"It is not wrong to make mistakes but to make the same mistakes again"
If you have taken the call to take CAT again, it reflects on your commitment to get into a good college. So, first and foremost thing for you is to do so with a positive attitude and a fresh mindset. Remember, you certainly have an edge over the competition if you play your cards right.
Secondly, you should reflect on your previous journey and understand the challenges. While it is absolutely critical for you to forget the failure, it is equally important to NOT forget the reasons for it. This is where the base of your preparation is built.
How to prepare
There are a few things you can do to begin with:
- Re-attempt last year’s CAT: Give it a go without any time limit and see how many questions you can solve with the right formulae. It will help you get a sense of your conceptual understanding of topics.
- Analyse your actual paper score: Do a thorough analysis of your performance in the actual exam to make out if your test taking strategy was right, kind of mistakes you made etc. Now that you have analysed your performance, it is time for you to set your goals for CAT. It is important to do so to channelize your efforts in achieving the target.
- Study calendar: Make a note of activities to be done, timelines for completion and expected outcome. This will keep you inspired to get things done on time.
- Concept revision: Revisit the formulae for each topic and review your conceptual understanding. Unless you build a strong foundation, you will keep making silly mistakes.
- Practice questions: Attempt as many questions as you can to fortify your learning’s. Seek help from mentors or friends to clear doubts.
- Attempt mocks regularly: Keep taking mocks frequently to assess your progress and map the same to your performance last year to draw a better picture.
- Work on a winning strategy: Draw from your past experience and present experiments to build a success strategy.
Need for coaching
It is also advisable to evaluate the need for coaching at an early stage. If you find yourself stuck at a particular percentile zone or falling short of expectations, a right mentor can add tremendous value. The mentors don't just provide academic inputs but also strategic one’s which help steer the preparation in right direction. In fact, in case of repeaters the value of mentors is underestimated. The journey of a repeater is tricky with lot of stress on account of self inflicted doubts and burden of expectations. A good mentor helps students navigate through these unwanted challenges with aplomb.
There are a variety of courses available which are catering to prep needs of students at different stages of preparation. It is most appropriate for repeaters to look for advanced level prep solutions which can give a big boost to their percentile.
However, it is an individual choice based on one’s own requirements.
The journey of a repeater is full of critical moments wherein self realisation and good decisions carry significant weight.
- Know it already: As a repeater, this is the most likely mistake you will end up making. It is good to revisit everything from a fresh perspective and arrive at conclusions with supporting data instead of assumptions.
- Only last minute prep will do: If you have taken the brave decision to drop a year, you should be committed enough to give sufficient time to your CAT preparation. This is a pivotal stage for your career prospects and therefore deserves due respect.
- Repeating same mistakes: Unless you are willing to open up to new experiments, you will not find the right recipe for success. Be open in your approach and conscious about mistakes committed earlier.
Dropping a year to take exam again is a decision that needs to be made after considering multiple factors in an individual’s life. In case of CAT, many students are taking this call because they realise what’s at stake. But once a decision is made, it is advisable to go through the above suggestions to make it a success.
— The writer is Vice-President at Hitbullseye.com
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