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Fireup’s 51 tips to make the journey of your dream B-School fruitful and interesting. Common Admission Test (CAT), entrance examination for coveted Indian Institute of Management. There are 7 IIMs in India. IIMs Calcutta, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, IIM Lucknow, IIM Kozhikode (Calicut), IIM Indore, and IIM Shillong and lot of other good B-Schools also takes CAT score. These tips are from http://www.fireup.co.in – it is an online CAT coaching portal. I hope like me, you will also find it useful and interesting 1. Continue reading till the last day. Do not stop. 2. Identify specific areas of discomfort and try to read as much in those diversified areas. This will help in Reading Comprehension; Theme based questions and Para formation questions. 3. Focus on Grammar. The weight-age for the same is increasing day by day. 4. English Usage questions typically the Fill in the blanks types can best be handled by knowing proper usage of words. So focus on vocabulary development. 5. Always carry a small dictionary with you. 6. Always carry a stopwatch with you and make it a habit. 7. Multiply numbers whenever you see them. Make it a habit to do various calculations with the numbers on number plates of vehicles. 8. In Quantitative Areas – focus on Geometry and Number systems. Number Systems have always been an important chapter from the point of view of CAT and Geometry has gained a lot over the last 2 years. 9. Barring a set or two based on Quantitative Reasoning, LR has been typically easy over the last 2-3 years. Practice as much as you can. 10. DI has to be more on the visual understanding of graphs / tables. Spend a lot of time reading good quality material such as The Economist where you get excellent variety of graphs to see. 11. Work on your mental mathematics. Learn to do calculations mentally. Memorize standardized formulae and try to use shortcuts wherever possible. 12. Ensure that you touch your peak performance just before CAT; do not burn yourself before that. 13. The last 7 days must be utilized judiciously to gain maximum advantage from your hard work and efforts. 14. Try to gather as much information you can. 15. Stick to time. If you are taking a 2 hour test, take it for 2 hrs only. Be merciless, especially if you are taking them in your room/home. Don’t let anything disturb you in those 2 hrs. 16. Have a strategy in mind before you start the test. Take 2-3 minutes to analyze the paper. 17. Most importantly realize that, you have to get most out of the test. Don’t be egoistic
and solve a problem for 2-3 minutes. If you get it in 1 min, its ok, beyond that, learn to leave problems. 18. Try to read as many as possible and decide what to solve quickly. This knack for identifying so called sitters comes from taking 30-40 mocks in a span of 3 months. 19. Always calculate accuracy/speed figures for individual sections and net. And try to maintain a stable figure of speed and accuracy. If there is an abrupt change in those figures, try to investigate and find out the reasons. Ideally 60% speed with 80% + accuracy will help you in getting good scores. But speed sometimes varies with easiness of the paper. Identifying the trends of speed/accuracy in aug/sept will help you to fine tune your strategy before the D-day. 20. Before starting the first mock, try to complete as many fundamentals as possible on QA topics. Use a note to jot down the unknown formulae/shortcuts. 21. While analyzing the QA Section, try to find out the sitters/easy ones you have missed out during taking the mock. And try to reason out. 22. Have some thumb rules based on your strategy. 23. Practice yoga or meditation techniques so that you can remain focused for the entire duration. 24. Analyze on the trends and the kind of questions that have appeared in previous years' papers. So there may be topics which have a higher probability of coming again, compared to other topics. 25. Revise them so well that chances of making a mistake in those questions are minimized. 26. Don't give undue weight-age to one section in terms of time because the other sections are going to suffer. 27. You still need to read a lot. Read anything and everything you can lay your hands on. Read into diverse topics and, most importantly, read to enjoy! 28. Do not worry about the sections that appear to be completely alien. You really don't need to study them now. 29. Divide your entire time into a reasonable time chart with milestones in between & plan your studies accordingly. 30. Do not overestimate the time you have. 31. You are advised to leave free time in between so that if any module gets delayed you don’t have to change the plan. 32. Give priority to important topics & try to put them in early stage of your preparation to avoid any possibility of them being left. 33. Review your plan periodically to find out if there are any lapses & how they can be covered up. 34. Most of the questions are based on fundamentals & their applications. So, the first step is to establish a solid base by mastering the fundamentals. Regular research at http://www.fireup.co.in gives you new techniques to master the basics. 35. Devote equal Time to each section. Devote more time to subject/topic you are weak in (remember most of us tend to devote more time on areas we are strong & often shy away from our weakness). Make sure that you do not ignore any section & allocate adequate time to each section 36. Quality is more important than Quantity: Doing 100 quality & concepts based questions is more important than doing 1000 questions which have not been selected
carefully. That’s why at http://www.fireup.co.in we pay special attention on the quality and standard of each question 37. Improve your strike rate. Always keep track of your average speed of solving questions. Taking SIM CAT series or sectional tests at http://www.fireup.co.in helps in time & temperament management during the final exams. 38. It has been observed that most of the students loose 15-20% of their marks not because they do not know the subject but because they fail to apply the basic concepts correctly. This is basically due to examination fear & pressure. These marks that a student looses because of silly mistakes (calculation errors, confusion, fail to apply the right concepts, solving the problem by long method) can be reduced if a student regularly participates in test series based on the pattern & level of CAT exams. 39. Compare your preparation. The student can also simulate the exam like conditions through http://www.fireup.co.in’s test series program. You can also define your competition. Always try to share your mock scores/analysis with others. This will give you a better overall picture and good understanding of your relative standing. 40. Get a feedback on your preparation by getting yourself tested by a body other than your College. Testing by PAGE would give you an independent and unbiased feedback about your performance. It is preferable if these tests give feedback on National level. 41. Please remember that both speed & strike rate are important for success. Continuously develop the ability to do things fast & accurately. 42. Keep interacting with people who are preparing. Since the competition is on National level it is important to compare your preparation with other students preparing across the country. 43. Budget your time realistically. Allocate the study time into several manageable study sessions. 44. Prioritize to ensure that material weighted more heavily in the exam gets sufficient study time. 45. Don't make the study sessions too long. 46. Study sessions should have enough variety in terms of topics and activities to prevent boredom and loss of effectiveness. 47. Avoid cramming before the exam. 48. Be an active member of some online discussion forum for MBA entrance examination. You can visit http://www.fireup.co.in/forum to be updated on various aspects of CAT and B-Schools. 49. Practice reading 3-4 different topics in a single reading session. This will prepare you for the varied reading subjects to be found in the actual paper. 50. Make sure you practice both your strong and your weak areas in the verbal ability section. This will safeguard your score even in case of changes in the paper pattern. 51. Analogy questions require a good knowledge of not just vocabulary, but also secondary meanings of words since the relationships are sometimes on them. If you like these tips I can share tips for Online Version of CAT, which will begin from year 2009. All the best gals and guys.