How to prepare for CAT with a job

June 27, 2012

Are you thinking about giving the CAT with a job? Are you out of touch of your books?

It can be difficult to get back to studies after a long hiatus, but a highly competitive exam like CAT asks for a thorough preparation. I have been there, done that! I got a great GRE score while I prepared for it with a full time job. It was a software job so by no means it was easy on work hours. But there are some things to remember when preparing for an exam like GRE or CAT when the time on hand is a few hours a day.

First Congratulate Yourself
Congratulate yourself on the decision to take up CAT after getting a work experience. Management education after corporate experience is extremely rewarding. You appreciate the concepts taught as you would have experienced it. You have a network already made to leverage upon and placements also come easy.

Start off early
You know you will not get more than 3-4 hours a day for preparing. So you should start at least 4 months in advance.Questions on CAT can be very twisted so you need to practice quite a lot in order get used to the questions. Vocabulary and reading comprehension is also a part of CAT so in case your vocabulary is not that great or you are not in a habit of reading you can use enough time to build that up.

Have a plan
Whenever you start preparing for CAT, do not just jump into it. Careful planning at the beginning goes a long way in building your confidence in achieving your goals. Plan takes into account your strengths and weaknesses and the time remaining for the exam.

Plan includes:

  • Practice Time Daily
  • What Chapters to Practice When
  • When to start Full Length Mock Tests
  • Reading and Vocabulary Time

Practice Daily
This is most important. There are days when you had a hard day at work or you are feeling low and don’t want to study. But keeping time to practice daily is the key so that you do not lose focus. It’s hard to start studies if you are working and equally hard to get back if you miss out on few days of practice. Practice chapters according to your plan and even 5 questions will be good.

Make use of your travel time
In India a lot of time is spent in travel to work, make good use of this time. If you drive to work, make arrangements so that someone else drives (carpool, office cabs etc.). Use this time to read newspapers, revise your word list or even reading comprehension passages. If you are comfortable, even practice questions.

Make the best out of your holidays
Sundays (or even Saturdays in some cases) and other holidays are a good time as you get a whole day off. Use this time to revisit your study plans, take a review of your practice in past days or take mock tests. You should even meet, discuss and reason out with friends on various matters of importance. This not only broadens your outlook but also prepares you for group discussions.

You find plenty of reasoning related problems in daily life so go ahead solve your and others problems and do not shy away from them. You watch a movie or a TV show, think about finer points. You read a newspaper, read between the lines. CAT tests your ability to reason out, think creatively in common scenarios and be able to do your math. With proper plan and practice anyone can ace the CAT.