HUSTLE FOR CAT!

Well, there is a ‘time’ for procrastination and then there is a ‘time’ for HUSTLING. The time to HUSTLE has well and truly arrived. It is here and now!

Challenges you face right now:
At this point of time, with 150 days to CAT, you face the following challenges:

  1. Limited time to cover all topics.
  2. Limited improvement in Mock percentiles.
  3. Limited time to address your weak areas.

How do you counter these challenges?
The shortest possible answer: you HUSTLE.

What does the word hustle mean?
The dictionary definition of the word has a limited meaning. It refers to a state of great activity. But here, I have the slang definition for the word. Hustle means to do things to get closer to the point you want to get. Hustle means to challenge the boundaries and go beyond the realm of normal.

How do you do that?
Well, we build the strategy for hustling in this article. This is your strategy for the next 40 days.

What needs to be done?
Let’s take up things one section at a time.

CAT Verbal Ability: Strategy Guide
As and when the CAT notification is out, we will have greater clarity with respect to the exam pattern (if there are any changes). Since in the last three years the exam has been very consistent, as of now, we can expect a similar exam to the one that took place last year. This means you can expect 24 RC questions, 3 paragraph summary questions, 3 misfit sentence questions, and 4 subjective jumbled paragraph questions.

What do you need to do for each of these areas?

Reading Comprehensions: Considering, that in all probability, you will have 24 questions for CAT RCs, it means this is one area of the preparation that cannot be left out. Make sure you solve at least 3 reading comprehensions a day. Coupled with this, read at least 5 quality articles a day. The sources for these articles can be:

  1. Aldaily (http://www.aldaily.com)
  2. Aeon (https://aeon.co/)
  3. Project Syndicate (https://www.project-syndicate.org/)
  4. The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com)
  5. The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/)

Bonus Tip: Try subject-wise reading for sure. Make sure you read a decent number of articles from areas such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, science and technology, economics, business, history, art, culture, & literature.

Paragraph Summary: This is the second expected topic for CAT. For this area, you do not need to sweat a lot. Paragraph summary is akin to RC main idea questions and all you need to do is identify the central thought idea for this topic. Go through the concepts for the topic here. For practice, focus mainly on reading.

Para-jumbles: This is the tough one. CAT-2015 changed this question type into a subjective one and with that, the accuracy for these questions took a huge hit. In realistic terms, you should solve these questions at the end of the exam and do not count these in your actual attempt. It is a hit or miss scenario with these and rationally speaking, it is next to impossible to solve para-jumble questions without options. Every order will make some sense at least and in a way, this is a flawed question type. The only recommendation here is that you keep the basic approach in mind for this question type. You solve this question type by identifying pairs, opening sentences, and closing sentences. These are the prime movers for this question type and the same remains the case here.

Misfit Sentences: Despite these questions featuring as TITA questions, these are effectively MCQ questions as you need to pick one misfit sentence from the given options. In general, CAT has featured some of the easiest questions in Verbal Ability (VA) section for this topic. In short, you identify the sentence that does not fit the central theme and ethos of the paragraph. You need to make sure you read carefully and identify the subject plus main point of every sentences (this gets harder when there is a complex sentence featuring multiple nouns and ideas). Stick to the basics and you will do well. Remember, this is another topic driven by reading skills.

Summation for the above: The four topics above are the ones that have featured in CAT last year as well as the CAT demo test this year. It is expected that the exam will be along similar lines this year and these are the topics you need to focus on. The most important thing for the above topics is that these are bound by the common thread of reading. All the above topics are reading driven topics (per say) and these do not have a long list of concepts (like Grammar).

Other Verbal Ability Topics:
Now this leaves us with one important topic of discussion. What should be done for other Verbal Ability topics? These topics are:

  1. Para-Completion
  2. Critical Reasoning
  3. FIJs (for some reason, this is everyone’s favourite but this topic has not appeared in CAT since 2006).
  4. Grammar
  5. Vocabulary

As far as the first two topics are concerned, you should go through the concepts for these topics and take up basic practice. This will not only make sure you are ready for any pattern change but also help you prepare for other non-CAT entrance exams.

The probability of FIJ questions making an appearance is next to negligible and you should not worry about the same.

Grammar is the tricky one. The reason for this is that it requires significant time investment and the returns might not be there if you are primarily focusing on the CAT exam. In any case, I would recommend you to go through the following topics:

  • Parts of speech and related errors
  • Pronoun errors
  • Subject Verb Agreement
  • Verb Tense error
  • Parallelism and modifiers
  • Basic punctuation rules

These should cover majority of the examination for you and make sure all bases are covered for the CAT exam as well.

As far as vocabulary is concerned, you not be too bothered at this stage. Focus on building your reading skills (though vocabulary plays a role here). At this stage, it is difficult to turn the tide with respect to learning words and your focus should be on comprehension and reasoning related skills.

This provides you a sum-total of the things you need to do for CAT. You will do well to focus on these topics and make sure you HUSTLE! Remember, ‘HUSTLE’ is the word that is going to define your future in 2018.