CAT 2006: A six month strategy


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CAT 2006: A six month strategy

By AKRS Srinivas

The Common Admission Test for admission to the IIMs is just six
months away; it will be held on November 19, 2006.

If you are giving CAT this year, it's possible your studies have
been derailed due to various controversies and ongoing debates --
reservations at the IIMs, introduction of CAT prelims and 50 percent
minimum requirement at the graduation level to qualify for CAT.

Well, it's high time you got back to your books. Follow our six-
month strategy to help you plan and prepare better for this all-
important exam.

This article will be followed by subsequent articles that focus on
each individual area and detail their preparation strategy.

Top strategies for CAT
May 19 -- July 19

Objective: Familiarise yourself with all CAT sub-sections as well as
the variety of questions that feature in each of them.

This is probably the most crucial period. These two months have to
be utilised so as to get a launch pad for the next four months of

In Date Interpretation, you should be thorough with every type of
representation. There are about six to seven types of DI sets
possible. Also, there are standard questions like percentage
increase, percentage share, counting, etc, as well as questions that
are specific to data representation.

In Quantitative Ability, you should go through the 15-20 chapters
that are important for the CAT exam, giving special importance to
Numbers, Number Theory and Geometry and Mensuration. At the end of
these two months, you should know every formula, the concepts in
each chapter of quant as well as the steps involved in solving these

At the end of the first two months, you should have solved each type
of question at least two to three times. It is not important as yet
to solve the problem quickly. The focus is entirely on getting to
know the variety of questions and developing the ability to solve

In an area like Reading Comprehension, you should have read at least
about 100 articles (a minimum of two a day) in as many spheres as
possible. In CAT, the passages maybe selected from Psychology,
Philosophy, Medicine, Economics, Sociology, Art, Culture and
Religion, Literature, Politics and other general topics. As we can
see, there are about 10 subjects from which RC passages can be
given. Hence, in the next two months, you should read at least 10
articles from each of these subjects/ areas.

Likewise, the other areas in CAT -- ie Data Sufficiency, Reasoning
and Verbal Ability -- have to be taken up. At the end of two months,
you must thoroughly know the types of questions that come in CAT as
well as the methods to solve them.

July 20 -- September 19

Objective: Learn various methods to solve each type of question in
the shortest possible time.

If the first two months go successfully, it will give you something
very important -- the confidence that there are questions in CAT you
can solve. Now, this confidence should be elevated a step higher so
that you can aim for the IIMs.

By now, let's say you have gained the ability to solve all types of
questions. You are also in a position to identify every question and
know the possible ways to solve the same. Yet, you could be taking a
lot of time to do so, making it impossible for you to see all
questions given in the CAT paper in the given time. Hence, you have
every chance of missing out on easy questions.

You have to, therefore, spend time analysing the exercises you have
already solved and redo them. But, this time, you should look at
shortcuts as well as intuitive methods of solving questions. The
methods could have been taught in a coaching class too, but you will
start understanding and appreciating them only when you know the
traditional method of solving them.

Solve a number of exercises. Also take individual area tests to test
your ability to grasp the fundamentals. Analyse every test paper you
take thoroughly. You will start seeing that there are always better
and easier ways of solving a question than the method you followed
thus far.

Do a complete revision of all the areas while taking an All India
MOCK CAT (AIMCAT) every Sunday. This will ensure you keep improving
in each area. You can also check your progress through the results
of your AIMCATs.

September 20 -- November 18

Objective: Get the best results from your preparation

This is the last leg of your preparation. Now, you must concentrate
on maximising your scores. You will have to take two full CAT level
tests every week, one on Sunday and one on a Wednesday/ Thursday.

The focus in the initial month should be on experimentation. You
should adopt various strategies in each of the AIMCATs that you
write and check which strategy is giving you the best results. It is
possible that, despite a wrong strategy, you may have got good marks
or, despite a correct strategy, you may have got fewer marks. To
ensure you don't fall pray to such mistakes, check each strategy for
at least two papers. If one strategy seems to be working, use the
same for two more papers so that you are in a position to finalise
the strategy you are going to use on the final day of CAT.
Flexibility has to be kept to account for changes in the pattern of
the exam.

This way, the last two months would be primarily used to give you
the maximum returns on your preparation.

Gear up for the battle ahead!

AKRS Srinivas is an alumnus of IIM-Calcutta.

This article appeared on on May 19 2006


New member
Anyways instead of 6 month Strategy folks should see it as 3 Step Strategy
Stage #1:
a).Getting in touch with our Strengths and Weaknesses
b).Getting down to the basics
For Commerce Grad. Simple Fundae Books like Magic Math.s by M.Tyra would do wonders in enhancing speed.
RC:Read different Articles in Op~Ed esp. The Hindu,its advised if you read the July August Versions of the paper as the articles were lifted from Hindu this time for CAT-'05.
LR:This may sound weird but practising Sudoku and such Puzzles will help a lot.
Supplement them with some Coaching Instt. Material

Stage 2.
Practice Test of Specific Sections
Moving Over to Solving whole papers at your speed(try 3-4 before graduationg to times tests)

Enroll for TIME and/or other TestSeries(many manage more than 1 test Each Sunday)
check your Speed and Accuracy over the first 30-40% of the Tests

For the Last Stage Prepare with as many mocks as possible Try Solving the Last Year's CAT in the Bulletin now.
Work on QA(for all Candidates)...

And the total time period is from 45 days to 180 days .And the only thing that can be stretched and/or supressed is basic Fundae Work.