The application form for the Common Entrance Test (CAT) 2016 for admission to MBA courses at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other premier management institutes is already out. While the examination will most likely take place on December 4 this year, aspirants are already pulling up their socks and forming strategies to prepare.
Rajat Jain, who topped the CAT 2015 exam with a percentile of 100 and is currently studying at IIM Ahmedabad, suggests that two to three hours on weekdays and six to seven hours on weekends should be given to studying for CAT. “It is important to know where you stand at this point before you start preparing,” he said.
Another CAT topper, Sanuj Mittal, who also scored a percentile of 100, says that in order to give the paper your best, it is important to manage your time well and practise as many questions papers as possible. “Since I was an engineering student, Quantitative Aptitude was relatively easier for me,” said Sanuj, who started his preparation in January, almost 11 months before the exam.
According to Archita Mittal, an MBA aspirant set to take the exam this year, it is better to take subjects at a time rather than take everything at once. “It can be very confusing and monotonous if you study all subjects simultaneously. If you can take two subjects and study them together for a week or two then it can offer a refreshing change,” says Archita.
Coaching centres mushrooming across the country provide training to clear the CAT exam. Talking about whether coaching institutes are helpful, Archita said, “It depends on the percentile you are aiming for. You can clear the exam but external coaching helps you get the desired percentile by guiding you through strategy to maximize efficiency and utilize your time better.”
Sanuj, who took his coaching from the T.I.M.E. institute, says that even without coaching, it is possible to crack the exam. However, he adds that coaching centres give you the competitive edge and provide you with a peer group which gives you competition to keep you sharp.
Adding to this, Rajat said, “For sections such as Quantitative Aptitude, you would require coaching. But for subjects as English and logics, you can prepare them yourself.”
It is imperative to make a schedule for every week, as planning beforehand helps in avoiding haphazard preparation. To make a good preparation a great one, Rajat advises future aspirants to “take mock CAT tests very seriously. Analyse your performance and where you stand. Archita, on the other hand, feels one needs to work on accuracy. “In CAT, it is a matter of percentile not percentage.”
However, for the last few days of preparation before the date of exam, Jain suggests that candidates should not start something new in the last week before the exam. “By this time, most of the preparation is done. Those serious about CAT are already done with their studies. In any case, do not start anything new or extra. Do not take new tests, mock tests or paper analysis. Do not analyse the performance of others,” he advises.
Sanuj says in the last few days before the exam, practice more and keep your nerves. “If you go with preconceived notions then you won’t be able to score what your potential is,” he says.
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