CAT 2023 : Tips and tricks for success in exam for top B-Schools in India | Competitive Exams

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is not just an examination; it’s a journey that opens doors to some of the most prestigious business schools in India. To help you embark on this journey successfully, I’d like to share some invaluable insights and strategies.

CAT 2023 : Many CAT aspirants find DI-LR challenging. Practice solving complex puzzles, graphs, and tables. (HT file photo)
CAT 2023 : Many CAT aspirants find DI-LR challenging. Practice solving complex puzzles, graphs, and tables. (HT file photo)

1. Understanding the CAT Exam Structure:

Before delving into preparation strategies, it’s crucial to understand the CAT exam’s structure. CAT comprises three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR), and Quantitative Ability (QA). Each section assesses specific skills, and a well-rounded preparation strategy is essential.

2. Start Early and Plan Strategically:

CAT preparation demands time and dedication. Start your preparation at least six to eight months before the exam date. Create a study plan that includes daily targets, weekly mock tests, and time for revision. A structured approach will help you cover the vast syllabus systematically.

3. Master Time Management:

CAT is a time-bound exam, with 40 minutes allotted for each section. Time management is critical. Practice solving questions with a time limit to develop speed and accuracy. During the actual exam, don’t get stuck on a single question; if you find one particularly challenging, move on and return to it later if time permits.

4. Leverage Online Resources:

Today, a wealth of online resources is available to CAT aspirants. Explore websites, mobile apps, and YouTube channels that offer free or affordable study material, mock tests, and video tutorials. These resources can complement your preparation and offer diverse perspectives on problem-solving.

5. Mock Tests – Your Best Friend:

Mock tests are the closest approximation to the actual CAT exam. Take as many mock tests as possible, especially in the last two months of your preparation. Analyse your performance, identify weak areas, and work on them. Mock tests not only boost your confidence but also help you adapt to the exam’s pattern.

6. Focus on Strong and Weak Areas:

Identify your strengths and weaknesses early in your preparation. Allocate more time to your weak areas while maintaining your strengths. Continuous improvement is key. Strengthen your foundation in mathematics, grammar, and reading comprehension, as these skills are tested extensively.

7. Develop Reading Habits:

CAT’s VARC section demands strong reading skills. Cultivate a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, and novels regularly. This not only enhances your reading speed but also improves your comprehension and vocabulary. It’s an investment in both VARC and your overall knowledge.

8. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI-LR):

Many CAT aspirants find DI-LR challenging. Practice solving complex puzzles, graphs, and tables. Develop a systematic approach to tackle these questions and focus on enhancing your logical reasoning abilities. Solving real-life case studies can be particularly helpful.

9. Quantitative Ability (QA):

QA requires a solid understanding of mathematical concepts. Review the basics and practice a wide range of problems. Don’t just memorize formulas; understand the underlying principles. Speed and accuracy are vital in this section.

10. Revision and Error Analysis:

Regularly revise what you’ve learned. Create summary notes for quick revision. Additionally, maintain an error log to record the types of questions or concepts where you make mistakes. Review this log periodically to avoid repeating errors.

11. Stay Healthy and Manage Stress:

CAT preparation can be stressful, but it’s crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep. Stress can hamper your performance, so practice relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.

12. Believe in Yourself:

Confidence is half the battle. Trust your preparation and believe in your abilities. Self-doubt can hinder your performance, so stay positive and focused on your goal.

13. CAT Is Not Just About Scores:

Lastly, remember that CAT scores are not the sole criteria for admission to business schools. Academic records, work experience, group discussions, and interviews also play significant roles. Prepare well for these stages too.

In conclusion, cracking the CAT exam is a journey that demands dedication, perseverance, and smart strategies. It’s not just about the destination (your dream business school) but also about the knowledge and skills you gain along the way. Success in CAT is not limited to a select few, it’s attainable for anyone willing to put in the effort and stay committed.

Remember, CAT is not just an exam, it’s an opportunity to transform your career and make a significant impact on the business world. Embrace this journey, and may your hard work and determination pave the way for a bright and prosperous future.

(Author Shivendra Mathur is Adjunct Associate Professor – Management, NIIT University. Views expressed here are personal.)

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