CAT 2021: 10 effective tips to step-up your preparation

This year, IIM Ahmedabad will be conducting the CAT exam. The registration for CAT 2021 started on August 4 and the last date to register is September 15.

— Bharat Gupta 

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based MBA entrance exam held every year for admission to postgraduate management programs at IIMs and other prestigious business schools across the country. This year, IIM Ahmedabad will be conducting the CAT exam. The registration for CAT 2021 started on August 4 and the last date to register is September 15.

The CAT exam has traditionally been conducted for 180 minutes, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the duration was reduced to 120 minutes for CAT 2020. For CAT 2021, the examination authority has retained the same time duration. The CAT exam pattern 2021 is divided into three sections and comprises a total of 76 questions, according to the latest notification. The VARC and QA section will have 26 questions each, while the DILR section will have 24. This year, the CAT examination is scheduled for November 28.

As we approach the exam, here are a few workable strategies that aspirants can follow to crack the CAT exam:

1: Honest review of your strengths and weaknesses: It is essential to attempt online mock papers and analyse them thoroughly to know your weak and strong areas. Aspirants are advised to attempt all the questions. If you are around the 90-percentile zone, you may be able to get a good score in the CAT exam. However, if your score is lower than that, you must focus on working on your weak subjects.

2: Focus more on your weak subjects: If you were able to solve 33% of the paper correctly and are happy with the analysis, you should try to solve parts from quantitative ability (QA), verbal ability, and reading comprehension (VARC) as well as logical reasoning and data interpretation (LRDI) where you didn’t perform well. Spend a good amount of time clearing concepts in your weak areas and solve more relevant questions. The key is to attempt sectional tests and take as many mock tests as possible. By following this approach, you will be able to gradually increase your score.

3: Refer to online study material: Given the pandemic, it is ideal to join online coaching classes if you need to cover a considerable part of the syllabus. Online coaching platforms are generally flexible in nature and are suited for most aspirants. One can choose a timetable which works best for them and attend the classes accordingly. The best part about online coaching is that one can always refer to the recorded sessions for revision. Additionally, these classes can also help one build concepts and are great for doubt-clearing.

4: Practice mock tests: Mock tests are very important for any exam as they play a vital role in one’s self-assessment. They prepare you to be ready for the actual exam by giving you a clear picture of subject-wise time allotment. It is crucial to stick to mock tests with the goal of minimizing the number of wrong attempts with each test.

5: Strengthen your strong section: Each student has their own weak and strong sections, and it is important to closely assess the same. Once you are aware of your strong section, give that section your best and excel in it. The key is to practice as much as you can to achieve a high score in those sections. Additionally, go through the sample solution in detail to find out any mistakes that were made. This way, you will be able to solve that section faster.

6. Learn from your mock test mistakes: It is important for students to learn from their mock and sectional test mistakes. This will help you in eliminating such mistakes in the future. Students should also make a concerted effort to improve in their strongest subjects.

7. Keep yourself updated with current affairs: Keep up with current affairs around the world by reading as many books as possible. It is recommended that students read articles on philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, art, culture, literature, science and technology, economics, and business.

8.Have a thorough understanding of the concepts: Make sure you understand all the concepts and strategies for solving the Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation sections in time. Manage your time well as you must solve numerous calculations in less than a minute.

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9. Practice reading comprehensions thoroughly: One of the most difficult sections of the exam is Reading Comprehension. Aspirants should try and solve as many RCs as possible, as practicing consistently is the key to securing good marks in this section.

10. Last-minute tips: Improve your reading speed to at least 150 words per minute. Make a note of difficult words you come across in a section or article and try to remember them. You can recall these words by employing a variety of ways, such as incorporating those terms in your daily life or using mnemonics.

Nonetheless, do not start your preparation in the last few days before the exam. It is important to keep your notes handy, make efficient pointers, and try following the mentioned workable strategies for your last-minute revision. Additionally, keep yourself focused and motivated in the pursuit of your goal as the CAT exam approaches.

The writer is a CAT educator at Unacademy

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