CAT 2020 Preparation Tips for Working Professionals

    Anam Shams Anam Shams
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    Common admission test (CAT) 2020 aspirants belong to all walks of life and have a diverse educational and work background. The consideration that working professionals do not succeed in cracking the exam is not appropriate as every year the number of working professional applicants increases and so do their success rates. IIM’s and top B schools in India give certain weightage (5% to 15%) to candidates with work experience. For instance, IIM Calcutta provides 8 extra points to professionally experienced candidates in final selection.

    Latest Update: CAT 2020 notification is expected to release on last saturday of July 2020, IIM Indore is the coordinating body of CAT 2020 as announced on its official website. Read More

    Working professionals before beginning their preparation should analyse the following points:

    Is Coaching Assistance Required: Make yourself aware of the updated CAT 2020 exam pattern and examine if formal coaching guidance is required or self study is sufficient. Working professionals are required to be more disciplined as the work environment does not necessarily motivates preparation and studies. It depends on the hard work and management of time. CheckCAT Online Preparation Resources and Strategies

    Pre-Preparation Activity: Identify the level of your preparation and the amount of practice and preparation required to appear for CAT 2020. This can be done by giving a Mock Test or solving a practice paper. Balance work and preparation accordingly. Doing a full 9 to 5 job and efficiently working and preparing for a tough competitive exam like CAT can be hectic. But their are working aspirants with good success rate and the number of working aspirants is high every year.Is Quitting Job Necessary: ne core question that comes in the mind of CAT working applicants- should they quit their job to prepare? One major reason why people quit jobs to prepare is shortage of time that they face.The most important question is to ask oneself about how to manage time for efficient preparation. Applicants should not run into the decision of giving up Job for full time preparation.

    CAT Strategy for Professionals

    CAT 2020 Strategy for Working Professionals

    Follow a Time Table

    • Make a test schedule initially and follow it to examine if it works for you with the ongoing job or not.
    • Dedicate good 2-3 hours daily and atleast 5 hours on weekends. Try to increase the study hours gradually.
    • A total of 500 hours need to be given for preparation.
    • The schedule should not be hectic, easy going with the job but should be followed positively.

    Start With Basics

    • If there are any particular areas that you are not comfortable with, you must concentrate your time and energy on those sections in the starting of your CAT preparation.
    • You must begin with clearing your basics in the first stage of your preparation. You will not have the sufficient time or energy to do this at a later date.
    • While this is valid for all parts of the CAT syllabus, it is especially relevant for Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal Ability.
    • A candidate will have to understand all the concepts, formulas, novels and books. They should read and concentrates on it carefully. They must watch all the CAT Preparation videos.
    • While there are some guidelines and concepts that are included in subjects such as Data Interpretation, Logical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension – they are principally reliant on practice.

    Make Preparation Strategy

    • Syllabus should be divided into small parts and then covered up- VARC, DILR and Quants section should be divided into sub topics.
    • The division should be done according to weightage of topics, conceptual clarity and analysis of previous year question paper.
    • A weekly time table should be drawn instead of a monthly or long term one.
    • Allot short term targets for you and complete them.

    Must Read  CAT 2020 Model Paper as predicted by Collegedunia

    Time Management

    • A major obstacle in CAT preparation for working professionals is managing time.
    • The work can be burdensome but daily study time and practice paper solving sessions should be a routine.
    • Make a habit to sit and study and work out on problems, it will bring confidence to prepare while being in job.
    • Over a period of time, it will be possible to strike a balance between work and preparation be consistent
    • Perseverance is the key to crack CAT, no matter if you are a working professional or a regular aspirant.
    • People who work need to be consistent on giving mock test and analyse their preparation level.
    • One full length mock test or sectional mock test every week need to be given.

