Are 100 days enough to prepare for the toughest exam in India?
Yes. Instead of giving a roundabout answer and an explanation, I thought that the best way to address the question is by giving the right answer. And yes, the answer to the above question is that 100 days are more than sufficient to prepare and ace the CAT exam. However, it does not matter if I think so, as long as the student does not think so.
CAT is an aptitude based exam and improves one aptitude is a matter of practice. 100 days is enough 150 would have been better 300 is even better.
But the truth is that June/July is the time when almost 95% of the students writing CAT start the preparation for it in right earnest. Most institutes start their Mock CAT series around this time only. The key, however, is to utilize these 15 odd weeks that exist and not waste (lose) as you may have done for the past few weeks and months.
First and foremost, you have to understand that CAT is not any insurmountable hurdle to get into the IIMs. The exam has very simple areas some of which have been done as far back as 8th, 9th and 10th classes. Of course, the fact that these areas have been done a long while ago may also be a cause for your concern. Second, with a systematic preparation, CAT can be probably one of the easiest exams to crack.
What is most important at this stage is to take stock of your preparation/situation. Know what have you achieved till date and what are the areas where improvements are required. Writing Mock CATs will give you a clear indication of where you stand in terms of achieving your desired percentile.
More importantly, understanding the CAT exam and the requirement of marks will make your preparation that much easier.
While almost every student gets a different paper (not all questions are the same for any two students writing in the same date and same slot) the CAT exam, careful analysis and feedback from the students who have written CAT 2012 has given enough insights to figure out what would be the cutoffs/safe scores.
To get a 90%ile in CAT 2012, students needed to get around just 35% marks net. Even at the 98.5%ile level, the requirement was less than 50% of the total marks. This shows that diligent preparation can get one into the IIMs and other top B Schools much more easily than one may anticipate or expect.
What should you do?
Let’s understand on a broad basis what should be done from now on to mid-October. It is also advisable that students book their slots early so that they don’t have to worry about not getting the date of their choice. Normalization ensures that there is no difference in your overall scores whether you write the exam on Oct 16th (the first day of CAT2013) or Nov 11th (last day of CAT2013). Scheduling your date of the exam around the end of October or beginning of November will give you that extra month (15 days) to prepare.
Let’s look at time lines that give you some idea as to where your preparation and preparedness need to be.