How to Crack CAT Exam? Find out everything you need to know about preparation tips, crack in first attempt without coaching.
How to Crack CAT Exam? Every MBA aspirant knows about the level of difficulty that entails the CAT exam, and how rigorous and dedicated the preparation for the same needs to be. But there are other factors like competition from other candidates across the country, time constraints and many more which make it such a tough nut to crack. The CAT exam is by far the most popular and the most commonly taken MBA entrance exam among MBA aspirants in India.
The Common Admission Test or CAT is a national-level MBA entrance exam conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) every year. The CAT exam is a necessary exam to be taken by MBA aspirants for admission to a graduate management program like an MBA or PGDM in any of the IIMs or any other premier management institute or business school in India. A student’s abilities in the areas of mathematics, statistics, logical reasoning and English is assessed in CAT and a student’s basic knowledge of a variety of subjects and topics are tested.
Nonetheless, given below are tips and guidelines for MBA aspirants and CAT candidates on how to crack CAT exam successfully.
How to Crack the CAT Exam?
There are thousands upon thousands of tips, strategies, techniques and ways recommended by teachers, professors, coaching institutes, and youtube channels that a student can get lost in when looking for guidance on how to approach the CAT, how to crack CAT exam easily, how to categorically prepare for CAT, etc. Although the effectiveness of any such approach is rather subjective, a student must not forget to follow some basic points before and during their preparations for CAT.
Choose your Method of Preparation Wisely
One of the toughest decisions an MBA aspirant has to make before they start preparing for the CAT exam is whether to prepare by themselves or to join a coaching centre/institute. This is the most crucial decision that a student will be taking regarding CAT preparations and it is of the utmost importance that it be a well-thought decision. Both self-preparation and preparations under the guidance of a coaching centre are good choices but the quality of preparation from either one depends on the student. One should weigh their options, do proper research and understand their strengths and weaknesses before choosing either of the two options- self-preparation or a coaching centre.
How to Crack CAT Exam without Coaching?
Self-preparation, although sounds terrifying, can prove to be a better approach for CAT preparations due to a lot of reasons. When a student is under the guidance of a coaching centre, they have to solely follow the study plans, teaching methods and learning techniques that the coaching centre provides. The effectiveness of such plans and methods is different for every student and not everyone can benefit equally from them. Thus preparing with total autonomy regarding study plans and learning techniques has an advantage in that area. Given below are important instructions on how to crack CAT exam through self-preparation.
- Know your Strengths and Weaknesses
- Manage your Time
- Choose your Questions Smartly
- Diversify your Preparation
Know your Strengths and Weaknesses
A very important observation that students and potential examinees tend to overlook when preparing for CAT, is the negative marking for incorrect answers. Usually, a student is not exposed to such a marking scheme in school or in college-level exams, which makes it difficult for students to adapt to this change and thereby lose marks. It is important for students to focus on their strengths when preparing for CAT and to identify areas where they are weak, in order to give an immaculate performance in sections where they are well-prepared and to avoid mistakes where they are not so well-prepared.
Manage your Time
A common piece of advice but a very important one is time-management not only during the CAT exam but also while preparing for it. A student must organize their time according to the topics to be covered and how much time they will need to do so during their preparation period. This will serve as a practice for time management during CAT which is as important as knowing the syllabus. Spending too much time on a single question can prove to be expensive as each section in CAT has a time limit. Students must remember that the objective of CAT is not limited to assessing a student’s knowledge only, but also how a student performs under given time constraints.
Choose your Questions Smartly
MBA aspirants who are preparing and will be appearing for CAT should know that answering every question is not the correct approach to crack the CAT exam. Completing the entire question paper in the given time during an exam has always been the sole objective of a student during both school and college life, but that concept will not work for CAT. Candidates wondering how to crack CAT exam must know that attempting every question is not ideal for two reasons:
- Time Constraints - Trying to attempt every question correctly might lead to improper time management which will affect the student’s performance. A student has to complete each question in under 2 minutes in CAT due to the sectional time limit and sometimes a question might be too lengthy or too complicated for the given time.
- Negative Marking - No matter how well-prepared a student is, mistakes can always occur in terms of accuracy, calculations and choices. Thus, when a student attempts a question in CAT, they should be more than 100% sure on how to answer it, which may not be so simple for every question given.
It is important to understand that cracking CAT does not depend on how many questions you answer, rather it depends on how smartly you choose your questions and how accurate you are with your answers.
Diversify your Preparation
The syllabus for CAT is huge and not very well-defined, anything and everything a student has learned regarding the subjects covered by CAT can be tested in the exam. In order to tackle such a vast and tricky syllabus, a student needs to resort to every form and kind of preparation possible. Learning the topics from textbooks only is not enough, students need to prepare themselves not only in terms of the syllabus covered but also in areas of time management, tackling certain kinds of complex questions, identifying and choosing what kind of questions to attempt or not to attempt, etc. In order to do so, a student must take enough mock tests, keep an inventory of previous question papers and diligently note down and resolve their doubts as and when they occur.
How to Crack the CAT Exam on First Attempt?
Securing an impressive percentile score in CAT, although tough, is not impossible and can be achieved by anyone with the right kind of preparation regardless of their educational background. Students have been known to crack CAT on their first attempt itself and the same has been achieved by students hailing from every stream of subjects. Some aspirants find the verbal and reading section to be difficult, while others have trouble dealing with the quantitative or logical reasoning sections, but whatever the trouble may be, with enough practice and experience in handling complicated questions, the dream of scoring above 90 percentile in your first CAT attempt and getting admissions into the prestigious IIMs or any other top business school in India is quite achievable.