Every year, close to 200,000 students take the CAT. Assuming that you aspire to make it to the top 10 B-schools of the country, you are fighting for 4,000 seats – that is ~2%. Undeniably, there is pressure.

But I am sure you have been preparing all this while. If not, there is still some time. To be frank, there is no full-proof strategy for acing the CAT and different methods work for different people, but there are a few generic tips which may help. I will also try to focus on the finer things which I did apart from studies

Take mocks

As clichéd as it may sound, it helps. Take at least 3 mock tests every week. You can choose from any of the reputed test series available. Finish the test in one go, and spend time doing a detailed analysis – what worked for you and what you need to improve on. I would suggest going through all the solutions, irrespective of whether you got it right or wrong. If you got it right, you may learn a different way of solving the problem. If you didn’t get it right, read the concepts related to the solution and solve 4-5 sums to strengthen that concept. This way, you will also end up revising all concepts through your mocks.

Take sectional tests

If you feel that you are particularly weak in an area, take sectional tests after going through the concepts.

Group study

If you believe discussing helps you get things quicker, do discuss your mock test solutions with like-minded people. Some people work better when alone, whereas some find motivation in a group.


Finer things:

Handling pressure

I have seen brilliant people perform below their potential because they let the pressure of the exam get to them, despite being decently well-prepared. That’s the last thing that you would want to happen to you after months of hard work and preparation. There is a simple strategy I followed – think about what is the worst that can happen, maybe you don’t score as well as you expected to. However, you still have that job in hand! If not, you are anyways in your early twenties – you can always get another job and come back stronger next year. The moment you understand that CAT is not the final word, you take pressure off yourself. But be careful of not getting complacent using this approach, there is a fine line.

Manage your time well

Use time well in these coming weeks. I managed with a 15 hour consulting job all throughout, and can definitely tell you that it is possible. If you are unable to study much on the weekdays, make sure you work hard on the weekends. Take a week off before CAT if possible, it helps you prepare better.

Condition your mind and body

Get comfortable with the timings, try and schedule your mocks around the time you have your actual CAT. This helps you get into a routine, and your brain will be at its liveliest during those 3 hours. If you are nervous about the final day, visit the center and have a look at the surroundings, a sense of familiarity should make it easier.

And last but not the least, remember that CAT is just the tip of the iceberg. The real struggle begins once you make it to the gates of these hallowed institutes.

All the best and hope to see a few of you as PGP1 here next year! 🙂




About the Author:

Ameya Kalamkar

Ameya Kalamkar is a first-year student at SPJIMR, specialising in Marketing after scoring 98.69 percentile in the CAT exam. He has 2 years of work experience with a consulting firm prior to this.