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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tips to crack CAT examination

When I started to prepare for CAT 2008, there were no books which completely explain the steps to be followed to crack the damn CAT (Common Admission Test) conducted by one of the IIMs in India to get into the prestigious IIMs. Anyway I was successful in finding out a book but that didn't satisfy my apetite. Now, I have decided to share some useful points that I learned when I was preparing for CAT. This will surely help lakhs of aspirants who dream of getting through the exam, which is considered to be the toughest.

People, mostly students, think that CAT is the most toughest exam in India and it is not possible for avarage people to get into IIMs or other top B-schools. Even I was thinking this when I started to prepare but I found that It is quite wrong. Anyone who has the fire in him to crack it would eventually do it. Ok, Now I would be explaining you about how to prepare each and every section of the test, how to take exams and some good strategies to follow.


If you ask me, when should I start to prepare for the exam, I would say 1 year before the exam. But If you start before 3 or 4 months, then also you don't need to worry. The only thing is you need more practice than your friends who started long back. For people who start before 2 or 3 years I would recommend them not to learn things from exam perspective. Just learn just like that. Read novels,newspaper, magazines, casually without having the preparation attitude. Try to improve your english because, logical resoning and quants can be prepared and learnt soon but english has to be developed gradually. Go for vocabulary books like, "Word Power", "All about words" etc, and grammar books like wren and martin. Improve your vocabulary throught contextual reading. Don't just memorise 300 to 400 words. This will never help you. Read for facts and by the way learn words and don't do the reverse.

People who have one year to 6 months for the exam can start to prepare section wise. Give more importance to the section which you lag behind. If you find difficulty in all the sections, you have to work hard. GIve equal importance to all the sections and work on each section in alternative weeks or even alternate days. It's upto you to decide.

Start with basics and be thorough with all the concepts. Without the basic tools you cannot work on a problem. So, make sure that you are thorough with your formulas, grammar and other stuff. Then start to practise, practise and practise. The more you are exposed to problems, the more likely you will get through the CAT exam. Take full length question papers for test. Sit and take test similar to a CAT environment. Remember, you should review your answers and analyse each and every mistake you did. This is the most important activity that most of us forget to do. This is where you can make yourself different from others.
Lot of people ask a question, "Do I need a coaching centre for preparation?". Answer depends on the type of person. If you are energetic and have an out-of-box strategy to work out your plans then you don't need a coaching centre. But, if you need someone to guide you then it is always recommended to enroll yourself. Ok, now let us see how to work on each section.


The quantitative aptitude section has a lot to learn since it covers a wide variety of topics. But, if you look deep, they are just simple mathematical calculations based on common sense and logic. While working on the quants section, keep in mind that, you should try to solve the problem logically or through common sense without calculations. If it doesn't work then go for calculations. This would save you a lot of time and make you stand out of others. One more point is you should always avoid your pen and paper, which means you should calculate in your mind rather than writing down. If not 100%, try for atleast 70%. Concentrate more on number systems, geometry and progressions. Your questions will mostly stick on to numbers.I recommend Arun Sharma's quantitative aps book. It is an amazing book.


Reasoning and data sufficiency don't need much preparation but more practice is necessary. It deals with the common problems that you face in your day-to-day life like cricket matches, going to theatre with your frineds, etc. In this section, data interpretaion is most important. If you concentrate on that and practce well, you will crack this section.


This is the nightmare for most of the students who appear for CAT. But is is quite easy to crack. You need to get 40% in each section to crack the CAT. So, concentrate more on reading comprehension and some vocabulary part. This will help you in cracking this section. In reading comprehension, you need to read between lines. Your reading should not just scan through the lines but should be able to understand what the author wants to express. I urge you to read 'The Hindu' editorial page daily to improve yourself in this section. And remember, while reading, instead of reading word by word, read phrase by phrase which would increase your reading speed. I also recommend you to subscribe to 'word of the day'. They send you a standard word daily and its perfect usage. This will really help you in your vocabulary part and contextual usage part.


To crack CAT, you need to clear the sectional cut off and also overall cut off. So, it is mandatory that you need to perfom equally well in all the three sections. Allot time accordingly. Allot more time to your weaker sections. Generally, i would recommend to allot more time to DI section since it involves a lot of calculations. First attend the section in which you are strong as this will not only help you in time constraints but also increase your confidence level. If you don't have idea about a question, just move on. Attend the questions which are familiar to you. The tactics is to find out the easy questions among the set of questions and grab the marks easily in a short time. This comes only by practice. The common mistake that students do is failing to read all the questions. Never evr do that. The easy questions might be hiding at the last and you would be deceived.

Practice, practice, practice is all what I want you to do. After each practice, make sure you have corrected atleast a mistake and tuned yourself to perfection. Don't aim for a college or percentile, just concentrate and do the best in your CAT exam and you will reap the benefits. Apart from all these, the only thing that would take you to an IIM is CONFIDENCE. Don't lose your confidence. Be cool always. When you are tensed the solution will not be visible. It will be hidden behind the questions that you see but your tensed mind would block you from seeing that. This is the essence of idea I got from my experience. Read a self motivating article now
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