Friday, July 27, 2007


The B-schools seek to filter out most aspirants (that’s why we call the written test a rejection test) and shortlist the right ones through the written exam entirely on the basis of three factors:
  • Understanding
  • Speed
  • Accuracy

Your chances of making it to the top will depend largely on your ability to pay attention to these key factors. Your first target is to master the fundamentals in all areas. Speed and accuracy are skills that are to be considered only after a few months have been spent developing the basics.

You should ideally have the following study objectives:

  1. Understand the maths fundamentals and revise the maths syllabus twice at least in the first three to four months (if you have that kind of time).
  2. Read, read, and read some more — from both your course material and outside it. Spend at least 45 minutes on the newspaper and finish two to three medium-sized fiction novels in a month.
  3. Do justice to all other parts of the syllabus — data interpretation, reasoning, english grammar, usage and vocabulary.

Don’t Let The Plateaus Pull You Down
There is no successful CAT aspirant who hasn’t hit a plateau — those depressing times when your reading speed falls, your maths accuracy stops improving and your test scores stagnate. Don’t panic, it’s a natural part of the learning process. These plateaus are the incubating period when you consolidate on your learning.

In fact, CAT preparation is all about improvement in stages. One improves on clarity in fundamentals, test taking ability, reading speed, and confidence (not necessarily in this order) in various stages. It’s like a small child growing up — he seeks to grow tall overnight, but it takes several years. Keep the faith — the improvements will follow.

Find A Suitable Mentor
While most students rely for advice on friends/peers who are also in the process of preparing, some talk to teachers once in a while. However you do it, it makes a lot of sense to use a mentor. A mentor would fulfil three qualities — he should be mature (read older), should have an excellent understanding of tests (should have prepared himself for the test at some stage, and preferably succeeded), and should be willing to help you out intermittently.

A mentor will be like your coach — he will prod you on and be your emotional anchor, in good times and bad.

Quality, Not Quantity, Counts
Students tend to go overboard in the second stage of their preparation, being particularly enamoured with quantity rather than with quality, particularly when it comes to test taking. Tests are serious business and need to be taken as seriously as the real thing. One has to simulate test-taking conditions, and give every test the best shot. Test scores hit a plateau after a while and that is where the madness begins. Some friend would brag about how many tests he takes per week and how high his scores are and that would trigger thoughtless competition.

What students do not realise is that the quality of study always takes precedence over quantity. Once the fundamentals have been absorbed, every test needs to be not just tasted, but chewed and digested. What this piece of Zen-like wisdom means is that a student is expected to analyse each and every test he takes, looking for points of improvement, where he went wrong, which solutions have eluded him and why, and which questions he should have opted for. This means that typically a test may take two hours of attempting and as much as four to six hours of analysis. If this is not done, the test-taking spree will not lead to any improvement in scores, just a high burn out rate only.
hope my advice has thrown some light into your cat preparation and wish all of all the best! Digg

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