Firstly I’ll begin with a myth buster. Most people think that CAT quants is only for engineers. This isn’t true at all. Agreed that it is a tough nut to crack but it is certainly possible to do so provided that you stick to a dedicated and structured approach.
I have broken down the preparation that you need to do in 3 sequential phases which, if followed faithfully will get you the perfect 99 you need!
Prep Phase: Just like a company, which conducts a thorough analysis before any new venture, you too will have to conduct a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats). You can do that by taking a Diagnostic Test on day 1 of your preparation. This test will help you understand the areas that you are already good at, the areas which you can improve upon substantially and areas that need a lot of preparation. A lot of people miss out on this diagnostic stage, which I believe is one of the most crucial steps towards achieving a perfect 99.
Post this analysis, dedicate a sufficient amount of time to each section. The key here is to work on the weaknesses without ignoring your strengths. The CAT quants section is divided into multiple sub-sections which include Geometry, Arithmetic, Modern Math, Algebra and Number System. I was good at Arithmetic and Number system but pretty weak in Geometry and Algebra. So, every day I dedicated 1 hour each to algebra and geometry and 30 mins each to number system, arithmetic and modern math.
Remember to keep an Activity Log for each question you solve. This log will contain a list of all the mistakes you committed from day one until the last day of your preparation. This book proves to be a saviour in the final few days of preparation.
Start by solving very low-level questions, this is important because a lot of people due to curiosity try CAT questions right from the first day and then ultimately get discouraged. The right approach is to go step by step and start with a low level of difficulty and apply what you learnt from it to the next level of difficulty. Don’t rush.
Keep a formula book as well. Cracking the test is all about applying the right formula at the right place. CAT quants have at least 15 formulas per chapter.
Dedicate at least 3 months (Comfortable with quants) or 6 months (Not comfortable with quants) for the initial phase. Post that start taking mocks.
Mock Phase: Post your initial prep time immediately start taking mocks, irrespective of whether you have completed the portion or no. This is important because CAT is not about how much you study, but how well you study it. A lot of questions can be solved by adopting a totally different strategy altogether. You will get the hang of it once you start taking Mocks. Mocks will help you understand how effectively you are able to manage the time that is allotted for each section. Don’t waste a lot of time on tough ones and solve the easy ones first.
Refining Your Approach to the Mock: After you have solved enough mocks, you need to get better at how you approach the paper. Quickly browse through all the questions before you start solving. Classify them as tough, moderate and easy. Go for the easy ones first then moderate and then tough. This will not only help you manage time effectively but also boost your morale, right from the start. Don’t spend more than 2 min on any question. Post every mock, spend at least two days to analyze your performance. This will help you understand what went wrong. Don’t be disheartened by a low score and don’t be complacent about getting a high score. Have a modest approach towards every phase of the preparation. Stop solving mocks 2 days before your exams and simply go through your formula book and the logbook that you have been working on. Keep your mind relaxed and calm. Above all, believe in yourself throughout the journey. You’ll ultimately crack it.
About the Contributor: Vishvesh Nerurkar is a student of SDA Bocconi Asia Center. Having completed his B.Com. from Mithibai College, specialising in Finance, he wishes to pursue Marketing as a domain ahead. He is an active participant in various intercollegiate competitions and fests.