How to prepare for CAT in 4 months?

My story started in July 2019 when I completed my graduation and realised that MBA would be a suitable option to pursue. It would provide me a good platform to launch myself in a corporate career. Though I was out of college, I was looking after my father’s business along with him. I started preparing for the MBA entrance exams. With less than 4 months in hand I knew I had a formidable task at hand. I got to it and religiously started preparing for it. Let me share my strategy with you:
  1. A diagnostic test: The first task I did was attempt a mock test to know where I stand and what I need to achieve in the stipulated time frame. This is a very important step as it helps you to analyse your level of preparation. You can pick up any past year CAT paper and solve it.
  2. Know what CAT expects: At this stage it is crucial to know what you need to target. CAT is not about getting 100 out of 100. It is not a percentage system. It ranks you against other candidates and accordingly assigns you a percentile. I had some great mentors to explain me this.To get a 100 or 99 percentile you need to target a score of 160-180 out of 300 total marks.
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  4. Identify your strong and weak areas: Solving some past year papers also helped me understand my strong and weak areas. I understood that for strong areas I can jump to practicing questions with medium difficulty and solve more tests. For weaker areas, I need to learn the basic concepts so that I can at least solve easy questions in the exam from this area.
  5. Chalking out a section-wise strategy: Subsequently I started working on  each of the sectionals and devised a strategy for the same. For verbal I started to read newspapers daily and made a habit to solve 2 RC’s a day. For Quant and LRDI practise was the only way out. If you are good at mathematics, focus on DI and LR. These sections can be very scoring. If you solve 1 set properly, you can immediately mark 3-4 answers in one go.
  6. Mock-tests are the essence of CAT prep: I started with basics and gradually kept on increasing the level with weekly mock tests to continuously evaluate my progress. In the last month I only focused on mock tests and worked on my weaknesses.
  7. Learn the art of attempting CAT: Just attempting mocks is not going to help. I used to experiment with different strategies every time I took a mock. This helped me form an ideal strategy. Strategy means what is your level of accuracy and speed for each section. For stronger areas, you can have high speed and high accuracy, while for some areas you may need to lower your speed to bring higher accuracy.
  8. " Tip:
    If you get stuck on a question, leave it!
    Even if the question is from your scoring areas, the time you lose on it will harm more. "
  9. Be calm and composed: 2 days before the D-day I stopped with my preparation and only relaxed. The only thing that matters on the exam day is focus and commitment. I gave my exam and came out pretty happy.
  10. Target other exams as well: CAT was over and my next target was SNAP . At the back of my mind I knew I could do better and I started preparing for SNAP and gave the exam.
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With 4 months in hand I knew this is the best I could have done. Results came and I scored 94.93 percentile in CAT and 97.8 percentile in SNAP. I was satisfied with my performance. 
Now was the time for calls from B-schools to pour in  and the next hurdle was GD-PI rounds. This was the most difficult part of the whole process. I also attended a one day workshop with BULLSEYE which showed me all the ins and outs of the process and helped me a lot. The interviews are all about conversations, and how you steer it depends solely on you. I  gave mock interviews and got well versed with all the current affair topics. I received calls from MDI, CAP, SCMHRD, IMI, IMT ,XIMB and all the interviews went very well.
This was my journey and I want to share my experience with all MBA aspirants with the objective of highlighting a few lessons and take-aways. 
  • There is no single formula to crack CAT.
  • You need to trust yourself throughout this journey . There  will be ups and downs but the key is consistency.
  • All we need to do is work hard, have the confidence required and give in our best.
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