Majority of CAT aspirants are just like you. They are college students or recent graduates with 1-2 years of work-ex. Most aspirants prepare for it alongside their college or work. This is a sensible decision, especially if you have more than 4-5 months at hand. The trick then is to be able to balance the requirements of your CAT Prep with the obligations at your college/workplace. A good way to see your CAT prep from now till November end, when the CAT is typically scheduled, is to see it as the number of weeks left and have a weekly plan in place that allows you to balance your CAT Preparation with your other engagements.
Having seen 1000s of students just like you crack it, I can tell you that CAT is more a test of skills rather than knowledge. How you think about problems, simplify them, make use of options by either selecting the right one or eliminating the wrong ones and get to the right answer in as less time as possible – all these are skills that one needs to develop. Given that, as with any other skill such as painting, acting, sports or music, you get better with regular practice and not with sporadic bursts of effort. Two hours a day would work so much better than 14 hours on one single day of the week would. Skills are like muscles – regular, routine effort is what it takes to build them. And this regular work can happen alongside your college or job.
A thorough CAT Prep would require around 800-1000 hours of time, depending upon your starting point – your strengths and weaknesses. Usually, one-third of this is spent in coachings for those of you who do opt for the discipline and guidance of a formal professional coaching. Apart from learning the various topics, covering of syllabus, use of shortcuts, developing lateral thinking, motivation, test taking and strategic inputs to maximize your scores, a coaching should also ensure that you know how to make best use of the remaining two-thirds of the time that you need to use largely on your own.
For this two-thirds, or roughly around 600-650 hours, it is imperative that you have:
- A weekly plan that ensures the discipline that skill building needs
- A knowledge of your stronger/weaker areas that ensures optimum investment of time
At MBAGuru, we ensure this weekly plan for a student through a time-tested, super-powerful ADAPTIVE homework plan that ensures you get the maximum bang for each minute you put into your CAT Prep.
Will take up the weekly-plan in detail in one of the next mails.
The author of this post, Deekshant Sahrawat, is an IIT-Delhi and IIM-Calcutta Alumnus and Founder, Director at MBAGuru.