Strategy Tips for CAT
Well, it is time that you evolve a strategy for CAT-2018. But really, do you need a plan? Do you need a strategy? Is this really needed or all this stuff is actually understandable? Well, the truth is, this stuff should have been understood long time back but most of the times, students often tend to forget things they should not. This article is meant to act as a reminder for these little things we all tend to forget a little too often.
There are 5 basic things that I want you to keep in mind. These five things are not life-changing mantras that would guarantee 99 percentile in CAT, rather, these are five mundane facts that you need to stick to in order to succeed. I am not a fan of examples from the world of films but the one that comes to mind as I write this article is from a Rocky movie. Remember the training he undergoes to reach the top of his sport? Well, it is not about the how you were in the ring. It’s all about what you did before you got into the fight. With few months to go for CAT, it is time to throw some punches, however boring the training might seem.
1. Fundas are Fundamental
It’s a ‘No Show’ without your basics being in place. When I use the word ‘basics’, I mean ‘the absolute basics’, which essentially consist of these four things:
- Quantitative Aptitude (Maths): Step 1 is about improving calculations, learning tables and clarifying concepts that you may have skipped in school.
- Quantitative Aptitude (Maths): Step 2 is about getting into the absolute details of every topic. Difficulty levels of questions you practice do not matter, but conceptual clarity does.
- Verbal Ability (English): Step 1 is that you need to start reading, and then you need to read a lot more. Read newspapers, blogs, magazines and books, read them all.
- Verbal Ability (English): Step 2 is about building your vocabulary and increasing your word-power. I recommended you to do this to simply improve your ability to understand the language, not just to superficially increase the number of words you know.
The above are four basic things that should never go out of your ‘to-do’ list. I have not included the ‘LR-DI’ section as I think it gets taken care of if one sorts-out the basic principles of mathematics (arithmetic and calculations in particular).
2. The Clock never stops ticking
The one thing that never stops in life: Time. 2 months to go for CAT, and the countdown has begun. Time is of the essence now, and you would do well to utilize it perfectly. Some of things that need to be keep in mind are:
- Quantitative Aptitude (Maths) can be successfully tamed by anyone (engineer or non-engineer) in 2 months. All you need is acute awareness with regards to what you need to do and what you need to leave at this stage.
- To improve your reading skills within 2 months is a challenge. Reading is a long-term process, and if you want to ace CAT RCs, trust me, you would need to read well. The best thing to do at this stage is to read articles and blogs.
- 2 months of discipline at this juncture is an investment for the future, so do not shy away from working hard and cutting ‘TIME’ on some of the frivolous activities you do.
3. Learning can never be fun..oops I meant fun
Can learning be fun? Really? Isn’t it too boring to sit with books the whole day and gaze into the emptiness of their pages? Well, I beg to differ slightly here. If there is one thing about CAT prep that motivates a lot of people to sit for it again and again, and at times recall how they prepared for it, it has to be its preparation stage. Filled with challenges that can be surmounted, and a syllabus that is not too boring, a lot of my students find the thrill of preparing for CAT a lot of fun actually. Try to build a similar attitude. Take this as one step on the learning curve of life. You never know where you will end up, but the one thing you do know is that you will be wiser for it, and at times, the game of mock percentiles can be a pretty interesting one to play.
4. Plans are useless..no, no I meant useful
There are two things to be kept in mind:
- Plans are useful only if implemented.
- Plans should not pressurize you to over-achieve, they should be achievable in the first place.
Why do our plans fail? For most of us, the problem is not with the plan. While making the plan, either we tried to accomplish too many things all at once, or we shy away from taking responsibility of implementing them.
I am a big fan of plans. I make a lot of them. Some of them fail, but most of them get through. Planning keeps me going, its keeps me organized and on my feet, tells me where I am headed and gives me direction and drive. These are the things that I derive out of plans. What do you derive? Ask yourself the question, and then make your plan.
Remember one golden rule: plans are easy to make but very difficult to execute. So make one small little micro-plan that you think you can easily achieve. And then build from there. Add small little things to it, perfect it and take it to the next level.
5. Sitting for CAT is not equivalent to Rocket Science!
What is Aptitude? Is it found in some shady market, wrapped up in a fancy cover and sold for a premium? Or is it an innate quality that cannot be worked upon or discovered? Well, the truth is that Aptitude is definitely not an item that you can buy in the bazaars of coaching centers. Yet, at the same time, it is not something that you cannot build and discover. All you need to do is understand your strengths, set realistic targets , and adopt the approach of regularity with respect to your studies. You might not change the world but you would change yours.
CAT is not rocket science, it is not impossible to crack. Coming from someone who always was average in terms of natural ability, but extremely high in terms of hard-work, it is essential for each one of you to figure out a plan, your plan, and make sure you go about it honestly.
Last piece of advice: Reality pinches you in the short term but does not let you down in the long term. You might be weak in certain areas right now, but if you accept them and try to set them right, you would be able to achieve what you want to.