Get your basics right
CAT aspirants should make planned efforts in the next five months to maximise their chances of success
With an early announcement of dates for CAT 2013, which is slated to be held from October 16 to November 11, CAT aspirants should make planned efforts in the next five months to maximise their chances of cracking it. A large number of students may have already started their preparation about six-nine months earlier and may have completed about 20-80% of their basics.
The first task for any CAT aspirant is to complete the basics in all the test areas at the earliest possible but preferably not later than 30 days before they take the CAT. Basics will include: Quantitative ability
Quant: arithmetic, basic algebra, geometry and mensuration and modern maths
Data interpretation: Tables, line, bar and pie charts, routes and networks etc
After the basics, students should focus on solving questions that require application of the knowledge under severe time pressure. They should also practise to build skills in using alternative methods to solve questions like option-judging, elimination of unlikely options, substitution of numerical values, etc. They should also build speed by solving questions using mental calculations and visual observation. Verbal ability
Logical reasoning: Calendars, clocks, cubes, syllogisms, Conditional Statements, Venn Diagrams, Maxima-Minima, Binary Logic, Games & Tournaments, Logic Puzzles etc
English grammar basics: Reading comprehension (RC) - reading on various different subjects online
Vocabulary - Consulting the dictionary regularly to know the contextual usage of unfamiliar words/usage
Data interpretation and logical reasoning areas are skill-intensive. Hence, practice and more practice will help you to sharpen your skills
Verbal areas require you to have strong fundamentals in grammar. A good vocabulary and a varied reading habit are a must to do well in RC. This is also an area where you may get into trouble due to more wrong answers and negative marks, so you have to be on your guard.
Once your basics are more or less in place, you should take plenty of mock tests that are similar to the CAT and are taken by a large number of students. Mock tests play a crucial role in: Understanding your relative strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis other testtakers so that you can work on the same and improve Fine-tuning your time management and question identification skills that help you to attempt maximum possible questions Understanding the reasons behind your mistakes so that you do not repeat these again Developing stamina and temperament for a 140-minute computerbased CAT Use the last one month before the CAT to take and thoroughly analyse your performance in each mock test so that you are ready to take the actual test confidently.