5 smart preparation tips from toppers as per revised CAT exam pattern; crack CAT in 150 days

CAT toppers suggest smart way of CAT preparation instead of going for zig-zag preparation path. CAT toppers found their way to get into top IIMs with their consistent efforts deployed in right direction, now they share the next 150 days preparation strategy for CAT to get an edge over your peers

Prepare and consider all the parts in all the 3 sections of CAT equally important if you wish to get shortlisted by top IIMs

Doing 2 years Post graduation and doing it from IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow FMS, SPJIMR, MDI is altogether different. A lot depends on your 150 days CAT 2017 preparation planning and strategy. CAT toppers who found their way to get into top IIMs with their consistent efforts deployed in right direction to prepare for CAT exam share the next 150 days preparation strategy for CAT 2017 and get an edge over your peers in IIMs.

CAT exam will be on revised pattern. It will consist of 3 sections instead of 2 sections. Number of questions in CAT will be 100 comprising MCQs and Non-MCQs. The time limit is 3 hours and is divided into 1 hour for each of the 3 sections. According to the CAT toppers much will depend upon your preparation planning for next 5 months how much you will score. The revamped CAT exam pattern was started by IIM Ahmedabad in 2015. The same structure was carried forward by IIM Bangalore in CAT 2016.

You can make your dream of studying at one of the top 20 IIMs or at one of the top management institutes like FMS, MDI, NITIE, SPJIMR among others come true in next 150 days by preparing well for CAT . Common Admission Test (CAT) is the gateway to top MBA programmes in India. High score in CAT exam can transform your career prospects by awarding a different and promising life after completion of your MBA.

150 days: 5 preparation tips from toppers
In fact toppers suggest smart way of CAT 2017 preparation instead of going on the zig-zag path of preparation strategy. Avidipto Chatterjee (100 percentile); Pranjal Agarwal (100 percentiler); Sanuj Mittal (100 percentiler); Neha Manglick (100 Percentiler); Pranjul Gupta (100 percentiler); Vishesh Patni (100 percentiler); Anuraag Reddy Padigepati (100 percentiler); Harshveer Jain (100 percentiler); Aashish Chiller (100 percentiler); Soumyadeep Chakraborty(100 percentiler); Kartik Raj Rewar (99.93 percentiler) among other CAT toppers devised a bit different preparation but had one thing in common that all of them had regular and tough study schedule.

Build your Basics
In the first 2-3 months focus on the few basic concepts you need to be familiar with for taking CAT 2017. Building the basics should be the first step according to Sanuj Mittal, 100 percentiler in CAT.

Solve Practice questions & Sectional Mocks
Pranjal Agarwal, 100 percentiler in CAT 2015 suggests that even before you start preparing, solve practice questions of Mathematics and Statistics online. The questions are available on various websites like Brilliant.org; MBAUniverse.com among others.

If you find that you are weak in a particular section, you should take sectional mock tests. You should strictly adhere to the sectional time limits. If a specific topic is troublesome, then only should you go and study it from the basics.

Overcome the weakness
Neha Manglick the 100 percentiler in CAT started her CAT preparation journey seriously around May/June. One of the key preparation tips shared by her is to do away with weakness on relevant topics and improve speed and accuracy by attempting as many mocks as possible

Vishesh Patni, CAT 100 percentiler suggests to focus more on your strengths. Try to first attempt the types of questions during your preparation on which you could further improve your accuracy level. Vishesh himself was not very strong in Verbal Ability but in a few months improved it significantly to crack the section with high score with this way of CAT preparation.

Pranjal suggests to read regularly the English news papers especially the editorial part and English magazines to improve your reading speed and vocabulary as it will help you to crack more questions in Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability in the revised CAT exam pattern which consists of 24 questions on RC alone out of 34 total questions in the section.

Find out more than one way to solve questions
According to Neha, during your preparation for CAT exam you should search for more than one way to attempt and solve the questions with accuracy. This is also recommended by experts. Prof S K Agarwal, expert on Verbal Ability and mentor on CAT preparation is of the view that once you complete the study of any particular topic and plan to attempt some practice questions on the topic, you should devise your own way to crack the question instead of following the suggested solution. CAT toppers call it the smart way of CAT preparation strategy as it makes you learn the shorter and quicker ways to crack the question.

Important! Equal preparation on all 3 CAT sections
Neha lays stress to prepare and consider all the parts in all the 3 sections of CAT equally important if you wish to get shortlisted by top IIMs. In fact Not only IIM Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta or other 17 IIMs, but FMS, SPJIMR among others have also started to consider sectional scores as one of the key parameters to shortlist you.

You cannot ignore either Data Interpretation or Logical Reasoning in DILR section, as both have equal weightage in this section, nor you can ignore questions on Verbal Ability although Reading Comprehension plays major role with more questions. Quant despite being the last section in CAT exam, requires your well devised strong preparation as the number of Non-MCQs without negative marking in Quant section have been reduced from 10 to 7. You therefore carry higher risk of negative marking if more questions go wrong in Quant section.

Use your Habits and Hobbies as preparation tool
Your child-hood habits and hobbies could become a good CAT preparation tool for next 150 days. For example if your interest is more in solving cross word puzzles, this practice will help you to crack VARC questions faster; the analogy or Data related puzzles would help you to crack DI questions; your interest in Riddles based on blood relations, clocks, direction sense, and other topics will lead to high score in LR questions. Neha was fond of solving puzzles which helped her also in cracking CAT with such a high sectional as well as overall percentile.

Accordingly, CAT aspirants can also find the ways and means to put their hobbies as part of preparation strategy.

Focused CAT preparation: Need of the hour
Although the aspirants are preparing hard with the solo aim to get into the flagship MBA/PGP batch of IIM A, B, C, L or the top B schools like FMS & SPJIMR where not only the learning experience is great but an excellent career opportunity is also assured after completion of the course, what they lack is the proper strategy and determination to bell the CAT.

The success mantra for CAT aspirants from toppers is not to get bogged down by a very complex topic/concept. According to Kartik Raj Rewar from IIM Ahmedabad, “CAT only tests Class 10 level maths. CAT aspirants are advised not to study in a haphazard manner but should structure a daily/weekly schedule and follow it in a disciplined manner.”

Another key to success shared by Kartik is to try to balance sectional scores. Focus more on weaker sections/topics during the first half of CAT preparation. During the second-half, CAT aspirants should try to refine their strong subjects/topics.

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