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40 days to crack CAT 2006!
More than 1.7 lakh students are expected to appear for the Common Admission Test this year and obviously the outcome of this very important exam will seal fates for the next academic year for many an MBA aspirant.
You may be getting more apprehensive by the minute because D-day -- November 19 -- is approaching fast. So, you have almost six weeks to go and every week theoretically can improve your marks to get you closer to your dream of studying at the prestigious IIMs or in any other top B-School.
We outline a strategy to help you make the best use of the next 40 days to crack CAT.
Make the best use of time
Believe it or not, the next 40 days can make a difference to your preparation and hence the outcome of your exam. The last seven years the CAT paper had three sections and it is reasonable to expect that CAT 2006 may also be a three-section paper. Even if you make one less mistake in each of the three sections, that you have been attempting (in MOCK CATs), then the chance to improve by a net score of four is very much on the cards.
Here we are not talking about doing better preparation or even taking more mocks or for that matter evolving better strategies. JUST by ensuring that you make one less mistake in each of the sections that you are attempting, your score would go up by a significant number and hence a significant percentile.
And, to make it even better, if you make one less mistake in a two-mark question in each of the sections, then the total score would increase by eight marks net. If we look at the last year's scores, it is very interesting to note that with just an increase of four marks the percentile increase is close to five per cent.
A student with an 85 percentile could have easily got 94 percentile by just make three less mistakes in each of the three sections. If the same is so clear and obvious, then spending the next 40 days judiciously can result in an improvement which can increase your chances of making it to the most coveted of MBA schools in the country -- the IIMs.
How many MOCKS should you write?
First, you need to understand the logic of writing the MOCK papers. The MOCK CAT is only a testing tool. A tool which helps you to find out whether your preparation is sufficient and whether the strategy you adopt is giving you dividends.
What is important at this stage is to understand whether you can improve your marks by a significant number for every mock. And for that, there is no substitute but spending enough time on the analysis as well as solving the problems which you have not been able to crack in the exam.
A MOCK CAT plan for the next 5 weeks
i. Since there are five more Sundays left before the actual CAT, you should plan to write one MOCK CAT every Sunday, preferably, at the same time as the CAT exam so that you get habituated to the test timing (10.30 am to 1 pm).
ii. In addition, take one MOCK test at home every week either on a Wednesday or a Thursday. These two days should be dedicated for the MOCK test as well as for a thorough analysis of the paper.
iii. In the last week before the CAT, it is advisable to write two mocks -- one on Tuesday (November 14) and one on Friday (November 17).
Note: If you are a compulsive test taker and feel that you should take one more in the last one week, then let it not be on November 18!
iv. Apart from these test dates all other days should be used for either sample tests or for revision.
v. Since there are only 40 days to CAT, it is futile to spend time on areas in which you are not good in (apart from a few of such topics). The entire focus should be on WHAT YOU KNOW than on what you do not know. CAT is an exam with a syllabus that cannot be mastered even after years of effort, but here we don't need the vast knowledge and hence it is enough if you get as many marks as are required to take you through to the next stage in the selection process.
Part II: Study tips for Quant, DI and Reasoning
-- The author is an alumnus of IIM-Calcutta and director of T.I.M.E, Mumbai.
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