to match the meanings of known words etymologically. In case you have already done that and boast an enviable vocabulary, or an ‘eximious and prestantious lexicon’ if you may, there is no end to perfection. The best bet is to search words of non-Anglo origin and identify a few recurrent root words. There is not much of a need to deep dive into it though – it’s only CAT and not the SpellBee and you can use that additional time better.

4.    Speaking of time, don’t try to desperately increase the speed at which you solve problems at this fag end. It will only lead to a dip in your accuracy. Practice at the speed in which you are comfortable with. Speed is indeed important but not at the cost of efficiency. It’s way more feasible to improve your accuracy in a short period of time rather than the speed at which you solve problems. It’s advisable not to learn complex new ‘short-cut’ methods until and unless you are very confident of adapting to them in such a short while.

5.  Sleep! Take adequate rest and get a good night’s sleep especially the night before the exams. Take a break from all the hustle and bustle and relax. Give your mind and brain the well-deserved rest that it desperately needs. It will be in the best possible shape in those three crucial hours – three hours that will go a long way in determining your future.

But then again there is no full-proof method to crack CAT or to prepare for it. People have applied varied strategies and came out with flying colours. There are instances of students without an iota of preparation bagging a 99+ percentile while brilliant students with months of stoic practice returned barehanded. It all boils down to a battle of nerves in that exasperating and intense race-against-time. The points furnished above are from the own meandering experiences of yours truly and a few of his friends who had been successful in ‘belling the CAT’ last time around. You are welcome to follow them. We won’t hold anything against you even if you don’t.

All the very best for CAT 2016!

Carpe Diem!




About the Author:


The author, Arkaprabha Sanyal, is presently a student at IIM Udaipur. He is a B.Sc (Hons.) in Economics from the Presidency University Kolkata. His percentile in CAT 2015 was 99.44.

IIM Udaipur

Indian Institute of Management, Udaipur