Thursday, April 03, 2008

To begin with.....

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CAT preparation is a subject that many people talk to me about. Most of them just want to hear things that they have already decided in mind. Like "work hard", "start early", "kill yourself studying day and night"...
Well, it always surprised me that CAT required that kind of preparation. Think about it. The syllabus of CAT or any other MBA entrance for that matter is almost equivalent to that of 12th. The only thing that matters is speed. Well, there is a catch. The questions that come test your basics and they test it hard. So, work to get your basics right and have some practice to oil your rusted knowledge, and you are gonna make it. So it is important to work hard, but on the right things.

So what is the best way to prepare? Here goes my small list

1. Believe in it - If you don’t believe in yourself that you are a top guy who can crack, you never will. If you think CAT is too big, it will be so.

2. Get into the groove - Start with a full fledged paper. Sit thru and analyze the results. This will give you an idea of the areas your knowledge is rusted, areas where you have no idea etc. Analyze carefully and decide on the areas you want to work. Typical would be probability, vocabulary etc

3. Don’t kill yourself with those numerous tests - Do not take another test till you have updated your learnings from the previous test. E.g., cover your probability, vocabulary and then sit for the test. And before you sit, decide on things that you want to get right in the test e.g., speed, accuracy etc
Simply writing tests every weekend only leads to frustration.

4. Figure your shortcuts yourself - Think on the problems and you will see more light than your class room sessions can show. No one became Bill gates by trying to do what he did. And trust me, cracking CAT gives you that 'being Mr Gates' feeling.

5. Work on basics - If your basics aint right, you are never gonna be fast either. In English, you shud be able to tell the difference between opinion, inference, argument etc. Math and DI, you shud be able to visualize the problem. Work and practice and you will get into that groove

6. Coaching classes - Not necessary unless you need to brush up your basics. E.g., if you are a BA and get to understand math better or if you need to improve your English. But the material that they provide is sure important as it helps in practice.
People say coaching helps them stay disciplined in their studies. If you need to pay somebody else to keep you disciplined, well you are not ready to crack. You need to put in passion and believe in yourself.

This list shud do to get you kickstarted. And try for the best of IIMs. Don’t settle for less to start with. Will write more on the sections in leisure. Your comments are most welcome and we can fight it out on things you don’t agree on anything

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Anonymous Nitu said...

The list is indeed helpful!
Especially the point on attending coaching classes. I also feel the same but was a bit doubtful about it as people always rush to join coaching classes.

Thanks for the tips!

4:57 AM, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

You are welcome Nitu.
Best of luck on the prep.

May be after a month or so I shall be putting some very simple but fundamental and interesting problems on the blog. The idea is to bring clarity on the basics of some sections like probability. It will be great to have good people participating.

The idea is to improve basics and enjoy problem solving. I shall strive and put some confusing problems that tests the clarity of understanding.

Currently I am concentrating on helping people prepare for GD/PI. Will be good to have interested people taking CAT next year participating and contributing.

5:07 AM, January 08, 2007  
Anonymous Nitu said...

That's great!

I have a query.I am from Comp.Sc. Engg. background and I decided to take CAT a few months back.I am not in favour of attending classes as I feel I would do much more by studying myself, ofcourse by using the Institute material.Now, I would like to know would I miss anything by not attending the classes? Is there anything which would be covered in the classes but is not covered in the material? Please let me know.

Secondly, would you suggest any QA/DI books to be followed? Thirdly, I believe selecting the right questions in the exam is of utmost importance.Do you think so? If yes, then can I develop that skill by practising at home or enrolling of regular classes is the only answer?

I am sorry for asking so many questions! Actually, you see, I am interested in IIM-A,B,C only .Hence, I don't want to leave any stone unturned!!

Waiting for your reply...


12:34 AM, January 10, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

Hi Nitu,

A good thing is that you are aiming only for the top schools. Really appreciate that.

1. Classes i guess mostly cover the course material that is provided. They help you understand the basic fundas like angles, trignometry, time-work problems, bar charts etc etc. This is what I have got to know, since I myself never attended classes. So there is nothing that they cover more than they do in their material. You have to go to the classes only if you dont understand what is said in the material, which i dont think wud be the case with you seeing your background and future aspirations.

2. For QA/DI the course material should suffice. The CAT Syllabus as such is not beyond 12th. It is the application and speed that matter.

