If you aren’t doing too well on your Mock Tests/AIRCATs, you may be wondering if the laborious CAT preparation journey you have undertaken will take you to the goal you had set your sights upon. This doubt and apprehension can just scare you out of your best shot at CAT.
With only a few months to go, the challenge may seem overwhelming. Any big challenge becomes far more manageable once you break it down. Therefore, to increase your probability of success at CAT, you need to break it down into simpler, solvable parts instead of thinking of it as one big challenge.
When you try and do everything, you generally achieve nothing.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to be exceptional at everything. Your biggest jumps will come from very small, specific areas of improvement in your CAT exam preparation. Even choosing the best coaching institute for CAT as per your needs is only the first step in your journey to a top MBA college. Making best use of the preparation resources continuously can be overwhelming when you have access to so much in terms of material, guidance, peer group and competition.
One of the most powerful ways to ensure a quantum improvement in a small, specific area is to follow the ‘loop of excellence‘. Excellence comes from a simple 4-step loop.
Identifying what you need to improve is the first step. Whether it is a skill/section (say Quant) or a topic within that (say Speed-Time-Distance), knowing exactly what you intend to improve helps. Zeroing upon the precise challenge is a pre-requisite to getting the most out of your efforts. If you can nail down the area that will give you the biggest jump, consider it a major breakthrough. You can’t improve something you are not clearly aware of and you (quite likely) won’t improve something until you put a timeline to it. So, be aware, define and set a timeline.
B. Building with focused effort
Focus your conscious effort on the specific area you want to improve.
For example, if it is Speed-Time-Distance you want to improve upon, set a timeline of a couple of days to ensure that:
- you cover the basics well, make a half-page summary of important formulae (doing it yourself would always be at least twice as effective as just printing something from the web)
- practice easy questions and get most of them right, identify the mistakes and revisit the basics if needed.
C. Conscious to Automatic gear
With consistent efforts and signs of improvement, what initially seems effortful becomes automatic. Once you see signs of improvement (but it almost never happens in the first 50% of the ideal timeline for the loop), you feel motivated to keep going.
Continuing with the Speed-Time-Distance example, this could mean a couple of days work on:
- practice tough questions and get at least 50% right. Also, see the remaining ones to identify if a few more were doable.
- identify the errors and try not to make the same mistakes in the future.
- see how you do on this topic in a test situation now.
D. Do it again
Begin again from Step-1 for a different topic or skill/section that you need to improve on!
Be specific, be focused, let it flow – and repeat.
In a month’s time, you can generally ensure a drastic improvement in 4-6 small, specific areas. Imagine what it can do to your CAT preparation levels!
Small focused improvement is what really captures the essence of how to prepare for CAT.
About the author: Deekshant has sleep-walked through several 100 and 99.9 %iles in practically every section of the CAT. That he is a cricket fan and he writes okay is evident from most of his posts. 1000s of our students swear that he can motivate almost anyone to double his/her percentile through very simple yet powerful inputs. And that’s why every MBAGuru student has direct access to him via mail and Telegram. Oddly, he somehow also finds the time to write songs professionally. And yes … almost missed this … he is an alumnus of IIT Delhi & IIM Cal