Self-study for CAT 2009 exam: Top MBA Expert suggests books, guides and more

Monday, July 27 2009, 12:00 AM
Kamlesh Sajnani, Managing Director of IMS Learning gives an extensive plan for self-study for CAT 2009 exam preparations

Kamlesh Sajnani, Managing Director of IMS Learning gives an extensive plan for self-study for CAT 2009 exam preparations
When preparing for CAT 2009 exam or other MBA entrance exams, the conventional way for most MBA aspirants is to enroll in a good MBA coaching institute, but there are many who opt for self-study. Either they are working and don’t have enough time to join regular MBA coaching institutes, or they come from remote areas that do not house a good MBA coaching institute nearby. Aspirants with strong academic fundamentals also opt for self-study owing to their self confidence and determination.
In order to help such aspirants develop a self-study plan for CAT exam, spoke to Kamlesh Sajnani, Managing Director of the Mumbai-based MBA coaching institute, IMS Learning. In this exclusive article, brings to you tips on how to prepare various sections of CAT exam, division of time and taking mock tests. Let’s start with what Sajnani has to suggest on the preparation for Verbal Ability section and then move on to Quantitative Ability and Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning.
Verbal Ability
The most effective way to excel in this section is to keep reading. The best thing to start with is to read the daily newspapers and business magazines. “This would not only build your GK & GA, but also improve your vocabulary. Continuous reading and analyzing will help you excel this subject,” said Sajnani. For Reading Comprehension, he said, “You should read and practice the Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension BRM. You may also refer to the word list provided by IMS Learning and books like Nautical Miles, which will enable you to actually strengthen your word power.”
Quantitative Ability
For this CAT exam section, Sajnani suggested, practice is the only way to success. “First you need to excel the various formulas and techniques. The next step would be to use these formulas and techniques successfully in application based questions.” Mentioning about the study materials provided by IMS Learning, he said, “The problem solving material provided by IMS Learning covers a variety of areas such as geometry, arithmetic and modern mathematics, which is part of the actual CAT exam.”
Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning
For Sajnani, this section of CAT exam is similar to mathematics which requires adequate practice. Like the Quantitative Ability section, this one also has some formulas and techniques which can be fine tuned only with practice. “Refer to the graphs and data provided in various business papers and magazines. You need to identify techniques to solve questions which require big and time consuming calculations,” suggested Sajnani. Sajnani also advised the self-study preparatory aspirants to solve the DI and DS BRM provided by IMS Learning. Although the LR section consists of simple questions, it needs application of logical thinking. “It usually consists of family trees, analogies, etc which require a good concentration and flow of thoughts. The LR workbook consists of many such questions which will help you,” Sajnani said. 
Dividing time across sections
According to Sajnani, everyone has their own strong and weak areas. You must always start your preparation with your weakest section. “This is because in CAT exam, one has to clear all the sectional cut offs in order to get through. But you must not neglect the strong areas either,” Sajnani advised, and added, “Engineering graduates are usually good at Quant and DI sections, so for them doing English fundamentals well is the key to success in CAT exam.” In order to improve your performance in each section, Sajnani suggested taking regular sectional mock tests graded with different difficulty levels.
Ways to take mock tests
By now, you all must be well aware about the importance of taking mock tests. But how can you take mock CATs without enrolling yourself in any MBA coaching institute? Sajnani offers the solution. “IMS Learning conducts SIM CATs which can help students calibrate their performance across a vast array of student population. The resultant ranking, score and percentile can help you a lot in gauging where you stand.”
Keeping the motivation for CAT 2009
“While preparing on your own, being self-motivated is the key as there is no teacher to guide nor the constant interaction with peers or classmates to keep a check on what is happening all around,” said Sajnani. In order to cope with such a situation, you must always stay connected with like minded friends who are taking CAT 2009 exam.
By forming study groups also, you can stay in touch. Also, in this way you can keep yourself updated regarding their preparation strategies. You can also share CAT 2009 study materials and ideas with them. Sajnani emphasized, “Don’t lose your edge over others. Always remember that preparatory phase is the phase which will determine which direction your lives will go. The admission to a great MBA college is a path full of challenges.”