FoCus More on iMproVing your reADing ABiLiTy For The engLish seCTion. Don’T Worry Too MuCh ABouT BuiLDing up your VoCABuLAry AT This sTAge
The Common Admission Test for entry to Indian Institutes of Management is scheduled for November 26.
When you’re in the midst of lastmile preparations, stay focussed. Don’t suddenly take on new challenges.
Given that students have about eight weeks to prepare, a key question is how many hours should one devote to study.
For most aspirants, more is better - but with an important caveat. Studying more will help provided you are able to concentrate and learn.
If you find it difficult to concentrate or understand what you are studying, it is time to take a break. Most of you who are not working or do not have any other major constraint can study 6-8 hours a day.
It is difficult for most students to study with concentration at a stretch. It is recommended that two-hour study schedules must be peppered with 10-15 minute long breaks.
Studying for different sections in a day helps better retention. For example, if you plan to study eight hours a day in buckets of two hours, you may want to take up quantitative aptitude, reading comprehension (RC), data interpretation and logical reasoning for two hours each with about 10-15 minutes break between every two sessions.
However, please ensure that you should cover all areas every week. Further, weaker areas should be allotted more time. Most students allot more time to areas which they prefer and are therefore better at tackling! Resist this temptation and spend more time on the areas you like less! This will help you boost sectional cut-offs.
Finally, do not start any thing new in the last two weeks before the date of the test. Focus only on strong areas in the last two weeks. Gradually reduce your study in the last 3-4 days and relax on the day before the test. KEEPING TIME You should always work with a ‘deadline’ when you are solving questions in an exercise or taking mock tests. Set an alarm to keep yourself under check.
You may not use the alarm when you are learning something but for taking a test to check your learning, take timebound tests. The standard norm is that the time you set, should be sufficient for tackling 75% of the questions. MOCK TESTS While taking mock tests seriously is extremely important for you to know your relative strengths and weaknesses, it is even more important that you analyse your performance thoroughly and have an action plan to improve upon it. Taking around 2-3, full-length tests in a week will be sufficient followed by analysis.
Also, do not feel demotivated by my mock test performance. Firstly, be realistic in your expectations. The CAT is a national level exam and has competition from all across the education streams. Second, if you have still not completed or revised your course, you are unlikely to perform at the same level as others.
Remember, performance improvement takes place slowly since everyone is studying and trying to improve. Even if you improve on an absolute scale, you may not see much improvement in your relative performance. You should therefore set a target of ‘achievable improvements’ for your next mock and keep working towards it. Finally, there have been enough instances where students who never crossed 90 percentile in mock tests but did get a 99 percentile or more in CAT. In fact, most students tend to get a higher percentile in CAT than they were getting in the mocks. SECTION-SPECIFIC PREPARATION Generally, more than twothirds of the English section is reading-oriented, whether it is RC or verbal ability questions like logical completion of paragraphs, logically ordering paragraphs, error in usage etc. There may be some vocabulary and grammar questions, but the effort you put in them may not be as fruitful as improving reading skill. So focus more on improving your reading ability. Do not worry much about grammar rules or building new vocabulary.