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CAT: A winning strategy
KB Sharma,
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September 25, 2008

With less than two months to go for the Common Admission Test (CAT), look no further -- just practice and strategise. It would be an exercise in futility to experiment with new concepts at this point. All an MBA aspirant has to do right now is stay focused.

Since the CAT is a high voltage war of nerves, the best option at this stage would be to maintain your cool. A slight slip on your part and the game's up.

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As a CAT faculty with years of experience behind me, the winning strategy I would suggest is to adopt the mantra 'a mock test a day till the D-day'! 

As a smart student your strategy should also be to supplement your classroom learning with online learning. For the uninitiated, thousands of free practice tests are available on the web-portal By doing these tests you would get a fair idea as to where you stand, because these tests give you analytics too.

1. Strategy
At this stage, you are supposed to be conversant with some basic concepts. I would suggest a game plan like:

2. Preparation
Bear in mind that fifty per cent verbal questions are based on Reading Comprehension. And, there is no better way to gain confidence here than reading as many 'diversified topics' as possible, preferably with corresponding questions. In this respect, several hundred passages on 'highly diversified' topics are available free on which can be of immense use.

3. Picking up Vocabulary
Vocabulary build up is very important for CAT. Now the question is how to improve on your vocabulary. Nobody can be a dictionary. There is a way to understand the flow of words. For example, try to link up the words with similar sounding words. Finding a 'common link' is important. At this stage, 15 minutes daily to do the root study of words would go a long way towards your goal.

4. Beef up your Grammar
Strengthening grammar is based on the application of your skills of written expression. If you can write an easy of 300-400 words, without any grammatical flaws, it means your basic grammar is good. At this stage the basic grammar rules should be quite familiar to you.

5. Classroom - Self study balance
Stop studying for new CAT concepts now. Stress more on doubt clearance. Never go to bed with doubts in your mind. That's another high-scoring secret.

6. Common mistakes
Students have misconceptions about options -- they go for the easy way out and ignore the process of elimination (POE). The right answer is never obvious -- the wrong one is on the platter. The student is tempted to catch the wrong one dished out. When you are on the look out for an easy way out, you fall into the trap. The best way is to predict the answer before going to the options. Try to practice the answers. Don't rush to answer the options. Look not for the right answer, but for the wrong answer to be eliminated.

7. Confidence boost
The time has come to boost your confidence levels. Up until now you were taking only the basic tests, below the CAT level. The Mock CATs bring you to the CAT level. From preliminary tests to mock tests, the score has to go down. To start with that may shake your confidence, but you should not worry. You ought to know that your score has only one way to go from here, and that is 'UP'. At this stage if you are disillusioned, you are gone.

So practice, revise, analyse and strategise.

Good luck!

Top Careers & You has been preparing national and international candidates for high-end tests viz. CAT, XAT, JMET, SNAP, CET, FMS, IIFT and GMAT since 1998. Visit to gain FREE access to thousands of these tests.

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