The first thig which one looks for if they are giving CAT for the first time is which coaching institute to join.
Usually people join one among the big ones like TIME, IMS or CL depending on
1) Which is nearest to their place
2) What their friends are joining
3) How many students have successfull cracked CAT from that coaching.
There are various types of coaching institutes and the only thing common is they all promise you success. Every year, the Indian Institutes of Management churn out more than one thousand five hundred graduates. The past ten years would alone have seen some ten thousand IIM-certified MBAs entering the market. So take all the claims as good examples of marketing and pick through what works for you best.
The types of coaching institutes are: -
Mass Coaching Institutes – They admit everyone, charge a fee and use a combination of classroom and written material. This approach is a relatively less-risky approach, as most people would want to join institutes that claim to have hundreds of success stories over the years. Remember what matters is your own success and the student needs just one seat in the right MBA institute. Try and check the percentage success rate of the institute as in how many candidates successful as a percentage of the total seats admitted. If you have specific weaknesses in one of the individual sections mentioned above, you can go in for specialized coaching.
Specialized Coaching – Generally, mathematics or numerical ability is one area where people prefer specialized coaching as this is the skill that basically needs to be re-learnt as the exams are of the level of high-school mathematics but need to be done in accuracy as possible. Specialized coaching institutes generally conduct exams to offer a limited number of seats, and this is also because they are unable to provide educational infrastructure for all
Postal Coaching for Written Exams – The need for postal coaching is because it is relatively less expensive and also offers you flexibility to set your own pace.
Coaching Only for Group Discussions / Interviews – Once cleared with your exams, you can go in for polishing your soft-skills and hone your initial impressions by attending these coaching programs.
Using More Than One Institute / Coaching Material – An optimized approach works best, as each coaching institute’s curriculum has its own strength and weakness. Some institutes are very good for English Comprehension Skills while others are better for Mathematics-related studies. The best approach is a hybrid-approach which uses sample papers from previous years, study materials from more than one institute and mock tests. To cut down on expenses, you can form a study group that shares study material. It is best if you take in a lot of feedback from ex-students of coaching institutes to spot the relative merits and demerits of each one. This is best done if you take time on this activity as it is important and maybe even crucial for eventual success.
What to do :-
1) What you can do as an aspirant is get to know few students who are studying in these clases before joining one.
2) There is huge difference for the same coaching institute from city to city and sometimes place to place.
3) If you don’t know anyone then go around some forum (Cat4mba, totalgadha, pagalguy, solidgyan etc) for CAT and you always ask people there about the coaching institute.
4) Join atleast 2 test series and analyze the test after giving them, which will let you know more about strength weakness and stratagy.
5) For solving quant which is usually the nemesis for most of the people writing CAT, try soom books like QA by Nisit k. sinha or QA by Arun Sharma. Both these books are great.
I think all these will help in makin a more informed choice before joining any coaching than just joining for the sake of it. Choose the right business school, focus on those exams, and choose one or multiple coaching methods as customized to your own need and self-assessment. This will be the first and one of the most crucial decisions for your entrance preparations. Above all, work diligently and at a steady pace, and success will only be an exam away.