Dread The CAT? Don’t. Tread It Easily!

Nandini Sharma

November 12, 2019

Disclaimer: Previously published on Insideiim.com

With CAT just around the corner, fluctuating mock scores, too little time and too much to do, nervousness is inevitable. Yet, there’s no need to worry for it’s not as tough as it appears to be. Many have gone through this phase and emerged out as conquerors time and again, and you can too!

Here are some tips to focus on to hit the nail right.

  1. Chill: Having a chilled out, balanced attitude is important. In case you’re planning to get into a b-school, your life right now is much easier (also less fun) than it would ever be in the next couple of years. CAT is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s just an exam and not any rocket science. You can crack it. Believe! In yourself! In case you have any doubts in any of the following rules, revisit rule number 1.
  2. Health comes first: Do not neglect your meals or exercise routine. Eat balanced and do at least some form of light physical activity on a regular basis. It is the single most tool which can make a huge difference at this point of time.
  3. Take mocks regularly: Mocks might depress you, yet, follow your mock schedule religiously.
  4. Do not take mock scores too seriously: Mocks definitely are important. But the learnings and not the scores. The scores fluctuate. They are meant to. Not always being on top saves you from becoming complacent and it is a great quality to have on the D-day. However, analyze the mocks very sincerely and learn as much as you can. This practice in the last few days has changed the entire game for many in the past, and you can be fortunate enough to get added to the coveted list.
  5. Take out time for yourself: Do NOT study for 20 hours or 15 hours or 10 hours. In short, don’t burn yourself out. Take out time to watch a movie, paint a portrait, visit the museum, play with your dog. CAT is not the end of the world, it is just a process which exists along with your normal life. Consider it that.
  6. Don’t seek validation: Just because some method of studying or some particular study material did wonders for somebody, it doesn’t mean it could help you the same way. If you have been sincere throughout your preparation, you know what’s right for you. Act on your instinct. What someone else does doesn’t matter.
  7. Strategize well: As said in the previous point, you know your strengths and weaknesses well. Use them to your advantage.

Subject specific tips

a) Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension:

The dreaded section where nobody seems to know what’s right is less about English language understanding and more about critical analysis. Treat it like a mathematics paper and try to be as logical as analytical as possible.

  1. Never assume anything: This is not your subjective examination wherein you can get away by stating your assumptions in the answer. So don’t assume or try to apply any general knowledge. Your puzzle is the question paper and it has all the information that you need. Deduce answers accordingly.
  2. The question approach: If you doubt your reading and comprehending skills and prefer having context beforehand, glance at the questions before reading the passage and keep them in mind while reading. You’ll be able to tick off significant number of answers in the first reading itself.
  3. The paragraph approach: If you have a good retaining power, read through the passage first so as to develop a general understanding of it and then go to answering the questions.
  4. Focus on the details: Read every word of the question extremely carefully. Repeat if necessary. Minute details are where the difference is created.
  5. Verbal Ability: Do not fret about it. There will be some low hanging fruits. Practice identifying them and attempt them.

b) Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:

The most difficult and low scoring section of the exam. Those who are good at DILR, definitely have an upper hand.

  1. Choose your battles wisely: Set selection accounts for the first half of your victory. That done right would steal the section for you. Don’t get boggled by the length or complex language of the sets. Give some optimum time and make selections.
  2. Don’t give up: You are a completely armed soldier. You have practiced enough. You can solve that set! So stop being lazy and dive right in. Don’t midway think the amount of effort it would require. It would pay off in the end.

c) Quantitative Aptitude:

The easy one. However, if done wrong, it could easily cost you your dream call.

  1. Use tricks: No doubt that conceptual clarity is important. But techniques such as elimination, hit and trial, option substitution help a lot in the exam. You don’t need to prove how well you know the classical method.
  2. Know your tables: It always saves time and comes handy to memorize tables, squares, cubes and fraction values. Learn them!
  3. Have a formula repository: You have a lot of experience of taking mocks and definitely have an understanding of what formula are important and are used repeatedly. Make a repository. Use it.
  4. The time trick: Try to solve the easy questions first. As many as you can, as accurately as possible, in as little time as you can. That would give you a psychological advantage before you move on to the hard nuts to crack.

The D-day

Remember rule number 1? Chill! It is just an exam. Consider it that. Be well rested, have a light breakfast, listen to some good music. And most importantly, Be on time!The rest will be taken care of.

Best luck, Hope to see you the other side soon!

About the Author:


A student at Indian Institute of Management Udaipur’s MBA batch of 2021, Nandini has formerly had trysts with engineering, corporate, and development sector. Often found ruminating during the day and stargazing at nights, she is on an incessant pursuit to unsheathe the ‘extra’ from her ‘ordinary’. You can connect with her on LinkedIn