Given the changing nature of CAT (which at a fundamental level has remained more or less the same) and the preparation required to ‘crack’ an exam of this kind, planning becomes extremely important in addition to the natural skillset.
Considering you have taken CAT 2015, you are now aware of three things:
1. Verbal preparation is not really prep prep but something that needs to be done over a long period
2. Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation requires vast exposure to different kind of questions and logic(s)
3. A simple formula based approach and sticking to level of difficulty 1-2-3 in Quant is good enough
When you are taking a second attempt at a test like this, your preparation strategy is quite different from your first attempt strategy.
First attempt is like learning how to swim. You flounder, you need help, your strokes are without finesse and you somehow manage to stay afloat. And unless you do that, you don’t reach the next level. But once you have learned what’s required, you become better. Then you focus on cutting the water at a certain angle, perfecting your strokes, increase your lung capacity and strength, and finally, you become a good swimmer.
Coming back to this question, let’s start planning a typical day of a working professional:
Work day: 24 hours – (9 hours of work, 2 hours of travel, 7 hours of sleep, 2 hours of food, 2 hours of buffer time spent on in-between activities & fun) = 2 hours
Non-work day: 24 hours – (10 hours of sleep, 2 hours of food, 5 hours of buffer time spent on in-between activities & fun) = 7 hours
Assuming you are dedicated enough, you will roughly have about 24 hours per week for preparation. This time can be divided as (Strong section: 7 hours, Moderate section: 8 hours, “I-am-not-good-at-this” section: 9 hours)
Preparation means: Understanding concepts + solving questions without time limit/with time limit. One of the biggest mistakes before the second attempt is confusing familiarity and conceptual clarity. In the first six months of the calendar year, focus on preparation. In the remaining five months, focus on mocks and test taking strategy and practice.
The reason why I am not sharing a time table and talking broadly in terms of hours is because I think everyone is different and needs to have a custom plan. Only you can draft that for yourself. The next thing is to sustain the motivation and having a discipline to stick to that plan (DIFFICULT part)
Post June/July, you should not feel the need to go back to the concepts book. The idea of putting more hours in the first six months is to reduce to effort required in the second half. People start getting serious 2 months before the CAT when it’s already late. Then nothing helps.
Also, before you start your plan for CAT 2016, sit and do a thorough analysis of your last year preparation and performance.
What different things are you going to do this time to ensure a significantly better result?
Create a monthly plan which is further divided in weeks and days. Keep a little buffer in case a topic is difficult to understand or long. Extreme specificity might not be required (for e.g. morning 30 minutes on 27th January for understanding sum of roots from algebra) but a broad topic wise and section wise plan is better.
Once the plan is in place, understand what material will help you achieve it. Coaching institute material + past papers + 2-3 good books should suffice. Apart from that, focus on reading anything and everything to improve your VA RC skills and Puzzles and brain teasers to improve your overall aptitude.
P.S. – Starting your CAT 2016 preparation? Want to have a word with us or join our CAT 2016 classroom program? Call us on 9969789521