3. Choosing is important and after some practising, it will come naturally. You will be comfortable in some areas e.g., number theory and may choose such questions. The institutes have no way of telling you how to pick the easy questions because it is person dependant.
Also note that the questions are increasingly getting lesser with each CAT, an attempt by the IIMs to make sure that people dont get lucky by choosing easy questions. So do not put too much stress on it at the beginning of your preparation. Concentrate on making your basics strong.

I can also understand that there will be lof of peer pressure for you to join the classes because everybody is going. But note that "everybody" do not make it to the top schools

1:10 AM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous cain said...

i am a final year engg student...i ve had calls from IIM -A,B,C.... but im pretty concerned about the next stage as my engg grades are not so good... (just 7)....though i got lots of extra stuff up my sleeve....i mean lots of awards and everything.......wat are my chances??

9:24 AM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I m working at Infosys and i m preparing to give CAT this year. My problem is i have 4 years exp and now i decided to give CAT, is it worthy to give CAT at this stage?. even i m facing problem with my Basics, i almost forgot the subject, if i need to give CAT then which books i need to follow to get good understand in basics.

11:57 PM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

Hey Cain,

I guess your other achievements offset you lack of the same in academics. I guess thats perfectly fine. You have to put it across nicely when it comes in the interview saying that 'you have interst in diverse fields and academics is one of them'. And also the college you have come from and the fact that you have cracked CAT pretty well shows that you are not a acads dud. It only shows that you havent taken it so seriously. So balance that well in the interview situation.

And as far as your chances are concerned, I think it is pretty good. There are lot of people who come there with great Acads and few with good 'other achievements'. And the IIMs are looking for a fair mix of both :))

1:09 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

Hey Samyu,

I wanted to share one concern. By the time you join IIMs you wud have 5 years of work ex. And I personally feel that it is not a good choice to make at that stage of your career.

The point the average work ex of IIM guys is less than 2 years. few things that wud go against you
1. The peer group wud be far below your age
2. You will find some difficulty during summer placements since mostly companies avoid people with large experience
3. Companies in final placement are not sure how to value your strong prior work ex
4. you will have lesser choices in the final placements at your salary level

This is not to discourage you though. It is only that you shud know the other side of it before jumping in.

As far as prep is concerned, I am sure that you can pick up the basics pretty fast. Just take material from any of the institutes and give a mock test. You will understand your weaknesses and know what to work at.

1:15 AM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I m not concerned about the salary level, I m fed up off this s/w field and I m much more interested to take job in finance side, I want to become Equity researcher, so I want to change my field in finance side and for that I need MBA.

So I hope this site will help me to boost up my confidence level 

9:22 PM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

Hey Samyu,

My previous post was in no way intended to discourage. I was only telling you to understand the pros and cons before deciding.

It is perfectly well that you want to move out of IT. I am sure a lot of us feel that way. Also since you want to move into equity research, talk to people in that area before you decide on it.

And yes this site will have a lot of things for people taking CAT. It will encourage and educate. Currently it is focussing on GD/Interview prep for the people who have cracked CAT already. By March, once the interviews etc are over, it will have things focussed on CAT alone. Be sure to jump in

1:20 AM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger manish said...

hi sir this is manish.
sir i am having a website. Actually its a discussion forum containing links to movies music and stuff. u can say that its promote piracy to some extent. As i wrote in FORE form that i hv a running website so they might ask me what content it have or hv a luk at it and ask me that it supports piracy then why you work on it.

i want to know how should i handle this?

2:45 AM, February 16, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

Hi Manish,

If your website is doing things that are not legal, I am not sure if you can defend it at all.

All I can say is, either you change your website to make sure only legal content is exchanged or you dont talk about it in the interview.

11:20 PM, February 20, 2007  
Blogger yogesh said...

I am a chemical engineer and am currently working in Reliance Industries as a Process Manager since last 2 years...I want to target CAT 08, by that time i wud end up with a work ex of 3.5 years....Will it be a plus point?? I appeared for CAT 06, and secured 88 percentile,...are there any chances of getting into IIM's if i work hard......?? But my maths is weak...

12:57 AM, May 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi gyanee i was really very much encouraged after listeningto your comments please suggest me some more fundaes about the English section in CAT suggest me some good novels that will improve my Reading speed and comprehension.

7:38 AM, July 07, 2008  

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