75 days! Yes, that is all that is left for CAT-2017.
This is one countdown that you must be keeping a track of, in fact, everyone around you from your classmates and friends to your family must be reminding you of this. CAT 2017 is a few days away, 75 days to be precise and with each passing day, most of you have started panicking more and more. To help you take stock of your preparation, understand the dos and don’ts and utilize these 75 days to the best of your abilities we have few important tips and pointers below.
How should you approach the next 75 days of your preparation? This is a tricky question and you need to make sure you get the balance right in terms of concept building, revision, test-taking and mock-attempts, and analysis.
Every week, you should structure your preparation along the following lines:
I will be honest and direct here: the majority of the CAT concepts belong to Quantitative Aptitude only. Verbal Ability, Data Interpretation, and Logical Reasoning only have limited concepts and you can go through these in a short period of time. Let’s analyse then the amount of time you should be spending on various parts of your preparation.
Quantitative Ability Concepts:
Roughly 40% of your daily time should go into concept building. Ideally, you should spend the following amount of time on the following QA topics:
- Number System: 7 days
- Arithmetic: 7 to 10 days (7 to 10 days as it has massive application in DI)
- Algebra: 7 to 10 Days
- Geometry: 7 to 10 Days
- Permutation & Combination/Probability: 3-5 Days
- Miscellaneous Topics: 5 Days
Total estimated time: 35 to 50 days
You should make sure you have gone through all mathematics concepts by October 31st.
Do remember one thing: Practice without working on your concepts won’t make a huge difference to your scores.
How to customise this?
What is given above is a guideline for you to follow. You can customise the above plan according to your needs at this stage. For example, if you covered arithmetic already, you can either invest this time in something else or use this time for revision.
DI and LR Concepts and practice:
You have to do two simple things for LR-DI:
- Make sure you go through every type and variety of sets available.
- Make sure you practice at least 3 to 4 LR-DI sets every day.
Which are the sources you should use?
- Previous year CAT papers
- LR-DI book by Nishit Sinha (decent book for going through basic concepts and complete variety of LR-DI sets)
- Time /CL Mocks (you will find the toughest LR-DI sets here; if you want to challenge yourself, you should go through these.)
Remember, LR DI is as much about practice as it about concepts. For the next 15 days, you can go through the variety of questions probed in this section and the approach you need to adopt different question types in this section. For example, analytical reasoning sets on family trees or route diagram questions require you to approach them in particular ways. Make sure you expose yourself to these methods over the next few days.
Reading Comprehension Concepts and Practice
Reading Comprehension is the pain point of so many students. We have repeated it time and again and would do so now as well: The only way to improve your reading skills is by reading more!
What should you read?
There is limited time to actually start reading books now. Instead of that, we recommend that you read start reading blogs topic-wise. By topic-wise I mean read sociology, psychology, art, history, politics, economics, philosophy, anthropology, etc. blogs. Target one topic at a time, read a few articles and then move on to the next one. Also, read editorials from the leading national and international newspapers every single day. Also, solve as many RCs as possible; this is 70% of the VARC section. Do your best. Try for at least 2 to 3 RCs a day.
Verbal Ability Concepts and Practice
For CAT, the topics Para jumbles, Misfits, Summary writing and Critical Reasoning are really very important. Make sure you are regularly solving questions based on these topics. In the next 15 days, you can take time to build your basics for these topics and the next two months practicing questions from these topics. Do not look at the options when you solve Para jumbles. Make your own link between the different sentences and define the exact order before you check from options.
If you are also preparing for non-CAT exams, additionally you need to learn about 10 new words every day. You can use this recourse here. You also need to brush up your Grammar Basics to attempt questions in other exams like NMAT, IIFT, SNAP, XAT etc
One thing that you must do at this point of time to score well in all verbal ability topics is to dig out the previous papers and solve them diligently.
The next part of your preparation should revolve around revision. You need to make sure that every week you revise concepts for the following:
- 2 QA topics a week
- 2 LR-DI set varieties
For Verbal Ability, you need to revise one major area of grammar every week. Other than this, go through the basic guidelines for all topics one by one. Verbal Ability is all about
Part-3: Mock Tests and analysis
I will keep this part really short and simple:
- You need to take 2 mocks a week (try to take 1 mock of a national player so that you get accurate percentiles).
- Analyse these two mocks without fail. You only learn from mocks if you analyse them.
- Do not avoid taking mocks at any cost. They are a must!
Remember one thing: Mocks are only mocks! Their scores don’t matter and only one score counts. So, don’t take undue pressure and just focus on what you learn from every mock. You might score 40-percentile in a mock: your goal should be 45-percentile in the next mock. Keep it so simple for yourself. Improvement is the goal here; not mock scores.
Part-4: Soaking it all in and doing a few activities that help you with the overall exam
Assimilate all of the above activities in your weekly schedule and make sure you are clear with your targets for every week. Focus on improvement and what you are learning every week.
Along with this, make sure you do not ignore the following activities:
- Developing a capacity to focus for an extended length of time (CAT is a three-hour exam; you need mental and physical stamina for it).
- Make sure you take care of your health and diet. Along with this, exercise. I know this sounds puerile but it is the little things that matter. A healthy mind and body can give you additional marks in the exam.
- Commit yourself to short bursts of intense practice for specific topics. For example, you can commit to solving 200 critical reasoning questions over a three-day period. This would make sure you encounter varied problems for this topic and you learn all the important nuances of the topic in one go.
What not to do?
Also, keep in mind the things that you need to avoid doing:
- More planning and less action: You have read every strategy article, have downloaded PDFs and so much material from various different sources but don’t have the time or will to go through all of it. Make one plan and stick to it. Check each day how much progress you have made.
- But we have tomorrow: It’s a great thing to be optimistic in life but being optimistic here and saying: Wow! 75 days are a lot of days; I can start from tomorrow is the worst thing you can do. Procrastinating is your enemy here. All you have is now and time is seriously running out!
- Panic: You go into depression mode if you get one bad mock test result and each passing day is adding more and more stress. The only way to not be stressed is to know that you are giving your best and planning each day of yours well.
Finally, we just want to say that believe in yourself and be consistent. You’ve got this!
All the best and Happy Learning..:)