Several MBA aspirants, including both experienced and inexperienced candidates, attempt the CAT exam every year to pursue their preferred management course. As the CAT is a prerequisite for admissions in the IIMs and other esteemed management schools, the competition amongst the candidates is extremely high and only a handful of the total test-takers make it to the institutes of their choice.
So, having a proper and dedicated preparation is very crucial to be able to ace the exam. At this stage, the working professionals face the most number of hurdles with respect to study timing, revision, practice etc. Due to work and other related responsibilities, the working professionals fail to dedicate proper time and energy to their CAT preparation.
To help the professionals enhance their CAT preparation and utilize their full potential for the exam, here some important tips and strategies are explained.
8 Months Preparation Strategy For Working Professionals:
Firstly, the candidates are suggested to follow the steps mentioned below before starting with the preparations.
Know the Syllabus and Pattern
It is known that the CAT doesn’t have a predefined syllabus and pattern for the exam. But over the past two years, the syllabus and pattern have remained unchanged including the duration and question types. So, the initial approach for the working professionals is to get themselves thoroughly acquainted with the comprehensive syllabus and pattern of the exam.
Collect Proper Study Materials
After knowing the proper syllabus and pattern, the candidates are required to collect proper study materials for the different sections of the exam. It should be noted that the study materials should be selected such that the concepts are easy to understand and entire topics are covered comprehensively along with several examples and practice questions.
After the given steps, the preparation phase should be started. The preparation process varies from individuals to individuals and cannot be generalised. Here are some of the stages that must be properly followed along with strategizing individual preparation plan.
Initial Self Assessment
The aforementioned steps must always be followed by a self assessment of the individual capabilities i.e. personal strengths and weaknesses. A mock test can be taken initially to know the topics one is comfortable with and the weaker topics to strategize a personal preparation plan accordingly.
Phase 1: Start with the Basics
After learning about the strong and weak topics, divide the topics and start working on their respective basics. As the CAT questions require basic middle school concepts to solve, relearning and properly knowing the basics are extremely crucial. Equal importance must be given to all the individual sections and their respective topics to be able to solve the maximum number of questions in the exam. At this stage, proper time and energy must be dedicated as learning the basics at a later stage would be difficult and problematic.
Phase 2: Practice & Revision
Undoubtedly this is the most crucial phase during the preparation. Practicing several practice questions along with solving various CAT sample papers ensure continuous practice and revision for the exam. With several responsibilities, the working professionals tend to forget the concepts they learnt and eventually lose time to restudy the same concepts. By continually practicing and revising the concepts, self-confidence grows and thus, being able to tackle questions increases significantly.
Phase 3: Tests & Re-evaluations
At this phase, several mock tests should be taken to understand the pattern and difficulty level of the actual CAT paper. Taking mock tests have several advantages, some of which includes:
- Helps to develop personal strategies for different questions
- Improves confidence and accuracy while attempting questions
- Develops time management skills of the individuals for their improved performance.
Also, properly analysing the mock tests helps to re-evaluate the current preparation level along with highlighting the topics that need more focus. By analysing the progress, one can easily focus on every topic of the exam and work on those uniformly.
These phases are just generalised and the time dedicated to each phase depends upon individual abilities and requirements. Some might be well versed with the basics and thus, require less time for the first phase; while others might take their time to learn the basics properly and dedicate more time to the first phase. So, dividing the 8 months strategically is important for a proper preparation.
Though the working professionals have several responsibilities and tasks, it is suggested to devote a minimum of 2 hours on weekdays and 6 hours on weekends to be able to cover the syllabus completely and utilize the aforementioned phases properly. As the working professionals have an advantage getting shortlisted easily, they must honestly dedicate themselves to be able to ace the exam to get admission in any of the prestigious management schools and enhance their career prospects and opportunities.
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