CAT 2020 Prep part 2

CAT 2020 Prep Talk: part 2

This is the second part of a two part series, on the CAT 2020 Prep journey with useful and practical tips from SHASHANK PRABHUChief Mentor and Test Prep expert with IMS Learning Resources.


Take a look at  CAT 2020 Prep Talk: part 1

 Talk in terms of 15 minutes instead of hours: A common query among the aspirants is the unavailability of bulk time while preparing for the test. A lot of us feel that unless we get those 2-3 hours on a daily basis at a stretch, our preparation is going to suffer. A lot of aspirants end up quitting their jobs to focus on prep and end up creating uncomfortable scenarios during their interview. A way to combat this would be to follow these steps:

Step 1

Think in terms of shorter spans of time instead of an overall window: If you observe carefully, you will see that you have at least 7 or 8 of these 15 minutes slots during the day (while having breakfast, travelling, by finishing your lunch quickly, while waiting for the SIMCAT to begin, while waiting for a movie to begin, before going to sleep and so on).

Step 2

  • Plan exactly what you need to do over the coming week and then get your material sorted accordingly.

Step 3

  • Keep printouts or images of the questions ready: Whenever you get a free slot, start solving questions almost on cue. One reading comprehension passage or a set of 5 Quant questions or a DI/LR set can easily be done within 15 minutes so make sure you are doing that.

 Set prep milestones and achieve them: This is the stage by when you will probably have a fair understanding of which section excites you the most and the one that scares you the most.

  • Your next step of preparation will involve cognizance of which topics are you good at from your worst section and the ones that you are bad at from your favourite section.
  • These gaps and opportunities should ideally be addressed by the end of July (when the CAT notification comes out and the SIMCAT takers are at its peak).
  • Post that, your entire focus will be to understand the level of difficulty at a question level.
  • Remember, 100 correct decisions is all it takes for you to do well at the CAT so keep in mind that each extra second that you are going to spend on a question or you are probably going to leave, or worse, you are going to get wrong will hurt your chances big time.

 Don’t put all your eggs in the CAT basket: This bit is fairly self-explanatory:

  • Focus on grammar and vocabulary for tests like the XAT, the IIFT, the SNAP, the NMAT and the CET.
  • For IIFT and XAT, practice higher quant and trigonometry
  • For TISSNET, CMAT, MICAT and IIFT, build up your awareness in terms of social issues and general knowledge.
  • When it comes to the XAT, the dreaded decision making section is something you have to keep practising.

 Think CV points, always: Make sure that you are thinking long term. Your interviews are generally going to be grueling and your summer internship process will start almost immediately once you are in a B-School. So, pursue your hobbies and interests diligently as a participation certificate doesn’t hurt and it will make a compelling story during the interview. If you are working, try to get your appreciation mails and letters of recommendations in order. If there is a competition, then participate, if there is an event, organise and if there is a committee, join it.

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Besides these above-mentioned tips, remember to follow these:

  • The staple 1 RC passage, 1 LR/DI set, 10 interesting quant questions should be good practice in a day.
  • Also solve the past CAT/IIFT/XAT/SNAP papers from official, curated sources regularly and understand the level of aptitude that is required.
  • And finally, understand yourself as an individual. You are aiming to be in a profession in which, you are expected to talk statistics and give insights that many won’t be able to. The first step starts by understanding yourself quantitatively instead of qualitatively. Once you do that, there will be no looking back.

All the best!