Concentrate on speed math techniques to tackle DI, says Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind Education
Urvashi Dalal, 08 Aug 2016, #CAT
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Great Lakes Institute of Management

CAT 2016 will be conducted on December 4, 2016, in two slots, and on similar pattern as that of last years. With about 4 months to go, students must kick-start their preparations in full gear. But the concern for CAT 2016 test takers is how to proceed with the preparation strategy. Careers360 brings you Expert take on CAT 2016 preparation strategy, which will guide you about how to plan and prepare for the test.


In this interview with Careers360, expert Arks Srinivas, CEO, VistaMind Education, shares his insights on how to proceed with the preparations for CAT. According to him, one must divide the prep schedule into three parts for Quant. He further suggests to concentrate and practice speed math technique every day to tackle DI section.


Read full interview excerpts below:


Careers360: What is your take on CAT 2016 pattern?

Arks Srinivas: The paper pattern gives all kinds of students a fair chance to make it to the coveted IIMs and hence the IIMs have done a great service by sticking to the same pattern as that of CAT 2015!


The IIMs should, however, have removed the sectional time-limits, which would have made the selection more competitive and the only truly deserving and with acumen in management would have got through!


Careers360: Now that CAT 2016 has been announced, what should be the preparation strategy for the students?

Arks Srinivas: The first thing a student should do is to write a Diagnostic Mock. The Mock Score and analysis will give a student the distance he/she has to traverse to crack the CAT exam.


Once a student gets to know the strengths and weaknesses in each area, a plan to overcome the weaknesses while improving upon the strengths would be the requirement.


Careers360: Please share a detailed plan for the next 4 months to CAT 2016.

Arks Srinivas: As of now there are roughly 120 days left for CAT 2016. The overall preparation can be divided into three parts.


OPENING (45 days)

In the first 45 days, one should go through all the basics in each of the areas and topics that come in CAT. This will ensure that the student is geared up to understand and attempt every question that appears in CAT. It is a different matter that he may not be able to solve it correctly. But, the first step in CAT prep is to identify every type of problem and be in a position to solve


MIDDLE GAME (45 days)

Here, one should do a second round of revision while taking the Mock Tests and fine-tuning the strategy in each of the sections. This phase is the most important phase as many students keep losing the confidence and give up the fight.


END GAME (30 days)

Here, the entire concentration should be on getting the exam strategy right while ensuring the third round of revision for all topics and areas.

arks_srinivas-pic“The first thing a student should do is to write a Diagnostic Mock. The Mock Score and analysis will give a student the distance he/she has to traverse to crack the CAT exam”

Careers360: Please share preparation strategy for Quantitative Ability (QA)?

Arks Srinivas: Here is a brief of what one should do in theQuantitative Ability section of CAT.


The best way to prepare Quant is to divide the entire area into areas – Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry & Mensuration, and Pure Math.


Over the first 45 days to 60 days of your preparation, you have to go through every concept in every chapter and solve the exercises thoroughly. There are roughly about 17 to 18 topics in the whole of Quant area and it would take 2 to 3 days per topic to finish by giving about 1 to 2 hours a day.


After solving every chapter, taking a slip test/topic test would be of utmost importance. You would figure out whether you have really understood the topic or not. Those students who have completed the basic material should do it once again so that the concepts are better understood.


Careers360: What should be the strategy for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DI & LR) section?

Arks Srinivas: To be good at DI, your ability to calculate fast can make a huge difference. Spend 10 minutes every day on Speed Math techniques.


DI can be subdivided into the type of graphs: Table, Bar, Line, PI, Triangle, Spider etc. In addition, Games and tournaments, Cubes and Venn Diagrams can also form the base of DI. Solving about 8 to 10 sets of each type of DI graphs can make one completely comfortable in solving.


LR can also be subdivided into types of questions such as Deductions, Connectives, Selections, Arrangements, Distribution, Circular Arrangements, Order Sequencing, Networks and Routes, Binary Logic. Apart from these, any miscellaneous puzzles can appear in the LR area. The prep for LR would be very similar to DI. Solve around 8 to 10 sets from each type of LR set and it would be good enough!


By covering one type of question in every 2 to 3 days, you can easily go through all types of sets/variants/questions in both DI and LR within 45 to 60 days. Taking slip tests for DI and LR would help you get the speed and the rhythm.


Careers360: What about Verbal Ability/Reading Comprehension section?

Arks Srinivas: Verbal Ability can be divided into three broad areas viz., Vocabulary, Grammar, and Verbal Reasoning.


There is no way you can learn hundred words in a day consistently. Ideally, learning about 5 to 10 new words a day (every day for the next 100 day) will help you get richer in vocab by 500 to 1000 words. In addition, you can improve vocabulary by revising the words that appear in the MOCK Tests. Since the words that are given in CAT are the words normally in vogue, it is very likely that by going through the MOCK Tests and Individual tests, you would come across almost all words that may appear in the exam.


Grammar is a habit. The more you read the better your comfort zone in Grammar. There is no other way but to practice as many questions that come your way and keep reading. It looks like a simplistic way of preparation, but this is the only way. There could be hundreds of grammar rules and trying to remember them would be futile.


For Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension, getting familiar with the type of questions and paragraphs is the key. Make sure that you spend at least half hour every day on this area so that you are either taking a slip test or reviewing one. Reading the editorials of the Newspaper(s) is a very good way to improve the comprehension.


Also Read:

CAT Topper Interview

CAT Expert interview

What if I don’t take coaching? Can I still crack CAT?

CAT 2016: When and how to start preparations

Must read books for CAT


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