How to prepare for CAT in 100 Days:
CAT 2021 exam is scheduled to take place on the 28th of November 2021. With a little over 100 days remaining, it is time for aspirants to pull up their socks. It is advisable to start by taking a free mock CAT to know how close you are to your target percentile and identify your stronger suites and areas of improvement. In this blog, we will discuss how to figure out a strategy to prepare for CAT in 100 days.
Keep in mind that CAT 2021 is a 2-hour paper with 40 minutes assigned to each of the three sections. This often complicates your preparation strategy because the strategy for a 2-hour paper is completely different from that of a 3-hour paper. Though your preparation and syllabus largely remain the same, there will be some major changes in your strategy if you have been preparing according to the 3-hour format.
The level of DILR has gone up significantly in the past few years, and hence solving the previous year papers of CAT will help aspirants to get the hang of this exam. It will help them know what the exam tests in a candidate and what it does not. As aspirants will be racing against time to prepare for CAT in 3 months time, online preparation for CAT can come in handy.
The structure of the exam remains the same. The exam comprises of three sections –
- Reading Comprehension and Verbal Ability,
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning,
- Quantitative Ability
The time allotted to each section is 40 minutes. The exam will be scheduled in three different slots on the 28th of November 2021. The number of questions from each section (as per the CAT 2020 Exam) is as follows:
- VARC – 26 questions
- DILR – 24 questions (Two 6-questions set and three 4-questions set)
- QA – 26 questions
In this blog on how to prepare for CAT in 100 days, we will try to provide a framework on which aspirants can frame a preparation plan and an optimal strategy to crack CAT 2021.
Strategy to prepare for CAT in 100 days:
We believe many of you are wondering whether it is possible to crack the exam in 100 days. Well, it is definitely possible to get a great percentile in the CAT starting today. This blog will help you provide details on how to achieve this. First, let us take each section separately. Only when you have a full-proof preparation strategy for each of the three constituent sections, will you be able to achieve a very high percentile in the exam.
CAT – Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension in 100 days:
In the past few years, the conveners of CAT have been laying much emphasis on reading comprehension. It accounts for about three-fourths of the VARC section and about 24% of the whole paper. Hence, aspirants cannot afford to neglect this topic and concentrate on others.
The only way to prepare for reading comprehension is by reading rigorously. Read anything you can get your hands on. Do not restrict yourself to specific genres. Get yourself comfortable with various styles of passages. Set aside an hour a day for reading. Read novels, articles, reviews, etc. Try to understand the thought flow of the author. Put yourself in his/her shoes while answering the questions. Never let your knowledge about the things discussed influence your answers. Restrict yourself to the scope of the passage.
Para jumbles, out-of-context, and para summary questions also depend heavily on the person’s ability to grasp the thought flow. Hence, reading pays off in multiple ways in the VARC section.
Practice para jumbles without options. While solving past year parajumble questions (that have options), try to hide the options before you solve them. Since questions are of TITA type, allow some margin for error while attempting these questions. Make sure that you have an accuracy greater than 80% while attempting this section.
Aspirants who are specifically weak in the Verbal section are advised to focus on topic tests and sections for VARC along with the mocks. This will help you determine and improve your weaker areas and instil confidence in you.
CAT – Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning in 100 days:
This section proves to be a nightmare for many aspirants. In the past few years, the difficulty level of this section has kept increasing over the previous year. People who are decent in this section often find it difficult to solve more than a set or two in the CAT. Hence, this section demands special attention.
Again, allocate an hour a day and solve at least 5 sets each day. Don’t have specific preferences such as going with LR or DI. Attempt the sets that seem to be the least time-consuming.
CAT has been moving towards logic-driven DIs from calculation-intensive ones. With the introduction of an on-screen calculator, it is evident that IIMs do not want calculation wizards. They are looking for someone who can crack the underlying logic. Hence, try practising different types of puzzles, sudokus and Kakuros to ensure that you develop the thought process. Learn how to represent data visually. It will help you understand the logic better and significantly reduce the time expended on solving the set.
Keep in mind that in 2020, the paper had 2 sets of 6 questions each and 3 sets of 4 questions each. Candidates often are tempted to attempt both the 6-questions sets over attempting the 4-questions sets, which were comparatively much easier and less time-consuming. It is perfectly fine to choose a 6-question set but you must keep track of time and be aware of when you need to stop working on a set if it is leading you nowhere.
This is one of the sections that aspirants ignore entirely depending heavily on their inherent abilities. With each passing year, the sets are becoming tougher and more challenging. Hence, do due diligence and leave as little room as possible for luck to operate on.
CAT – Quantitative Aptitude in 100 days:
Be thorough with your basics. Do not leave out major topics such as Geometry or Number systems. Do a lot of questions so that the basics get registered well in mind. Devote at least an hour daily to this section so that you can prepare for CAT in 100 days. For some helpful tips on this section, visit our blog on 9 Must-Know Quant Tricks for CAT.
Try to find the optimum methods to reach the solution. Even if your answer is correct, check whether the solution provided is better and leads to the answer faster than your approach. Complete the basics within the next 2 months. Ensure that you have enough time to improve your methods.
100 Days Mock tests strategy:
Taking mock tests is an integral part of preparation. Test-taking skills are as important as your knowledge in subjects, if not more. Giving mocks will help you know where you stand with respect to the competition. It helps you find your areas of weaknesses and work on them.
Start by giving a mock test every weekend. By September, start giving 2 mocks per weekend and by October end, start giving 3 to 4 mocks every week.
Make sure that the syllabus gets completed within the first 50 or 60 days. Set aside the last 40 days exclusively for taking mocks and improving your weak areas.
Ensure that you do not lose your stamina till the end of the test. Get yourself acclimatised to the test environment and duration. Taking an ample amount of mock tests will help you fight fatigue in the actual exam. Also, mocks will prepare you for various levels of difficulty and this, in turn, will teach you how to alter your test-taking strategy depending on the difficulty level of the paper.
Try to maintain balanced sectional scores. Allocate time accordingly during preparation. Do not miss out on calls due to a low sectional score. Score as high as possible in your area of strength. Score a decent enough percentile to clear the sectional cut off in your area of weakness.
As a general tip, never trade accuracy for speed. Never mark an answer you are unsure of. Accuracy will sail you through even if your attempts are low (comparatively). However, this does not mean that you spend more than the required amount of time on a question just to get it right. Learn to optimise your time in this section.
In case you are not receiving a good score in the mocks, do visit our blog on how to improve the mock scores.
For more, start practising our CAT questions