Preparation Strategy for CAT 2019

Ayush Nargotra

In life, the best time to do anything is to start now. Similarly, even for the CAT 2019 Exam, the best time to prepare for the exam would be right this moment.
Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Kozhikode will conduct Common Admission Test (CAT 2019) on November 24 (tentative). CAT is a computer based national level entrance examination for admission to MBA/PGDM courses at IIMs as well as other B-Schools across the country. CAT 2019 notification will be released on July 28 with the registration process starting tentatively from second week of August.
CAT will be held at 374 centers in 147 cities across India. More than two lakh students are expected to appear for CAT 2019. Admissions to around 115 B-Schools including one in Singapore and 114 in India is on the basis of CAT scores. Since admission process is separate for each IIM and other institutes, candidates may note that apart from CAT 2019 scores, factors like performance in WAT, GD and PI are also important for the selection process. CAT scores are valid for one year only.
374 CAT 2019 exam Centers will be located across 147 cities in India and in J&K, only Jammu and Samba will be the Test Centers.
Before starting with the CAT 2019 preparation, you should know the topics being covered in this exam. Get all the books and resources needed for preparation. Now that having all the resources, another important thing to know is the exam pattern.
*CAT 2019 is an online examination of 3 hours duration.
*The questions in the exam will be of MCQ and TITA type totaling 100 questions.
*MCQ are multiple choice questions, for which candidates get multiple answer choices. Whereas, TITA is for Type In the Answer which means you need to write the answer in the text box that is provided.
*The VA-RC section and DI-LR section have 24 MCQ questions each. QA has 25 MCQ questions. this makes a sum of 75 questions. The TITA questions are 25 in number.
*Marking Scheme – Each question will carry three (3) marks. For each incorrect/wrong answer, there will be a negative marking of one mark. However, it has to be noted that there will be no negative marking for non-MCQs or TITA (Type In The Answer) questions.
Aspirants must formulate strategic planning before starting the preparation for CAT. Some of the strategic planning are:
Be thorough with the exam syllabus and pattern
Make a choice to opt for coaching centers or self-study
Take as many as possible mock tests online. Your scores in mock will determine your score in actual Exam.
Solve questions and set targets
Bound yourself in time and
manage accordingly
Be thorough with the exam syllabus and pattern The first and foremost step towards the strategic planning for CAT 2019 must be to know the syllabus and exam pattern inside out. Aspirants must know the topics that they must prepare and focus most on through exam pattern. As the mode of exam for CAT 2019 will be computer-based, henceforth students must know that they can’t switch between sections anytime they want. They will have to firstly complete the respective section and then move forward.
The syllabus of CAT is divided into three sections:
*Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension (VARC)
*Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
*Quantitative Ability (QA)s
Make a choice to opt for coaching
centres or self-study
CAT is one of the most important milestones (if not the most important) for every serious MBA aspirant. There are several success stories of people who have cleared CAT without any CAT Coaching. This influences several aspirants to think about tackling the CAT Exam without CAT Coaching (especially if someone close to them has done the same). However what these aspirants overlook is that these stories are the exception rather than the rule. There are several benefits of signing up for a CAT Coaching which are enumerated below:
*Structured Preparation Schedule: The CAT Coaching will allow the aspirant to go about their preparation in a structured way. The experience that they garner through their many students allows the CAT Coaching Institutes to understand the topics which most students find challenging and accordingly schedule the classes. With the CAT Coaching schedule, the preparation becomes that much more easy for the aspirant as it will complement their preparation at home.
*Discipline: One thing that is a necessity for all the candidates appearing for CAT is discipline. It is even more essential for candidates who wish to prepare for CAT without the guidance of the CAT Coaching Institute. In truth, very few people have the necessary discipline to manage their time well enough for proper CAT Preparation. This is where the importance of CAT Coaching comes in, it guarantees that the candidate prepares for a minimum number of hours per week through their classes and the preparation time required for the classes.
*Doubt Clearing: Let’s say that the candidate does decide to prepare without the aid of a CAT Coaching Institute, the doubts that the candidate will have about the concepts are difficult to clear through reading the books or scouring the internet. This is where the benefit of a teacher comes to the fore. The concept clearing skills that a good teacher possesses is one of the biggest things that candidates would miss out on without CAT Coaching.
*Peer Learning: It is very difficult to measure the impact of peer learning however it is unanimously agreed upon to have a positive impact. This is another benefit that candidates will have to forego if they decide to prepare without any CAT Coaching Institute. In addition to this, the other aspirants in the CAT Coaching would give the candidate a fair idea of exactly where they stand in terms of their competition and where they need to improve.
