CAT is an annual entrance exam, conducted by the IIMs that helps lakhs of aspirants who apply for it, in achieving their dream of getting admitted in a top business school for the MBA (Master of Business Administration) or PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management) course.
It is one of the toughest examinations and requires a lot of determination and hard work from the students opting for it. It is unlike any other exam, because of the twists and turns that are integral to it and also the element of unpredictability that accompanies it.
You need to maintain the enthusiasm to achieve mission CAT. This exam will defy all your expectations and spring a surprise and maybe even shock. You can only try to meet CAT’s expectations and leave the rest to destiny.
The top business schools prepare the most talented and hardworking management workforce and thus their expectations for the candidates are also high. But with proper guidance, hard work and a will to fulfill your MBA dream will help you to stand up to all the expectations of the CAT. Also be absolutely sure about why you want to do an MBA and does doing an MBA fit-in with your career plan.
We are going to discuss some things that are expected from a CAT aspirant by the CAT examiners that the students should remember while preparing for the examination:
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Hard work is one of the most important things that is required by CAT from the aspirants. The syllabus of CAT is quite extensive and thus it demands committed hard work from the aspirants.
It is a set fact that the questions in the CAT examination are not always direct and that this examination is full of unexpected twists and turns.
In order to feel confident going into the examination, a candidate should have covered all kinds of expected and unexpected questions for the examination.
And this may require solving about 400-500 questions of a particular section or set of the questions which in turn will obviously require dedicated hard work from the aspirants.
You need to have a killer instinct for the examination. Take on the practice sets, mock tests, and other series and work on them hard to improve your score and speed.
You have to commit yourself for the preparation completely to crack the examination.
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In the CAT examination, smart work is as important as hard work. Just slogging for hours and hours is not the ideal way to prepare for the CAT but you also need to know where to put in your effort and how much it is that you should prepare.
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It is not necessary to attempt all the questions in the examination. Be honest about preparation. Convert weaknesses into strengths.
Choosing the right questions to attempt within minimum time with accuracy in the exam is part of being smart, as the exam carries negative marking. Mock tests should be used by the aspirants to identify their errors & weak areas and form their strategies accordingly.
CAT checks your approach while solving the problem given to you as it tells your ability to work against the problems efficiently under pressure situations.
You just need to remember that you may consider yourself to be smart and intelligent but in an exam such as CAT, which depends on your percentile score, you don’t just need to be smart but you need to be smarter than the others.
Speed and Accuracy
You are expected to have speed and accuracy in the CAT examination. You have to solve the maximum questions within the given duration and you get roughly around 45 seconds to finish a question.
This includes reading up passages and comprehending them, solving para jumbles, mathematical questions and more.
And you also need to be accurate in your answers as the examination consists negative marking on every wrong answer.
The aspirant must work on increasing his/ her speed without compromising on accuracy. If you lose hold on speed, then you will not be able to solve as many questions as needed and if you compromise on accuracy in order to achieve the speed then you might end up with negative marking resulting in lower percentile.
So you need to work on both smartly.
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CAT examination expects the aspirants to have specific skill sets that will make them a suitable candidate for the management course and the world of business.
Apart from having the subject knowledge, which precedes everything else, the aspirants also need to develop their analytical skills, critical reasoning skills, calculation skills, interpretation and concentration and so on.
Besides all these skills, you should also know how to manage time, eliminate the wrong choices and stay calm under pressure.
It is important for a management executive to have all these skill sets and therefore the CAT exam incorporates these in the examination to test whether an aspirant has them or not.
In order to work on these skills, aspirants must practice as many questions as possible on every section and topic. The aspirants should go through the basics of English Grammar and Mathematics below class Xth.
While reading newspaper remembers that it’s not only important to read the news for improving English but also for gaining current insights.
Competitive exams like CAT are not only about your knowledge but about how you can work strategically and solve your problems with your skills in pressure situations.
Solving questions in CAT requires strong fundamentals, logical skills and the ability to combine knowledge and logic to get the answer.
Always remember that there is no substitute for hard work but smart work will take you ahead in the competition. There is no shortcut to practice but practicing the shortcuts will help you bell the CAT.
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Learn the basics of every topic in Quant and Verbal and build a strong foundation. An understanding of basics will give you an idea about which topics are your strengths and weaknesses.
Take sectional tests as it will help you to take on a section in a time-bound manner and will help you to further categorize your strengths and weaknesses i.e., type of questions that can be solved in the first round, type of questions that need time and the topics that need more practicing.
Following this strategy will be a good test for your time management skills which is a must for all the MBA exams. Take a mock every weekend and perform its in-depth analysis during the week to develop the strategy to solve paper.
In the last one-two months before the examination, focus only on your core strengths and avoid venturing into the topics that you are not comfortable with, as there would not be sufficient time for going into the depths of the topic at this point.
All the mocks that you take during this time should be attempted during the hours of your actual CAT slot.
At last, do not give up on yourself. It would be difficult initially. The first phase of preparation is the most difficult, typically the first 2–3 months as you will not be able to solve the questions as fast as others.
But it is important that you do not give up and keep yourself motivated as happens with most of the aspirants. Everything is tough in the beginning.
You need to practice like crazy, give mocks, analyze each mock and develop strategies for the next mock, then repeat. And only then will you be able to really crack the CAT.
Just have confidence in yourself and keep practicing.
All the Best!!!
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