Are you a Relentless Tactic Chaser ?

I got this question from MBA Ka Keeda Reader

I am sitting for CAT 2013, my Quant is very weak. Only one month is remaining. Tell me how can I reach 99%ile quickly. I read your articles. I don’t have time to do every exercise into it, just give me some tactics so that I can quickly score more percentile.

See the words he is using, “quickly“, “don’t have time” “just give me some tactics

Do you know what feeling I had when I read this ?

Perfect Loser in the Making.

This person is definitely going to fail miserably in CAT but this same question simply reminded me of incidences where I was a relentless tactic chaser myself just at the time when I was preparing for IIT-JEE entrance.

I gave IIT-JEE twice, miserably failed twice. First by a slight margin , second time, absolute and utter failure, way too much margin.

Now why I am sharing this ?

Because I was a relentless tactic chaser when I was preparing for IIT-JEE.

When I was preparing for IIT-JEE, I had much success in the last couple of months using smart tactics I was using including how to use certain formulas for certain questions, how to cleverly eliminate wrong choices, how to game the whole system blah blah.

I was scoring home runs in the last 4-5 of my mock tests at FIITJEE.

The good thing happened was I failed. If I hadn’t, then I would have failed miserably in the mains.(old pattern you know)

Even if I would have cleared the mains somehow, I would have messed up somewhere else.

I have hundreds of emails and data points indicate that many MBA aspirants are relentless tactic chasers.

Even they might succeed somehow in getting good score in mocks or getting good percentile even in CAT but they will eventually fail afterwards even if they manage to get into good B-school (which is rare)

But if you talk about most people, they are not the luckiest to survive this.

If you scour forums, facebook groups, there are floods of comments asking for magic bullet solution for everything.

The answer doesn’t lie in the magic bullet but they believe it does and so they decide to join classes in order to learn some new tactics hoping it would solve their problem.

Now I am not saying you shouldn’t join these classes, in fact learning different tactics is a good thing.Tactics are important and have its place but if you miss the core strategy part you experience utter failure.

Only chasing tactics is like building on a shaky foundation.

If your foundation is strong, you know which tactics you should use and what you shouldn’t. All tactics are now supercharged and amplified when you have overall strategy in place. They become ultra-targeted.

Using only tactics is just like novice pickup artist trying to use same pickup lines to attract girls and getting massively rejected over and over again, if he realizes that if he masters his inner game, attracting girl is just a matter formality & any normal conversation would do that but as he is not in the position to listen it, there is not much point in explaining it.

Most MBA aspirants are just like this Novice Pickup Artist.

Most of them would never get it and eventually they will fail.

By saying this I don’t mean to offend anybody, it’s just that these people are thinking along the wrong line.

Using tactic is a tunnel vision and using strategy is a funnel vision.

It’s like when you’ve got a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. You get tunnel vision if you’ve only got one tactic. Instead, you want to chunk up, figure out the strategy to achieve your goal, and then start thinking about the tactics to execute that strategy.

This is I call “Reverse Tactical Thinking

The question is

How to develop your own strategy ?

Using a method called “Lean Start-up Method

It’s classic method of developing your own strategy because you can’t copy anyone else’s strategy , you can only copy tactics. By learning strategies you can out-compete all those who are just tactic chasers.

This system is based on ultimate feedback-loop, which is part of any perfect system you are trying to develop. Learn Importance of System here

Before diving into the method, let’s understand how losers develop their strategy. (most of them don’t have one)

If they have one, it’s based on single success experience and their gut feeling which I think is pretty lame.

Develop strategy based on numbers and not on your gut feeling.

Now let’s understand how to develop your own strategy

It’s iterative process. You can’t expect to develop your strategy in one mock, if you develop it there are bad consequences that will eventually follow, the same reason I have written this article

Why you shouldn’t do what worked last time

For this you need to give atleast 8-10 practice mocks (real time is preferred) particularly of varying difficulty levels in order to test which approach works best.

Ultimately what you will get 3-5 approaches of how to tackle different situations.

1. Identify which is your strongest section. Is it VA , LR, QA or DI ?

List them down in decreasing order of strength.

2. Start with a section ( I or II) where you have to attempt section (VA, LR, DI or QA) which is strong (but not strongest)

In my case, QA is strongest, LR is Strong, VA is weakest.

3. I will start with LR first and I will end with QA.

Why you need to end with strongest section because when you start attempting paper your mind is performing at peak and no matter how much practice you have done, there is mental fatigue that sets in so at the end, if you choose to attempt most difficult section, you are going to either make lot of errors or not attempt many questions ( mental fatigue), so if you end with a section where you have unconscious competence, then there is practically no effect of mental fatigue.

4. Sandwitch weaker and weakest section in between.

I will start with LR first, I will solve most of LR questions using Rack The Shotgun approach, then I will find out questions which I could solve in VA, I will solve most of them and mark questions for next round, then repeat the same thing.

Then I will go through QA & DI section, I will quickly mark questions which I could solve easily in 60-120 seconds, I will solve most of them, again go through QA & DI to mark questions for the next round.

I will never ever leave DI set questions in last 5 minutes, instead I will choose to attempt QA questions.

Now , these are just guidelines (no strict rules) There is no One Size Fits All Strategy but you can always test approach which will work for you.

In first 3-4 mocks, test different approaches and see what works and what doesn’t based on these 4 steps mentioned above.

Get feedback from mocks tests, refine, tweak and change your approach till it becomes really solid.

Go from Tactic Chaser to Strategic Thinker

Don’t get stuck in that mode of finding a new killer tactic and trying to figure out how to use it. Find that killer tactic, figure out what it’s used for and then chunk up to the big picture.

Say, “What’s our strategy here?

Is there a better way to do this?

Is there an easier way to do it?”

because one killer tactic isn’t necessarily going to be the best way for you to execute the strategy.

If you get the strategy right, you can still stuff up half your tactic and still succeed, because strategy is what guides everything. You can do your tactic perfectly, you can execute a tactic perfectly and have it completely bomb if your strategy’s wrong.

I want to give you the strategy first. If you can see the big picture first, all the tactics are going to be that much more effective for you and that much more powerful.

Now this was just the tip of the iceberg, I am just going to include in-depth strategies along with Process Maps which is a part of

CAT Preparation for Working Professionals

Check out testimonials here

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Sukrut is a passionate geek, internet visionary and a full time blogger, he has been teaching MBA students from the past two years, he is a chemical engineer by qualification,. Read my full story here

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