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4 months to CAT: Ace the test with these tips

June 09, 2014 12:15 IST

4 months to CAT: Ace the test with these tips

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Deepak Nanwani

If you haven't started your preparation yet, some of these tricks should help you get started. Read on...

With approximately 16 weeks to go for the Common Admission Test, here are some important (and often ignored) strategies, tips and tricks to boost your chances of success significantly.

The advice below is especially useful for candidates who are beginning their preparation now or have recently become serious about improving their preparation. 

Voracious reading outside your comfort zone

We are always able to easily understand and comprehend the articles/blogs/passages that lie within our areas of interest.

But when we are asked to read and comprehend anything that is outside our comfort zone, we stumble.

Even passages that are from a topic of interest but where the author has a different writing style and tone, can pose a major challenge, especially during an exam when the time available is limited.

The Reading Comprehension section, both in the CAT and the GMAT comprises passages from a wide gamut of subjects.

It would greatly benefit the candidates if they start reading articles and blogs that are beyond their area of interest/comfort zone.

Read as much as you can, and read as quickly as you can.

While reading you may underline, highlight and identify the central ideas of all the paragraphs, as well as the overall passage.

The author is the co-founder of MyPrepMate.com, an online adaptive solution for GMAT and CAT preparation. He is an alumnus of IIT Guwahati and IIM Bangalore.

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Image: How you perform in the Common Admission Test will help you decide whether you make it to a good b-school or not.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Practice lots of sectionals

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It is very important to achieve conceptual clarity as well as identify topic wise strengths and weaknesses around this time (especially for people starting their preparation).

Since most test takers would also start practising full length mock tests around this time, it is very crucial for formulating and fine tuning the exam taking strategy.

And a key step in doing this is to identify sectional strengths and weaknesses based on accuracy and time taken per question.

Sectional tests go a long way in providing comprehensive practice for each topic or domain and also help in identifying strengths and weaknesses (useful for attempting full length mock tests).

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Image: Conceptual clarity is essential to crack the CAT.
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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Analysis is the key: Know yourself

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It is important to know where you are going wrong, why are you committing the mistakes that you are committing and how fast you are at solving problems across various topics.

Once you have this information you would be able to able to time and pace yourself in the mocks in a much better manner.

In an exam like the CAT, smart preparation is needed and performance analysis is the first step towards that.

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Image: Understand where and why you're going wrong about your preparation.
Photographs: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Tags: CAT

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Pay special attention to DI and LR sections

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Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning are not taught in a classroom.

Neither can it be revised through concepts.

And I have often seen that since the time it has been coupled with the Quantitative Ability section in the actual exam, Data Interpretation section languishes and is not given enough attention.

Same is the case with the Logical Reasoning section.

Comprehensive practice with a variety of questions (bar charts, pie charts, bar-pie combines, pie-data table combines, three-way matches, four-way matches, family trees etc is the key to ace this area.

And this is the right time to start giving extra attention to Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning because these topics take about six to eight weeks to master and build speed in.

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Image: Focus on practising more data-based problems.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Set a daily and weekly schedule

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Whether you join a coaching class or not is totally your personal choice; but the key to success in an exam like the CAT is self study and self analysis.

This can be achieved through discipline.

Set a schedule for complete revision before the end of July.

Aim to achieve at least 50 per cent accuracy in all topics through regular practice and in-depth analysis.

This should also be achieved by the end of July.


Image: Set a schedule and try to follow it.
Photographs: Kshitij Anand/Reuters
Tags: CAT

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