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CAT 2008: Create a 'draft' strategy
Sidharth Balakrishna
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September 09, 2008

With a little over two months to go for CAT 2008, the pressure on B-school aspirants is mounting. Strategising, mock CATs, time management -- each have their own importance and value when it comes to making your CAT attempt meaningful.

To help test-takers, we asked students who have taken the CAT to share their tips and tricks. Here, Sidharth Balakrishna, an MBA from IIM Calcutta and currently working at a global consulting firm in New Delhi [Images], shares how he went about his CAT prep.

Before you begin
Have an overall "draft strategy" in mind. Based on all the practice and mock exams you might have taken, you should have an overall "draft strategy" in place.

You should have arrived at this "draft strategy" through a careful analysis of your performance in practice tests. This will let you know things like:

~ In which section you normally score well.

~ What kinds of questions are you normally able to solve.

~ The areas where you are weak or strong.

This will also cover the following aspects:

Remember, this must remain only a "draft strategy" as no one can predict the actual CAT paper and the CAT exam has a reputation of throwing up surprises. Instead of the expected three sections, the candidate may find himself faced with just two or even four sections. The actual strategy can only be worked out on seeing the paper on the examination day as described below. 

Your "draft strategy" must have been derived from your performance during your practice or mock CAT exams -- what succeeds best for you as an individual? Thus the "draft strategy" must have been 'customised' for you given your unique preferences, strengths and weaknesses etc.

Have you aced the CAT? Do you have tips that could help students improve their scores or stress-busting strategies to beat pre-CAT nerves? Send in your advice to and we'll publish your strategies right here on


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