Master Plan to get 99 percentile in CAT – One simply cannot prepare CAT overnight or within the last couple of days. Starting early enables a student to work out the only possible master plan and implement it effectively. For scoring a 99%ile in CAT and above, one needs to be very focused and consistent. Most of the CAT aspirants start preparing with high enthusiasm but they lack the consistency and regularity and that’s why they give up on their preparation mid-way. CAT is a competitive exam. Scoring 90 percentile in CAT isn’t difficult with a good level of preparation. But the important effort lies within the journey of going from being a 90 percentile to a 99+ percentile. It is here where a student faces the real challenge from equally brilliant minds.
The below steps can be followed by the students regularly in order to maximize their score:
Aspirants must focus on developing basic skills like reading habits and prepare a timetable which should be followed daily without fail.
Aspirants must attempt a few mock tests after initial preparation of topics. This would help them gauge their performance and map their strengths, weakness and areas which need to be improved upon in a time-bound manner. The initial mock tests will help the candidates to get accustomed to the exam pattern.
Aspirants must develop a habit of reading. Be it any section, VARC, DILR, QA, reading and comprehending the data and information plays a vital role. Many times, students miss out on this important part of the preparation. It is proved over time that only those candidates who are exposed to a wide variety of genre, content tackle the passages in VARC section efficiently. They must ready at least 3-4 editorials from The Hindu, Economic times, articles from New Yorker, Guardian, Aeon, Arts & Letters daily etc. Aspirants must read the articles and try to summarize the overall content in the article.
DILR is a section which can be a make or break section for many candidates. The DILR questions requires practice on a daily basis. Students must pick puzzles and solve at least 2 puzzles regularly. And in addition to this, one must practice at least 4 DILR sets from previous papers and mock papers regularly. Aspirants would be able to score good percentiles with high accuracy in this section if they follow this practice.
QA section has multiple areas like geometry, algebra, modern math, arithmetic etc. In addition, these areas have multiple chapters. So, aspirants must plan to complete chapter wise concepts and practice problems keeping targets. The initial 1-2 months can be spent on chapter-wise revision and taking topic wise tests. After chapter-wise revision depending on the performance in mock tests, the chapters in which the aspirant is weak must be revisited.
Once the aspirants are familiar with the individual topics, they must focus on topic wise tests, sectional tests, and full mock tests.
Aspirants should skim through CAT previous year question papers and try to solve the questions of certain topics first. It is a good practice to solve questions from at least previous 10 years of CAT papers. Students will get an idea of the difficulty level and the kind of question they can get in this year’s paper.
Aspirants must take up sectional tests and topic wise tests as soon as they finish a particular topic/section. Attempting sectional tests will prepare the aspirants to test their application of concepts. And this would also help them to practice questions in a time-bound manner.
Here comes the extremely important part of the CAT preparation master plan. Mock tests should be given by all the aspirants who are seriously committed to give CAT. From May-August, an aspirant must ideally give at least one mock from reputed institute every week. And the most important aspect after taking mocks is analyzing them. Once the exam is over, aspirants should invest equal amount of time to analyze the mocks and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Many aspirants usually don’t spend quality time on analyzing their mocks. So, analyzing the mock section-wise and solving all the questions again will be great learning for the aspirants.
Aspirants must maintain consistency in giving the mock tests. Sometimes, students tend to lose focus and determination because they perform poorly in a few mocks. Instead of losing hope, they must try to take the mock exams as a learning to identify their strengths and weaknesses which will be helpful the actual CAT exam. Because ideally, out of all the reputed mock exams, only well prepared and serious candidates (around 20,000 students) attempt the exam.
So, it is quite natural that the percentiles will be scaled down, as the number of test-takers will be less. Aspirants should understand this fact and should not feel demotivated. The next thing that usually happens in the mock exams is getting a constant score in multiple mocks. To improvise, candidates must try to do a microanalysis and find out the questions which they are not able to attempt.
While taking multiple mocks in regular intervals, aspirants should keep a tab on one thing. That is accuracy. This is a major issue that many aspirants face throughout their CAT preparation. And this cannot be achieved overnight. Test takers must have patience and practice regularly to keep a track of the accuracy in all the three sections. Also, they should also not try to attempt the questions which they are not sure of to improve the accuracy.
Usually when the aspirants focus on accuracy, they tend to become slow in solving the questions during the mock exams. So, this does not help them in maximizing their score. Both accuracy and speed are equally important and must be taken care of by the students. As even if one component falls behind, the overall score of the candidate comes down.
Analyzing the mocks is an important step in identifying what went well and what went wrong during the exam. Aspirants must perform a SWOT analysis based on their strengths and weakness. They must identify different parameters like time spent on each question, selection of questions, the topics on which one could answer the questions and the topics on which the candidate couldn’t answer. Once these parameters are analyzed, the candidates must proceed to identify them. In this way, the aspirant will be able to develop a strong master plan.
During the analysis of the mocks, students must first identify the topics in which they are good at. This would help the aspirants to focus on the other topics and build a stronger base on these strong areas so that aspirants would be able to tackle most of the models coming from these topics.
Many aspirants tend to concentrate more on strong areas and tend to neglect the areas of weakness. However, they must identify these topics, revisit them and practice so that this would help them maximizing their score. Students must analyze the different sections and revise the concepts and take topic-wise tests on these areas.
Once the aspirants invest quality time in full-length mocks, students must work on finalizing their Master Plan which should be followed in the mock exams during August-November.
The difference between 90th percentile and 99th percentile is a bunch of minute things. If the aspirants can identify these differences and practice their master plan in mock tests, they are good to go. And the most important thing is to build stamina to sustain the exam, acknowledge the low mock scores and take the learnings from all these areas of preparation.
A common problem which aspirants face is retaining the formulas and concepts. Especially in Quants section. To avoid this, students must consistently revise the concepts and revisit them as and when required based on the mock exam performances. This would help them to retain the concepts and improve their master plan for the D-Day.
To sum up, a student must practice, practice and practice! This is the only key to achieve 99 percentile mark in CAT.