Common Admission Test (CAT) is an all India entrance test conducted by IIMs across the country. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) started this exam as a pre-requisite for selecting students for their business administration programmes. Hence, a candidate with a good academic and work profile can be eligible for admission to the two-year postgraduate management programmes offered by IIMs and other institutes like IITs, FMS, SP Jain, MDI, NITIE, etc.The candidate must hold a Bachelor's degree with at least 50% or equivalent CGPA (45% in case of the candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Persons with Disability (PWD)Differently Abled (DA) category). Final year students are also eligible to take CAT provided they complete their final exam by June of the exam year.
The test is divided into three parts verbal ability and reading comprehension, DI and LR, and quantitative ability. Students must show competency in all three sections.
CAT preparation can be divided into the following stages:
STAGE 1: CONCEPT
Make a list of concepts topics assessed in the CAT.Understand their relative importance in the CAT. Make a plan to ensure that you are comfortable with most of the concepts, if not all. You may spend more time on areas where you are weak and rush through concepts where you are strong. For English, work on your reading skills and/or vocabulary. Do not ignore Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning learn the art of solving these questions in a structured manner.
Have a study plan: Decide the number of hours you can give per day, per week for your CAT preparation. Ideally you should not be studying more than two hours a day or 12-15 hours a week. Split the number of hours between the Verbal , Quant and DI-LR ideally you should be spending around 4-6 hours each on Quant and Verbal and maybe 2-3 hours on DI and LR every week. However, this depends on your strengths and weakness; you may take a diagnostic test like Sim CAT Zero to identify the same.
STAGE 2: PRACTICE WITH CAT LEVEL QUESTIONS
After Stage 1 is complete, you need to now get comfortable solving different question types within the time constraints. Learn how to use options while solving questions. Learn better and more efficient ways of solving the same question. The more the number of ques tions that you solve, the more you will be familiar with and hence confident of tackling CAT questions.
STAGE 3: FINE TUNING YOUR TEST-TAKING SKILLS
Here comes the most important phase wherein you will solve as many tests as possible. The objective now is to maximise your attempts and accuracy in a test. Practice the art of choosing the right questions to solve, having an eye on options, not getting stuck in particular questions and efficiently managing time. Take as many simulated tests as possible but more importantly, analyse each one of them to find what's going right and wrong. Always pick an area of weakness or two and work on it before taking the next test. Your scores will improve gradually and you should plan your tests in a manner that you peak when it matters.
Remember, you also need to clear the second stage of the selection process WATGDPI. So, alongside your CAT preparation, try and add to your profile if you are working do well at your workplace; if you are studying ensure you get good grades; also try and do projects and internships that add value to your CV. Participation in extra-curricular, college events, social projects are other ways of enhancing your profile.