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Not prepared for CAT? Not to worry!
Trina Mukherjee |
October 06, 2004
here are just six-odd weeks to go before the Common Admission Test on November 21.
You have not gone too far with your preparation.
Assuming you have filled your CAT form and plan to sit for it come what may, here is a checklist from those who can help you do it.
Begin with a reality check. With only 45 odd days of studies, you are at a disadvantage since you will be matching your wits with those steadfastly studious fellas who have been at it for over six months, if not a year.
If you have not been practising your mathematics or mugging your word list and attempting your data interpretation regularly, you have to do all that and more by way of solving timebound mock tests and devising strategies to make optimum use of your skills and speed.
Practice, practice and more practice -- that's your magic mantra. Preeti Ravishankar, director of Career Forum (Mumbai), which provides training programmes for various entrance examinations, reiterates, "There's no substitute for perseverance and regular learning."
Fix your daily schedule, allocate a fixed number of hours for each segment and get started.
BACK TO BASICS
CAT is really a test about your basic fundas.
"It is also about your ability to apply and co-relate them," adds Ravishankar.
Once you get your basics clear, lateral thinking is the next step to success.
So brush up on your spellings, brush up your BODMAS (Brackets, Order, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction), relearn your theorems and equations and apply them in more ways than one.
GET CRACKING: The more you swot, the more you improve. Data Interpretation involves a wide volume of data and graphs. The more you study and handle them, the clearer they get.
Do learn your word list for English. Look for comprehension passages that deal with subjects and issues beyond your reading preference. If you are a fiction lover, try attempting non-fiction passages on scientific discoveries, theories and philosophy.
Deepak Makhija, a counsellor from Space Online Technologies, an online counselling company for MBA aspirants, says, "I would stress on comprehension passages instead of word lists. The more you attempt the passages, the easier they get, and that added confidence minimises chances of negative marking."
Try reading the smaller editorials in the edit pages of newspapers and recalling the main points. Check your speed.
You should be able to get it done in five minutes.
Logic section is a grey area for many. Only repeated practice within a time limit coupled with your gut instinct can help you there.
WATCH THE CLOCK
Speed plays a key role in your overall performance. Nothing gets done without a time frame.
"Remember, you will not get more than 30 to 45 seconds to answer each question. So try to answer them serially. Don't go back and waste precious seconds. Take a calculated risk and attempt answers to questions that you are half-sure of rather than trying to figure them out later," suggests Makhija.
This works best for the Logic section, where timing and accuracy are crucial.
"You are trying to do something in two months that others have been doing for six months and more," says Sameer Bagul, centre manager, Institute of Management Studies, which provides management entrance training.
"Devise strategies in all areas. Select your core area of skill and select the questions. Five short questions in 10 minutes are better than attempting three long questions in 10 minutes. Know your strengths and weaknesses," Bagul adds.
Says Manish Salian, academic head, Career Launcher, western region, "Rather than blindly working towards increasing your score, try to attack specific areas. Decide on one area every week that you will work on [in order of priority], and try to convert it into an area of strength. Even a three-four mark improvement every week can make a world of difference to your actual CAT score."
Move on to mock tests only after you are reasonably sure of your basic fundas and have improved your speed.
Adds Salian, "Taking 25 to 30 of these tests will not help if they are not analysed properly."
What is important is not 'how many,' but 'how' you take these tests.
After every test, do a thorough analysis.
It is quite useless solving mock tests for hours or doing too many of them (you need to solve at least 10-15in two months) when you could use that time fruitfully to develop your core areas and increase your speed.
Once you are reasonably confident, attempt them and finish them on time.
The last week before CAT is crucial in terms of your mental preparedness on D-Day.
Do not exert yourself too much during this week.
Spend no more than two or three hours per day on CAT preparation.
Try to relax as much as possible. Losing sleep and your nerves at the last moment won't really help as it is a mental game, after all!
Give your best.
Even if you fail to clear your CAT, you know where you stand this year. Here are some options ahead of you:
a. You are reasonably well equipped for CAT next year.
b. You can now prepare and sit for all the other major exams that follow -- like the XLRI Admission Test, Faculty of Management Studies Test, Common Entrance Test and so on.
Don't limit your options. Plan ahead.
- Identify your core area(s).
- Learn your word list and refresh your basic mathematics.
- Focus on accuracy. Speed will follow.
- Make a note of your mistakes after you attempt to solve a paper. Refer to them before sitting down to solve the next.
- Be aware of your biological clock and put in more hours when you are at your best.
Some information you could use
Phones: (022) 26207213, 26204509,22833533, 22839675
Web site: www.cflogic.com
Phones: (022) 24164997, 24181217, 22063279, 22066248
Web site: www.careerlauncher.com
Institute of Management Studies
Phones: (022) 26007242, 26056726, 26465778, 4942855, 24953439/4637
Web site: www.imsindia.com
Space Online Technologies
Phone: (022) 26202115