The Common Admission Test (CAT) which shortlists candidates for India’s most prestigious management institutes like the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) is set to be held on Sunday, November 26. With around 3.3 lakh aspirants this year, the examinees must be in their last leg of preparation. Taking mock tests and analysing weak areas at this time will give an edge to the preparation. Here are some more strategies to fine-tune your approach to ace the CAT exam with confidence.
– Take and Analyse Mock Tests: Throughout the preparation journey, mock tests are the faithful companions, and they remain crucial until the last moment. Take at least 1-2 mock tests during this final phase to analyse the performance and avoid time-consuming or intricate sections. Focus on time management tactics to adopt the most efficient approach while tackling different question types.
– Revise Wisely: The final day before the exam is crucial for concentration. Focus on revising fundamental formulas, concepts, and topics across all sections. Based on your strengths and weaknesses, prioritise different areas of the curriculum. Spend more time on weaker areas while focusing less on the topics you are confident in. Such a balanced approach to revision ensures a well-equipped preparedness throughout the test.
– Time Management: CAT is equally about time management as it is about knowledge. Therefore, allocate time limits for each section and adhere to them religiously during mock tests and practice sessions. In the exam hall, this method helps in sticking to tight time boundaries, preventing overdoing a specific section at the cost of another.
– Don’t Emphasise Too Much on Weak Areas: Identify the weak spots from previous mock tests and avoid spending extra time on these, as it is better to strengthen already-strong areas rather than working on the weak areas at this end stage. Instead, look for shortcuts, alternative solving methods, or easy techniques to boost your confidence in tackling those problematic topics.
– Unwind and Recharge: As pressure builds up, include relaxation techniques. Be it meditation, yoga or simple breathing exercises, these practices help to stay calm and improve focus. Moreover, getting enough sleep is essential for staying fresh and alert during the exam. A stable mind retains information better.
Focused Strategies for Each Section
- Quantitative Ability: Focus on accuracy rather than attempting too many questions. Choose questions wisely based on the strengths in different areas while practicing mental calculations and short tricks to save time.
- Verbal Ability and Comprehension: Read newspapers, articles, and diverse content that help in improving reading speed and comprehension. Focus on clearing the basics of grammar and vocabulary by practicing distinct types of passages.
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning: Speed and accuracy are paramount in this section. Therefore, identify easy sets and attempt them first. Try recognising diverse data patterns swiftly to solve questions more efficiently.
Exam Day Checklist
Compile a checklist comprising essentials — CAT admit card, ID proof, and stationery — for the exam centre. Additionally, arriving well before the exam allows individuals with time to settle in and familiarise themselves with the surroundings. Furthermore, the mental aspect is important to maintain faith in your preparation, ease off undue stress and uphold confidence. A positive mindset is invaluable, as CAT evaluates a resilient mindset and not just the subject knowledge.
The final lap of preparation is not about learning new concepts but refining what you have already mastered. Therefore, trust in your abilities and the hard work you have put in. CAT is a stepping stone to your future endeavours, and approaching it with a strategic mindset can pave the way for a lifetime of success. As the exam day approaches, breathe, revise, and stay confident!
(Gautam Puri is the Vice Chairman, Career Launcher India Limited)