The day we start thinking about CAT or any other competitive exam for that matter, the first question that follows up is how much would I have to study for it and how many hours would I have set aside to dive into self-studies. Yes, to prepare for any exam it takes effort and specially when you talk about an exam like CAT which is attempted by more than 2,00,000 students. It is easy to score percentiles like 40 or 50 but to score a percentile like 99+ you have to put efforts. Hours of self-study plays the most important role in helping you getting that call from top B-school.
I started preparing for CAT in June with around 5 months to exam. I was also continuing my job while preparing for CAT and found it extremely difficult to dedicate hours to self-study post coaching. I realised it soon enough that my performance was stagnant with around 40-45 percentile in mock test. I decided to increase hours spent on self-study to better shape my preparation and it showed results in following mocks with a constant increase in my mocks and finally a 99.34 percentile in CAT 2019.
With 12 months or more:
If you have decided to go for an MBA and have more than 12 months before CAT and other B-schools entrance exams, you can fully leverage this. Since you have an ample amount of time on your hands you can focus on building a very strong foundation as well as practicing every topic in and out. It is generally advised to dedicate 2-3 hours everyday till 3-4 months for exams in self-studies. With the number of hours dedicated increasing slowly as per need before the D-day. Starting this early definitely brings many advantages but many a times also comes bearing certain disadvantages like losing energy and feeling worn out in between preparation since you have been preparing for so long or because of friends who are not going for CAT and are enjoying life but it is important to motivate yourself in these situations and see the ‘Fish’s Eye’ which is CAT in this case to get to preparation. Also, many times students tend to get lethargic and start procrastinating as they feel that they have a lot of time on their hands but we all know time and tide wait for none and especially when you are preparing for something so important time simply seems to run. In short, leverage this time to maximum and score a dream percentile to enter in a college of your choice.
With 6 months or so:
Many times we start with 6 months in our hands and this may be the case because of job or final term exams and projects. When starting during this time many students feel that they are at loss or they won’t be able to score a 99+ percentile but let me tell you that this is not the case and it all depends on the efforts you put in. Obviously, you need to put more hours and dedicate around 4-5 hours into preparation everyday to bring your horse in level with those started early. Even, I started my preparation with less than 6 months to exam and was able to score 99+ percentile though iQuanta was always available to help me throughout the process and their online mode helped with better management of time and also the Facebook community helped me with doubt clearance at any hour of the day. Many times students tend to be over stressed and feel that they have started late but believe me it is not the case and certain times students tend to slip out with so much sudden pressure of preparation. The key is to believe in yourself, be clear with your goal and gradually increase the number of hours dedicated towards preparation.
With 3 months or so:
If you have decided to attempt for CAT within 3 months or less then my first advice would be not to consider this attempt as your last attempt rather to consider your practice session in which if you score the mighty 99 percentile it is well and good but if you don’t then you do have a real match remaining. These generally require a lot of hours dedicated towards preparation and managing it with college or job can certainly be difficult. Crash courses may help to a certain extent but they are generally designed to brush the concepts before CAT or XAT rather than build foundations. Students might be highly motivated and full of energy while preparing but might lose all energy with results in mocks so it is important to not overburden yourself with pressure of preparation and attempt it with all fairness and don’t consider this as your final attempt.
To sum up everything, it is ok to start anytime and you should decide the amount of time you dedicate for CAT as everyone has different capacity and learning ability, what might have worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. It is important to try different strategies to find the one that fits you the best. Keep yourself motivated and practice a lot as at the end of the practice makes all the difference.
To structure your CAT Preparation in an efficient way consider visiting iQuanta website and being a part of iQuanta CAT 21 Course at www.iQuanta.in.
You can also check out and be a part of their Facebook group for peer learning, doubt solving and free material. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rockthecat
All the best!!!!!!!!!!!