CAT success mantra - Alok Mangal
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Alok Mangal graduated from IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta. He has 30+ yearsof experience across industries and is the CEO of GetYourMBA, a consulting agency aimed at young professionals who wish to apply for admission to MBA programs.
I recently read, next to a swimming pool for trainee swimmers “Don’t practice till you can get it right. Practice till you cannot get it wrong.” Nice thoughts for a swimming aspirant perhaps but a CAT aspirant might burn-out if he practiced too much, no?
To score high in CAT, you not only need to get all the questions right, you need to get them right within the available time frame. And for a 100 percentile you might not even have the time to go back and forth between questions that you do in the first go vs those that you come back to later. So:
1. Attain a mastery over all the topics under all the sections of the CAT exam, to the extent where you are able to solve any and every question with equal ease. This will mean you do not need to choose between easy vs difficult or now vs later questions, saving you time.
2. Get your working speed up and your sense of monitoring your progress so well fine-tuned that no special effort needs to be spent in staying on track time-wise.
3. Remember your competition is not with anyone else, rather it is only with yourself. If you were to make say 2 mistakes, you might need to worry how many others might have made 0 or 1 mistake, so what will be your percentile. But if you make 0 mistakes, get all the questions done on time and with correct answers, then it does not matter how well or badly anyone else did in the exam, you still get your 100 percentile. At the same time, the same person who gets 100 percentile in a CAT exam, if he takes CAT 10 times, might not get the 100 percentile on each try. So your competition is only with yourself – on D-day, exam day, are you going to get them all correct and within time?
4. And finally, be fully focused and relaxed throughout the exam. When there are others taking the exam around you there will always be noises and distractions and an important factor in your performance can be the extent to which you can keep your focus completely on your own work. So don’t just practice in a detached silent room with no distractions. Practice also in normal home environments where others are doing their own thing and you can learn to cancel out all extraneous sounds and other distractions to focus fully on your exam.
So all these strategies, assuming that you are able to practice them well, and that they all work for you, can you then be assured that you will score a 100 percentile? You will certainly do well and get a good score, but a 100 percentile? Well you might. It all depends on how exactly it all works out on exam day. Some element of luck will definitely help but remember Luck also favors the brave.