The MBA entrance exam season is on the brink of getting started. A number of candidates will be fine-tuning their preparation right now, whilst there will be others who would be struggling to kick the inertia out of their systems and start their preparation. Those who fall in the latter group, should not let the lazy voice within tell you: “Be practical, it’s too late”. Run away from those who spread negativity. You may come across people who may say, “I’m preparing for the last one year and it’s not working for me” or “These exams are really difficult to crack, it’s not our cup of tea”. Remember these are the people who don’t plan realistically or have laid back attitudes.

The basic syllabus for these exams is roughly the same as Mathematics and English taught in the class VII-X. So, ideally , if your fundamentals are in place then it should take roughly 250 hours of preparation which means just 5 hours for 50 days or 3 hours for some 85 odd days i.e. max 3 months. However, you need to be very focused in these 3 months and practice religiously. Also, you need not run after solving more and more questions, instead focus on solving different varieties of questions and remember the method used to solve these questions. There is a need to master the art of solving questions using shortcut techniques.

Having said that, a valid and essential question is: How to plan these exams? To begin with, preparation time should be divided into 2 phases.

**Phase 1: Concentrate on building your basics and improve your accuracy**

During this Phase, cover the basic concepts in quantitative aptitude for all the topics. This is the phase where you build on the basic principles and prepare yourself for the tougher questions. Remembering reciprocals till 30, squares till 30, cubes till 15, and multiplication tables till 20 is a must to increase speed.

**For e.g.** If the question is: After giving a discount of 9.09% a shopkeeper still manages to gain a profit of 11.11% then find the mark-up percentage?

If we know that 9.09% is and 11.11% is then this question can be solved in less than a minute time.

**Solution: **

If the cost price of an article is Rs. 9 then it makes a profit of Re. 1. Thus, selling price should be Rs. 10.

If the mark price of an article is Rs. 11 then the discount given is Re. 1. Thus, the selling price should be Rs. 10.

Now, the cost price is Rs. 9, mark price is Rs. 11 then the marked-up price is Rs. 2 over the cost price of Rs. 9. Thus, mark-up percentage is 22.22%.

So, remembering reciprocals helps to save ample time in many questions in Quant as well as DI.

Also, making an equation and solving it makes the solution ugly and wastes precious time. So, the focus should be on learning the art of solving majority of the questions without using equations.

For the verbal section, set aside 1-2 hours every day to reading. Read different genre of articles varying from fiction to politics to science to anything. Just build reading habit and get the mind ready for any topic, style or subject. Vocabulary building will also play a rational role in this phase.

**Phase 2: Concentrate on increasing number of attempts **

In this phase start by practicing 2 Data Interpretation sets (once you are through with different varieties of questions from Percentage Module), 2 Logical Reasoning set, 5-10 Advanced Reasoning questions (word based puzzle, math based puzzle, Input-Output questions etc) , 1 RC and 20 math questions (from various topics) on an day to day basis. Try to improve your concentration by practicing for 3 hours at a stretch. This will help reduce concentration lapses during the Mock Test and eventually the actual test. It is time that you start practicing 1-2 Mock Tests on a weekly basis and try to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t take Mocks like mock test rather take it like your actual test mimicking the exam day scenario.

2 months before the exam, your motive should be to find out your strengths and weaknesses. The focus should be on SWOT analysis of your preparation in stage 1. Followed by it, work towards improving on weak areas by providing exhaustive practice. One should divide syllabus into four different areas:

High Speed High Accuracy |
C
High Speed Low Accuracy |

B
Low Speed High Accuracy |
Low Speed Low Accuracy |

- Dedicate 2 days to practice questions in A and try to build 100% accuracy in the questions from these areas.
- Dedicate 3 days to practice questions in B and try to move them in A.
- Dedicate 1 day to practice questions in C and D to improve accuracy and try to move them in B.

In every mock that you take, try to increase your attempts slowly and gradually. Before every mock that you take, analyse the questions that you either attempted wrong or didn’t attempt in the previous mock. Without that, it won’t make any sense to take the next mock. Your analysis should include questions like:

(a) Where did I go wrong in these questions?

(b) Why did I not attempt these questions?

(c) Why am I making mistakes in these areas?

(d) Am I selecting the right questions?

(e) How many questions that I skipped were do-able?

Also, make sure that the mistakes once made should not be repeated.

**More importantly do not take 2 Mock tests on the same day to increase your Mock count. It won’t help. Analysis after every test is very important in order to improvise your scores in the next test. **

**Tips to be followed:**

1. Admit to yourself that “I will not know all of the answers.” No matter how hard you have studied.

2. If you feel nervous on a question, skip to the next question. Don’t waste time on a question that you don’t know.

3. Never panic about test. You will still be the same the person whatever marks you get, so it doesn’t matter how well you do.

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