As the popular saying goes “The Rome was not built in a day’ and the same is true for an entrance exam for any MBA/PGDM/PGPM course. Cracking one of these exams takes months of careful planning and preparation and could be your entry ticket to a bright prospective career going forward. Today the management courses that are offered in the country are among the best in the world, and top b-schools in India such as ICFAI Business School also attract talent from all over the world.
With all the lucrative opportunities that await the students once they enter the magical land of management schools, comes also the unique challenges. One of the biggest among these challenges is getting admission in a b-school, since they are very stringent with their admission procedures to ensure the quality of their education.
Admission in a Business School
The b-schools regulate this process through admission tests such as CAT, XAT, GMAT, IBSAT and many more. The difficulty does not lie with the amount of the syllabus that is covered by the tests, but with developing the applicability of the knowledge that has been learnt.
A little guidance in the direction of how to prepare well for these tests can go a long way in making a difference in the student’s preparations and confidence level.
Mock tests measure your preparation level
Almost anyone who has ever been through one of the mock tests can vouch for the value they provide in your overall preparation. The mock test is a simulated test with real questions asked in the management entrance exam of your choice, complete with answers and scoring.
Attempting the mock test is undoubtedly a smart decision since it can tell a lot about your preparation and where you stand compared to the other students. This is especially useful since just passing the entrance exam is never the goal of most aspirants. To get admitted to the management course of your choice, you must score better than other aspirants of the test and score in the highest percentile.
The other benefit of the mock test is to find out which area of the test are you scoring well at and where do you need to put in the effort to score higher.
Visiting the fundamentals
While the mock tests are incredibly important, it is not the sure shot way to prepare for these real entrance examinations. The tests have a limited number of questions asked from a vast syllabus and by only attempting mock tests you may run the risk of leaving out a part of the syllabus which may come up as a question during the D-day.
The other reason not to depend solely on the mock test, but focusing on the fundamentals is because they work on your subject knowledge and get your scores higher in mock test and the real thing. Although the curriculum covered by the tests is usually of school level only, as you start preparing you may realize that your education may have left gaps in your understanding and some fundamentals on a few subjects are not clear. Revisiting the fundamentals and working to get better at them will also make you feel more confident.
Practice sample questions
Although the mock tests do a good job of looking at not only how well are you attempting a few sections and questions they also elaborate on how much time are you spending on each section. Balancing the time that you spend on various sections of the test is one of the key factors in your success. To get better at individual sections of the tests, it is recommended that the aspirants attempt the sample questions. This helps the students in understanding the trend of questions and gives them more time so that they can find more effective ways of tackling difficult problems.
Understand exam structure
The most basic yet often overlooked step to this process is understanding the pattern for the CAT and other management exams that the student wishes to attempt. This helps the students understand the nitty gritty of exam and sets the expectation about the questions that they are likely to encounter. Most of the entrance examinations have similar exam patterns with common sections such as Verbal Ability, Logical Reasoning, Numeric Ability, Reading Comprehension and Data Interpretation.
Although these sections may be present in two entrance exams, they both may differ in the number of questions and the distribution of marks that each section has. Another big variable is the scoring pattern with or without the scope of negative marking. These factors may make the student differ their strategy for each entrance exam.
Prepare from reference books and study material
There is an excellent selection of reference books that has been available to all management exam aspirants along with a plethora of study material. A reputed coaching center that specializes in management entrance exams can be an excellent source of study material and reference books.
Those who wish to attempt the entrance exams through self-study and do not wish to enter a coaching institute also have a lot of options available in the market. The students can get their hands on sample papers and well-established books to guide them.
Form a study group
A lot of students who have successfully cracked an entrance exam for leading business schools in India such as ICFAI Business School have highlighted the important part that a study group or circle has played in their preparation. The study group keeps each other motivated and a lot of preparation takes place through peer discussions. This furthermore helps in preparation of later stages such as group discussions and interviews.
The students can follow these steps to effectively tackle the many challenges that they face while preparing for CAT or other management exams. It will not only boost their confidence but also keep them on schedule for the examination.