Often, when a CAT aspirant begins her/his CAT preparation, she/he expresses an apprehension. It is often expressed either while joining a CAT coaching institute, or in the early stages of their CAT coaching classes.
Usually, it is something similar to “I am weak in Quant” or “I didn’t have Math after class 10th” or some other version of ‘Quant-phobia’. It is probably the single most prevalent disease among CAT aspirants 🙂 It is of course followed by the “I am weak in English” or some similar apprehension about VARC.
Very rarely have I come across someone saying “DILR is a weakness I am worried about”. Why? And how can the answer to this question impact your CAT prep?
There are 3 important points related to these apprehensions and how they impact your chances of success and can either enable or disable the best CAT coaching experience for you!
1. Past Baggage will only slow down future progress:
The reason why most CAT aspirants do not start by worrying about DILR is because they generally have no past DILR baggage. It is a new ’subject’ for most and they are open to seeing it before drawing any conclusions about their expertise or comfort with the same. Quant (or Math) on the other hand, has been a thorn in their flesh at some point in the past. In fact, that was probably a reason why they didn’t take it up in the 11th standard :). So, they begin their CAT prep carrying that baggage. But when you look behind or carry the weight of the past, you are unlikely to move forward as quickly as you should. So, just make a fresh start. Assume you neither know nor need to know much in Quant and it is a fresh area. This mindset will allow you to make rapid progress.
2. No one is weak in Quant (or English):
It is highly unlikely you are weak in Quant – chances are you are not good in a certain number of topics in Quant. Once you start making topic-wise progress and begin assessing your comfort and proficiency in each topic in Quant, you will realize that there are topics you are pathetic at (real weaknesses), topics you are okay at, and topics you are rather good at. This breaking up of every subject and assessing yourself in each topic is a crucial step in your CAT prep journey and a focus area in ADAPTIVE Preparation for CAT at MBAGuru. There are 2 big advantages that come from it:
- It reduces fear – “I am weak in Work, Mensuration, Functions, Probability” is a much smaller mountain to climb than “I am weak in Quant”. It reduces and specifies where you need to make more efforts. It makes improvement more practical.
- Something like “I am good or okay in Number Systems, P&L, Equations and Trigonometry” further diminishes the fear in the mind and makes improvement in Quant a real possibility.
This is more like breaking down a large, complicated problem like Quant into smaller, solvable, doable parts in your mind and goes a long way in ensuring progress.
3. Weakness mindset versus improvement mindset:
A known weakness is a strength because it helps you pinpoint areas of effort and improvement. Rather than thinking of yourself as weak in something, think of how much you can improve in that area with a little effort. A lot changes once you begin to do that. What your mind tells you repeatedly either becomes a barrier or a platform to bounce back from.
Mindset is like a Quant problem. And Quant is generally a mindset problem. Hitanksha’s story is a beautiful reminder of how a change in approach can change the outcome.
You do not need to be exceptional in every topic in Quant (or in English for that matter). You need to know which topics you need to focus more upon and ensure improvement there. Once you begin doing that even for 1-2 topics, you will gain immense confidence and continue to improve from there. Once you decide Quant is not a weakness, you will have taken the first and most crucial step in ensuring that it is actually not a weakness!