If you are good at making out the difference between “good content” and “bad content”, then online cat preparation is a very good idea.
The online space is full of free content ranging from free questions, pdfs and e-books to free videos and free tests.
Some of that content is really good, while the rest is not. Most of us have this feeling that as far material is concerned the more the better, but this is precisely the problem with most students.
Since free content is readily available, CAT aspirants keep on collecting one set of material after another until they reach a point where they don’t know what to do with that free material.
The result is choice anxiety, confusion and lack of direction. So one day you scan a few pages of one PDF, and the other day you go through a few questions from some other document, something that results in inconsistency and exhaustion.
When you join an offline coaching, everything, right from preparation plan to mock tests, is provided by the coaching centre; but there is no such thing with online cat preparation, unless you have already joined some online cat course or coaching.
That’s why we teachers always feel that enrolling for online CAT courses is better idea than preparing all on your own because by doing so you can give some direction to your prep.
But whether you have enrolled for any course or not, there are a few things that you must keep in mind if you are preparing for CAT online.
1You must be familiar with what is asked in CAT and what is not:
I have come across many students who prepare for CAT without having the faintest idea of what is asked in CAT. As an aspirant, you can’t afford to be ignorant of such things.
You must thoroughly read our article on CAT syllabus, and also must go through the question papers of the past few years. This way at least you would be able to tell what is relevant to your prep and what is not.
2You must have a concrete study plan:
Working out a plan is too easy; the problem is sticking to that plan. Your online course material and the books that you buy are mere facilitators. Eventually it is up to you as to how use that material, the consistency being the more important aspect.
There is no need to have monthly plan, a weekly plan would suffice. You should resolve to give 2 hours to your prep material, which could comprise studying from a course, website or books.
You should devote these two hours daily. At the end of every week, you must retrospectively analyse whether you were able to adhere to the study plan for that week.
3Learn to study in long stretches:
The biggest problem that you will face in your CAT prep, online of offline, would be with respect to your ability to concentrate for long hours. On the examination day, you will be expected to reach the centre 90 minutes before the exam.
The 90-minute wait would be followed by 180 minutes of test time. You must have the patience and the ability to concentrate for such a long time. If you are not used to it, it would be very difficult for you to do well in the exam.
Since this level of stamina and concentration can’t be developed overnight, you should work on it right from the first day of your prep. Learn to study for long stretches of at least 90-minute duration. On weekends, you should sit for even longer stretches.
4Learn to stay away from your smart phone:
Our smartphones are the biggest obstacle on our path to optimum productivity. Whether at the work place or in the classroom, our smartphones have become one of the major causes of our inattentiveness.
I have taught students both online and offline, and from that experience I can convincingly say that the difference between a successful student and an unsuccessful one is the difference in their abililty to put up a fight for a long period of time.
Your ability to fight is directly proportional to your ability concentrate. In short, I have just one thing to say, stay away from smartphone while studying, which means that you have to study either on your laptop/desktop or with a book. The mode of studying must match the mode in which you would be writing the exam.
5Don’t waste your time in doing the unimportant thing
During the course of your preparation, you must be keenly aware of what is necessary and what is unnecessary. For instance, solving questions of reading comprehension is more important that merely reading a wide variety of passages or articles; in quantitative aptitude, solving questions on your own is more important than watching quant videos on YouTube.
In other words, time management is important and for this reason doing the right thing within that time frame is just as important. Studying the relevant topics, solving questions of the desired difficulty level on those topics is more important.
6Focus on developing and improving your test-taking strategies:
You should try to come into the test-taking mode as early as possible, preferably by the 1st week of July. You should write the topic-wise tests first, followed by the sectional tests, and finally the mock tests.
This order will ensure that by the time you start writing your mock tests, you will already have become used to the test taking pressure, and will have devised an effective strategy to play on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.
This article so far focused only on the broader aspects of CAT online preparation. In my other blogs, I have discussed a few other things pertaining to online cat preparation, you may read these as well: