Gearing up for CAT from July

FUNDAMAKERS has always strived hard to provide the students with the best of the methods and practices needed to ace the CAT. Be it the importance of Flashcards in vocabulary building , or the importance of speed reading in solving RC’s, team FUNDAMAKERS has always put its best foot forward to make things easy for the aspirants.

Today the topic for discussion would be how should one kickstart their prep from the month of July.
Get your Fundas in place (July - August):
During the initial phase of your preparation, it’s very important to get a good grasp of the fundamentals of a topic & understanding the theory. If you are not thorough with your fundamentals, then you will find it difficult to crack the “tougher questions”, especially in the exam setting. Getting to the 90th percentile is possible, but breaking into the 98+ percentile range can be done only if your fundamentals are in place.
At this phase in your preparation, you’ve got to not think about CAT Preparation, Percentiles, B-Schools, etc. When you start off with, say, Linear & Quadratic Equations -- your focus should be on what kinds of solutions can linear equations have, for different solutions, what would the set of equations look like on a graph, what kinds of roots can a Quadratic Equation have? What’s the formulaic approach to finding roots, what is splitting up of the middle term, when do I use which method, etc.
Getting your fundas in place will include learning/understanding the theory presented, solving a few questions based on said theory, and getting your doubts clarified in the process. Switch off CAT mode at this initial stage and focus on getting your fundamentals right. If you know every bit of a topic, then ramping up speed can be done mechanically by sheer practice, which brings me to the second phase of preparation, practice.

The Grind phase (September):
There will be a bit of overlap between basics and practice. Intuition is a fairly important part, but it is just as important, if not more, to have the energy to power through a ton of questions without feeling fatigue. During practice, you’re going to be practicing 20 or 30 questions from one topic in an hour. However, in the exam setting, you’re going to be solving 34 questions from 20 different topics -- and this will be after an hour of reading, and an hour of solving puzzles and breaking down datasets.

In this phase of your preparation, you’re looking to expend less time and mental energy in solving a question. You’re looking to mechanise the process of solving questions. Major parts of processes should run on Auto-pilot. When confronted with a tricky question, you have to break the question down and pick the correct approach to solving it within 30 seconds. But the next minute and a half during which you actually solve the question should be in a mechanical fashion; in a manner that does not take much out of you.

The

Mocks & Gap Filling phase ( October - November)You can take your first mock as early as May, especially if you’ve never taken the CAT exam before. Take one mock a month till June. You can then take a mock once every couple weeks in July, August, and September. In the last couple months, you can take a mock a week, or at times two.

Find the right balance between three things: 1) Practice, 2) Taking a mock, and 3) Find gaps in basics & re-learn/practice to fill the gap.
This practice goes on till CAT. But how big a gap you fill has to get lesser with each mock -- or you’re not getting anywhere. Don’t fret about Percentiles, and All India ranks in your initial few mocks. Your focus should be on analysing your mock, understanding your gaps, and filling them.

All the best!!