Thursday, December 14th, 2017
You know what is the best time to start CAT Preparation for CAT 2018 exam – NOW! A lot of people just keep waiting for the right time. There is no such thing as ideal time for starting CAT Preparation. CAT 2018 is around one year away. Remember the basic fact, you can get to a basic level of preparation and a decent score very quickly – getting to a great score, on the other hand, requires a lot of effort. In this post I would discuss about some of the things that you can and should do to start your preparation for CAT 2018.
The other parameters are:
Your score in class 10th
Your score in class 12th
Your score in graduation
Your stream in graduation (Engineering / B. Com / B. Sc)
The only two things that are under your control at this stage are:
Your CAT Score
Your Graduation Score
Also, do keep in mind that you get multiple shots at getting a good CAT score but you get only one shot at getting a good graduation score. If you are in your 5th semester, you are done with only half of your engineering. You still have a lot of time to improve your graduation score. It would be wise if you focused on improving your grades at this stage than anything else. Even if you can dedicate 3-4 hours a week at this stage towards your CAT preparation and put the rest of the time towards improving your marks – it would be a wise choice.
Another thing that I would want to emphasize is that there are some portions of CAT that take a lot longer to improve than the others. For example, if you are bad in Geometry – you can become decent at it with just couple of weeks of effort. On the other hand, if your ‘Verbal Ability’ is below par – it would probably take you a lot longer to improve. I would categorize ‘Logical Reasoning’ as something that would be in the middle. Please understand that I am not making these points with respect to the difficulty level but with respect to the amount of time required to go from ‘poor’ to ‘average’. It is a whole different ball game if you want to go from ‘average’ to ‘good’, but you got more than enough time for that.
At this stage, with more than 1 year to go for the CAT 2018 exam, I would recommend that you focus on Verbal Ability. Even if you are good at it, a little more effort in this direction would be a good idea. Verbal Ability can be broadly classified into these areas:
Verbal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning
Among these, probably Verbal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning should be at the bottom of your priority list. At this stage, you should focus on improving the others. There are a few books that you can use for improving your Vocabulary, Grammar, and Reading Comprehension. Some of the popular choices are:
Vocabulary – Word Power Made Easy by Normal Lewis
Grammar – Wren and Martin
Reading Comprehension – How to Read Better and Faster by Norman Lewis
I will be honest with you – I am not a fan of these books. The reason is not that the books are not good or that these books do not teach the required concepts but the fact that these books are incredibly hard to do. If you do not believe me just have a look at the size of ‘Word Power Made Easy’. If you do not agree with me now, I am sure you would agree with me once you have spent couple of weeks with it. Let me also add that what I am saying is true in 90% of the cases and it is quite possible that you are in the other 10% that is really benefited by these books. I would like to suggest something else that I have seen work with 90% of CAT aspirants, and that is:
There is no better way to improve your Verbal Ability than to read more books. The problem is that most of us do not read enough books. I am no longer surprised when I meet a student who says that he hasn’t read a single book in his entire life that wasn’t a part of the syllabus. In the few cases when they have read a book, they rarely go beyond Chetan Bhagat. If you belong to this category, it is high time that you start to cultivate a reading habit. It is not going to be easy but trust me – it is going to be extremely rewarding. And I am not just saying from CAT perspective but from an overall personality development point of view. You should read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, basically anything that you could lay your hands on. If you do not know what to read or from where to start, here is a list of recommended books for MBA aspirants. If that list overwhelms you, here are some ideas to start with:
Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Pick up the last one if you are feeling a little bit adventurous. It is huge in size but you will be a different person, for good or for worse, by the time you finish it.
While you are gearing up for CAT 2018, it is important that you have a look at previous year papers to get an idea about the pattern.
To find out solutions and answers of Official Paper CAT 2017, click here.
I run an online coaching course for CAT 2018 preparation and so I would obviously be biased in favor of it. Not only that, the CAT preparation course has close to 600 students right now.
Are they early starters?
Do they have any advantage by starting CAT preparation early?
The answer to both the above questions is NO. There is no such thing as the right time to start coaching for CAT 2018 preparation. The question that you should be asking yourself is – ‘Do I have the time to start CAT Preparation?’ I believe that whenever you can find 3-4 hours a week, you should formally start coaching. If you are looking at an online option, you can register from the link below.
Click on this link to know more about our Online CAT 2018 Coaching course.
On the other hand, if you are considering offline coaching – you can check this post in which I suggest the parameters that you should consider before joining a CAT coaching institute.
a) 750+ Videos covering entire CAT syllabus
b) 2 Live Classes (online) every week for doubt clarification
c) Study Material & PDFs for practice and understanding
d) 10 Mock Tests in the latest pattern
e) Previous Year Questions solved on video
While there are plenty of great books that are available in the market when it comes to CAT preparation, I think that the material that is provided by coaching institutes like IMS / TIME / CL is pretty good. You can probably get that from a senior or get it second hand via Olx or a second hand bookstore from your neighborhood. If not, then Pearson has a really good set of books as well. I really like the books that are compiled by Nishit Sinha. They cover nearly everything that is required for CAT preparation and a little bit extra as well. Here is a slightly more detailed analysis of best books for CAT preparation.
I hope that this post would have given you some idea on how to start preparing for CAT 2018. Please share this post on Facebook or via Whatsapp if you enjoyed it. Please comment on this post if you have any questions about CAT 2017 preparation or you can email us on [email protected]
Founder & Mentor,
Handa Ka Funda