It's a test of attitude, not aptitude.
IIT Mandi Computer Science Graduate. Good at maths. Bad in English. Working professional. Started prep in mid May 2019
Laying the Foundation: MOCKS
I cannot emphasis how important mocks are in CAT preparation ( or rather complete preparation is mocks itself! ). In any single test-series ( say AIMCAT ), one section is generally tough ( DILR ) throughout the season. So pick two test-series with a past record of two different tough sections. It will prepare you for the worst case that can happen on D-day ( worst cases do happen, see CAT '19 VARC section )
Start giving mocks right away, don't wait for your syllabus to complete! Plus, do not miss ANY mock from now! It's a sin!
Most importantly, analyze your mocks. Yes, it's called ANALYZING for a reason, and not SOLVING all questions. Ofcourse, you should solve each and every single question after you give your mock; just add a pinch of analytics to it! Things to seriously look out for :
1. Silly mistakes. Be wary of this, and reduce it every subsequent mock.
2. Easy questions left out. My friend, why did you do that? These were freebies!
3. Tough questions given too much attention. Leave that tough nut for another day. Put your ego aside, and carefully manage your time
Your current score will increase 15-25% with 0 extra knowledge if you take care of these 3 points!
To do: Mocks, sectional tests, read, read, read... you get the idea!
Not to do: Learning synonyms, antonyms, Norman Lewis, etc. Don't please.
To do: Mocks, sectional tests, previous year AIMCATs ( best ), TIME booklet on DILR ( good starting point )
Not to do: doing a similar type of easy questions, again and again, watching random videos of DILR on YT.
To do: Mocks, sectional tests, TIME booklet on QA ( best )
Not to do: Learning super weird, super question specific formulas. Stick to basics mate!
Some more gyaan :
1. Set a target. What percentile are you targeting on D-day? If you aim for 99, you won't get anything above 99. It's that simple. Work towards that goal now.
2. Do your prep work + mock analysis on weekdays, mock tests + some more prep on weekends
3. Complete your syllabus by mid-August. Ninja mode post-mid-August. Mocks, mocks and mocks!
Try to achieve the nirvana graph :
People put too much work on the blue line, and completely ignore the orange one. But, orange will be the one which differentiates you from the rest of the crowd.
Back to Mocks
Acing a mock is an art ( why am I so obsessed with mocks? ). And like any art, it's subjective. Following were my strategies (yours can and should be different based on your preferences and style ) :
1. VARC: RC in the first 40 minutes. VA in the next 20 minutes
2. DILR: Scan whole section in the first 6-8 minutes. Target 4-5 sets in next 50 odd minutes
3. QA: Go linear. Complete paper from 1st to 34th question. Try to do it in 48-50 minutes. Come back to marked questions in the last 10 minutes
Again, this was my strategy which worked for me. QA was my strong suit, so it was manageable for me to go through the whole paper in 50 minutes. VARC was a weak one ( started with 40 percentile here, and knocked 99.7 on D-day. Ha! That felt good). So VARC needed utmost patience and discipline ( and loads of analysis ). Conclusion: Don't try someone else's clothes, create your own fit!
Q. What mock series did you take?
A : AIMCAT by TIME ( good QA, great DILR) + SIMCAT by IMS ( good VARC )
Q. How many mocks did you take throughout your prep?
Q. Should I read the newspaper ?
A: If you like to read a newspaper, go for it. If you don't, then you can fall in 2 categories :
1. Comfortable with reading? Avoid reading newspaper
2. Not comfortable? Pick one NOW!! ( probably start with an easier one like Indian Express, then move to Hindu after couple of weeks )
DO NOT read the newspaper for GK. GK and HR questions for PI are easily manageable after CAT. Don't sweat it now!
Q. Should I join classroom programme?
A: If you are motivated enough for the long haul, you don't need a classroom programme. If you feel you need a constant environment to be pushed and motivated, join classroom programme. In CAT, coaching institutes can't feed you protein-rich formulas which will take care of everything, because there aren't any!. This is not JEE. Stop that FOMO, you are not missing out on anything.
Lastly, be patient, consistent and try to have fun. Enjoy the struggle. And surely, we will meet on the other side :)
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