More than 2 lakh aspirants register for CAT every year. A fair amount of these aspirants are working professionals. Most of the IIMs keep a special weightage for work experience. Having work experience can prove helpful in the selection process. However, it can be quite difficult to manage a full-time job, while preparing to take the exam. If you are a working professional aiming to take CAT this year, this blog can provide some useful study tips to begin your preparation.
Before we even begin with the tips, let’s take care of these 2 questions:
- Is this your first attempt at taking CAT?
If you have taken this exam previously, then you have a distinct advantage of being familiar with the entire process. You would also be aware of the areas where you fell short in your last attempt. This could be very helpful in planning your study schedule. The following blog gives a schedule to obtain a 99+ percentile score in CAT exam.
If this is your first attempt, then you probably need to start by analyzing your strengths and weaknesses.
- Are you thinking of quitting your job or taking a sabbatical?
Quitting your job to prepare for the MBA entrance exam, would be an extreme step. Leave your job only if you are facing extreme pressure and unrealistic timings.
In the end, it is all about time management. Several CAT aspirants achieved the perfect CAT score while managing extremely demanding jobs. Sabbatical/break can prove most useful during the last phase of your preparation. You will get extra preparation time with little or no distractions. If that doesn’t work out, you should still prepare with your job as clearing CAT with work-ex is always better than having a year gap or being a fresher.
Analyzing Your Strength & Weakness
- CAT paper is composed of 3 sections Quantitative Aptitude, Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning and Verbal Ability. Go through the syllabus for each of these sections.
- The official CAT website does not prescribe any syllabus. However, you can get a curated one at one of the online preparation websites. This will give you a general idea of the topics that you should cover for each section.
- Now go through a few question papers from the past years. This will help you in analyzing your strengths and weaknesses.
- The topics that you are weak in, will need greater focus and attention in your study plan.
Finding the right study material for CAT exam
- As a working professional, you will not have the time or bandwidth to enrol in a full-time coaching institute. Online courses with content optimized for mobile would suit your needs. Getting the right study material can solve a large chunk of your problems. This will give you the necessary ammunition for your self-study.
- You can also enrol in one of the online preparation websites for MBA exam preparation. Make sure to choose a course which offers enough mock tests and prompt doubt clarification. We at Gofodu offer a well-maintained forum for quick resolution of your doubts and weekly live classes for more detailed explanations.
- Courses that only provide live classes, might not be very handy. Opt for a course which provides both video content and doubt clearing sessions. This option would be flexible and easy to fit in your schedule.
- Being a working professional, you have very limited time. You need a course that is precise and to the point. Do not get caught up in the number of videos or mocks offered, rather try to get quality content. A limited number of videos that explain concepts precisely are more useful than a set of 2000 videos which you will never watch.
You can check out our offerings at https://www.gofodu.com/. We provide comprehensive and engaging content with each concept covered in-depth.
Section-wise preparation tips for working professionals
- Since reading books might not be feasible, start reading a few short blogs daily. You can easily read these on your way to the office or in between meetings
- Refer websites such as nytimes, theguardian, smithsonianmag, aeon, aldaily and thehindu for quality reading content.
- While reading from the above sources, try to write the essence/ summary of each paragraph in minimum words. This exercise improves comprehension.
- Speak in English as much as possible. The more you use a language the more naturally it comes to you.
- Several vocabulary builder apps are available on google play store. You can download these to work on your vocabulary.
- QA syllabus is vast, the earlier you finish it, the more time you will get for practice.
- If you are struggling with the concepts, take professional help. It is very important to get the basics right.
- Don’t go after memorising shortcuts, clearing basics, revising and practising a lot are the three most important things. In our CAT course, we have taken care of these three aspects very well:
- Basics are cleared using comprehensive videos which are very engaging to watch.
- Websites interface enables students to bookmark each and every concept in mobile as well as PC for quick revision afterwards.
- There are a large number of solved example videos, practice quizzes, timed quizzes as well as mock tests to brush up your concepts. Doubt in the concepts, as well as questions, are taken care of in discussion forum as well as live classes.
- Practice is the key here. Try to solve as many questions as possible. Also, bookmark the good one’s for revision before the exam.
- Follow us on https://www.instagram.com/gofodu where we post useful tricks, tips and concepts in simple image format. It will serve as a daily dose of practice as well as a handy revision tool.
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
- Learn multiplication tables from 1 to 20, squares from 1 to 30, cubes from 1 to 15, unit conversions and percentage fraction equivalence. These will be useful in QA as well.
- Learn different approximation as well as ratio comparison techniques for DI section.
- Solve a variety of logical puzzles. Previous year’s CAT questions are a good source, to begin with.
- Work on at least 1 problem set each day from both DI & LR.
Set a Routine and Stick to it
Preparation for the CAT exam requires immense patience and dedication. It is imperative to set a daily routine and to follow it without fail.
- Plan your day. Make sure to dedicate at least two hours each day to self-study. On weekends you can extend this to four to six hours.
- Use your time smartly. If reading a newspaper is too tedious, download apps like Inshorts that provide instant news feed.
- Use your travelling time or commute time to watch tutorial videos. Instead of scrolling through social media feeds, try to read blogs on contemporary topics.
- Start talking in English. The more you use a language the easier it becomes for you. If you learn a new word, try to use it in your sentences. This will help you in retaining the content.
- Get in touch with other professionals who are preparing for the exam. Form a study group and meet on weekends for doubt clearing sessions.
- Utilize your weekends wisely. Set aside a specific time on weekends for taking mocks. This might feel like a stretch, but ultimately your hard work will pay off.
Give a lot of mock tests
Mocks are the perfect way to measure your preparation level. Many small topics which you might otherwise miss can very well be covered in mock tests if the tests are properly analysed afterwards. Keep a consolidated record of all the mocks that you take. After each mock, note down the topics that you found challenging. Dedicate more time to these topics. It is also essential to understand your strengths from these mocks. Polish your strengths to get the maximum out of them.
For getting the maximum benefit out of mocks, read this ebook on How to take mocks for CAT?
There are several tools and websites that can guide you through your preparation. However, only your will and hard work can help you in giving your best shot at cracking the Common Admission Test (CAT). So, set your goal straight and work towards achieving it. For any additional tips and guidance, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.