How to prepare for CAT

Yashwant Kale General, MBA 3 Comments

How to prepare for CAT

CAT stands for Common Admission Test and is a computer based test in India. Four main skills of an individual score in this test, namely, quantitative ability, data interpretation, verbal ability and logical reasoning. CAT was initially used only by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in India, however, in August 2011, it was announced that even the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) would use the scores of the CAT test to select candidates into their management programs. Earlier they used the JMET, the Joint Management Entrance Test. Prior to 2009 the CAT was a paper based test with the test conducted across India on the same day. However post 2009; it was conducted on a computer based system. Tata consultancy services are now responsible to conduct the Computer based Test across the country.

Get familiar!

The latest CAT 2014 will be a 170 minute long test that consists of 100 questions split as 50 from quantitative ability and data interpretation and 50 from verbal ability and logical reasoning. Like any large scale exam, the CAT also utilizes multiple forms or versions of the test and hence there are two scores involved, one the raw score and the other a scaled score. Candidates secure +3 for a correct answer, -1 for an incorrect answer and no points for a blank answer. The final scores adjusted through a process called equating and then placed on a common scale to ensure that scores are interpreted correctly. This process is called scaling.

SSS: Study, be Smart and Strategies

If you think knowledge will take you all the way, you are wrong. You need smart strategies and techniques, and sometimes these are just small habits that will help you achieve that top CAT score. Get set go! You need to start preparing from the day you know you will be taking the CAT. The syllabus is not fit for a scientist, it is basics, some of it comes from school textbooks, but how familiar are you and how long ago were you in school! So the key is revision. Learn theory from the first principles, do the practice, each day, every day, and revisit and revise topics that you think are tougher. Mock exams are also a great way to get a strong grip not only on the questions, but also getting the feel of being attentive for 170 minutes. It will be a failure if you prepare for 6 months and feel tired after 60 minutes into the real exam. Think like an athlete, you need to last for the maximum length of the exam, be fully switched on. This will happen only with practice.

Read, practice and sleep well too

There are plenty of coaching institutes in India that boast about their candidates getting accepted into IIMs, IITs and IIScs. But what is important is there are many students who still manage to get the 99th percentile without any professional coaching. There are plenty of blogs, videos, and websites available on the internet where top scorers have shared personal tips on how to reach the top. Read those, do some research. Today is the day you can start preparing. You don’t need to wait a few days or weeks before the CAT. Surround yourself with some CAT prep books that you can keep taking a look at a few hours a week, this will help you become mentally prepared and lost the intimidation. At the end of the day, a positive attitude, good sleep and smart study plan will help you gain your dream score.


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