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'If you think you are IIM material, nothing can stop you'

Last updated on: October 20, 2011 15:12 IST

'If you think you are IIM material, nothing can stop you'


In the first part of last minute CAT 2011 preparation series, ARKS Srinivas, an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and ex-Director at T.I.M.E. Mumbai spoke about the mental strategy. In the second part, here, he shares section-wise tips and strategies to cracking the CAT. Read on.

When you look at the state of your preparation, you will find that there are too many gaps in the same. Suddenly, when the CAT exam is just two days away, you find that you are under-prepared and wish that there was more time.

Perish this thought.

CAT is an exam, which will give you jitters whether you prepare for one month, one year or three years. The last minute issues remain always as the very nature of aptitude testing is such that you cannot have enough of preparation ever.

Here are practical tips to using intelligently the last few days before the CAT exam in the Quantitative Analysis and Data Interpretation section.

Also read: 50 MOST important formulae for CAT 2011

Also read: The 10-point mental strategy for CAT 2011

Also read: Last minute tips from CAT 2010 toppers

Take Section-wise test

Instead of taking full length tests, it is advisable that you only take two to three section-wise tests in this area. You need to achieve two objectives from this-

  • Finalise your strategy of attempting the section
  • Identify the really horrific areas in this section for you, which you will now avoid in the actual CAT.

Revision on Important Areas

It is also imperative that some of the important formulae keep slipping off your brain when most needed.

Areas like Geometry and Mensuration that have too many formulae will require a thorough revision. This is therefore the time to go through such areas and revise all formulae.

Quantitative Ability

You need to revise formulae in Numbers and Number System, Quadratic Equations, Permutations and Combinations, Geometry and Mensuration, Time and Distance.

Data Interpretation

A quick follow up on such essential charts such as -- PI charts, Stacked Bars, Games and Tournaments will do a world of good to your confidence.

Data Sufficiency -- It is recommended that all the rules for DS are revised once more and if possible tests (about 2 to 3) only on DS taken up.

Speed Calculations -- YES!

While the CAT paper may have become less time consuming, it is very imperative that your quickness of calculations remain at their best during the exam. As any exam/area (say fast bowling!), practice makes one better. To ensure that you are on top of your calculations solve 10 minutes of speed math questions every day save the last day before CAT.

The author has been the All India CAT Course Director at T.I.M.E and has more than 15 years of experience in training students for CAT and other entrance exams. He is presently the Director at Vanguard Business School based out of Bangalore.

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Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension tips

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Verbal Ability

Rhythm is very important to crack any exam. It is almost like the form that the cricketers talk about before a match or a series. To solve Reading comprehension and Logical reasoning you need to get into the rhythm before the exam.

By converting the CAT paper into a two-section paper, the IIMs have done a favour to people who are not extremely comfortable with English as a section.

The English section comes along with the Logical Reasoning section and that gives a breather to the person with lesser English skills for the exam.

However, as is the case with any exam, the key is to ensure that you solve all easy questions, even if the questions appear in a section not of your liking!

The last minute revision for the Verbal and RC section can be done once you quickly realize what appears in the exam paper.

Verbal Ability can be divided into the following main areas:

Grammar -- From tenses to voices, you can expect all types of grammar questions

Vocabulary based questions -- Synonyms, Usage, Fill-in-the-blanks, analogies etc

Reasoning based questions -- Para jumbles, Para completion, Summary of the passage etc

Reading Comprehension

None of the areas are conducive to revision, as I had mentioned in the beginning of this article. However, it is imperative that you keep taking small tests to keep you geared up for the D Day.

There are a few questions (FAQs) that students have at this stage of their preparation. We will look into these and find out what would be the best way to utilise the time available in the last few days of CAT.

While CAT may begin on the October 22, it is important to note that many of you are writing the exam in November and hence some of you have as long as three weeks to prepare while some of you may just have a few days.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Should I continue doing vocabulary building at this stage?

NO. There is no easier question to answer than this one. But, please note that whenever you come across a word (while solving section tests) that you do not know or do not understand, then it may still be worthwhile to just check the meaning or usage of the same.

Should I leave grammar questions completely, I seem to be getting these questions wrong always in the exam?

This is a tricky question to answer. In general, when one says that they are getting negative marks in grammar, it also means that one is attempting almost all questions and hence getting more wrongs than rights.

I would suggest that, in the last few days (how many ever days you have before CAT), go through 25 questions of grammar per day, understanding the construct of the sentence and the error in the same.

These questions should be picked up from all mock CATs, section tests and any material that the student has already solved.

Do not do anything fresh in grammar at this stage. By going through the questions that you have already solved, there is a kind of revision and reiteration on concepts and rules that will get reinforced!

How to prepare for RC at the last minute?

Unlike grammar, I recommend that the student takes 3 RC passages with questions everyday till the date of the exam. This serves the purpose of revision as well as getting into the groove.

What should one do for the Verbal Reasoning sections?

Once again, as there are hardly any formulae to work on, it is important that the student takes these areas as tests. It may be a part of the sectional test or you can even pick up one question from type of questions and solving 10 questions of each type.

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'No preparation is enough for CAT'

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Logical Reasoning

Only on the October 22, will it be clear whether Logical reasoning would mean Critical reasoning as that which comes in GMAT or it is the basic analytical reasoning that used to come in the DI section.

There is no doubt that you have to prepare for both.

Practicing 5 to 6 sets per day for the last few days would give a world of confidence to students writing the actual exam. These sets of questions can be either taken from the mock tests that one has already written or can also be fresh sets, if available.

Final word

There is no way any preparation done can be enough for an exam like CAT.

Once you realise that the state of almost all students would be similar then it is about you taking on the exam with confidence that matters, not withstanding any amount of or lack of preparation for the exam.

It is after all an Aptitude exam!

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'CAT exam is won in the minds rather than on the actual paper'

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Mental Preparation

However the most important preparation for an exam as important as CAT is the mental preparation.

It is important to note that you have done all you could over the last so many weeks and months of preparation. CAT is not an Engineering or Degree exam wherein you can cram everything in the last minute vomit in the exam. 

Cracking the exam definitely requires a thorough, systematic preparation. Here, the assumption is that you have already done that.

Hence, the next best thing to do is wait for the MATCH. As Sachin would say, 'You need to mentally prepare for the match'.

Likewise, you have to develop the temperament to be cool when things go wrong. Many a time, the CAT exam is won in the minds rather than on the actual paper. We have seen many students panic before the exam and start imagining all sorts of things and are desperately looking for assurance from others that they would do well.

You have to do your bidding. While others might say that you are good, unless you believe that yourself, there is no salvation.

Remember the gospel truth, if you don't think that you are good for the IIMs, the IIMs would agree with you. If you think that you are IIM material and give the CAT exam your best, there is very little to stop you from achieving that coveted goal.

Wish you all the best!

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