    Appear for Mock Test

    • One of the best feedback for working aspirants comes from the mock test they give, it will give an idea if you lack in basics or conceptual clarity.
    • Just attempting mock test and practice papers will not help, analysing it and working on mistakes will be fruitful. Go through CAT Practice Papers
    • Attempt the mocks in different ways to devise a best suited strategy.
    • There is a school of imagined that trusts that all you have to do well in CAT is mocks, mocks, and more mocks. We do concur with that kind of reasoning however it is presumably valid for just a little arrangement of candidates.
    • If you have taken CAT previously and scored a 95+ and you are attempting again this year to enhance your score – presumably writing 50 mocks or writing 100 mocks is an excellent idea for you.
    • Candidates must note that writing an excessive number of mocks will serve no purpose. The objective of a mock is to find out your week and strong areas, fine-tune the time dispersion amid the exam and set practical desires for marks.
    • The candidate has books for that. Anywhere from 10 to 15 mocks is enough for most CAT candidates. Candidates must use the last two months of their preparation taking around 1 mock in a week. They should analyze that mock and use the rest of the week to enhance their test-taking skills

    Utilise Spare Time

    • Working aspirants can make use of the time they get while commuting to work-in cab or metro. This will help cover up the syllabus and make up for the lost time.
    • Weekends should be utilised in an organised way, sparing most of the time to study and making up for the time you lost during the rest of the week.

    ReadDiversity at IIMs: Benefits for Non Engineers and Female Candidates

    CAT Study Plan for Professionals

    CAT 2020 Study Plan for Working Professionals

    You have approximately 7 months for CAT and that is all that could possibly be needed to plan your CAT Preparation Strategy. CAT requires generally around 300 to 500 hours of genuine preparation time. You can find that time effectively on the off chance that you do the accompanying:

    • Study for a minimum of 2 hours daily (every working day) best would be 3 to 4 hours.
    • Study for a minimum of 4 hours on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) best would be close to 6 hours.
    • If you are thinking, how to actually plan your preparation for CAT 2020 – There is a simple standard for you. Follow the mentioned CAT Exam Pattern. It is divided into 5 areas:
    1. Quantitative Aptitude
    2. Data Interpretation
    3. Logical Reasoning
    4. Reading Comprehension
    5. Verbal Ability

    The relative weighting of the above-specified categories is around 2:1:1:1:1. Here 2 are for the Quantitative Aptitude section. Various candidates make the mistake of concentrating on just Quantitative Aptitude and Verbal. Candidates should understand that Quantitative Aptitude + Verbal Ability form just 50% of the CAT syllabus. The other 50% is Logical Reasoning + Reading Comprehension + Data Interpretation. Candidates shouldn’t make that mistake. Here is the strategy that you can follow:

    • Monday and Tuesday – Quantitative Aptitude
    • Wednesday – Data Interpretation
    • Thursday – Logical Reasoning
    • Friday – Reading Comprehension
    • Saturday (First Half) – Verbal Ability.
    • You are still left with three slots for preparation.

    By starting with your CAT preparation, these three slots must be designated to the territory that you are not sure about. Do note that CAT will ask difficult and easy questions from all sections. If you are weak in a specific section, you may pass up on a sitter from that section. That is a mistake that you can’t bear to make in the hyper-competitive world of CAT preparation.

    If you are completed with 50% of the syllabus, these three sections should be designated towards giving mocks as well as analyzing those mocks. There can't be a superior method to discover the issues in your preparation plan than these mocks.

    Is Quitting Job Necessary for CAT?

    Is Quitting Job Necessary for CAT Preparation?

    CAT Preparation strategy for working professionals may differ from candidate to candidate depending on their job profile and the circumstances they face. A common dilemma of working aspirants is thus whether to quit the job and dedicate entire time to CAT preparation or prepare and work simultaneously. To come to a conclusion the first step should be to devise a preparation strategy balancing work and preparation and see if it suits you or not.

    Only if scoring good percentile in CAT and pursuing MBA will land you with better job prospects leaving current job and full time preparation is a feasible option. Also, quitting job is a personal decision and depends on various subjective factors like financial requirements of the candidates, personal needs etc. CAT preparation expert S K Agarwal says that working applicants are busy but if planning is done and sufficient time is spared everyday, preparation is possible. Thus there is no need to quit job and prepare.

    Benefits of quitting job for CAT preparation

    A full time job can be distracting, giving up job will allow you to focus properly on preparation. A demanding job does not provide any spare time and can be physically draining as well. If this is the case quitting job is a good decision as an MBA degree from a reputed institute will only lead to career boost and salary hike. With ample time to prepare one can make schedule, strategy and daily time table accordingly as per their learning speed and requirements.

