CAT 2012 will begin on 11 Oct 2012! Just 60 days away! Worried about your preparation level? Don't be: we give you some useful advice!
CAT 2012 will be conducted by IIM Kozhikode between 11 October 2012 & 6 November 2012. That leaves you with just about 60 days to prepare for it! If you haven’t started your preparations yet, I’m assuming you’re already in panic mode. But you don't need to be worried!
CAT 2012 Convenor, Professor SSS Kumar has told HTCampus that there would be no significant changes to the CAT this year. This update comes as a relief & puts you in a better position than the students who took CAT 2011 which had a new format altogether! (Read: CAT 2011 is going to be different!)
That leaves us with just preparing to crack CAT 2012. So how do you start and from where should you start preparing for CAT 2012? We give a few tips to crack CAT 2012:
1. Do a SWOT analysis: This means that you should analyse your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (i.e. SWOT). Take a mock test (even if you are not well-prepared). You will immediately get to know which areas need to be worked upon (work on your weakness), which areas need just improvements (fortify your strengths), which areas will help you score the most (exploit your opportunities) and which areas can be avoided (steer clear of threats).
2. Know Your CAT Syllabus & CAT Pattern: Instead of randomly picking up topics to prepare, get hold of the complete list of areas that you need to cover. The syllabus for CAT is never constant, but can get a better picture of the various topics here. Put up the syllabus in front of your study table and keep ticking off topics you’re confident about. This is an excellent way to keep track of what you know/don’t know and it will take some stress off your mind as you keep checking off the topics you've covered.
It is also very important to be familiar with the CAT 2012 pattern. You can formulate a strategy to crack the exam according to its pattern. Click here to get details of the CAT 2012 exam pattern & duration.
3. Practice makes you Perfect: This did not become a well-known saying for no reason! It is extremely important to take as many mock tests as possible. Since you only have 2 months left, start with at least 1 mock test every day. In the last week, take only 2-3 tests. Make sure you simulate the actual CAT atmosphere while taking these tests (i.e. take computer-based tests, sit in a classroom-like area, take the entire test in one go). Doing so will help you in the following ways:
- It will increase your test-taking speed.
- It will condition you to take computer-based tests.
- It will help you overcome panic.
- It will give you a clear picture about the topics you’re weak in.
Only taking mock tests won’t help. You should follow up every test with an in-depth analysis so that you can pin-point your weak areas and work on them. Join a test series of a good coaching centre (IMS, TIME, Career Launcher etc.) Not only do they provide excellent sample tests, they also provide comprehensive analysis for every test.
But self-study is equally important. Sidharth Balakrishna, an IIM alumnus and a Counselling Expert on our website advises not to rely too much on coaching institute material and tests; rather you should try and build your capabilities in solving the kind of questions that do appear.
4. History does Repeat itself! : Get hold of questions from previous years’ CAT exams and try solving them. Though you may not find questions being repeated, you will get a fair idea about the kind of questions that CAT 2012 will throw at you. The pattern of the exam would be more or less the same as that of CAT 2011. Since the CAT 2012 pattern & the syllabus would remain similar to CAT 2011, all you need to focus on is practice questions!
5. Get familiar with not just CAT but also the MOUSE! : CAT went from being a paper-based test to a computer -based test from 2009 onwards. So make sure that your mock tests are always taken on a computer. Students tend to get jittery and nervous in an examination hall and things can get worse if you are not comfortable taking an exam using a computer and a mouse.
6. Two Heads are Better than One: In fact the more heads, the merrier! Form study groups if they work for you. Studying with like-minded students helps you retain more of what you learn. But make sure that your study group friends are as serious about CAT preparation as you are and that you don’t end up wasting time in mindless chatter!
7.Discipline is very Important: Plan your preparation calendar and stick to it! Two months is too short a time period to be wasted in procrastination. What you do/not do every day would impact your CAT score. So get out of the panic mode and get into the study mode NOW!
What matters eventually is the quality of your preparation and not quantity. There are many students who have put in 6-8 weeks of dedicated efforts and have sailed through CAT into IIMs and other top B-schools. So don’t lose hope! You still stand a good chance if you start studying now!
Nishatha Abraham Bijeesh