How To Prepare For CAT – An IIM Student’s Perspective

My journey to get into a top b-school of the country began in the summer of 2015. Even though I was very much sure of my decision to go for an MBA after my graduation, there was always a doubt in my mind whether I will be able to make it through the CAT. The reason for my apprehension was that since my childhood I had always dreaded Maths and in an exam like CAT where you are constantly under the pressure of time while solving the questions, it takes the difficulty level to the next step.

But despite all my doubts, I decided to give my best. However, I realised it in the middle of the preparation that it is easier said than done. There were a lot of moments during my preparation when I felt like giving up. The reason was my constantly dismal performance in mock tests. But the fact of the matter is that one should never get disappointed with the result of the mock tests. They are just a simulation of the CAT and not the real exam. So, they should be taken in the right spirit. One should try to find out his weaknesses and work on them.

One thing that a CAT aspirant needs to understand is that CAT is a relative exam. Instead of being an exam of one’s knowledge, it is more about finding the right strategy and managing the time well. I started to analyse the mock tests and tried to find out the reasons for my poor performance in the quant and LR-DI section. One of the reasons that I discovered for this poor performance was the failure to choose the right questions which ultimately slowed my speed, especially in the quant section. The only solution to this problem was to practice more as it is only by solving a variety of questions that I was ultimately able to identify my strengths and spend my time on the right ones.

Even though I have always liked reading newspapers, while my preparation I started to spend more time on the editorial section and made sure that I read opinion pieces from various domains. It helped me in the reading comprehension part of the verbal section. Moreover, it also helped me in the preparation for the interviews as I was able to form my own thoughts about the various issues.

The one advice that I would like to share with all the aspirants is to never lose hope during the course of preparation. Moreover, you should always remember that even after getting into your dream b-school, the war does not end there. It is a long road ahead and you will always have to keep yourself motivated. I can tell you from my own experience that even after having made it to my dream b-school, I am pushed to my limits almost on a daily basis. But at the same time, the learning is immense and the truth is it is what MBA is about. People might advocate hard-work, but I can assure you that being consistent would land you into a top b-school and take you forward in life. So just stay calm and give your best in CAT 2017.

Himank Agrawal

Office Bearer at Public Relations Cell, Indian Institute of Management, Shillong. Completed B.Com (Hons) from Ramjas College, Delhi University.