Making the most of the last 3 weeks before CAT
With less than 3 weeks to go for CAT, every aspirant wants to make the most of the time so as to optimize her prospects in CAT. And in the flurry of things, we want to do we often end up inundated with thoughts/directions we could follow. The following 

 Suggestion #1: Write more mocks – during the next 2 weeks, you should spend a lot of time writing mocks and analysing them. Writing tests will help you identify your areas of strength and weakness, helps consolidate your strategy for the actual test and exposes you to questions from all areas. Also, your concentration is the highest while writing the mocks – which means quality preparation time. 

 It goes without saying that besides the mock, we should also find time to practice areas that we are not very comfortable with. Going with only a select-topics or missing out on any allegedly 'not so important' topic could be a dangerous. You never know which topics the easy questions are going to be from. 

 Suggestion #2: Spend time analysing mocks for accuracy - You need to specifically look for how often you get questions wrong when you were in doubt. If needed you can note down your answers for 'doutbtful' questions on a piece of paper while writing the test and review them later – what if you had attempted those questions during the test? This will help you pick topics where your preparation is inadequate as well as question types that you can start attempting in the test and thereby improve attempts.

 Another aspect you will need to keep in mind while analysing the mocks is the latitude for application of shortcuts/techniques. Often these would be indicated in the solutions. Go through the solutions after writing a test and make note of the shortcuts.

 Suggestion #3: Prepare a checklist of things to do – Your frame of mind during CAT is an extremely important determinent of your performance. And the frame of mind depends on your 'sense of preparedness' for the test. Therefore, make a list of things you need to do so as to be prepared for the test. Assign timelines and get on with them. Let us also acknowledge that beyond a point, it's not as much about what you do as how you feel about what you have done. 

 The checklist would typically include specific topics or question types in Quantitative Ability, Verbal Ability (such as Reading Comprehension, Paragraph Jumbles, Paragraph Completion, Grammar etc), DI and LR. You may want to keep General Awareness for later as questions on GA are not asked in CAT/NMAT and CMAT would afford you another attempt in Feb. 

 Suggestion #4: Solve the practice material as tests – the questions need not be very difficult either. Once again your concentration would be high and you will be exposed to a lot of questions. It is better to write more questions of easy-moderate difficulty than very difficult tests. The rationale for solving more easy-moderate questions is that a) A Majority of the test constitutes such questions. b) Often, the tougher questions are about identification of the trick involved and then application of these easier concepts. c) You would be writing several other exams besides CAT which are more about speed than about the difficulty levels.

 Suggestion #5: Take adequate breaks – if you see that your performance is stagnating or the output is not commensurate to the effort then you would do well to take a break. Read a novel, pick up some other area, discuss your performance with mentors and seek feedback etc. It is not as much about hardwork as about smart-work. 

 There is no rule for the number of hours you need to put in – of course you would want to slug it out and put in as many hours as you can. But, if it starts worrying you and your performance actually starts going down, then it is not helping you. Ultimately CAT is a test of your natural decision making ability (tempered by preparation). So, don't go too hard on yourself. 

 In the end, the specific things which work for one may or may not work for another and in that sense every person is unique. It would be advisable to take feedback from your mentors/faculty on the action plan and then review progress on a regular basis.