Exactly how much time one should devote for cracking the Common Admission Test (CAT) remains a perennial question for MBA aspirants, right from the time they make up their mind to take the plunge? To be sincere, there cannot be a definite answer as to how much time is good for cracking one of the top most examinations to get entry into the prestigious management and business schools. It may work differently for different people, as ultimately each individual is unique. What may work for one person may not deliver results for another as humans differ in aptitude and caliber.
Latest Update: IIMs has announced the CAT 2018 exam date on Sunday, November 25, 2018. Detailed notification for CAT 2018 may be released in July / August 2018.
Nonetheless, like all high-profile examinations, the CAT too requires a sustained level of preparation and strategy. Six months to one year is generally regarded a good time for a serious aspirant.
This must, however, begin with an honest self-assessment: where do you stand in relation to the demands of CAT with zero preparation. The best way to do that is to take a mock test (a lot of them are available free or at nominal cost online nowadays). It will help you evaluate how much you need to plan and invest in preparation. It will give you an idea whether you need a full year of preparation or less to crack it. If you are still not satisfied, take the help of an instructor or a good professional coaching institute. Here as well, use your own discretion in assessing what is best for your goal.
Assuming an aspirant is aiming at CAT 2018, he/she has now just a little more than three months to prepare. The preparation time has to be divided into building conceptual knowledge and enhancing your skills through mock tests. Invest sometime in understanding the concepts and why a question is solved in a certain way. If you understand the concept, the only part left is application which is not very difficult to master.
An aspirant for CAT 2018 also needs to develop familiarity with the online test format. Giving mock tests will bring you up to speed with pattern and give some confidence. As pointed above, your preparation strategy has twin objectives: building conceptual knowledge or clarity and optimising your performance. The former comes handy in the selection of questions, accuracy, time spent per question.
Aspirants are advised to read as much, especially editorials for next few weeks. Also, the most important part in the language section is to understand what is required and what is not. Develop a habit of double reading each and every question. Understanding rules in each section will also help in better time management.
While preparing for CAT, maintaining a balance between sections is also necessary. If possible, revise each section everyday although one can allocate higher or less time in covering them depending on strengths and weakness. Try segregating sections on the basis of above and invest accordingly.
Taking mocks seriously is a must as a good or bad performance can affect your self-confidence. But at the same time, do not forget that there are no short cuts or miracles. Think things through. The road to success is always long and arduous.
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