For a person beginning their preparation or someone still early into the preparation cycle currently, proper planning and execution will help in making most of the time available. Use this five step process to make your CAT prep more efficient.
1) Understand CAT: For absolute beginners, this involves understanding the basics of the CAT exam. Learn about the syllabus of CAT, the broad sections in the test along with seeing a few sample papers to get a feel of the exam2) Refresh the basics: The syllabus of CAT is largely based on English and Mathematics of Class X. Hence, the concepts will be something each person has encountered before although some of it might need a little refreshing. Take your CAT syllabus and refresh some of the concepts that you feel you are out of touch with. You can do so by revisiting some of your high school books or looking at a few CAT specific books. If you like studying online, you should easily be able to find what you are looking for.3) Practice: Now with the smaller things out of the way, you are ready to take the preparation to the next level with some serious practice. A lot of people prefer to practice in different ways. While some like to take problems from material they have access to and just get down to solving, a few others like to practice in groups. A vast majority of them though take the mock test route which helps them in getting a real feel of the exam. I will dedicate a separate post on mocks a little later. But you could start using the past years’ papers as a start.4) Analyze: Whatever method you choose to practice, you should ensure that you are not just solving questions and seeing how many you got right. Take the time to go through the explanation of the solution for each question. Even if you got the question right. This is very important and ensures you are spending time learning, not just scoring. A lot of the candidates do not focus on this aspect of preparation.
After scoring and looking at the solutions, analyze which specific topic you are not scoring well, and those in which you are always taking an unusually long time. The better you analyze, the more effectively you can plan. This way you can, like the intellectuals say, study smart. Not just study hard.
5) Plan and Practice more: Once you have analyzed areas to work on, chalk out a study plan by prioritizing the areas you wish to focus on and assigning a higher time to those higher on the list. It is necessary that you are motivated and stick to the plan you have created. Remember, this is one of the most competitive exams you are looking to crack. So if you do not put in the hard work, you will fall behind as a lot of people are working hard and smart. Repeat the analysis and practice cycles until you feel you are slowly increasing accuracy and speed at the same time. Keep track of your improvement. If you are not improving, then its time to re-look at the plan with a different approach.
The above approach should just serve as a guideline, not a rule. You might prefer other approaches too but figure out what is working and stick to it.
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