Last minute prep tips for CAT - Interview with Dr. Anuj Verma

Q. It’s the last few days before CAT, the countdown has begun. What should be my area of core focus in terms of preparation areas?
A: Your main area of concern right now should be taking up as many mock exams offered by any coaching institutes. These mock tests would help you understand where you currently stand, your strong and weak zones and help you formulate the right exam taking strategy by making better use of the time you get for writing the exam.
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Q. What would be a right strategy at this time, focusing more on my strong areas or working on my weak areas?
A: Since you are left with just a few days, the right way would be focusing mainly on your strong topics and try to develop your weak topics on the side. After giving the mock papers, it’s important that you look at the solutions to the questions which you did wrong or which you couldn't solve. This will make sure you see different applications of topics where you have been weak.
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Q. Is it still advisable to keep taking mock tests despite a poor result every time?
A: Absolutely, mock tests are only meant to help you make the right exam taking strategy and help you go across as many applications of concepts as possible. Despite scoring poorly in the mocks, it’s you important that you give extra 3 hours to go through all the solutions so that you may know the short cuts of doing problems, the solutions to problems you could not solve and help you know your strong and weak areas. The aim of taking mock tests is to enhance your knowledge and time management, so don’t make mock score your priority.
Q. Which is the best way to test my concepts?
A. Giving mock test papers and having topic wise tests for various topics would help you understand how well you know your concepts and basics.
Q. How can one maximize score with a basic clarity of concepts?
A: Best way of increasing your mock test scores is by viewing solutions to the tests after the results. It would give you the short cuts that you would require to solve the problems, revise your concepts and help you understand concepts unknown to you so far. You would be able to know your strong and weak zones due to which you can manage your time well in the exams by taking up questions you are sure of first, then taking questions you are daisy about and then the questions which you are unsure about. Remember that CAT is not the test of how much you know, it’s the test of how well you manage the time given to you and utilize your resources.
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Q. How should I divide time between mock tests and revision?
A. It’s highly important to give at least 6 hours to a mock test every day(3 hours in giving the test and 3 hours in going through the solutions), after that you can revise your concepts in the remaining time.
Q. What is the right way of taking the mock tests?
A. Give the test fairly, view the results and then go through the solutions properly, keep track of your performances and keep comparing them.
Q. Should I attempt more in Quant or VA so as to maximize my score?
A: There is no such set rule for attempting questions, just do the questions you are sure of first followed by questions you are less sure of and then questions which you don’t know. Never go with a mindset of attempting a fixed number of questions in the exam as the relative performance and level of difficulty matters in the exam.

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Q. Any tips that would help me better adjust to a business school atmosphere.
A: Develop the habit of reading the newspaper and following current affairs regularly. It’s important that you get used to working under tight deadlines and intense work under high pressure as all good B schools prepare you for the tough corporate life lying ahead of your journey. It’s important that you develop a sense of discipline and a proactive attitude.
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