CAT preparation strategy by Smitirupa


My journey with Elites Grid started back in 2018 when I was randomly searching about groups for CAT Preparation. The kind of student engagement they had created on a public forumCAT preparation – Elitesgrid, was impressive, and the content was quite structured. I even attended a few demo classes and decided to take up the course and have never regretted it. Being a working professional, I knew I could not manage much time for classroom coaching, and self-preparation was not something I can rely 100 % upon. So, I believed I need a mentor who could provide me with the push and the discipline that I need to inculcate throughout the journey. I joined EG in the second batch (in 2019 as well). I could not make it to the top B Schools in 2018. I believed I had not done justice to EG. I remember distancing myself from social life for straight three months. When I came back to FB, I remember I received a ping from Sushant Sir who did not really enquire what percentile I had, but simply asked if I am doing fine. I realized post talking to him that it was too early to give up, and I needed to give it another try. You cannot achieve something you want, that easily. CAT preparation is one such thing, you need to work hard  to grab ya seat in your dream college.

I have tried to summarize my learnings, majorly from the mistakes I had done in the past. It is going to be a long read, but I hope you find it useful. I would majorly detail out Verbal since I believe that is a problematic section for most of the aspirants.

Verbal Section : 

More than your knowledge about language, this section tests your attitude towards language. The most common problems one comes across in RCs are: 

  1. Struggle in comprehension.
  2.  Lethargy in reading long passages
  3.  Inefficiency in retention.

To counter your struggle with comprehension, familiarize yourself with a vast arena of topics. Let’s say, if you are ‘forced’ as part of the daily reading activity to read about a heavily worded article on Socialism- it is genuine that you would not be able to grasp it and would find yourself re-reading lines. One way I tackled this was I used to watch 2-3 mins short videos on YouTube on those topics like Socialism, Marxism, Communism and then move to the articles. The visual retention power is much more in most students. So, once you at least have a faint idea about the topic you could move to the article, skim through it, and you will notice that you can understand most of it.

To counter the 2nd and 3rd problem, I suggest you, not to treat a daily read or passage as a pushover. Treat it as a message you need to deliver to your friend. The author is going to tell you something, so you got to listen to it because, by the time he ends, you need to have a brief idea about it to deliver it to your friend. You would experience “Chinese whispers” in the beginning, but it is a gradual improvement. Never see the length of paragraphs while doing a daily read. It is fine if you read even ½ of it. 

Coming to PJs, CRs – follow the rules taught in class diligently. And adhere to them. All mentors in of Elites grid are a class apart with their knowledge and always approachable. Having said that, you also need to understand that they have a life too, hence keep patience. 

Every time you analyze a mock, make notes of what is the point you missed. More than mocks, what counts is the mock analysis. Take your time but have a thorough analysis. Give frequent sectionals in verbal. In my experience of 2019, TIMES VA and EG VA Sectionals were the best bets. But again, consult your mentors and take more & more mocks and sectionals. Scored less? Chuck it. I have had days when I have scored even 20 in a sectional. You are not going to send the B-Schools your mock repository. But B Schools are going to check you for your analysis repository in CAT. Prepare an analysis so robust that it gets imprinted in your mind and you keep repeating it on your D Day.

Reading Sources: 

Aeon, Collectors Weekly, Nautilus, Undark, HBR, The Hindu Editorial etc.

LRDI Section : 

Follow Elites grid’s YouTube Videos. Immaterial of whether you are an EG Student or not – Hands down, that is the best repository available. Other than that CL Mocks had good LR DI Section (only good section according to me in CL), especially in 2017-18. If time permits, go for it. Do past IMS and TIME mocks of 2019, 2018. I am sure Gaurav Sir will be posting most of them but if time permits, try all of them. I am sure you would get enough time once you are done with your syllabus at a high level.

One mistake I did in 2018 was I used to be thirsty just to solve the questions, to answer it first. I used to target better marks in this section. I did not do enough to learn why I went wrong. However, in 2019, I finally understood what Gaurav Sir and Hunny Sir meant when they said to spend 1 hour on 1 set but analyze it so thoroughly that by the end of an hour you know at least 2-3 methods of solving it. Do not jump to solutions, ever. I used to read out solutions and do a mind mapping of where I went wrong. That is the most bullshit thing you would ever do. There is no shortage of pen and paper. So, use them. Give time to analysis.

QA Section : 

Contrary to popular belief that engineers are good with Quants, I always did dread it. I guess this section pulled down my entire score in 2018. Reason? My negligence. I had started off well, but I got distracted, and by the end of September 2018, I was so under-confident about the section that I started jumping to various sources and joined various groups. It was all a mess. 

In 2019, I finally realized the mistakes I did. Stick to one source only and do it religiously. EG is the most structured in terms of content. I solved the past mocks, which Hunny Sir asked us to do along with current mocks. Do not miss any current mock. If you are following EG, you are on the right path. I blindly followed Hunny Sir and did whatever he said. The best thing about him is that he doesn’t teach quants for the sake of conducting a class but because he loves that subject so much that it is apparent in his classes. I could not attend live classes, most of the times, because I was working in the afternoon shift. But I made sure not to keep many backlogs. Follow his events religiously. Keep revising. 

There will be days during your CAT Preparation when you would feel like giving up, and thoughts like that CAT or other aptitude exams is not your cup of tea. You would be disheartened to see your peers already in a better place. But let me tell you one thing, ‘Tera time ayega’. Think about your journey till now. Recollect everything you have done till now. Glorify your journey, or think of how after exams, you would be rushing to GDPI centres for interview preps, imagine sitting in the interview panel of your dream B Schools and last but not the least think about how much efforts your mentors are putting on you. The end of the tunnel is never that far.


“It is not a test of aptitude but a test of the attitude”.

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