The Common Admission Test (CAT), which one needs to clear for a coveted seat in any of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other B-schools in India, will be held over 20 days between October 27 and November 23, 2010 with breaks for Diwali. GET READY Appearing for the CAT on the computer is substantially different from appearing for it in the paper-and-pencil-mode. For instance, it is much tougher to read large quantities of text in the reading comprehension section on the computer than in an exam booklet. Similarly, interpreting graphs and tables on the screen is tougher than on paper, where you can scribble and make notes. Thus, it is crucial that you are prepared to appear for the test on the computer. It is fine to work with paper and pen during the initial stages of practice, but in the final run up, ie beginning mid-September, you should practice tests only on the computer. IMPORTANT TOPICS If we were to list all the topics in the mathematics section of the CAT, we would end up with a list of about 25 odd topics. However, only three of these are extremely important — geometry, functions, and number systems. There is a good chance that these three will account for more than a third of all the questions asked in the mathematics section. However, you cannot take the risk of preparing for only three topics out of 25. In fact, you need to ensure that you are well prepared for these three. Likewise, the reading comprehension section in the CAT continues to be disproportionately long. Hence, you need to spend a lot of time practicing comprehension questions. STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES Prepare for the test realistically. Make sure to score high in your areas of strength and not perform too poorly in sections/topics that you are weak in. In the month of August, you can spend most of your time overcoming your weaknesses. But beginning September, at least half of your studytime should focus on revising topics that you tend to do well in. As the CAT approaches, the proportion of time you spend on topics you are proficient in should increase. In any case, by the end of September you should complete the syllabus. October is the month of practice.