The CAT is on the prowl! The CAT ’14 notification has been issued with a lot of changes (The NEW CAT 2014 Decoded – Our Insights.) If you have read GP’s previous blog post CAT 2014: Ache din aane wale hain!, you would be aware that this year, we had predicted that CAT would likely be conducted over 1-2 days with 2-4 slots only. With the dates for 16th & 22nd November it is just about 70-75 days to go for CAT. These 70 odd days can make or break your chance in CAT. So, what should you do during the next 70 days in order to maximize your chances of doing well in CAT ’14?

The answer is quite simple – follow the LPTR model – Learn. Practise. Test. Revise.


By now you should be thorough with all the concepts across the various topics that are expected to come in the exam. If you are still left with some concepts/topics that you have not mastered, do ensure that you learn those during the next fortnight itself. Delaying this first and essential step of your preparation can be fatal. Do not procrastinate any more. There is no time to waste. Get the basics done in the next 10-15 days to go.   (Start with percentages & ratio (They will help the DI as well) in QA and Verbal Logic in VA. 

Some things that you should have already done by now or should target in the next few days

  1. Gone through the syllabus: If not please go through all the sections and topics which are most likely to be covered and get an idea about the difficulty level ASAP.
  2. Check your comfort zone in the areas tested: Take a preliminary mock test to know your current stand.
  3. Stick to the basics:  Shortcuts are important but now is the right time to learn all the concepts that you did even before class X. If there is something which you can’t grasp on the first two tries, it makes sense to skip it. But do solve some easy questions on those topics as well.
  4. Try and remember multiplication tables, cubes, squares upto 25 but if you can’t, don’t be disheartened. You can still learn to work via options. Or if nothing works …Calculate

Some things that should already have become a part of your everyday routine. If not start now.

  1. Learn around 10-15 new words each day and frame sentences for these till you know the meaning and understand the context in which these words are used.
  2. Read Articles / Newspapers (Builds reading speed as well as it prepares you for Stage II)
  3. Solve at least 1 Logical Reasoning + 1 Reading Comprehension + 1 Data Interpretation everyday (Covers 45% of your paper)


Once you are fluent with the concepts, start practising the problems. Solving problems is the only meaningful test of whether you have really understood a concept and know how to apply it or have merely mugged up some formulae without understanding their application. So solve the problems and solve as many problems as you can.

18th September – 30th September 2014

  1. Identify how much have you improved: Take couple of previous year CAT papers. Pattern has changed but they still reflect CAT exam to a large extent. Analyze how you have done. Your Speed, Accuracy, Weaknesses and more importantly Strengths.
  2. Start taking regular topical tests, sectional tests and then full-length practice tests. This should be done as a computer-based test for CAT. Also attempt some paper tests to keep preparations for other entrance exams on track.
  3. Analyze: You should carefully analyze your performance and scores in the tests and try to assess the areas in which you score well or are weak
  4. Make sure you take enough tests to keep the momentum going and keep the number limited to avoid burn out/ fatigue.

Just as solving too many easy questions is not productive; solving excessively tough problems will also be a waste of your time.  For those of you who have access to Test Gym Adaptive, you need not worry about selecting the right problems for your practice. Test Gym Adaptive ensures that. It gives you problems which are of a slightly higher level than your comfort level. In this manner, it gradually builds up your skill as well as your speed.

If you have Test Gym adaptive, use it to the fullest – it is your best resource for practice.

1st October – 30th October 2014

Focus: Testing & Strategizing
Nothing beats the real thing. Taking a mock test of the same pattern as an actual entrance exam is a completely different ballgame to practising a few problems from selected areas/topics. In an actual exam, you need to ensure that you maximize your overall score and also clear the cutoffs in each of the sections. This requires not only good/thorough knowledge across topics/areas but also a good test-taking strategy. You need to be able to leave the tougher and more time-taking questions in order to maximize your number of attempts and, thereby, your score.

Do ensure that you have access to a good test series. A good test series will ensure that you get tests on the actual exam pattern itself. Thus, a good test series is critical to your preparation. Check out the CL test series

Keep testing your Strategy:  Keep altering the way you approach the paper – the question type you attempt first, the target number of questions you want to attempt, the time you spend on each section etc.

Only then will you finally perfect your most favorable CAT-solving strategy which ensures that you make it to your dream institutes

November 1st – Beyond

The last element in your battle plan is REGULAR REVISION. As you learn through practice problems and mock tests, you will discover many areas where you have substantial scope for improvement. For each of these areas, go back to the basic concepts and the simpler problems in order to ensure that you are not weak in any area at all. As discussed earlier, you cannot afford to ignore any area. Be prepared for anything that the actual exam may throw at you. So revise till you master all areas.

Some Don’ts:

  1. Choose to ignore certain topics (Learn to select questions not topics)
  2. Never ever make any question an EGO issue
  3. Forget successful study techniques you used as an undergraduate. If you have a method for studying that has worked for you before, try it for CAT, too.
  4.  Study for long periods of time without taking breaks. Studies show that the average person can only concentrate for 50 minutes. After that, your ability to learn and attention span decline. Learn to take breaks
  5. Procrastination and Over Confidence

Finally Some Do’s
CAT is designed to identify managers with efficient time allocation, not subject specialists. So Strategize

  1. You should attempt at least one mock test every week. Analyze the mocks( Things you should Things you must-do after every mock you take)
  2. Which section, whether it is Verbal Ability, Quantitative Ability you are going to attempt in the beginning or will it be a mixture? Within these sections, the order of attempting the various types of questions?
  3. What is your time allocation strategy? How much time do you plan to spend on each of the sections? In particular, do you plan to devote equal time to each section or slightly more time to the section that you are the strongest at?
  4. How will you respond to a differential marking scheme? For example, in IIFT?
  5. You should try out your test-taking strategy in mock tests
  6. Revise shortcuts and strategies you learnt during the preparation


Finally, do not forget to breathe! Don’t get unduly worried/ nervous.
Be aware that your competitors are as human as you are. They are as terrified of the actual exam as you are.
Be confident that you will do well in the actual exams and will get through to your dream institute.
Always remember ‘Wars are not won on the battlefield. They’re won in the minds of people. Awaken the mind.’

All the Best!

Ankita Misra,
Alumnus IIM Lucknow
Facilitator at CL Educate