Are 100 days enough to prepare for the toughest exam in India?
Yes. Instead of giving a roundabout answer and an explanation, I thought that the best way to address the question is by giving the right answer. And yes, the answer to the above question is that 100 days are more than sufficient to prepare and ace the CAT exam. However, it does not matter if I think so, as long as the student does not think so.
What is most important at this stage is to take stock of your preparation/situation. Know what have you achieved till date and what are the areas where improvements are required. Writing Mock CATs will give you a clear indication of where you stand in terms of achieving your desired percentile.
More importantly, understanding the CAT exam and the requirement of marks will make your preparation that much easier.
While almost every student gets a different paper the CAT exam, careful analysis and feedback from the students who have written CAT 2012 has given enough insights to figure out what would be the cutoffs/safe scores.
To get a 90%ile in CAT 2012, students needed to get around just 35% marks net. Even at the 98.5%ile level, the requirement was less than 50% of the total marks.
What should you do?
Let’s understand on a broad basis what should be done from now on to mid-October. It is also advisable that students book their slots early so that they don’t have to worry about not getting the date of their choice. Normalization ensures that there is no difference in your overall scores whether you write the exam on Oct 16th (the first day of CAT 2013) or Nov 11th (last day of CAT 2013). Scheduling your date of the exam around the end of October or beginning of November will give you that extra month (15 days) to prepare.
Let’s look at time lines that give you some idea as to where your preparation and preparedness need to be.
Last Month/October: The last month of preparation should be less of preparation and more of practicing through Mock CATs.
Target as on October 1st - You should have finished learning all the concepts by then. You should have solved as many possible exercises in each of the areas/topics as possible and get the ability to solve every possible question. Speed is important but, more important than that would be the accuracy that you get for doing each question. Confidence builds up if you find that you can solve almost every problem that you see. By this time you should have solved all books/study material that you have at least once, preferable twice.
July 15th – Sept 30th – These two and half months are very critical for your preparation. Those of you who are working, please do understand that taking leave in the last few days before CAT and trying to prepare would not really be a good idea.
Watch CAT sections
Quantitative Ability – The best way to prepare Quant is to divide the entire area into topics and make a target for each of the topics. Also, ensure that while you are keeping your targets, the revision schedule is also incorporated in your targets. Ideally, you should have finished the quant portion by July 15th.
At the end of each Mock CAT, you can check your scores in each area/section and find out where you are lacking expertise in, and concentrate on those topics more before the next Mock CAT. This way, you would ensure that whatever the weak areas you have you can work on them before the next Mock CAT
Data Interpretation/Logic – To be good at DI, your ability to calculate fast can make a huge difference. Spend 10 minutes everyday on Speed Math techniques. Make a checklist of all the types of graphs and questions that come in CAT. Give yourself a target of 10 days to go through each and every such graph and questions. Revise the same in every 10 days. Take tests periodically.
Verbal Ability/Reading Comprehension: Verbal Ability can be divided into three broad areas viz., Vocabulary, Grammar, Verbal Reasoning.
CAT 2013: How to chalk out 100-day preparation strategy?