Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM A) is the top business school in India, given the Institute of National Importance status in 2017. It is the first business school accredited with the European Quality Improvement System in the year 2008.
To make it to this top MBA college in India, candidates need to score a minimum cutoff percentile rank of 80 to be eligible. So aspirants need to follow a smart strategy to crack the CAT exam and earn a seat in one of India’s prestigious B-schools.
This article will discuss some tips and tricks to qualify for IIM A in the first attempt itself. Before sharing the tips and tricks, let us know the topics asked in the CAT exam:
- Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC)
- Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR)
- Quantitative Aptitude (QA)
The topics mentioned above are part of Preliminary Screening. Candidates need to deal with each topic specifically and strategise the preparation accordingly.
How to Make it to IIM Ahmedabad in the very First Attempt?
Here, we will share a detailed roadmap to make it to the IIM A in the very first attempt. This will help aspirants to prepare better.
Coaching or Self-study: Candidates can either join any well-renowned coaching institute or prepare at home. Many toppers have cracked CAT either through coaching or even self-study. Some tips for candidates who prefer coaching over self-study are mentioned below:
- Invest at least 6-7 hours in the coaching religiously.
- After that, it is essential to study and revise all that has been told in coaching. Just attending coaching classes without investing time in self-study won’t help to crack this exam.
- As you will have one-on-one interaction with your mentors, so it will be easier to clear various concepts. Make the best use of this facility!
- And the weekly tests will help to analyse the level of your preparation. After solving the paper, analyze which parts you need to work on. This practice will help to strengthen your weaker areas.
Those candidates, who can’t afford coaching due to either financial or remote locations, need not be worried. The majority of the toppers did self-study and even then were able to qualify for the most challenging exam. Aspirants need to follow the simple steps to be aligned with the CAT 2021 exam preparation.
- As no one is watching or supervising you, it is your sole responsibility to incorporate self-discipline and a proper study routine. Otherwise, it would be challenging to prepare for the exam.
- It is advisable to devote at least 7-8 hrs of self-study to take admission to IIM Ahmedabad.
- If you are stuck at any point, you can take the help of various online resources like YouTube, Quora, and blogs of multiple toppers. One can also watch the interviews of toppers to strategize their preparation.
- This exam isn’t about how much knowledge you have, but rather it’s more about how fast you can answer any question accurately. So, candidates should also appear for online Mock Tests and solve Previous Year Question papers in a time-bound manner.
Preparation of Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC): This section focuses on various aspects of English, including Grammar, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension. Candidates should understand that the basic level English won’t help to sail through this part to make it to the IIM A. You will have to build your Grammar and understanding of the usage of different words. Some tips to deal with the VARC part are mentioned below:
- For Grammar, one should understand the basic rules of Grammar as studied in the 10th Standard. After that, candidates can practice finding errors in a sentence. Remember back in school, when we used to solve omission and editing type questions. Such kind of question practice is required in this area. Search out for some free online questions and solve them religiously.
- Applicants should understand that the basic level of vocabulary isn’t sufficient to clear the IIM A CAT 2021 cut-off. To build their vocabulary, candidates should invest time in reading newspapers and books that make use of moderate to difficult words. Candidates can begin with The Hindu newspaper, where the vocabulary ranges from moderate to difficult level. With time, candidates can start reading ‘Word Power’, which is one of the best books to consult for improving your English.
- And the last, for reading comprehension, aspirants can again focus on reading newspapers and attempting some questions online. Read diverse topics and something out of your comfort zone. Try to target a reading speed of around 250-300 words per minute.
Preparation of Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR): 24 out of 76 questions are asked from this part. This part is a bit time consuming and questions are of moderate level. One doesn’t need to remember all the mathematical formulae but should be able to answer the questions within the least time possible to do well in CAT 2021 and take admission to IIM A.
So, instead of mugging up formulae for this part, candidates are advised to focus more on practicing in a time-bound manner. Note down how much time you take to solve a single question and reduce it as much as possible.
Applicants should be well-versed in doing calculations without using any calculator. For that, basic parts of Maths like tables from 1 to 20 should be on fingertips. Practice as much as you can to ace this part.
Preparation of Quantitative Aptitude (QA): This part constitutes 26 questions out of 76. Quantitative Aptitude is a mathematically concentrated part. Questions will be asked from Algebra, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Advanced Mathematics.
Thus, applicants should clear their concepts first, and then focus on solving questions on a daily basis. This part may sound a bit overwhelming, but with practice, it can be well-taken care of.
After scoring the cutoff percentile, candidates will be called for the next stage, including Analytical Writing Test (AWT) and Personal Interview.Please note that the percentile mentioned in the beginning just serves as the eligibility criteria. IIM A further considers the previous educational background and exceptional performances at the graduation level.
Preparation for IIM Ahmedabad’s AWT: Here, the aspirants will be asked to write about any abstract topic. So, aspirants should be well-versed in what’s currently happening in the domain of business. Following are some tips that can help to sail this part:
- Consistently read the newspapers and focus more on Editorial Columns as in AWT, candidates will have to write their opinions.
- It is very important to write with clarity. There shouldn’t be any redundancy while you write. You must be clear about what you are writing.
- And the last but the most important is practicing consistently! Choose any latest topic and write about it. Get the feedback so that you can align your writing in the best possible way.
Preparation of Personal Interview (PI) at IIM A: The final stage to take admission to IIM A is the PI that can act as a situation of either making it or losing it. Aspirants who haven’t appeared for any PI before, and those who want to improve in this section, must follow the tips below:
- Be authentic and honest, don’t try to bluff. If you don’t know the answer, simply say ‘I am sorry but I am not able to recall’ instead of just speaking without facts.
- You must prepare two crucial, most commonly asked questions, which are: Why do you want to do an MBA?’ and ‘Tell us something about yourself.’ Make sure you have authentic answers to both these questions. Stammering over them may give a bad impression. So, prepare that part well in advance.
- And just go with the flow! Being nervous is normal. But even then, showing up with confidence is an art. This can be dealt with through consistent practice. For that, try to be part of any public speaking group to eliminate the phobia of speaking.
We all understand how difficult it is to secure a seat at IIM Ahmedabad, but it isn’t impossible! Your diligent and severe efforts will help you to sail through it. Just study religiously and follow the tips mentioned above. Try to understand how to deal with each part of the exam and then work on it. Many people have cracked this exam before, and so can you!