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An IIM Alumnus Has Some Handy Tips For Last-Minute CAT Preparation

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CAT (Common Admission Test) tips 30 days before the exam would help those who are late-starters and those who are still having doubts about their preparation for CAT. What should be your preparation strategy in the last one month before the D-Day? As you would be competing with more than 200,000 candidates, trying to achieve top percentiles to get IIM interview calls, what should you do in order to not miss out on the chance of getting more than 99 percentile this time?

Don’t panic, don’t feel nervous, as there is still time to work on the concepts and solve some more problems which will ultimately help you to achieve your dreams.

In a conversation with Mr Ravi Dahiya (alumni of IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Roorkee), our team got some valuable tips which are explained below.

To get into IIM Ahmedabad, how much time does one need to devote to studying every day?

Ravi Dahiya (RD): IIM selection criteria is pretty different from others. You need to have good marks, especially in your class 12 and undergraduate course. But these things have already happened and you don’t have control over them anymore. Your current focus should be to score maximum marks in the CAT. Ideally, you need to start preparing five to six months before the exam and devote five to six hours to studying every day. This should be enough to get you a good CAT score. Then, if you’re eligible for the said criteria, along with your work experience and your academics, you will get a call to start preparing further.

What was your CAT preparation strategy?

RD: My second CAT attempt got me into IIM Ahmedabad. I knew my weaknesses and my weakness lay in the verbal section. Initially, I started preparing the basics and then started working on my weaknesses rather than my strengths. I used to read a lot. I read newspapers, articles, listicles and I started improving my basics of quantitative aptitude basics. My focus was mainly to concentrate on the basics and not improving my speed or getting the questions right. In the last few months, I started focusing on the speed and my strengths. You basically need to have a priority list set out and work on it accordingly.

As there is only one month left for the CAT 2017, how should one prepare for the quantitative section?

RD: For the quantitative section, you should revise your mathematical skills. If you are not from a mathematics background, you should probably get your basics corrected from whatever material is available. Mock tests can also help you in this.

As there is only one month left for the CAT 2017, how should one prepare for the verbal section?

RD: As I said, one should keep reading and not stop. You should also build a different strategy for reading comprehension. I have seen a lot of people who read the question first and then skim through the passage. I feel one should first read the passage, concentrating mainly on the first and the last line. After reading each paragraph, you should be able enough to write a line about the paragraph. Only then can you answer the questions efficiently.

As there is only one month left for the CAT 2017, how should one prepare for the data interpretation and logical reasoning sections?

RD: The data interpretation and logical reasoning sections do not require much of the basics, it just needs a lot of practice. Solving every type of question, rather than just focusing on theory. Logical reasoning is very critical because one single logical reasoning question has three to four parts. You should be able to understand the question fully and only then start attempting. Practice is the key here.

How to focus on CAT preparation in this last one month?

RD: From my experience, I can say that the last few months should be spent focusing on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses. Because you must’ve developed your basics by now, which should help cover your weaknesses. The last month should be focused on building your speed and improving your accuracy.

Ravi Dahiya, Alumni of IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Roorkee, is currently working as a Management Professional and stays in Delhi.

What should be one’s strategy on the D-Day?

RD: CAT is not about getting all the questions right. It is about solving those questions which you know you can solve. A lot of people try and solve the tough questions first. This is where they lose a lot of time. You should be able to leave the questions which you think you won’t be able to solve to save time. Then, after you are done with all the questions, you may want to come back to those questions and work on them. The strategy is not to solve every single question sequentially, but to focus on solving the ones you know you can solve.

How can one find the questions which can be solved easily?

RD: There are two methods: one is when you read the question and you immediately know you can solve it, and the second method is when you think you won’t be able to solve it completely, so you leave it and go to the next question which might be easier.

How can one find time-consuming questions to avoid and save time?

RD: If you start solving a question and halfway through, you realise you cannot go further, leave the question then and there instead of spending a lot of time on it. Because there are questions which are specially designed to take up a lot of your time.

What is your advice for IIM Aspirants?

RD: CAT is an easy exam if you are confident. I think confidence is the key here. You should be relaxed on the D-Day. You should be positive about your attempt. So that’s my advice to the aspirants.

PInterview offers its users 1 to 1 online mock interview with industry professionals and domain experts to improve one’s interview skills and ace the interviews. You can find their website here.

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