Seven common mistakes to avoid while preparing for CAT.

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." is a famous quote of Walt Disney. A very apt quote for those who are preparing for CAT and other management entrance exams.

Success, as with most things, starts with correct attitude and effective planning.Quite often MBA aspirants who prepare for CAT exam and other management entrance exams often tend to do blind hard work without any proper planning in place. One should remember that to succeed in an exam of the nature like CAT, it's not just only the hard work which is required! Hard work coupled with smart work is the main key to success here. Apart from this, one should also try and avoid some common mistakes which usually the CAT takers commit. In this article we will try to highlight such mistakes, so that you would be careful of them.

  1. Not having a daily time table

    While most students work hard, but many of them do not prepare a daily/weekly time table. It is advisable to every aspirant to plan her/his daily preparation by making a schedule and stick to it religiously. This time table should be prepared in such a manner that it can be practically followed i.e., "promise more, deliver less' kind of situation should not arise because of your over ambition, else this might lead to demotivation.

  2. Dearth of regular revision

    One needs to regularly revise all the concepts, formulae and shortcuts learnt, else it might become difficult to recall them on the day of final CAT exam. In this regard, you can keep half a day aside every week or fortnight, wherein you would be revising all that you have covered so far.

  3. Not gaining conceptual clarity-

    Quite a few MBA aspirants wrongly believe that they can master CAT 2017 subjects by memorising formulae and short cuts. They need to remember that the only way to cracking the CAT exam is by gaining conceptual clarity. In this regard, it would be advisable to understand all the underlying principles while solving questions If needed, you should collect your doubts and discuss them with a faculty member on a regular basis. One should remember that no doubt is worthless - do not hesitate in airing your doubts and queries.

  4. Judging ones preparation only in terms of " number of hours spent "

    You should not quantify your quality of preparation in terms of number of hours spent in studying, rather you should look at your preparation in terms of number of topics covered,number of concepts learnt and so on. Doing this will ensure that you will be finding yourself in a much comfortable position with regards to CAT syllabus.

  5. Skipping AIMCATs

    Many a time, students skip AIMCATs because they feel that they first need to finish off their entire CAT syllabus. What they tend to forget in this is that the AIMCAT series is designed to help them build concepts, prepare strategies, identify weaknesses, and take steps to eliminate them. The AIMCATs simulate a number of variations that CAT could come up with, which could be of immense help to the students in developing accuracy and speed. We believe that this is the vital aspect that enables a student to perform well in the CAT exam.The AIMCATs are also a tool that helps the student to evaluate performance over a period of time and take necessary steps to improve accordingly. The detailed AIMCAT analysis is such an invaluable part of preparation which any serious CAT aspirant would vouch for. Were you to miss these tests, your preparation for the CAT 2017 would surely be incomplete! Therefore never skip the AIMCATs.

  6. Not doing proper analysis of ones preparation

    One should bear in mind that IIMs and few of the other premier B-schools look at the sectional cutoffs while issuing the calls for the WAT/GD/PI round. Hence not working on the entire CAT 2017 syllabus by ignoring few sections/ types of questions could prove to be a big mistake. One needs to properly analyse ones AIMCAT performance, figure out areas/chapters which are trouble makers and work on them diligently. This will surely enable you to ace CAT 2017 exam.

    While analysing your performance also keep track of your accuracy levels across the sections. If you are committing a lot of mistakes, try to figure out the reason and take corrective action immediately.

  7. "Giving up" in the middle of the journey

    One should bear in mind that preparing for CAT exam is like running a marathon, and not like participating in a 100 meter race. There will be moments ( esp when you do not perform well in the AIMCATs ) when you feel like giving up on your preparation for the CAT exam. It is precisely the time when you need to self-motivate yourself and push towards working even harder. We need to learn from our AIMCAT performance, figure out areas which need improvement, and work towards it. A lot of successful T.I.M.E. students have made it to the IIMs, despite not doing well in the initial AIMCATs. They could succeed in their endeavour only because they did not give up, took these failures in their stride, learnt from their mistakes, and at the same time kept faith in their abilities and eventually realised their dream.

    Finally, keep in mind that you still have a few months to go for CAT 2017 exam. Prepare hard, and you can make a world of difference in this time.