How to prepare for CAT exam without coaching?
I know many of you think of cracking CAT is much harder than catching a cat, it’s not that difficult. In fact, I did try catching a cat, believe me, it’s much difficult. It moves fast, it has scary eyes and it can fight or bite whatever. But when it comes to CAT, In Case you’re wondering I’m talking about the exam now, it won’t bite, t don’t have those scary eyes and paws, and it can’t Jump..does it!! Fine, enough of this cats nonsense, let’s talk about the exam now, shall we?
Not just the CAT exam, when it comes to any exam you have to know two things, one The Syllabus ( yes, it’s important) and two how good or bad you’re at it..in simple your strengths and weaknesses. You may ask “but how?” well it’s a good question, taking a Mock Test or solving previous papers will help you to figure it out. Well, how may it help you? To start with you can identify which topics you’re good at, which topics you need to be improved, which topics you’re too bad. After identifying them you better prepare a Chart kinda like SWOT Analysis.
The sad thing is preparing chart is not the End, Prepare a Timetable, figure out what you have to do with each topic. Be better on what you’re good at, and be good on what you’re weak at..spend more time on your weak topics but don’t stop revising your strong topics. Many students commit a rookie mistake by focusing on weak areas but neglecting the strong areas, It will cost you. Spend time wisely and effectively on how to crack the CAT exam.
If you’re good at Quantitative Aptitude then great, you’re good to go. But if you’re not then you better start with the fundamentals. If your foundation is strong then only you can score well in this. It is like building a house on a stone, either when it rains or when there is a storm your building will stay strong if you build it on sand instead then it won’t stand when it rains or storms it will fall when there is any tribulation…so why am I saying all this? Maybe I’m comparing simple questions to good climate and tough questions to stormy climate, who knows right??
Quantitative Aptitude needs a lot of practice. The more you practice the more you will solve questions easier and faster. In 140 minutes of the exam, you better not to be stressed out, so things have to be done automatically. Have you ever seen someone typing on a computer keyboard very fastly and accurately without even looking at it? At first, any person will be slow, after some days of practice muscle memory starts working. He will type “W” without even thinking of where it is located. That’s what only practice can make. It makes things Automatic. So, practice it a lot. Not keyboard, I am talking about Quantitative.
DI and Reasoning
Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning skills will improve gradually, in other words, you will not become Usain Bolt, at the beginning itself, when you keep running you will pick up the speed. So, Don’t stop running. You have to improve your calculation skills and the ability to interpret and analyze data so that identification of traps in questions will be a lot easier. Data Interpretation is a skill, not knowledge because it has No theory, No formula and No property.
You need to improve calculation skills and Approximation skills to score well in DI and Reasoning. If you’re a beginner I suggest you spend at least five hours a day for Data Interpretation, and you have to do it daily, don’t give breaks from the Routine.
For Logical Reasoning you better start with solving some puzzles, It will be fun. Solving puzzles trains your brain to view a problem in a different way, It will make you sharp. Accuracy is the key here, so you better practice it regularly.
For Verbal Ability, you have to read, A lot actually. Don’t prepare for it the way you prepare for Quantitative Aptitude. But, You need to read very carefully so that you can evaluate answers critically. Speed reading is not an ideal way of preparation. Have you ever seen the Traffic Boards quoting “Speed thrills-but Kills”? Well here’s too it kills your chances. While attempting the exam remember that.
No Matter how many times you prepare random questions in Verbal Ability you can’t speed up your answering time. Because every question is fundamentally different from others. If you speed up then you will miss many things and fall into Traps. Here’s you better be Tortoise than Rabbit to win this Race. Again “ Slow and steady wins the Race,” say it in your heart three Times and then we can move on to next Para. Come on Say it, I can wait.
Verbal Section is all about testing your Reading Skills. Here, skills don’t mean fast reading or your vocabulary knowledge but it is about testing how well do you understand what you’re reading. So build a habit of reading books a lot. Find Books which you’re interested in and start reading it until you finished it. If you do so you will get used to the habit of reading and will have no problem while attempting CAT. or else, well it’s better not to talk about it. I know you will start reading. don’t you!?
If you’re a regular reader then your chances of leaving questions will be less. Read books on all Topics, don’t stick to one kind. But don’t read comics, Come On you’re attempting CAT, you’re not a kid anymore. Get over it. Select Topics like Economics, Politics, Psychology so that even if the question is about Economics you will not feel like you’re reading Chinese. Understanding different terms surely will be an advantage for you. Guesswork is not good here.
You can crack without taking any coaching if you plan smartly. You can crack CAT in the first attempt itself but you have to take a lot of Mock Tests. At first, take one mock test a week but increase it gradually. Analyze the Mock Test and try to answer questions which you can’t answer during the mock test while analyzing it. Never hesitate to go back to basics if you need to. Try focusing on your weak areas and compare how well you improved on that particular area week by week.
Time Management is the key to this exam. Don’t spend too much on a single question, if you’re stuck with it for a minute or so you better move on to another question, after writing other questions you can come back to the one you left. Or else the pressure will pile up on you. Mock Tests helps you extremely well in Time Management. Even a below average student can crack CAT by doing so.
But as I said it before it all comes down to practice. There is no shortcut way in cracking CAT. Be prepared to work harder.