CAT Preparation: Common Mistakes

The CAT notification will be announced in the month of July and the registration process will start in August, it is expected that the same number (2 lac) or a higher number of aspirants will continue in 2017 also. The countdown for the exam brings with it an expected amount of anxiety and stress for most students. This is understandable but how do you cope with this stress and the multiple thoughts that might be running through your mind determines the efficacy of your attempt. Keeping this in mind, we highlight four essential things in this article that you should keep in mind for your CAT attempt:
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Tip-1: Focus on what you can control, that is your preparation!
The questions asked most often by students during this time pertain to the following:
  • Cut-offs: how much they need to score for gaining admission in the IIMs. The desire to reach there is understandable but the action you take for it is more important.
  • Scores and Sectional Cut-offs: A lot of you obsess about particular scores and sectional cut-offs. You wish to know the exact number of questions you need to solve to achieve a particular score and on. What you need to understand is that your scores in mocks are a reflection of your performance and on the given day, nobody can predict the exact level or pattern of the exam. This means, with respect to the last year, there can be huge variation in scores or there might not be any variation at all. Considering this, it is not worth investing your time thinking about the possible score you need to crack a particular section. What you need is good preparation to see you through.
  • Normalization: A lot of you wish to know about the normalization process and how it will impact your scores. The thing about this is that the IIMs have not released any great detail about the process and the process is still a little like Russian roulette (you do not know what you are going to get). Considering this, it makes sense you focus on other important things.
The above stated three things and other similar queries- all represent a similar weakness: to focus on information that is actually not going to impact your performance. Ask questions related to cut-offs and sectional attempts once but leave it to rest after that. Focus on your preparation, which is the central driving force in this case. So focus on what is important for the exam- that is your prep and not on other things.
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Tip-2: Worrying too much
A sample of common thoughts that float in the mind of the student: I don’t know grammar rules, I am weak in Maths, I don’t have a clue about Geometry, I am not able to learn words and so on. These are common thoughts that occupy the mind-space of students at this stage and some of you might have the same thoughts. But the key thing here is: if you know your weakness, why not rectify it? What is stopping you from working on it and how to make sure you ace the problem? In some cases, the solution for the problem might be a tough one but if you take it up, the results are guaranteed. For example, you might struggle with Geometry and don’t have a clue about it. How to go about it in this case? Well, go through NCERT school books, revise the basics and then shift to CAT-level Geometry. This is a tough solution but is a permanent cure for the problem. The key idea is: work on solutions, we all know the problems.
Tip-3: Work on your strong and weak areas simultaneously
It is important to overcome your weaknesses but it is equally important to keep working on your strengths. If you are good in a particular section, do not give up practice for it and make sure you keep in touch. Remember, your strengths are the ones that are going to fetch marks in the exam and you need to be ready to take advantage of these areas in the exam.
Tip-4: Do not try to over-achieve
All of you wish to do well in the exam. This is common truth for all of you. In order to do well, some of you might be putting in a lot of effort, picking up a lot of books and trying to cover as much as possible. In such a situation, a few scenarios are possible. One, you might actually cope with the stress you place on yourself and you might be doing well. Two, you might actually end up in a soup as your attempt to over-achieve might actually lead to confusion and a feeling of being over-whelmed. Simple advice in this case: remove the clutter, identify the core essentials for your prep and make sure you work on these targeted areas. Do not over-complicate matters; do not stress yourself and just focus on delivering the goods.
These are some of the common preparation mistakes that you should keep in mind while preparing. Make sure you are not committing these mistakes and hindering your own prep.
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