With just about a month remaining for the D-day, the anxieties of students that will take the CAT this year will be on a high. The long nights and days of hard work will finally be put to test soon. So what should be the ideal strategy for these final month?
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Get motivated to perform! Start feeling good about your preparation. You have slogged for this for long now. Think about your dream, about how you started, why you started and what you wanted to achieve. This will give you the required fuel to get going for this last lap.
- Identify the apt frequency of test taking for you. So while somebody may be comfortable with taking a full length test in a week, others may be fine with three full length tests a week. Do not overstress on taking tests. However you should be at comfortable sitting for a 2.5 hour test with full concentration. The revision and analysis part is more important. Maintaining the same level of concentration for a period of 150 minutes is in itself a challenge. We suggest you practice yoga or meditation techniques so that you can remain focused for the entire duration.
- Do make it a point to go through the last few years' CAT papers. Analyse on the trends and the kind of questions. So there may be topics which have a higher probability of coming compared to other topics.
- Identify the type of questions which you are good at and revise them so well that chances of making a mistake in those questions are minimised. In the last few months it is only strengths, strengths and strengths. Nothing else! Do it so thoroughly that there's no scope for error.
- Try to devote equal time to all sections. Don't give undue weightage to one section in terms of time because the other sections are going to suffer. If you make that mistake you will not be able to clear the cut-offs.
- Even in this last lap continue with the good habits you started with. You still need to read a lot. Read anything and everything you can lay your hands on. Read into diverse topics and most importantly read to enjoy!
- At this stage do not worry about topics that you have not been very confident with. Glance idly, but don't scrutinize through funda books. Do not worry about the sections that appear to be completely alien. You really don't need to read them now.
- Start thinking about a strategy. Do not try to formulate a very rigid strategy though. Critically analyse your areas of strengths- the particular set of topics which you seldom get wrong in mock tests. Also identify the areas you are not so comfortable with. Try to think of a flow chart on the order of questions you will attempt on the day of the test. However it is always advisable to experiment with your strategies for different tests.
- Do not go too hard on testing yourself. Take sectional tests once in every two or three days for each of the sections. Take used tests if you feel like, but answer those questions which you did not attempt the first time. Take a full-length test once a week in addition to the mock tests. Also a substantial amount of your time should go into analyzing the length test. The strategy you formulate will be strongly dependent on how well you analyse these tests.
- Choose questions wisely. One of the keys to success is picking the right questions to answer. Remember, CAT is more a test of making smart choices than that of your in-depth knowledge.
- Stay calm and relax. Sleep properly, watch movies, and spend some time in the playground. Do anything and everything you like doing. This will calm your mind and provide the required positive energy. Do not think too much about the test. Take it as any other test of your life! At the end of the day, remember CAT is not the end of the world. After CAT there are going to be other institute exams also. Maintain a work-life balance. A 14-hour schedule won't work. You will sleep off in the exam hall. Don't spend so much time studying that you are cut off from the rest of the world.
The writer is Director (R&D), Career Launcher India Ltd.