All posts filed under: CAT Strat

How to plan your post-CAT prep for other exams

I hope the last week served its purpose, which was for you to process all the emotional side-effects of the CAT. Going by the response to the previous post, there seems to have been enough and more trauma that this year’s edition of the CAT has caused. The CAT is an indicator of what you CANNOT do, not what you CAN do The aim of the CAT is to eliminate applicants and not benchmark applicants, so given this you should understand that the CAT exam serves the needs of the IIM admissions teams more than the test-takers. So, in effect what is tells you is this — it puts really heavy weights in front of you especially the DI-LR section, if you can lift great if you cannot, hard luck. Until 2018, the other two sections were easy, I assumed it was by design to ensure a more equal playing field to applicants from diverse educational backgrounds (you cannot say you want educational diversity and shaft the non-Math students in the QA section). Last year, …

What after a horrible CAT?

Be it the day of the CAT or be it when the final admits results come out it is not easy to be a mentor — on one hand you are happy for students who crack the exam and get an admit and on the other hand you are also tinged with sadness for those who have a bad test day or fail to convert. The toughest thing was always to meet a student who is happy, knowing that the one waiting outside is sad. So with the years one develops a certain equanimity since one cannot be so happy that one is not able to empathise with the ones who are having a hard time and one also cannot get so bogged down by sadness that one cannot partake in the joy of the successful. In some cases students just disappear, somehow they take it very personally, that they have failed, they have failed even after reading all the blogs and all attending all the sessions, they feel almost as if they have let …

Getting ready for CAT D-day

You have about 3 days left and some of you might still be awaiting answers  to some questions such as should you listen to what happened in the earlier slots, what should you do if you know you might not get sleep Saturday night etc. Last year I made audio clip (initially shot as a video) that answered all of these queries, queries that deal specifically with the three days leading up to the test and all the pending questions. As promised I am also taking a stress buster session — Anything But CAT — along with my colleagues at 8 PM today. We will host five rooms where we will discuss specific non-CAT topics of interest: Cricket & Tennis, Football and other sports, Harry Potter & Fantasy Books, Music Room, Quizzing. I’ll be handling the Cricket & Tennis room along with Amit Sir and Param sir (and all of our other stalwarts will also be there in each of the other rooms). I am looking forward to evening sessions and interacting with all the …

How to manage your 120 minutes

We have reached the last stretch now. If you are in a track and field race, you have turned the last curve and hit the straight. We have done enough concepts, practice & strategy. We have now crossed an invisible frontier, we have moved from the general to the specific, from what is outside of you to what is inside of you, to that space between your ears. Those who have taken the CAT before will attest that how well you manage your 120 minutes, how well you react to tough set or a section, how well you are able to execute Plan A or switch to Plan B, everything, depends on how well you manage the space between your ears. So let’s take it section by section, let’s look at each of the 40 minutes, let’s look at what you need to do right, what you need to watch out for and most importantly what can go wrong.

A plan for the last leg

At this stage, I realise that all of you are suffering from a different set of problems that occur at different score-levels. It is quite tough to come up with posts for the specific score ranges that different people are in and it is absolutely stupid to come up with a do-this-everyday-for-the-next-30 days sort of a thing (if you even think that is possible then you are preparing for the wrong exam). This post is intended to help you devise the best plan for yourself over the next thirty days. Fix your desired set of colleges, tests, and percentiles While everyone should and still aim to get into the old IIMs, each of one of you should also have a clear idea as to what the good colleges are for your profile for you apart from the IIMs. When I say a good college for you, you should measure it in terms of the outcomes that will be commensurate with your profile at this stage. An MBA primarily amplifies your current profile, this means that …

My scores have plateaued, how do I push them north

We have about 40 days left for the CAT and the queries I am getting are reflecting the same. Aspirants have written to me saying that they have learnt selection —  the A-B-C approach and set selection approach for DI-LR and VA-RC and right now they have a different problem — scores have hit a plateau at their respective levels — 75, 90, 100, 120. And most are facing the same dilemma —  I don’t want to increase my speed and go below the current scores and get demotivated, but if I don’t increase my speed my scores will not go up, what do I do. I have from my end more or less covered everything that needs to be done. The catch now lies in how you are going about executing things. Based on my interaction with students across the years and also my own experiences of preparing for tests I will try and put forth things that you might be doing or are prone to but are not consciously aware of and that …

CAT 2020 Changes: Are you ready for a sprint?

The reason behind the changes It is more than obvious that the reason behind the changes is not any sort of dissatisfaction with the pattern that has remained unchanged more or less the last 5 years but or the need to test newer or different skill sets. Long before even the notification was out, I thought that they would go back to holding the test over two days with four slots or even a week to account for social distancing requirements but when the convener announced that it will held in one day as it has been over the past few years, it did come as a surprise. I remember thinking to myself that they are either winging it or we are in for a surprise. Their way of managing has been to increase the number cities to six and the slots to three and it was the latter that caused the reduction in the duration of the test. The CAT has never been a test-taker friendly exam — so those who will end up …

Setting the right targets on your way to a 99 percentile

A few years back, I attended the Chennai convocation function for aspirants who cleared the Company Secretary (CS) exam (a relative of mine had cleared the exam). The Chief Guest was Padmishri awardee T.N.Manoharan, who is a pre-eminent figure in the Banking and Accounting sector in the country with his book being a must-read for all CA aspirants. He was part of the government-appointed team that cleaned up the Satyam mess and paved the way for the transition to Tech Mahindra. His keynote address was leavened with wisdom and had too many punchlines for me to recount here but one of the things he said is spot on when it comes to the way we should deal with success and failure. He said…

How to prepare for a CAT retake – Part II

In the previous post, we discussed the mindset with which one should approach a CAT retake; in this post, we shall look at a few more aspects with respect to a successful CAT retake. Since each one of you readers will have a different back story with respect to your first attempt and there will also be some non-IMS students among you as well, the focus of this post will be a bit wider.