    Drawbacks of quitting job for CAT preparation

    Leaving the job for preparation produces a perception that the individual cannot multitask. As a lot of applicants manage to crack the exam while being in job, quitting job will question your time management skills. The CAT exam process is lengthy and can go on for a duration of one year initial 6 months for preparation and appearing in CAT and later 6 months for WAT/GD/PI. For such a long duration quitting job and preparing can be frustrating.

    CAT Topper’s with Work Experience

    As per teachers and experts disciplined effort to balance preparation and job can lead to success in CAT exam. Every year there are top percentile scorer’s who have working experience.

    • Rickshesh Manchanda is CAT 2018 100 percentile scorer. He is an IIT Delhi graduate working in a bank. He opted for self-study and emphasised on mock test to ace the exam.
    • Swapnil Suman is CAT 2018 100 percentile scorer. A mechanical engineer graduate, Swapnil worked for a petrochemical industry before cracking CAT. He too dint opted for coaching rather relied on Mock Test to prepare.
    • Avinash Misal who scored 99.37% in CAT 2018 was a software engineer by profession. His preparation strategy was to dedicate 1-2 hours everyday to study any particular topic and then appear for as many mock test as possible.

    Sectional Preparation Strategy

    Section wise strategy for working professionals

    Verbal ability and reading comprehension

    • Keep the study material handy, in phone or laptop.
    • Prefer reading news and articles on phone
    • download soft copies of books and study material and read on Laptop or phone
    • verbal ability that does not require conceptual study should be practiced during break and spare time.
    • Use phone apps and sites like word dynamo to update vocabulary and practice english.

     Learn  How to Prepare Verbal Ability

    Quantitative aptitude

    • If quants is a strong point, attempt test and practice papers in good number.
    • If quants need to be worked upon, take a break, work on concepts, gain confidence and then practice.
    • Focus on tricks to solve questions.

    Learn  How to prepare Quantitative Aptitude

    Data Interpretation and Logical reasoning

    • Considered one of the toughest section in CAT exam.
    • Practice is the only key to master DI.
    • Go through basic concepts and calculations.
    • Focus on previous year question papers.

    Learn  How to Prepare Data Interpretation

    CAT Preparation through coaching for Working Professionals

    Once a working professional decides to sit for CAT exam the first question that comes across them is mode of preparation strategy. Some of the commonly asked questions for working professionals are:

    Is coaching necessary?

    It depends on the preparation level of applicants. Coaching along with a job is not feasible but weekend coaching classes are available in offline mode specially designed for working professionals. Coaching guidance is necessary if preparation is to be done from scratch. The coaching institutes will provide a designed strategy and time table along with study material and applicants just have to follow that religiously to score a good percentile. But most of the working applicants go either for self study or online classes.

    Will there be time to attend coaching alongside job?

    A hectic full time job will not provide sufficient time to attend coaching classes. Weekend classes are an alternative in this case or online coaching classes. This also depends on the applicants work profile and job environment. In case working candidates cannot find time there are options of online coaching websites, night coachinf classes and weekend classes.

    Is mock test series necessary?

    There is no doubt mock test have become a necessity to crack CAT, A minimum of one full length mock should be given every week. Different approaches should be opted to attempt mock. From 2018 onwards IIM conducting CAT releases official mock test on this helps candidates analyse their preparation level. IIM Kozhikode will release mock test on 16 October.

    Will online coaching be beneficial?

    Online classes are beneficial for working professionals as they can be taken at any time of the day, are cost affective and flexible as per the applicants demands and schedule. Is coaching necessary? Will there be sufficient time to attend coaching? the answer to these questions lies in Online Coaching Websites. Some popular online coaching websites are:  MBAguru, TIMES online coaching, Oliveboard, BYJU’s online coaching, Unacademy PLus.

    Advantages of Working Professional in CAT: does work experience matter?

    Work experience adds to the profile of the candidate as a highlighted point. It also proves to be an essential backup, in case CAT results do not work in your favour. Aspirants who have work experience draw certain advantage when it come to WAT/GD/PI sessions. The maturity they gain while working in a formal workspace setting helps them to speak and write well. Questions in CAT PI are asked on job profile, kind of work done, experience gained, and future prospects. For instance questions thrown to candidates with work experience be like- How well have you done in your professional course? Tell us anything special you did apart from your work ?



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