Article from CAT topper Cetking student Neha Manglik
For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll introduce myself as CAT 100 percentile, XAT AIR 1, CMAT AIR 5.
I really want to thank you all for making this group what it is. This is the only facebook group for CAT preparation that I have joined and all of you have really helped me fill my forms at the right time, in the right way. The questions posted here are also really good for practice. So thanks a lot! (group https://www.facebook.com/groups/CATdreamteam/)
I’m getting a lot of queries from a lot of you regarding how to prepare, etc. and while it’s not physically possible for me to reply to each of them, I’d really like to help you guys out. So I’ll post a general answer here. If you have any further queries, please comment on this thread instead of pinging me or sending a friend request.
Here’s how I prepared:
I started with some coaching classes as they’re the only coaching available where I stayed. I finished them in the summer vacations and started giving mocks. I analysed the mocks and realised that my calculation speed was slow (I didn’t know tables, even uptil 10×10!) So I saw some youtube videos on Vedic Mathematics, loved them, and incorporated them into my style of solving. By the time college started, I knew the common methods of solving questions but I still couldn’t complete the paper in time, especially because of the new pattern. I knew that practice can increase speed a little, but not too much. That’s when I searched extensively for shortcut strategies which focus on logic instead of formulae (My memory is terrible. I never remember formulae or names or places).
I really liked CETking shortcut workshops, especially the ratio-proportion videos. Sir can correlate seemingly unrelated chapters of Quant to basics of ratios with such grace and beauty! In my last semester on campus, I just saw these videos and installed an app, Magoosh, to improve my vocabulary (It has GRE word lists, but they’re apt for CAT). For the last two weeks before CAT, I took a complete holiday from college, went home and solved mocks.
I shifted to another mock series because, towards the end, you need a mock that has the same difficulty level and user interface as CAT. In fact, I went one step further. For 14 days, I followed the exact same schedule – I had the same breakfast at the same time, went for a walk while listening to the exact same songs, and started my mock at the exact same time as the real CAT. That made sure my body was prepared for CAT on the D-day. Sounds crazy, but it worked!
Here’s how you can prepare:
There are fifteen other 100 percentilers with me. They didn’t do what I did. Telling you how to prepare is like telling you which shoe to buy! It depends on your shoe size, colour preferences and budget. So PLEASE don’t blindly follow what I did. It was customised to my strengths – adaptability and good English – and my weaknesses – bad memory and slow calculations. The point, however, is that I was not perfect to begin with. I was just focused.
Still, there are a few things that would be common to most toppers, I think. They definitely helped me and although they’ll sound vague, that’s how they’re supposed to sound because they apply to everyone on Earth!
So here’s some advice:
1. Don’t let your focus waver. Don’t ever forget your aim.
2. Believe in yourself. The one who wins is the one who thinks he can. Don’t be afraid of setting a high target.
3. Ignore others. Prepare the way you want to. You know yourself best!
4. Give mocks. I actually mean it. In the analysis, they provide some amazing data like the time taken by you on each and every question versus the average time spent by all candidates on that question. Invest some time analysing this data. Find out the areas which slow you down and work on them. Formulate strategies, apply them and modify them continuously.
5. Recognise that exams are not just technical/logical. They are psychological as well. Find out your risk appetite, mental stamina, topics of interest and effective ways of motivation. Predict your moods in the short-term and long-term, and plan accordingly. Nobody says these things, but they’re extremely important.
6. Have the right people in your life. Make sure your parents/spouse/siblings share your dream and stay away from people who say you can’t do it.
7. Enjoy the journey! Nobody excels at what they’re punished/forced to do.
All the best!