The question that emerges foremost in the minds of most MBA aspirants now is whether this is the right time to do an MBA keeping in mind the global recession that looms ahead. The reality is that this is the best time to stay off the job market and complete your education. Two years down the line you can graduate with enhanced skills and better credentials that qualify you for higher roles in business organizations.
MBA aspirants are often caught in the dilemma of choosing between self – preparation and guidance for competitive exams like the CAT. It is a universally proven fact that classroom learning is superior to self-learning at all levels and educational programs. This becomes even more true in the case of the CAT exam.
Here’s why coaching for CAT exam is important:
The CAT exam does not have a predefined syllabus and hence guidance and coaching from expert and experienced mentors is an imperative and not an option. To this one must also add the factor of areas like DI and LR, which are not part of school or college course work, being critical sections in the CAT exam. The relative value of your score decides your chances of gaining admission into a good B-school, this implies that it is not enough to do well, you have to stay ahead of the other candidates.
Staying ahead of others is possible only when you are well versed with the different patterns, short cuts, test-taking strategies etc., and these are best learnt from well qualified and experienced mentors.
Is online coaching better than classroom coaching?
The debate whether online coaching is preferable to classroom coaching is fast fading into insignificance thanks to the present troubled times. The fact of the matter is that both have advantages and limitations. A prime difference is that classroom coaching ensures quality and accountability unlike the online space which abounds with many fly by night operators who have neither the expertise nor the experience to prepare candidate for prime national level exams.
Keeping in mind the fact that one mode cannot be a substitute for the other, the best option would be a hybrid model that offers a combination of both. Organizations that combine both modes are therefore best placed to offer comprehensive learning.
IIM CAT 2020 a road map for preparation:
May 2020 is an ideal time for beginning one’s CAT 2020 preparation as it enables 7 months of intense preparation. The key to success here lies in utilizing the available time in the best manner possible.
From May to July, the candidate should go in for a thorough analysis and study of the basic concepts in each and every testing area including one’s favorite areas. One may be good in mathematics but it is also possible that one would have lost touch over the years or there could be certain gray areas in one’s knowledge and expertise, these are the things that need to be set right. Obviously, the time at hand enables a bottom up approach in one’s weak areas, one can start from point zero and build upwards. Certain areas like DI and LR would be completely unfamiliar and hence would require a step by step assimilation.
August and September would be the period in which one graduates to advanced levels in different areas. One needs to become comfortable with tough areas and questions, that enables one to aim for high percentiles in the CAT exam. In Reading Comprehension, for example, one can get easy data-based questions or tough inference-based questions, the candidate has to be good with both types if he aspires to obtain high percentiles.
The month of October has to be dedicated to revision and testing. The focus would be on gaining both speed and accuracy and to revise those areas which are giving below par results in the testing process. This is also the time to develop strategies that are flexible and robust. Difficulty levels are not predictable, the strategy should be dynamic enough to maximize on easy sections and survive the tough sections.
The month of November would be set apart purely for testing, any learning here would be test driven. One has to finalize a strategy and decide upon things like: time allocation, quantum of questions to attempt, sequencing of questions etc. The last one week is often used to get one’s bio-rhythm in place; if one’s test is scheduled for the morning; one needs to do the mocks test exactly at that time.
Testing – the key to success:
Continuous testing is of paramount importance as it contributes to the learning process. It is not enough that you know the concepts, one should know how to apply them in different contexts. A person could be good in mathematics and still end up with bad scores due to the wrong approaches and weak test taking strategies. It is not an absolute that the person with the greatest knowledge will get the highest score, often the highest score is obtained by the person with the best test taking strategy.
One major factor regarding testing is that one should not delay test taking till the entire preparation is over. Learning and test taking go hand in hand. The testing process enables one to refine methods and highlights areas of concern. One may imagine oneself to have arrived at optimum levels of competence in DI, test scores may alert you that the reality is the opposite. The CAT being a national level competitive exam, one needs to be a part of the process.
Why mock tests are important?
By participating in All India Mocks, one gets exposed to the competition, one becomes aware of the reality. One should do one mock every fortnight from May to July. In the months of August and September, the frequency should increase to one mock every ten days. In October the frequency should be one per week and in November the pace increases to one mock every five days.
Two factors to remember, the first; it is not enough to do tests, one should also analyze the performance, identify the weak spots and work on them. The second factor; test yourself only with the best, participate only in those tests where you can expect tough competition, but then, if you have trained with the best mentors, you will be the tough competition.
(Article by Thomas George, Center Director, T.I.M.E. Bangalore)
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