An MBA qualification; even from a good B-School — has lost its sheen somewhere in the last few years. The reasons are varied: – Too many B-Schools are opening up (MELA LAG CHUKA HAI) ,6th Pay commission Recommendations making the Public Sector jobs more enticing, Economic Slowdown, General sentiment etc. As such, for those joining the MBA bandwagon, the first important question that needs to be answered is – How to crack CAT? And this blog is an answer to that.
‘Buy a good stock when it is running a bad time’ — says an old Stock Market Saying.
If you were to write CAT in the next 2 years; you shall be passing out in 2019/20 — a time; which many Career experts agree will be a very relevant time to pass out of this degree; considering everything.
A lot of people do put in a decent effort and consciousness to create an authentic career for themselves. A career — where they want to feel- abundance, joyfulness and most importantly -‘value unlocking’ happening. A career place where their wish to have more purposefulness instead of sheer busyness gets validated.
Imagine if your future workplace doesn’t end up exciting you, doesn’t end up making you feel like getting up early and going there and making exciting changes out there, doesn’t sometimes end up making you get up in the middle of the night with an exciting idea about changing things – trust me – you will end up playing the game of your life too safely and cowardly.
Two years spent at a good B-School will surely make you notoriously confident about identifying ‘how to identify a Career like; the above’. When at a good B-School; why the probability of you feeling superior about ‘self’ becomes more -could be explained by that fact that — ‘you will be studying / rubbing shoulders with the world’s best brains’ ; which will bring out the best out of you.
This will create a ‘Sense of Adequacy’ in your mind & soon; as you work more and make more mistakes — you will begin to feel a ‘ROAR’ within your mind; about your own capability set. It will be then that you will find those 2 years spent at a Top B-School worth.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH CAT?
Till about 2010- CAT was testing aspirants on aspects as Time Management, Smarter selection of questions to get the best out of the person attempting the paper. The new format is quite close to the International Testing Exams.
CAT is coming to becoming a paper which is ‘knowledge based’ and semi-aptitude based. Being smart at selecting questions cunningly; leaving out the difficult / tricky ones may no longer get you an IIM call. One now has no other option; but to face and conquer the tough ones.
The number of seats across the 19 IIMs has increased and is approximately 4200 now. The number of students applying has gone down. Re-stating what I wrote above:- ‘Buy a good stock when it is running a bad time’. Makes it all the more important to know how to crack CAT doesn’t it?
The weight age to CAT score is between 20 and 60% across different IIMs. The weight age to Interview varies between 20 & 30%. Almost every IIM is testing aspirants on their ‘Writing Skills’ through the WAT. There are different weightages for areas as Academic records, Work Experiences, Profiles etc & it varies from IIM to IIM. To know more about writing essays for WAT, you may read ‘How to Write an Essay: 5 Tips that will Always Work’
So, should you bother about things which are beyond your control? The answer is ‘NO’ (Apply the same to other , very personal aspects of your life). With a decent performance in CAT, Interview & Writing Assignment — you have done your job in enhancing your chances of getting to an IIM. And this is what is precisely there in your own hand right now. You can not worry about your old girlfriend who broke up with you and is dating someone else (Old girlfriend here= your academic record etc.). So, here are a few smart, important and workable tips and tricks on how to crack CAT. I assure you, when done right – they can really help!
1) Start preparing for the ‘Personality Round
(2nd round- when you get calls) ; while you Prepare for the written (CAT).
During my communication training programs as a Motivational Speaker, I have realized that the biggest mistake that aspirants do is that they begin preparing for Interviews / Case Studies/ WAT; when they receive calls. It wouldn’t happen easily then (Mehmaan ke ghar aa jane ke baad khaana banaana aur mushkil ho jata hai).
Do the following as a part of this:-
- Religiously start reading a newspaper, a business newspaper and some good magazines. (ACHHA LAGEGA, Believe me 🙂
- Start following a good ‘English News Channel’; for at least 45 mins- 1 hour. It will subliminally & positively better your ‘Speaking Skills’.
- Start Debating / Speaking formally in group set ups (Also listen to what others say). Read this to know of ways to become a 3 times better English Speaker!
- Make a few good hobbies and read extensively about them. (Not those dirty ones which specially you boys already have)
2) Be ready to ‘CHANGE’ e.g
- Your single sitting for studying should be for 140 minutes(since the paper is of this duration)
- Sit straight on a study table and try to study out of a computer; as the paper will be like there and like that only.
- Don’t ASK your brain what it “wants” to do. (It generally wants to do naughty things). Rather TELL it what it “needs” to do. Slavery to our bad habits could be overcome by the ‘Ghajni Approach!’ Check every few hours “where” you are headed n replace it with where you “need to go”! Idolize Ghajni… “STICK” to your schedule… (by CONSCIOUSLY monitoring your moves every few hours!).
