Take the road and path will be formed!
A year back, I chose the road to do an MBA. I was clueless about what hurdles will come my way and how I’ll sail through them. But today, looking back, all I can say is we can sail through every challenge only when we see them as an ‘opportunity to succeed’ than as a ‘chance to fail.’
Preparing for the CAT exam, that too, for the first time, was no cakewalk for me. Starting the preparation months before the CAT, my primary objective was to brush up the basics such as Quant formulae, grammar rules, calculation shortcuts, as early as possible. The second and most useful part in CAT preparation was giving Mock tests and doing a detailed analysis of each mock. Mock tests helped me apply different strategies to approach different sections and thereby analyzing which worked best for me to improve my sectional and overall performance. The strategy may include the type of question selection, order of answering the questions, time limit for different questions, topic-wise selection of questions, etc. I daily analyzed whether, with the strategy, I was able to increase my no. of attempts, score, accuracy, and percentile as compared to the previous mocks.
Also, in each mock, I compared the difficulty level of each section like VARC, DILR, and QUANT with the other mocks such that I could have a clear understanding between a difficult, moderate and an easy paper and kept track of my performance in terms of the number of attempts, timing and accuracy accordingly. This practice helped me during the last one month before the CAT exam when I tried and stuck to one particular strategy that had best worked out for me in the previous mocks as per the difficulty level of the mock.
After every mock, I solved all the wrong and unattempted questions and formed a bank of those, which I revisited during one month before the exam. While Analysing every mock, I recognized areas or sections where my strengths and weakness were. This way I was able to strengthen my strong suits and improve my weak areas.
For the Quant section, I made sure that besides keeping a strong hold on basics, I solved as many varieties of questions as possible on a particular concept. ‘Solving with Speed,’ which comes with Practice is the key to ace the Quant section.
For the DILR section, I tried and solved different sets and re-solved some of the difficult ones during the last days before the exam. For the Data Interpretation section, quick calculations techniques helped me a lot.
For VARC sections, Grammar and reading speed are important touchpoints. In this section, since the options are close, it is important to understand the rationale and reasoning behind selecting a particular option.
Besides preparation and practice, one of the most important things that come in handy while giving the CAT exam is your calmness and ease with which you handle stress during the exam. So, during the last few days before the exams, I picked an activity/hobby that I like and devoted some time to it, which acted as a stress buster for me and helped in improving my concentration level.
And yes, as I said in the beginning, choose the road you wish to walk upon, and you’ll find the path all by yourself.
Best Wishes for the CAT Exam!
Shruti Agarwal is a PGP 2019-21 student at the Indian Institute of Management Nagpur. Prior to joining IIM-Nagpur, she worked as a Web Application Engineer with Reontek IT Systems and is a Certified Android Developer and Digital Marketing Specialist. A Computer Science Engineering Graduate from College Of Engineering Roorkee, she is a keen Photographer, Writer, and Reader.