Stop and first ask yourself.
How important is CAT for you? What will success mean for yourself, your parents and your family? Are you willing and ready, do you want to take whatever steps are necessary for achieving your goal? And, are you willing to make an effort in 100% whole-hearted way to ensure your success? CAT score is one of the many parameters.
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).
- Your work-experience.
- Your sex.
The only two things that are under your own control 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 are still having a lot of time to improve your graduation score. It would be more than enough if you keep focusing on improving your grades at this stage than anything else. Even if you can utilize 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 the best choice.
Another thing that is possible is that there are some portions of CAT that take a lot longer to improve than the others. For example, if you are not so good in Geometry, you can become decent at it with just a couple of weeks of effort. On the other hand, if your ‘Verbal Ability’ is below average, it could probably take you a lot longer to improve.
Now, let us look at the 3 crucial steps:
Step 1: At this stage, I would rather recommend that you should focus on Verbal Ability. Even if you are good at it, a little more effort in this direction would be a wiser idea. Verbal Ability can be widely classified into these areas:
- Reading Comprehension
- Verbal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning
Among these, I would suggest that Verbal Reasoning and Critical Reasoning should be at the bottom of your priority list. At this stage, you should keep on focusing on improving the others. There are a few books that can be very useful for improving your Vocabulary, Grammar, and Reading Comprehension. Some of the popular books are:
- Vocabulary – Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
- Grammar – Wren, and Martin
- Reading Comprehension – How to Read Better and Faster by Norman Lewis
Step 2: I don’t think there is a better way to improve your Verbal Ability than to read more books. The problem with most of us is that we do not read enough books. It is not going to be easy but trust me read as much as you can it is going to be extremely rewarding. I am not just saying this from CAT perspective but from an overall personality development point of view. You should read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, basically anything even of your own choice that you could lay your hands on. If you do not have any idea what to read or from where to start, here is a list of recommended books for MBA aspirants. If that list helps 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
Step 3: Whenever you are able to find 3-4 hours a week, you should formally start coaching. If you are looking for an online option, then there are various websites, online videos or courses are available. And try to figure out the points mentioned below:
- Paper pattern of the previous year.
- What areas you should focus on.
- Syllabus for the exam.
- A proper study plan.
To achieve success joining good coaching is really helpful because
- It ensures your regular learning under expert guidance.
- It makes it easy for you to measure progress in mock tests in a realistic exam environment.
- It gives you an all India rank so you know where you stand and which coaching is the best. Each city has some good coaching and you will have to find it out by asking others and visiting some of the famous institutes in your city.
Some of the CAT toppers and their current status:
- CAT 2011- Ajinkya Deshmukh – He is now working with FinoZen in Bengaluru.
- CAT 2012- Siddharth Sharma – He is now working as an Associate for McKinsey and Company in Mumbai.
- CAT 2013- Karthik Kumar – He is now an Investment Banking Associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Mumbai.
- CAT 2014- Neha Manglik – She is now working with Cello Writing in Mumbai.
- CAT 2015- Prateek Bajpai – He is now a Management Trainee at Wipro in Bengaluru.