- The process of inculcation of a new habit will be like rolling a big fat rock uphill with your hands…Unless you’ve reached the top.. the moment you “let loose” the stone gets out of control & comes rolling down @5X the speed !… so- STAY FOCUSSED !!
- Two bulls “always” fight/compete in a person’s mind- the Good & the Bad. But do you know which one wins???… The one that YOU feed the most! Read the full story here.
Manzil mil hee Jayegi ; Bhataq kar hi Sahi
Gumraah to wo Hain ; Jo Ghar se Niklay hi Nahin
3) Stay put with the problems in Quant & DI
How to crack CAT! The answer is no more about speed per se. It has become a paper which checks you on —‘Do you know what you are doing’? In short, the problems in the Quant & Reasoning section will not only check your knowledge; but will also check you on your tenacity, application, patience and reasoning skills.
While preparing do not mark ‘Questions’ as doubts in just 2/3 mins of application. ‘STAY PUT’ with them; till the time they don’t yield. If this becomes a habit — you have done your preparation- the way it should happen. After all — ‘PROBLEM + FRUSTRATION = A PROBLEM ONLY’ & is not a solution.
Make mental calculations a part of your daily Life e.g. when you are seeing Cricket (which happens every day; these days). The areas to focus on are %age increase- decrease, application of reciprocals. Visit the Sabzi Mandis with your mother..That will also help..
Start solving Riddles/ Puzzles / Analytical, Mathematical Reasoning sets daily.
4) VERBAL SECTION :-
If you do not build a good ‘Reading Habit’; even God will find it difficult to see you through this one. IIMs are looking for students who are comfortable reading diverse ‘Readings’ with ease and dexterity; precisely —the reason why 80% of the questions in this section are checking you on this ability alone. Here’s how you can improve your reading habit.
For Vocabulary — the best thing you must do is to maintain your own register / diary & start writing in detail the new words (from newspapers). If you are not a part of ‘Akash ka Vocab Dhaba’ on Facebook- you are missing the most pertinent thing. You may also want to check out ‘Vocabulary Premier League’ 🙂
When you are within 100 days of the CAT paper; you must start writing daily a sectional test (30 questions) of ‘Verbal’. Attempt to score a 21/22+ consistently out there in 70 mins.
5) Be more EMOTIONALLY COMPETENT during the preparation & also while writing the CAT paper
The following basics will aid you to become more competent:-
- Save your Energy from things which consume your ‘Important energy’.
- Be a little more insulated from people and people issues.
- Get up early, spend half an hour on ‘Physical Fitness’, have an early morning bath.(Paap Subah Subaha hi dho lene chahiye).
- Do not fall in ‘LOVE’ in this period. If you are already — make him/ her understand about invoking ‘fewer complications & issues’ into the relationship. (You should HATE LOVE STORIES).
- Trust only one ‘Study Material’ / Coaching Institute. Do not gather all kinds of books / materials. ( ANEK SE BEHTAR EK).
6) Join a good, National Level ‘Mock TEST Series’.
You need to know where you stand vis-Ã -vis thousands of CAT aspirants. I strongly recommend Career Launcher Test series; for it is not only Quality; but also gets you, your rank from amongst the highest number of CAT aspirants in India. The preparation will become more fun; if you become zealot about increasing your All India Rank; with every passing test.
7) PRODUCTIVITY :-
Ask yourself this question daily: – ‘Was I more Productive than Yesterday — about my confidence and preparation’. Enjoy surpassing / surprising yourself; every passing day of the preparation. Keep seeking more elegant & efficient algorithms to solve the preparation challenges. Keep upgrading your inelegant & inefficient code.
‘Agar Dekhna Chahtey ho apni asli udaan ko ;
To pehle unchaa karo apne Aasmaan ko’
Tamanna karne se hi poori hoti hai ; Har Tamanna
Dil Dhadakne se hi poora hota hai har sapna
Koshish karne se hi Har Raah aasaan hoti hai
Aur Aagey badhne se hi ; Har Manzil Mil jaati hai …
Kaun kehta hai ki Aasmaan mein Ched nahin ho sakta ;
Aek pathar to tabiyat se uchlaa kar dekho yaaro…
I wish these highly functional tips on how to crack CAT answer your pending questions. They are easy, very much doable – should you bring a discipline about yourself. Your vision of becoming ‘What you wish to become’ will be work-in-progress. Challenges will occur; as there are so many years of neglect. Learn to be gentle to yourself & accept your past failing with grace.
Be it that coveted UPSC exam, that sought after IIM, or that mother-in-law! Go ace your interviews forever. Phod Do!