Gearing Up For CAT’18 – Tips From An IIM Lucknow Student

Hello Aspirants!

The time of the season is back which requires concentrated and consistent efforts so that one does not fall back on the final day. Witnessing the heat of the moment, and also considering the calls I have got from a few aspirants, I will be proposing my plan to approach CAT’18 from here. It will target different cohorts of aspirants I have come across. Even, I had followed almost the same plans (though, I screwed up bad!). But again, I know people who have landed in the top b-schools across the country following the same routine.

It is not difficult, to be honest. Consistency is the key. Following points can be taken care of –

  • Yes/No to CAT’18 (or any year of CAT) – This is the first question I ask the aspirants to ask themselves. Do they really want to do an MBA, or is it just the name game? Most aspirants put in their days and nights for cracking that single paper, and when asked in the interviews – ‘Why MBA?’, they give mugged up answers. Results – negative! Ask yourself, people, whether MBA is that one of the million things you want to do. You will get answers for yourself if you are really into it. Walking with the crowd is futile. In the end, each one jumps off from the precipice.
    Freshers want to do MBA because they think it will earn them more money. Work-ex people want to do MBA because it will help them change careers (again, not everyone thinks the same way!). Guys please, there are other options available to either earn more money or finding different prospects for your career. Think again; it is not that difficult to choose.
    Also, whether giving CAT’18 is really worth it? The reason why I am saying this is because a lot of aspirants have not even started preparing for the paper this year. So, why not prepare for CAT’19? You can always give CAT this year and get the taste of it. This strategy will not apply to aspirants who have 4+ years of work experience. In that case, my heartiest apologies to you sir/ma’am. You are too late. I am not de-motivating anybody here. I am stating my perspective. Obviously, if you have given CAT before, picking up the initial preparation from here should not be much of a pain.


  • Preparation – July is already here! At this point of time, a significant lot must have already wrapped up their learning the concept phase (obviously, read this point, if you have come out of comprehending my take on point 1). Even if you are lagging behind, there is still time. You can still pick up. But make sure that you are done with learning the concepts and practising innumerable questions.
  • Sectional Tests –These tests are something I will suggest giving until the final paper is here. You will get an enormous catalogue online and solve them is definitely a plus point. I will suggest solving at least one set of Quant every day. Speed matters here, but not more than accuracy. You need to have that correct blend. For, VARC and LRDI, a sectional test an alternative day will be good. But again, make sure the number of sectional tests you give increase when you approach September. Some might think that at this pace, the catalogue of questions will get over. A suggestion – solve the same sets again! Doing that for LRDI will definitely help. Remember that you need to have a knack for most of the questions you face in Quant. Experimenting with new techniques in the final paper is inappreciable. You are not a scientist!
  • Mocks –At this point in time, I hope you all are giving at least one mock every week. If not, please do that. Mocks will give you an idea as to how to allocate time, and act. If you are not done with your syllabus yet, opt for sectional tests. After July ends, the frequency should increase to at least 2-3 mocks/week. There isn’t any escape.
  • Interviews –For the mental peace of yourself, please forget as of now that there is anything called GD or PI after CAT. I mean why will you do that! People read answers on Quora as to how difficult the interviews are. They might be or might not. But, why you have to think about it right now! Things will fall in place. You will have ample time to prepare for the subsequent rounds. The maximum you can do is simultaneously build your general knowledge or opt for some courses if time permits.

So yeah, that is how I will suggest tackling the situations. Some of you might find it stupid! I too might have shared that feeling had I read the article two years back. But, my perspectives have changed now. If you are willing to for the MBA, make sure you take CAT seriously. Make the right moves so that you are not left behind. As I have mentioned in my previous articles, your hard work is a vector quantity! The direction is significant in addition to the magnitude.

It is always about choices, folks! Think and choose wisely! Good luck.

Devanshu .

Devanshu is currently pursuing his MBA from IIM Lucknow.