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Start early to crack the top B- schools.

IDEALLY, CAT preparations should begin around 8 to 10 months in advance. Thus, preparations should begin around January- February, which will give aspirants enough time to prepare, plan and approach CAT in a structured manner. There is no hard and fast rule for the same, however to start preparing from the scratch and give enough time to understand the concepts and practice, this time is considered good enough.

PREPARATION TIPS

BASICS:

Getting the basics right is the most important thing. The CAT paper contains few questions which are relatively easier and requires just the basics to be thorough with to solve them.

Answering these quickly can help boost your confidence.

MOCK TESTS:

After getting the basics right, sitting for mock tests is another vital part of the preparation.

It is however advisable to join a Test Series ( at least one) that can help in gauging where we stand. Also, mock tests help one understand which areas need more work.

An important point to note is regarding the common perception to complete studying everything before beginning mock tests. However, mock tests should be attempted as soon as they begin. One should simultaneously continue with the preparation rather than waiting for entire syllabus to be completed.

ANALYSING MOCK TESTS:

One common mistake aspirants do is sit for plenty of mocks, but not analyse them further. The idea is to understand our mistakes, correct them and learn new ways in which a problem can be approached. One should spend three to four hours after a mock test and make a note of mistakes done in order to avoid them in future.

COACHING PROGRAMMES

The coaching classes have a lot of flexibility and one can join as early as a year ago to just three months before CAT. Joining a coaching class is totally upon the discretion of the aspirant.

If one thinks one can understand the concepts without coaching classes by referring the books, then it's better to self study. However, it is advisable to join a Mock Test Series, as they actually prove to be very useful.

Joining a coaching program can enable one to gauge the concepts effectively and learn new short cut techniques that might be helpful in CAT. But if one is proactive enough, then he/ she can get all the material from online websites and forums for the same.

The effectiveness in joining a coaching class comes because of the dedicated hours one has to put in for preparation, which allows us not to become complacent. If the aspirant is preparing for the first time, it's advisable to join a coaching class. However, if one is attempting CAT for subsequent time, it's better to enrol for a Test Series instead.

It is rightly said, " Well begun is half done." This is particularly true in case of CAT preparations. Apart from coaching classes and mock tests, one needs to believe in oneself, plan the preparation well and work hard. Keeping the faith and approaching the CAT calmly is as important as the preparation.

All the Best! The writer is a student of MDI ( 2013- 15 batch)

BOOKS TO READ

FOR THE verbal section, reading newspapers daily is advisable. This helps in improving the reading and comprehension skills that helps in RCs in CAT. Along with newspapers, one should read various magazines, blogs and books across different domains. One book that can help in verbal section is Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis.

For Section I of CAT, studying basics from coaching class notes and Internet forums is a good start. Further, problems should be solved from notes of coaching classes. Arun Sharma's Quantitative Aptitude is a good book to follow.

LAST MINUTE STRATEGIES

THE LAST couple of months should be kept for revising the concepts and analysing all the previous mock tests. It's important to be careful that the mistakes you made earlier are not repeated during the final exam. Thus, going through all previous mocks and important problems can help you achieve the desired accuracy.

Practise data interpretation and logical reasoning as these areas can be mastered through hard work. Avoid understanding any new new concepts during the last 15 days. Focus on what you've already prepared.

Avoid rumours and unnecessary distractions.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Dec 31, 2013
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