Is there any effortless way to Bell the CAT?
If you believe that any hacks or tricks exist to Bell the CAT then my friend you are just like Jon Snow (You know nothing). It is a combination of both smart and hard work. Imagine VIRUS's words from 3 idiots, "Every year more than 2.4 lakhs students attempt CAT and only a few of them are selected into premier B-schools of India and the CAT preparation is not a sprint, it is a marathon."
For many, this preparation journey starts from attempting one trial mock or previous year CAT, which eventually helps you know about your weaknesses and strengths and then pay more attention to your weak areas. This should be the optimal thing to do. So this journey should be divided into two parts; pre-CAT and post-CAT. In pre-CAT, your strategy should be to focus not just on Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning, and Quantitative Analysis but also on preparation for Personal Interview (PI), Group Discussion (GD), and Writing Ability Test (WAT).
But why GD, PI, and WAT preparation before?
The reason being, many aspirants, believe that attempting CAT is the end of the selection process, but attempting the CAT is just a part of this marathon. Even if you have scored significant enough to get calls from Tier 1 & Tier 2 B-schools, you still can't ensure your conversion in those B-schools as the interviewer will not judge you just on your CAT performance but also on how you perform in GDs, WATs, and PIs. GD and PI are the measuring scales on which interviewers try to judge your personality. Personality is a combination of a person's behavior, attitude, emotions, and cognitive (i.e., thinking) abilities, and you can't change your personality. Post-CAT, you have minimal time to prepare for the next stage, so you try to write answers for hygiene questions that might be asked in an interview in a haphazard manner, the reason being you haven't given a thought about what and who you are. To know and write about yourself, you need some time, and that time you can manage during the pre-CAT stage. If you face any problem to answer hygiene questions, try to do SWOT and personality analysis. This will not only help you find your known areas but also the blind ones.
Just spend an hour daily reading newspapers and articles on diverse topics like politics, philosophy, economics, business, etc. and make a list of all recent happenings. This will add different perspectives and views to your knowledge base. This will not only prepare you for GDs and WATs but also for VARC. Follow InsideIIM for excellent content on recent happenings. In addition, spend an hour on weekly-basis on answering hygiene questions. So you have to prepare parallelly, and you will realize this how much this has helped you during the GD-PI-WAT process.
Dilemma: Which approach to follow while attempting CAT?
Now coming to the aptitude part, many will tell you to follow the X or Y approach only. But one approach to attempt CAT may not do wonders for you, so instead of sticking to one approach, try multiple approaches by attempting mocks and see which one is suitable to you and help you in scoring more on the D-Day. Just start with the basics and then jump on to the mock tests.
- Attempt at least 25 mocks. Choose any two of IQuanta/ TIME/ IMS/ CL. Mocks of these coaching institutes are very much similar to CAT.
- Attempting 3 hrs mocks is just the half-time of a football match. Analyzing and attempting the wrong and unanswered questions is the other half and is the most important one.
- Don't get demotivated after scoring low marks in mock.
- Don't overspend your time on one concept and question.
- While attempting mocks, try to go through all the questions because you may find easy questions in the last of the section.
- For QA, create a list of formulas as many questions in CAT is just formula based. QA Important topics to look for Algebra, Numbers, Arithmetic, Geometry, P&C, Probability, Set Theory, Mensuration and Trigonometry, Logarithms
- For VARC, make a list of new words or can follow Word Power Made Easy. This will also ease your load for IIFT, SNAP, and XAT preparation. For increasing the reading and comprehensibility speed, try to write summaries of the RC articles. This will also help you in retaining the content too.
- For the LRDI section, practice, practice, and practice.
- There are many CAT preparation groups on Facebook and Telegram. Those groups will help you connect with many CAT aspirants and coaching faculties, and they will help you solve your posted queries.
Now for the post-CAT, go through all your hygiene questions, academics if you are a fresher, General Knowledge, and list of notes on recent happenings. Give practice mock PIs and GDs, this will help you analyze your pain points and work on those.
I believe the above-mentioned points will help you bell the cat and help you in getting into your dream B-school.