*Study Material: The Study Material for CAT Coaching Institutes are carefully curated to ensure that the student will be able to solve any problem from the topic with enough practice. In addition to the books and modules, the mocks and sectional tests that the CAT Coaching provides are necessary milestones for every CAT aspirant.
These are some of the benefits that make CAT Coaching a must for most candidates. While there may be exceptions to the rule, the majority of the candidates require the guidance that the CAT Coaching can provide.
Career Launcher Jammu is the only institute in J&K with Admissions in IIM -A, IIM-B, IIM-C, IIM-L, IIM-I & XLRI.
*Take as many as possible
mock tests online
Analyze your preparation level by giving mock tests. Mock tests help in identifying the weak and strong areas. Identifying the areas of focus helps in beginning the CAT preparation. Many 99 percentiles have discussed that they gave as many as possible mock test every week which helped them analyse their mistakes and weak points.
*Solve questions and but
don`t set targets
Aspirants while solving questions must not target the number of questions to be solved as your attempts will be based on the difficulty of the Paper. Easy Paper would require high attempts but less attempts will be beneficial in case of a difficult one. However, aspirants are suggested to maintain accuracy while solving a number of questions and should not compromise with it. Try to target for maximum questions for each section depending upon the difficulty level.
*Bound yourself in time
and manage accordingly
Aspirants must manage their time by attempting the questions which they are sure of and can solve quickly. By solving the easy questions first it helps in gaining confidence and effective time utilization by keeping the difficult question for later consideration.
Preparation Strategy for the Test Day
The first thing to do will be to move away from the dichotomy of Quant & Verbal and look at the test as comprising five Areas: QA, DI, VA, RC & LR. Also every area will have a certain number of difficult questions. The task is to pick out Easy & Medium questions from each area. The reason most people do not cross a particular threshold or cut-off score is because they choose a favorite area and try to attempt even the tougher sets which are better left alone. One LR Set might be better left alone under test conditions, a few Quant problems are better ignored altogether. Focusing on five areas will ensure that your attempts are higher as well as better chosen. Always remember that marks of One EASY Question is equal to marks of One DIFFICULT Question. So Question selection will play a key role in deciding your percentile.
Ensure That You Do Not Miss Out On Easy Questions: How many times have you gone back home and analyzed a MOCK CAT only to find that there was an easy set or question that you could have done but did not since you did not really read it. This division ensures that you take a look at all areas and pick out easy questions from them.
Ensure That You Can Gauge the Difficulty Level of Each Area: If you consistently use this strategy in all your MOCK CAT’s, come test-day you will be able to gauge the difficulty level of the section-based on the number of attempts at the end of the defined time-limit. This will enable you to define what you need to achieve in the next time-slot.
Ensure Timely & Better Performance Tracking: It is quite common for test-takers to realize towards the end of a test that their performance was below par. This is not because they performed poorly towards the end of the test but because they did not keep track of the deficits that were building up during the course of the test. By measuring yourself over smaller time slots with specific targets, you will be able know how your test is progressing and formulate your strategy in stages depending on your performance in the previous time-slot.
Following above strategy you can devote at least 15 minutes per Section to “Buffer Time” on the Final Test Day.
Why the “Buffer Time”
Anything can happen on test-day, for some reason an LR Set you might have otherwise done might pose a stubborn problem. Quant might throw up more questions that usual from your least favorite area, Geometry or P & C. How do you deal with this? Can you allow these minor setbacks to jeopardize your test?
The buffer is to help you deal with test-day uncertainty. It is that safety net for each section that helps you ensure that you clear sectional and overall cut-offs despite any setbacks during the CAT Exam. In the buffer time of 15 minutes per Section try to maximize your score as you would have finished most of the easy and medium level questions. This buffer time will ensure your 99+ percentile.
You can customize the plan by changing the time-limits here and there by 5-10 minutes but you should not let your buffer time go below 10 minutes. More importantly you should stick to the plan.
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Career Launcher got six 100 percentiles’ with 28603 IIM call and CL jammu is the only local institute to send Students to different IIM`s and prestigious MBA colleges as XLRI Jamshedpur and Symbiosis to name a few. At Career launcher jammu we are the only Institute having faculty scoring 99+ percentile time and again in CAT.
(The author is Director Career Launcher Jammu)