What’s the ideal way to prepare for CAT, XAT, etc.?

MBA Entrance ExamsMost of the MBA aspirants would have started preparing for MBA Entrance Exams by now. However, the biggest problem that I find with the preparation methodology used by most of the aspirants is the same. Nearly all of them fall due to one problem and that problem is improper planning.

So, what’s the ideal way to prepare for CAT, XAT and other entrance exams?

Here is the simple plan that I used to prepare for my MBA season which helped me get 99.90%ile in CET the first time I attempted MHT-CET.

1) Target a B-School that you want to join.

Select the best B-School that you think you can get and make it your target. Ideally, I would suggest you to prepare for the best college. So, if you are giving CAT, go for IIM Calcutta (because unfortunately, IIM A uses many other parameters). And if you are giving XAT, XLRI should be your target.

My target for CET was JBIMS.

2) Find out the score and profiles of students who got admission in that B-School the previous year

Now, try and find out the scores and the profiles of the students (if the college looks for profile too) who secured admission in the target college. As you cannot change your profile now, we are going to talk about getting a good score from here on.

Find out the average entrance exam score of the students. This is going to be your target.

3) Give a Mock exam

Take up previous year CAT (or the exam you are going to give) papers or find some mock papers and attempt 1 or 2 mocks. It does not matter if you have prepared for the exam or not. Most of the question here need you to apply logic on the topics that you have already studied in your school and college days.

Check you Mock scores and compare them with the average score required to get into the B-school.

4) Find the GAP

Now that you have appeared for 1 or 2 mocks, you know the difference between your score and the score required. This is the GAP.

5) Analyze your Mocks

Analyze the mocks that you gave and find out your strong areas and your weak areas. For example, if you find out that you could not attempt many question in Quantitative Aptitude, this is your weak area. On the other hand, if you find out that your Data Interpretation score was above the average required, this is your strong area.

Quantitative Aptitude was my weak point and yes, DI was my stronghold.

6) Fill the GAP by removing your weaknesses and improving your strengths

Now is the time for the main preparation. Find out the topics that you could not attempt properly and go through the basics. If need be, pick up the text books of 8th to 12th standard. Make sure that you know the main concept of the problems.

So, if permutation and combination irritates me, I would go and read about the basics of permutation and combination. Once I know the basics, I would solve some simple question and slowly and steadily move on to difficult questions.

7) Attempt more Mock Exams

Give some more mock exams and see whether you are improving or not. If you have been analyzing your mocks properly and acting on them, you will start to see considerable improvements in your score. If you do not find improvements in your score, start your preparations seriously.

Slowly and steadily, you will improve and find yourself above the average cutoff (in most cases) and get your dream college (of course, after the other rounds).

So, the Mantra is “Get your Basics clear” and “Aim. Ready. Shoot”