->There are hardly 40 days for CAT.

The above emotion is something which a student, who is serious about CAT, would be feeling overwhelmed about! However, I would like you to believe that

->There are FORTY days for CAT.

Once you establish that you are going to work towards performing well in the CAT exam, and not worry about the number of days that exist, it would be much easier to plan!

There are also a lot of questions that must be going through your mind, which I plan to answer before we begin the plan for the next 40 days!

  1. Should I only attempt mock CATs, now that we have just 40 days left?
  2. The objective of writing a mock should be to get a complete rhythm of writing the CAT paper. The analysis of the mock exam should indicate how well you have executed the plan that you had set out for that particular exam.

In addition, mocks should be used to check out your weaknesses (and strengths) and should be used as a revision base too!

  1. Should I leave some of the topics that I am weak in?
  2. For the next 15 to 20 days, you can still concentrate on some of the weaknesses you have (in topics and areas). But, once we get to November, it is advisable that you stick to your strengths!
  3. My scores in two sections are good, but I am not scoring well in the other!
  4. This is very typical conundrum for many students. The causes can be many. However, if the issue is with just one section, then one has to put in twice the preparation time for that section as compared to the other two.

However, if there is no discernible pattern as to which section is going wrong, the analysis of your moods during the writing of the exam and trying to adjust them through a clinical approach in attempting the sections would be the need of the hour.

  1. My scores are very erratic; I am losing confidence with each passing day! What do I do?
  2. It is very natural that the scores will be a bit erratic. Understanding this itself will give you a good boost. Remember that if you have scored well in any section (mock), then it means your basic potential clearly exists. How you harness this ability without succumbing to emotions is the only challenge that you have. So do not worry about the erratic scores and concentrate on the process of writing the exam.

There are too many concerns the students are saddled with. But, the answer to almost all questions is the same:

Concentrate on what can be done rather than on what cannot be!

I reproduce below an excerpt of the article that I had written on ‘Need for Strategy’ for CAT. Following which, we discuss the best way to utilize the next 40 days!

Acing the CAT requires two parallel, yet distinctive approaches- One aimed at ensuring the utilization of 3 hours fully in the exam, and the other aimed at ensuring the maximum returns for the hours invested prior to the exam (read preparation).

Strategy for CAT 2017

No matter how good one may be at solving problems of QA and/or DILR, or at English usage, this exam requires a special approach. It is much like adapting oneself to various formats of a cricket game (Test, ODI, T20), even though one may be excellent at batting or bowling!

The basic purpose of a strategy is to ensure that

  • You read all questions in a section/set
  • You identify and solve the easy and medium level difficulty questions
  • You identify and avoid difficulty and/or lengthy questions
  • You have a maximum stop time for every question/every set
  • You maximize attempts
  • You throw emotion out of the window while attempting the exam
  • You be systematic and clinical in your approach!

To achieve the above, each student may have to hit upon a different idea/plan/strategy for attempting the exam.

FINAL STRATEGY FOR THE EXAM

  • Decide on the time limit you would set for each topic/sub-topic within each section
  • Stick to the game plan on the D-Day
  • Possible break-up of time-limits
    • QA – Attempt in two rounds (35 min and 25 min)
      • Or 6 questions in 10 min
      • Or 8/9 questions in 15 min
    • DI – 30 min (7.5 min for each set)

– Or In each 15 minutes slot, check two sets and choose ONE!

  • LR – 30 min (7.5 min for each set)

– Or In each 15 minutes slot, check two sets and choose ONE!

  • RC – 45 min  (8/9 min for each passage)
  • VA – 12-15 min (For all non-RC questions)
  • In every section, sticking to the time limits is sacrosanct.
  • Within each set of DI/LR or RC – doing all questions is NOT the objective. Reading and trying to attempt, is!
  • In DI/LR section, it is important that you utilize the first few minutes in deciding which sets to attempt!

Preparation for the NEXT 40 days!

This is the time to forget about all the books and concentrate ONLY on Mock CATs and original CAT papers.

If required, one may attempt some sectional tests. However, there is really no point in going back to the basics often, and/or solving tons of questions from each chapter/area.

In this last leg of preparation, writing mocks to cement one’s strategy becomes imperative. At the same time, writing ONLY Mocks and doing nothing to improve one’s capability of solving more questions/different types of questions would be counter-productive. Writing only Mocks will set in fatigue in a few days and will affect the performance in the actual exam.

Plan for Mocks

Take 5 to 8 tests in the remaining 40 days. One mock exam a week, is also more than sufficient. However, your friends and seniors will tell you that you need to write more mocks. No harm in that except there is only so much time to do anything. Writing mocks alone won’t improve your marks. Hence, use the time judiciously. Take One Mock in 4 to 7 days (as per your convenience) and then utilize the intervening days, i.e. the days between the mocks, for improving the marks in each of the areas.

Here is what I recommend for each of the sections:

Quantitative Ability

  • Important Topics
    • Arithmetic                                         –           9 to 10 questions
    • QE/Polynomials/Inequalities/Logs- 8 to 10 questions
    • Numbers                         –           7 to 8 questions
    • Geometry/CG/Mensuration –           5 to 6 questions
  • Pick 4 subtopics for every 4/5 days of work (between mocks)
  • For these subtopics – solve about 10 questions in each (From SmartCATs you have already done)

Data Interpretation

  • Divide DI into the seven types of questions
  • For each of the 4/5 days in between mocks, solve about 10 sets in each such type of questions
    • Tables & its variants
    • Bar Chart
    • Line Graphs
    • Pie Charts
    • Tournament & Games
    • Max/Minima & Venn Diagram
    • Miscellaneous – Spider, Triangle, Scatter Diagram etc.

 Logical Reasoning/Logical Ability

  • Divided LR into the following
    • Arrangements (Linear and Circular)
    • Selection
    • Networks & Routes
    • Order Sequencing & Ranking
    • Binary Logic
    • Cubes & Venn Diagrams
    • Other puzzles
  • Solve 3 sets every day.
  • At the end of 40 days you should have solved close to 120 sets of LR

 Reading Comprehension

  • Solve 3 RCs a day for the next 40 days.
  • Analyze every answer – wrong ones as well as the ones you get right!
  • For every wrong answer – Analyze why the same cannot be the answer
    • You will develop the method of thinking which works to ace CAT

 Verbal Ability

  • Areas to work on
    • Grammar – daily 10 questions
      • Try understanding the entire gamut of questions that can appear
      • Subject-Verb; Parallelism; Phrasal Verbs; etc.
    • Para Jumbles: Every 3 days, solve around 15 questions
    • Critical Reasoning: Every 3 days, solve around 15 questions.
    • Para Completion/Summary/Others – 10 questions
    • Words – From every Smart CAT, make sure that you know as many as words as possible along with its usage.

 Final Word

  • 40 days can make a huge difference to your score
  • You can add a minimum of 60 marks to your current score.
  • That could mean a jump of about 20 to 30 percentile in final analysis.
  • If you are getting 90 percentile now, you can hope to touch 99 percentile with this approach OR from 80 to 97 OR from 70 to 95!!
  • Work without worrying about results!
  • You can make it to the best B-Schools

Career Launcher is here to help you achieve your goal.

All the best!

ARKS Srinivas