CAT Education

Time your prep

Mohammed Yousuf

Mohammed Yousuf   | Photo Credit: Mohammed Yousuf

With just about 50 days left for the exam, your preparation must be tailor-made, keeping in mind the limited time

Over the last decade and more, the MBA has firmly established itself as the Holy Grail that students and executives pursue for the purpose of professional development. A variety of factors have contributed to this, ranging from students’ desire to acquire a functional, multi-disciplinary education to desperation to bullet-proof themselves from the vicissitudes of a depressed economy.

In India, the pre-eminent MBA entrance test is the Common Admission Test (CAT). Every year, over two lakh aspirants try their luck for the 4,000-odd seats in the IIMs as well as the 20,000 odd seats from the top B-Schools. CAT is an aptitude test which assesses the students on functional math, data interpretation, logical reasoning and English. The subject matter is class X/XI level but since the test is the only gateway for the hallowed IIMs, the difficulty level is high.

Getting ready for CAT involves months of learning, relearning and unlearning the basics. The question on every candidate’s mind is how to make the best use of this limited time. In the coming weeks, students should follow the three P’s: Plan, Prepare and Practise.

Divide your time

First, students should identify their weak and strong areas. They should spend nearly six hours a day on exam preparation, with three hours dedicated to the weak areas. For example, if a student is weak in the English section, then he/she should spend three hours a day on it, out of which, about two hours should be dedicated to Reading Comprehension (RC). Again, in this area, he/she should identify the weak topics, say economics, philosophy, and then spend time reading various articles and practise so that he/she becomes familiar with them. In the remaining time allocated for English, the student should learn the rules of grammar and then practise with formats like the odd man out, jumbled sentences, and passage summaries.

In the remaining time allocated for study during the day, students should spend about two hours in the next weak section, say data interpretation (DI) and logical reasoning (LR). They should start practising problems from various topics such as Venn diagrams, arrangements, distribution, and so on, and solve various models with varying difficulty levels. Finally, students should take a sectional test in their strong areas and analyse the results.

Every week, students must take at least one mock CAT paper, after which they should analyse the results thoroughly — where they are making mistakes, what type of mistakes they have committed, and how much time they have spent on a question.

The exposure to various models, with varying difficulty levels, will prove to be the main drivers. The more practice a student puts in, the more questions and question types they are exposed to and hence, better the chance of them coming across some of them in the exam.

If you put in the right effort and preparation, you can still make it.

The writer is Centre Director, T.I.M.E. Chennai.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 4:39:18 PM |

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