It was in the final year of my graduation when I felt a sharp consciousness about my future career. Looking at the bright prospects it offered, I decided to pursue an MBA for higher education. I had ample amount of time at hand before my graduation ended. So, instead of jumping to CAT preparation right away, I utilized my energy for researching about the various career opportunities and the time and money I would have to arrange to invest therein. This research helped me to keep myself ready for what could be coming my way to an MBA.
Being the first from my family to opt for MBA, I had no predecessor to guide me through the preparation. I knew where and how to start but had little understanding of how to ace this exam. So, I decided I would chart out a simple plan of routine learning and stick to it for the remaining time period till the exam. The first step was to join a good institute that would assist my preparation and provide me with the proper material for studying. Bullseye came up as the best option in all terms; be it faculty, study material, technical assistance, mock tests, course fee, student interaction etc.
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I started preparing for the CAT exam in February 2019. I was in my last semester of graduation and thus, I did not have much workload from my college side. At the coaching, we had 2 hours class for each of the three subject every week. I devised an uncomplicated schedule which was a simple three step process:
- Study and revise the topic covered in class the very same day
- Practice exercises and assignments provided along class material, over the next one week
- Clear all my doubts related to the previous week’s topic in the upcoming class
This worked out perfectly as I could cover a decent part of the syllabus systematically and invest in practicing each of my subjects thoroughly. It not only helped me to understand the concepts well but also to figure out the doubts I had and the areas I was weak in. By discussing and clearing my doubts before the next class of the same subject, I was able to develop a clear understanding of a topic.
This whole routine sounds easy to adopt but in reality, can be much more difficult to maintain. Many of my friends, who lacked consistency, ended up with piles of pending study material and colossal stress. What made a difference in my preparation was “my commitment to discipline”. I never skipped my regular classes and also maintained my pace in doing the homework I was assigned with. I complemented my studies with some sort of sports activity on a daily basis to keep the mind active and running. The regularity helped me to understand the advanced concepts which were interconnected with the previous ones. Also executing the preparation strategies shared by the faculty during the class helped me to prepare well.
As soon as my course started to accelerate, I complimented it with the mock tests. I had a very methodical and consonant approach towards the mock-tests as well. These tests took place once a week and I rarely missed a test. More importantly I was very particular about the analysis of every test. Once a month I used to take out time to revise the basics of all the concepts covered during the whole month, which helped me to memorise and learn the formulas and concepts well. I followed this routine till the course continued.
Once the whole course was over, I had more time at hand as I was not required to attend the classes. I modified my old routine to utilize the extra time. I gave multiple revisions to old topics and tested myself through mock-tests. I further moved to more and more practice of different types of questions. The practice included previous year question papers, other exercise booklets, the mock tests, and then the solution of the same mock tests that I used to take. I continued my practice till the last day before the actual day of the CAT exam. This consistency in my daily schedule helped me to keep all the things I had studied fresh in my mind for the final day.
So, this was a very simple routine I followed and believe a lot of you can to, if you keep yourself dedicated. Here are a few other tips I learnt over the course of time and I hope these would work for you as well:
- Do take the mock tests regularly and analyse your performance.
- Never feel under confident for poor scores in mock tests; they are just to practice and find out your weaknesses. (The maximum percentile I scored in mock tests was 75, and in my real CAT exam I got 97.5 percentile.) So, do not give up and keep working hard.
- Find out your strong areas and focus more on them.
- Read more and more persistently to improve your performance in the verbal part.
- Increased calculation speed can help in the DI and QUANT part, so keep more focus on precise and quick calculations.
- Do follow your hobby or sports in day to day life so as to keep your mind fresh and active.
- Lastly, and most importantly, maintain a routine and follow it.
- Keep practicing thoroughly.
Stay motivated and confident, these are the only things that will help the most during the whole process.