CAT 2021: Time is the most precious resource, especially for those who are planning to take the Common Admission Test on November 28, 2021. How well you perform in an exam like the CAT has less to do with your background and more to do with your perseverance and receptiveness. The sincere students know the importance of time management and realize how time can be utilized efficiently to get the best output. Start your preparation by overcoming your fear and apprehension. Planning and execution go hand in hand. A time-table can help you to stick to your goal. Staying organized and avoiding distractions is crucial.
Guidance for the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension section
The section tests you on how well you can understand and analyze the information that is given to you in the form of passages, paragraphs or jumbled sentences. In the past few years, the CAT exam has become more focused on testing reading comprehension skills. One would require a lot of mental stamina to combat this section. Acquiring and developing some key skills (like comprehension, retention, interpretation, assimilation, etc) can be really useful. To ace this section, you need to broaden the scope of the content you read and get comfortable with reading diverse topics.
Guidance for the Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section
This section is less knowledge-oriented and more skill-oriented. Whether you are an engineer or a non-engineer this section is an equalizer in the true sense. The three basic skill sets here are comprehension, interpretation and case analysis which are essentially required to crack any puzzles. Coupled with this, students also need to know the basics of percentages and comparing fractions. For the past few years, the section has consisted of caselets with some information followed by 3-4 questions based on the given information.
Guidance for the Quantitative Ability section
All of us can do well in this section if we plan and prepare. Nearly 1/3rd of the questions in the section are based on easy, foundational topics like simple equations, ratios, time and work, time and distance, percentages, profit and loss, etc. Anxiety about more abstruse topics like progressions, permutations and combinations, geometry prevents some students from scoring well in the section.
Make a compendium of formulas topic-wise in a logical order. Spend time getting the foundational mathematical concepts in place before tackling exam-level questions. Your ability to perform within a time limit is very important.
Prepare in three different phases
The first phase of preparation can be used to delve deep into the concepts and to learn them thoroughly. The second phase calls for a lot of practise and getting familiar with the various question types, etc. It would be a good idea to test yourself with some mock tests at this stage. The final phase may include trying to iron out deficiencies, working hard to improve speed and accuracy in the practice tests and mocks. One may think of taking a mock every 5-6 days, analyzing them, introspect and zero-in on the areas of improvement. Apart from taking full-length mock tests, you should also take sectional tests and use them specifically for targeting areas of weakness, or for improving your understanding of specific concepts. Managing time in the exam scenario is very important.
Know and remember that the competition is bound to intimidate you on more than one occasion over the coming few weeks and things will not always go the way that you may like them to. You should also be prepared for occasional spells of self-doubt, despair and discouragement – they are all a part and parcel of the game – which you will eventually become accustomed to, overcome and, hopefully, use as stepping stones to reach greater heights in your preparation. Every minute is critical. One has to focus and prioritize one’s tasks when there is a test or challenge round the corner. Believe in your dream, work for it and nothing will be able to stop you from succeeding. Once you get a call, you have as good a chance as anyone else to be selected.
(Author Puneet Sharma is CAT Product Head – T.I.M.E. Mumbai. Views expressed here are personal.)