Preparation Strategy and Study Plan for CAT Repeaters

Saturday, August 1st, 2020


The reasons behind retaking the CAT exam can be numerous. Many people take the exam because they didn’t get the desired CAT score, a few people performed well, however, did not get calls from the b-school they wanted, or some got calls but couldn’t clear GD/PI of the respective institutes.

Here is a guide for all those people out there who want to leave no stone unturned for their repeat journey of CAT preparation:

1. Break down what went wrong last year

Take a seat and thoroughly analyze where were you lacking last year. Ask yourself these questions

  • Was it a sectional imbalance due to which I couldn’t get the desired cutoff?
  • Did I have concept clarity?
  • Was I able to manage time and achieve the desired speed during the test?
  • Did I not do enough revision?
  • Did nervousness have an impact on my speed or accuracy during the exam?

2. Do not use percentiles to judge and evaluate your ability in a section

We usually judge our command over a section by looking at sectional percentiles. While a consistent 98 percentile scorer can rest assured of their grip over the section, 85-95 percentile range is tricky and depends a lot on the trickiness of questions in a particular section.

3. Analyze how much effort you put in for preparation of each section

For example: how many times you solved your quant material, how many full-length tests you have taken

4. Make a list of the areas you want to improve or master

On the basis of the analysis done above, Make this list as detailed as possible, go through your mock tests and study material.

5. Whether to opt for classroom learning or not

Here, we have provided the benefits of the classroom and online learning. Basis these, you can take a decision of whether to opt for classroom coaching or online coaching.

Classroom coaching:

  • An environment with like-minded individuals who have the same goals
  • Doubts can be solved then and there
  • Better for nonworking candidates

Online coaching:

  • The flexibility of learning in terms of timings and location
  • If you have already taken a full-time classroom course, you already have the notes and the material, online coaching can be a great way of brushing up the topics and moving on to practice tests and full-length mock tests
  • These are usually very inexpensive in comparison to classroom coaching

6. When you go through the topics this time, learn them not only from the point of view of the exam but also the interviews.

For example- IIM Lucknow panel asks a series of quantitative questions which are basic in nature and not very time consuming which people still find difficult to answer due to lack of conceptual clarity. Some examples of questions asked- What happens to the curve ax² + bx + c when a, b & c are changed? The same goes for other sections as well. New IIM interviews panel asked the difference between Egoist and egotist and all about the root.

7. You can learn a lot from fellow aspirants

You can make a group of a few fellow aspirants where you can discuss all the important concepts and questions in person. Other than this, there are a lot of Facebook and WhatsApp groups where you can post your queries and solve others’ queries. This proves especially useful in case of repeaters as they already have some form of familiarity with all the concepts.

Now, we are covering the areas to be focussed on in each section

1. Quantitative Ability

In this section, people usually become choosy between the areas they like and dislike. This reduces the pool of prospective questions to achieve great percentile for you. Start building on your concepts in your weakest areas while practicing your strong areas also. Make sure that you revise what you have learned the previous day.

2. Verbal Ability

This is a section where a lot of people struggle. Do not focus on clearing the cut off while preparing. Focus on building your skill set.

In the case of RCs, build a reading habit. Read and analyze as many RCs as possible and work out a strategy that works for you. For example- some people read the questions first and then go through the passage while keeping in mind the questions they have read, while others glance through the passage quickly, then read the questions and then start reading the passage thoroughly while others simply read the passage first and then read and answer the questions. You will be able to figure out what works for you, only if you invest ample time here. RC is a very scoring part of Verbal ability once you get the hang of it.

For vocabulary, Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis is usually enough. If you feel you can’t remember everything, reread the book again and again. Even if you can’t figure out the exact meaning, you will be able to get some understanding of the meaning from the context of it and will be able to recall.

3. Data Interpretation (DI) – Logical Reasoning (LR)

This section demands a lot of practice and confidence. In recent years (CAT 2017), this has been the toughest section which has made the students lose confidence for the upcoming CATs also.   The key here is to make sure that you practice the previous year sets. You can do them multiple times as many times being able to memorize the way to crack a certain type of questions comes in handy when there is just a slight variation in the concept tested. Make sure that you practice at least one set daily from this point in time till D-day.

Create a long term and short term study plan for yourself and stick to it. Here all some links which might help to kick start your preparation for CAT:

CAT Preparation Strategy – Tips for Beginners Part 1

CAT Preparation Strategy – Tips for Beginners Part 2

Good Luck!

Other posts related to Tips for CAT Preparation

CAT Prep Strategy – How to Start Preparation for CAT 2019?
Score vs Percentile Mapping for CAT Exam – 2017, 2016, 2015
5 Benefits of Preparation via Online CAT Coaching Course
How to Avoid Distractions while Preparing for CAT
How can one effectively utilize a career gap while preparing for CAT?
CAT Prep – Study Plan for Working Professionals

CAT Exam – Eligibility, Pattern, Fees, Dates

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