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Aspiring to crack CAT? Expert suggest tips to crack MBA entrance exam


If you are aspiring to crack the CAT exam then this article will help you a lot. Read tips suggested by experts to crack the management exam.

It’s that time of the year again when students aspiring to take a coveted MBA seat in one of the prestigious management institutes in India begin taking their first steps in the form of preparing for the CAT.  The exam dates have already been declared and the countdown has begun. What is the right approach to preparation? How many hours are enough? Which components are more important? 

All of these are legitimate questions that haunt the minds of aspiring students, year after year. Here are some quick tips I would like to offer to students preparing for the exam.

Read, read, and read 

If only there were any shortcuts that I could offer. There is no capsule whatsoever that you can consume and start reading faster and better. You just need to read every single day, persistently and consistently, to be able to enhance your comprehension skills. 

It is a myth that reading fiction does not help. Read fiction by all means if you enjoy doing so. It’s important to first generate an interest in reading. I always feel that some of the most intricate vocabulary usage can be experienced in fiction. 

Once you are up for it, read other stuff. Don’t force yourself to read opinions and editorials, read myriad stuff. Someday, you might want to read sports while it might be politics the other day. 

The whole idea about reading diverse stuff is to improve your comprehension, while also getting a regular dose of what’s happening around you. Finally, I always felt that the speed of reading is overrated. You continue to get better in whatever you do every day, and reading is no exception. So the whole idea is to begin to enjoy reading, rather than pressurizing oneself to read faster.

CAT does not need full-time preparation 

No one needs to leave everything to prepare just for CAT. In fact, it is a really bad idea to continue to drop year after year to prepare for CAT. Two hours of daily preparation consistently for anywhere between 12-24 months is sufficient to crack CAT. 

So if are still in college and preparing for it alongside, that’s great. If you have a job and you prepare in the evenings, that’s great too. But sitting the whole day at home, trying to hop from a verbal ability book to a quant one is a bad idea, in my humble opinion. 

An MBA program is an opportunity for holistic development, which needs everyone to step outside of home. If you do not have a full-time job, look for an opportunity to develop a hobby or volunteer with a social institution. 

Take mock exams

Taking mock exams helps in developing a strategy that works for you. There are diverse sections that test your logical, verbal and quantitative skills, and you need to maintain a balance of time between sections to demonstrate excellence in all sections. 

Mock exams come in handy in developing a plan towards achieving that balance. There are numerous platforms that offer an opportunity for taking mock exams, and students can certainly benefit from the same.

Seek help 

Everyone is different. Some study on their own, while others need a helping hand. Take help from friends or seniors in your college to devise a plan for preparation. It also helps to have a friend who is also running for the same goal. 

If you are not able to maintain a disciplined approach towards preparation, enrolling for a CAT preparation module might also be a viable alternative, as it gives a platform to meet other aspirants for preparation-related discussions.

Every journey is unique

Keep in mind that everyone is destined for a wonderful career, with or without an MBA degree. Remember an MBA is just a station in your journey, not the destination itself. While an MBA from a good business school does open avenues for a great career, there are millions of students worldwide who do amazingly well even without one. 

So while giving your best shot for the exam is a great idea, getting disheartened or obsessively struck at one exam is an equally bad idea. There will be times when you will be so much better off taking up an onsite assignment in Singapore from your IT company. 

And that placement job offer still available to you from your campus is also worth a try. You might come back to the program at the right time.

Authored by Prof. Safal Batra is the Associate Professor, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management Kashipur.

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