CAT Toppers from IIM-Calcutta share their preparation strategy for the CAT exam. They spilltheir secrets to success in the MBA entrance exam and how future aspirants can crack it and make it to top MBA Colleges in India.Extracts from the Interview
Sports Secretary – Student Council
I think the biggest challenge that CAT offers you is to attempt and solve maximum number of questions in the stipulated amount of time. The CAT syllabus t prescribed for the aspirants primarily includes the fundamentals that you learn in your 10th to 12th standards. However, what is required to ‘Bell the CAT’ is to be able to apply that knowledge and solve the questions quickly and with high accuracy. The key lies in how you approach the problems and apply the fundamental knowledge to solve it. Thanks to my engineering background, I didn’t have to spend much time on understanding the fundamentals and basic concepts.
In order to improve my speed and accuracy, my CAT prep strategy was focused on giving as many mock tests as possible. Another thing which helped me a lot was to consider every mock test that I give as the final or the actual CAT Exam. This is very important to extract the maximum benefit of the mock tests. After giving every mock test, I also analysed the result and understood the areas where I went wrong. This helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses and work on them accordingly.
So, in addition to taking mock CAT exams, it is also important to be serious about what you are doing, be cognizant of your strengths and weakness. If you devote a few hours of your day in preparation it is easy to score a decent percentile which can actually get you into top MBA colleges in India.
One more trick to ace CAT exam is to understand the pattern of the exam. It is not an exam which tests your knowledge to the core rather it is a decision making exam. So it is important not to waste time on any aspect of the exam where you think you are good at. It is about giving smart timing to every aspect of the exam.
Overall Coordinator – Intaglio (Annual Business Summit)
For me, the CAT strategy was focused on learning from every mock test I appeared for. I spent 2-3 hours analyzing my performance in the tests. It helped me realize my mistakes and find out where I was taking much time. I think, it is more important to keep the accuracy higher than attempting more questions.
External Relations Secretary
My strategy was quite different than many others, because I was preparing for CAT while working. At the start, I divided the syllabus in my strong and weak areas. I figured out that Quantitative Aptitude section did not demand much effortfor me. So I started focusing on DILR and Verbal Ability. Apart from that, you need to know how to choose the best questions for yourself. This part is very important. And for verbal ability section one has to develop reading habits in all the diverse areas of literature as well as other fields.
President – Entrepreneurship Cell
There were two key things that I followed for my CAT preparation. One was to focus on the mock exams. For that, I took 25-30 full length mock tests. And the second was to solve most of the questions from past CAT papers. This helped me gauge the difficulty level as well as type and format of the questions being asked in the actual CAT exam.
Overall Coordinator – Carpe Diem (Annual Cultural Festival)
The CAT Prep strategy that followed was perseverance. You need to be consistent for your preparation. You need to give regular mock tests so that you develop the ability to sit for 3 hours and focus on the exam.
Alumni Secretary – Student Council
I knew about my weaknesses during the early phases of my CAT preparation. I also knew that my prior academic performance was not the best. But, I was very clear that I have to go to IIM Calcutta and for that I needed higher percentile in CAT. I mostly worked on my weaknesses and turned them into my strength that was my primary strategy for CAT exam.
PGP Representative – Student Council
I started preparing for CAT when I was working with TCS. So I had very less time apart from my job. I used to go to coaching on weekdays early in the morning. Before one month of the exam, I started giving atleast 2 mock tests per day.I also worked extensively on improving my sectional performance as CAT allots fix time for every section so it is important to perform within the given time limit.
Institute Rank 1, PGP Batch of 2019, Member – Finance Club
I joined coaching centre in month of April when I started the CAT preparation. I started with the basic material. From July I started giving mock tests and continued until one week before the exam.According to my experience, two months prior to the exam, a candidate should focus more on how many questions he/she getting right and wrong, and what is his/her speed rather than trying to learn new concepts.Also, staying calm on the exam day also is critical in improving your performance in the actual CAT exam.
President – Student Council
My strategy for CAT preparation was to spend more time on my weak areas i.e.Verbal Ability. I was good in Quant and DI so these sections did not demand much effort from me. Apart from it, I focused on analysingevery question I got in mock tests and also corrected every mistake that I committed. It was the most important part of my strategy to get good percentile.
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