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CAT 2009: 5 golden rules

August 20, 2009 16:38 IST

The CAT is just about 100 days away. All the CAT aspirants should be in the final leg of their preparations. At this stage, it is critical to strike a balance between "time" and "requirements". Here are a few rules to help you focus better on your preparations.

Rule 1: Start Mock Tests right now
The tendency to start taking tests after finishing the "full syllabus" is an extremely flawed one that many students have. Remember, at the end of the day CAT is a lot about Basic Math and Basic English. Start today or you will lose out on practice.

Rule 2: Expect the unexpected
All CAT trainers will have one standard suggestion for their students: Expect the unexpected in CAT. Though the IIMs have said that CAT patterns will be similar to the earlier CATs, that in no way could be construed to mean a 90-question format as in CAT 2008. You must get used to different patterns. It is likely, though, that the pattern may be made public with the CAT notification expected later in the year.

Rule 3: CAT is not about difficult questions
The general perception of students is tougher the practice tests, better the preparation for CAT. There has been no CAT which has had all difficult questions. It has mild twisters though. At least 40 per cent of any CAT paper consists of very ordinary questions. The trick is to identify and crack them.

Rule 4: Practice makes perfect
This cliche is never wrong when it comes to CAT. Optimal practice is the key to a smooth ride in CAT. Sufficient practice also translates into strategies for different patterns.

In the context of a computer-based CAT, this assumes a lot more importance and significance, as students need to get accustomed to taking tests on a computer and in the environment of a computer test center. So get cracking, right now.

Rule 5: With poor English skills, it is difficult to crack CAT
If someone is brilliant in Math and DI but is extremely poor in English, the chances of cracking the CAT are bleak. Do not ignore this section. Poor vocab leads to poor English scores. It is not too late though, spend some time on English each day.

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