How to Prepare For a Management Admission Examination? (Download PDF)


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According to an article by DNA India, approximately 1.7 lakh students appeared for the Common Admission Test (CAT) the score of which is one of the primary parameters used by the IIMs to decide who is admitted to their coveted management courses; in the same year, according to Mid - day about 10.3 lakh students appeared for the CBSE Class XII Board Exam.

You might be wondering what do these numbers have to do with preparing for a management admission test like CAT or GMAT; well, there is a clear difference between the number of students appearing for, say the CAT exam, and the Class XII Board exam the number of students appearing for the Board exam is drastically higher than the number of students appearing for CAT. Even so, for most people, the stress experienced while preparing for CAT is much greater than while preparing for the Board exam. Yes, agreed that the number of seats in the IIMs is much smaller than for undergraduate courses, but the first and foremost thing we should remember while preparing for the CAT or GMAT, or any other competitive exam for that matter, is that, it is after all, an exam, just like the many exams you have given in your life.

It is good to take an exam that will determine your future seriously; however, glorifying an exam is not appropriate because it will lead you to think more about itmore than requiredwhich will eventually lead to higher stress levels. Therefore, remember that whether it is CAT or GMAT, it is just an exam, and believe that you can score well if you prepare. This thought is of paramount importance.

In the following lines, you will find tips that will help you while preparing for your exam. Some of these tips you must have already heard about, some of them you might not; however, all of them are equally important.

1) Time:

As is true of all things in life, time is the master, whether we agree to it or not. Likewise, time in the case of GMAT preparation whether it refers to the number of months before the exam that you start preparing, or the number of hours you give to preparation in a day, etc. is extremely important. The pace at which an individual grasps concepts is different, you will have to adjudge when will be a suitable time for you to start preparing or how many hours will you be dedicating to the preparation.

As mentioned above, each person will work at their own pace; however, to make things simpler. Here is a table that can help you decide what to do n number of months before your CAT exam date.

Preparation Timetable for Management Admission Test

Management Admission Test - 3 months to one year duration




  • Classify the topics that will be tested in the exam on the basis of you competency in them; you may divide the topics into “Weak” and “Strong, ” if you find questions from a topic difficult or If you them easy, respectively.
  • Once you have identified the topics that need more attention, work on those topics first, then move on to the ones you find relatively easy.
  • At this stage, daily and consistent practice including mock tests, will be paramount in improving your final score.
  • With three - fourths of a year available to you to prepare for an exam, it will be easy for you to lose track of your final goal, and laxity may set in. To avoid this, ensure that you make a study plan beforehand, and follow that thoroughly.
  • Identify the topics in which you are strong, and the topics in which you are weak. To improve your competency in a certain topic, attempt chapter wise study and evaluation.
  • Solve one Reading Comprehension daily. Analyze where you went wrong, and incorporate these learnings.
  • With an entire year before your exam, ensure that you study each topic thoroughly from the basics to the most difficult aspects.
  • Work on your vocabulary and reasoning abilities as well.
  • It will be preferable if you go through the entire syllabus or subject matter of the test approximately 8 months in advance; spend the remainder of the year revising the topics, especially the ones in which you are weak. In case of CAT, solve the CAT exam from the previous 10 years and attempt mock CAT exams.

2) Recreation, Fun, and Sleep:

You might be surprised on reading this sub - heading in an article about tips that will help you prepare for your competitive exam. As strange as it might seem, during the time you are preparing for any exam, it is extremely important that in your study schedule you include some time solely dedicated to activities that you like doing; exercising, taking a stroll in the garden, reading your favorite book, visiting the park near your house, cycling, etc. indulging in any of these activities for some time in a day can help you improve the efficiency. Are you confused? Well, most articles on the internet and elsewhere that you read regarding CAT or GMAT preparation will be about studying and being dedicated towards your preparation; these points, though important, are trivial, and any sensible individual will already know that. However, many do not know that our brains do not prefer monotony, and every now and again, function better when the monotony is broken. In addition, some physical activity will also refresh your senses and will help you keep fit. Similarly, it is also extremely important to get sufficient hours of sleep each day; if scientists are to be believed, during sleep, our brain reorganizes and sorts the memories of the day, classifying them and deciding which memory is important and which is not, without going into any more technicalities, if you don’t get enough sleep, the brain is not able to perform these and many other functions properly, and this eventually will lead to reduced efficiency while studying.

3) Know Your Exam:

Many a times, students concentrate more on the content and topics that are tested in an exam; however, as important as it is learning and practicing for the topics that will be tested in the exam that you are appearing for, it is equally important to know the pattern, time limits, and exam rules for your exam. In any timed exam, especially when it has negative marking as well, learning to manage time during the exam can be one of the determining factors that decide whether you get a good score or a bad score. Therefore, it is a good practice to give a considerable number of mock tests, trying to mimic the exam room environment as closely as you possibly can. This will ensure that when you do actually go for the actual exam, you will be familiar with the exam pattern, time limitations, and other exam rules that you have to follow on that day. In a similar vein, knowing which topics are tested in the exam, based on an official list of topics released by the authority conducting the test, or based on the questions asked in previous papers, is also important.

4) Believe:

It is not uncommon to see students disheartened by small hiccups in their preparation, or students who feel they cannot get the score they dream of. Well, harboring this negativity will unconsciously undermine your ability and in turn, will reduce your efficiency during preparation, and the cycle will continuelike a vicious circle. In the end, you might not be able to do well even though you could. Therefore, it is important that you believe in yourself, and work towards getting what you aim for, because you can.

We hope these points will help you in some way or the other while preparing for your respective competitive exams. We wish you the best moving forward.

- Guest Post from Byju’s

- Published/Last Modified on: October 19, 2015

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