Well, this is the one question that has hounded me in the last few days: calls, mails, messages, conversations etc. all have revolved around one common theme: what should I do in these last four months so that I can score well in my CAT exam?

Well, let us do a case by case analysis and try to answer this one broad sweeping question. Before I actually answer what you should do in the following months, you need to define your current preparation levels.

What kind of a student are you? You have the following options:
Type A: Doing WELL in Mocks, confident in all areas and obtain an even spread of marks in all sections.
Type B: Doing OK in Mocks, confident in most areas but not all, and generally see a variation among scores in various sections.
Type C: Struggling with Mocks, low on confidence and find yourself in the situation where you think you have done very little so far.

The good news for all of the above is that we have just about the bare minimum amount of time left to affect the following:
1. a turn-around for those are struggling with their preparation
2. significant improvement for those who are performing at average levels of competency
3. filling the gaps in the preparation of those students who are performing well

Before I come to individual suggestions for three types of students, there are a few things that all of you should be doing for sure:

  • Solving a bare minimum of 3 RCs a day (this is my rule of thumb method). Individuals might need different levels of practice, but 3 RCs are a minimum for all.¬†As with RCs, this is an approximate number that you follow.
  • 2 DI and 2 LR sets a day have to be solved on a daily basis.
  • Cover Two Focus topics in Maths every week: Divide your complete Maths syllabus in sub-topics (percentage, SI &CI , Profit and Loss, Quadratic Equations etc.). Make sure you are thorough with the concepts and practice exercises of two such topics every week.
  • 1 to 2 Mocks need to be given every week. Make sure you carry out their analysis as well. Without analyzing a mock, a mock has ZERO value.
  • Daily reading time: minimum one hour should be spent every day on reading quality reading material, like philosophy, psychology, political affairs blogs etc. Refer to the comment section of international dailies and newspapers such The Guardian, The New Yorker etc.

The above form 5 basic things that all of you should be doing at this point of time. Honestly ask yourself whether you check all the boxes with respect to the above.

Individual advice to the three student types:

Type A:
Identify your weakest areas as of today. For the next six weeks, your only one target is to smoothen out the chinks in the armor. Scoring well should not mean complacency for you, it should only mean that there is greater responsibility on you to perform.

Type B:
Carry out a thorough analysis of your weaknesses. Your inconsistent scores reflect that you have more weak areas than strong ones actually, and you depend on the nature of the exam for your score. Never a good thing to do. How do you eradicate this? Well, the task is simply: stop sleeping, stop whiling away time, no social life for the next three months. You only have one simple way of doing things: sit and study as much as you can. You need DISCIPLINE.

Type C:
An honest assessment of the situation: you have nothing to lose. Your situation is as simple as the previous statement; there is no going down, you can only go up from the position you are in. The problem most people face and you might be facing the same in the current situation is that you cannot really focus on studies and rather use all your energy worrying about what you do not know. Well, the solution is simple: stop worrying, start studying. One topic at time, strip the syllabus down and break in down into do-able parts. Once you have done that, you will be able to move forward. Forget you have three months only, rather take each week as it comes, focus only on the topics you are meant to do for this week, and make sure you complete the five tasks I have mentioned above. That is all you need to do.

The above forms a series of simple things that you should be doing for the next three months. In the next series of posts, we are going to talk about individual sections and sub-sections, and how to go about preparing them.