As they say, “Well begun is half done” – for CAT aspirants, nothing could be more apt. Though there is no substitute for hard-work, I believe it’s more of smart work that is crucial for your success at CAT. To crack CAT and to become a successful manager, one needs to put in a systematic and planned effort. There are 2 parts of CAT preparation that you must think through, especially when you start, in order to make the most of your preparation:
First part (online exam preparation):
CAT checks you on clarity of fundamentals and application of concepts. So, first of all, diagnose your current level through a detailed SWOT Analysis and find out your strengths and weaknesses in all the 3 broad areas and various topics in these 3 areas. You will end up wasting a lot of time and effort if you don’t know the starting point of your prep in each topic and section. Use the following utility in case you want to test yourself on each of the topics of CAT: www. mbaguru.in/adaptive
Let’s now take a look at what is required to succeed in various sections in CAT:
1) Verbal Ability (English)
Thumb rule: People who read more do better in this section. So, the first few weeks should be devoted exclusively to reading and reading “critically and diversely”. For example: read editorials (preferably online) and start with Novels (preferably e-books) so that you inculcate a habit of reading online.
Start working on your vocabulary by referring to a dictionary regularly. Alternatively you can start with “Word power made Easy.” You should go through Funda books of your coaching (that is in case you’re preparing from one) or Wren and Martin (for those who are at a basic level in English) to improve your Grammar concepts and the “English usage section.”
2) Quantitative Analysis (Math)
Instead of focusing on Tricks and Tips straight-away, focus on fundamentals and basic concepts – CAT is more about twists in basic fundas. Again, as in English, go through funda books and strengthen your concepts. You should be familiar with basic formulae. Initially, don’t worry about speed – it follows clarity of concepts.
3) Data Analysis (Reasoning)
I believe mind is like a muscle. As regular exercise is important for our body to remain fit, regular practice is important for our mind. Solve puzzles regularly, play sudoku etc. You should get familiar with different kinds of data representations like Venn diagrams, Pie chart, Bar charts etc. Learn tables, get quick with calculations and approximations. To the students at MBAGuru, we teach various approximation and calculation techniques, without pen / paper, which saves a lot of time while solving questions.
Second part (the broader perspective):
Is your aim only to clear the first stage? I don’t think so. You want to become a good manager, right? So, what skills are required for you to become a good manager? As per me, here they are:
– Inquisitive Nature
– Analytical skills
– Communication skills
For example, do you ever think while taking a metro – Why does it exist? Why do you prefer it over other modes of transport? Is the whole project a success or not? If yes, how? What goes on behind the scenes? How do they make profit? How do they earn by these food joints or advertisements at stations? How can they make it more effective?
If you don’t think about such stuff, it’s time to re-orient your mind. Start looking at such entities as business rather than looking at them as mere consumers. It will not only help you do well in the second stage of your selection process, it will open up your mind a whole lot and help you grow.
The analytical skills are tested adequately in the first round so the last important thing to be touched upon is Communication Skills. Important questions to answer in this respect are: How well do you communicate? How articulate are you? Do you participate and listen to debates and group discussions? Have you ever participated in an intellectual debate?
If the answers to most of the questions above are in negative, then start TODAY – you’re already late. Such habits take time to develop. There is no magic wand – it takes months of effort. Inculcate the right habits, form opinion on things going on around you, reason them out. Such approach will not only help you in clearing GDs and PIs but also help you in the longer run, in life.
Hope the above helps you in getting started in the right direction in your CAT preparation. Best wishes!
The writer of this piece is one of the youngest and most passionate CAT trainers at MBAGuru! And it is these qualities that make him a favorite among MBAGuru students across Delhi centres. Extremely approachable and ever-so-polite, his demeanor proves extremely effective when it comes to helping MBAGuru students learn the nuances of English and communication.
My experience at MBAGuru has been fantastic. One of the things that set them apart is their faculty, which goes beyond all boundaries to guide and help the students, especially Tina Ma’am and Vaibhav Sir.