# Get, set, go – From “The Hindu”

This is an article from “The Hindu” contributed by the director at 2iim, Rajesh BalasubramanianCAT 2012 will be conducted from October 11 to November 6 this year. A number of candidates will be fine-tuning their preparation right now, while others will be looking to somehow kicking the inertia out of the system and starting their preparations in right earnest. We provide a plan of action for the latter group.

Do not tell yourself it is too late to start now. Do not listen to anyone who says that there isn’t enough time for preparation. Till about 10 years ago, students used to start their CAT preparation only in August (very reluctantly, I must add). The basic syllabus for this exam roughly corresponds to Maths and English taught in class VI- IX. So, if the fundamentals are reasonably strong, a student should require only 200-300 hours of preparation for this exam.
What should be the plan of action? With the Olympic spirit in mind, let us think of this preparation as a parallel to an athlete preparing for the Olympics. Divide your preparation into three phases.
Do the grind
In phase I, cover the basics for all the topics in quant. Solve as many questions as possible. This is the phase where one builds on first principles and gets the mind ready for the tougher battles ahead. For the verbal section, set aside two hours every day to reading. Read lots of stuff and with as much variety as possible.
The topic, style, subject and size do not matter (Fiction, non-fiction, sports, politics, economics, science, anything goes). Just build the reading habit and get the mind ready to receive written content. This phase is similar to an Olympic wrestler/badminton player spending hours in the gym. This phase should go on for about six weeks.
Build intensity
Start building intensity. Take section-wise tests, set yourself targets for sets of 15, 20 or 30 minutes. Start practicing for Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning. Increase the intensity steadily by mixing up topics and setting varying time targets. This is the phase where you should select one DI bunch, one LR puzzle, two passages in RC, eight questions in Number Theory and set yourself 50 minutes of high intensity preparation. This is akin to an athlete training muscle by muscle and play-by-play. This is probably the part of CAT preparation that is heavily underestimated. People who are used to spending 10 hours in office or eight hours in college think that writing a 2 hour 20 minute-exam cannot be that taxing. Taking a test for 140 minutes without concentration “drops” is challenging and will not come without getting the mind ready for it. The better you do this the less tired you will get handling regular questions in CAT and more energy you will have for handling tougher ones. This should go on for about four weeks.