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Our earlier article (Will Online Coaching bring disruption in the test preparation market of India?) which studied the disruption that online coaching brings to traditional coaching provided a fair insight into the growing educational needs of India. One of the most prominent trends which we can see from that article is the higher demand of good education in India which resulted in increased government spending on education. Another result of this higher demand of education is the increased demand and thus market share of online coaching of test preparation in India. We saw that India’s test preparation market is estimated at Rs.378 Billion and growing at a CAGR of 14% since 2008-2009 and has grown at an unprecedented CAGR of 17.8% during the period FY’2010-FY’2015.

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Now, with this rising demand in test preparation market and increased number of institutions offering these coaching facilities, students often have a dilemma of whether to join a coaching for their test preparation or self-study. For the sake of simplicity, we in this article will try to evaluate this dilemma in the context of CAT preparation. You could evaluate any kind of test preparation keeping this framework as a reference.

When you’re exploring the option to study for certain exams it’s very important to evaluate the exam itself first.  For Instance, CAT is one of the most coveted tests in India after may be JEE.  CAT in 2017 will be held by IIM Lucknow in December and the application forms will be available after next week.  The exam itself is going to be highly competitive since approximately 2,00,000 students will compete for around 4000 seats of management courses in prestigious management schools in India. With such a high competition, it is extremely important to score higher rank in order to make it to a good B-School.

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While experts and toppers suggest that coaching and mentorship surely help in your CAT preparation, the main aspect of success in CAT or any test for that matter attributes to a highly disciplined, self-study plan, provided you understand and cope with the syllabus easily.  Evidently, it is also better to have a coach for your preparation as it will surely help you in many areas that you may miss when you are on your own.

  • Domain Expertise

Coaching team/trainer will have years of experience with the same kind of exams. They know every little detail there is to know about the exams, the exam pattern and syllabus to cover. They have experience with assisting a large number of students with different learning capabilities for the same exam you’re preparing for, which helps them understand your learning requirements and can assist you to create a study plan at the micro level for best possible outcome. For example, Handa ka Funda – an online CAT coaching center has helped more than 15,000 students from more than 100 cities. This kind of expertise helps them identify individual needs or different learning requirements and the best approached to meet these requirements for best outcomes in competitive exams.

  • Learning Resources

One of the benefits of enrolling in a coaching center is the customized and categorized study material they provide you with for the test preparation in addition to “how to study” kind of guides to assist you with the study itself. Another biggest benefit is that typically coaching centers have a larger repository of books, sample test papers, study materials, and newspapers – magazines which an individual cannot afford to have access to.

  • Practice and Stimulation

Once you’re comfortable with your study and basic preparation, the most important factor would be to practice the exam regularly. These coaching centers are best suited for the mock test and exam simulations. Having been engaged with many students for many such exams, they understand the exam pattern best to create a similar experience for you and assist you with the mock test before the actual exams. Another great aspect of coaching center giving you mock test is that you’ll never have the scarcity of exams to practice since they will most likely have a large repository of these practice mock exams.

  • Peer Learning

One of the most efficient ways of preparing for competitive exams is peer learning or group study. A group of like-minded people with the same goal will ensure that you’re on the correct path. And, the best way to form a group of such people will be coaching center, since the people enrolled in coaching center are highly motivated with a single goal of ensuring their success in the competitive exams. The study group can discuss problems, syllabus, best practices, queries and confusions in addition to practicing mock test together for better analysis of results and tests itself during the practice of mock tests.

  • Support Group

A good coaching center not only provides you the realistic feedback and constructive criticism but also provides you constant support throughout your preparation. There is someone constantly pushing you hard to overcome your limits. They provide constant support, motivation, and guidance when your self-confidence is low and show you the realistic mirror when you’re overconfident. Both of which are the highly likely scenario of your test preparation.

Even with the greater benefits of enrolling to a coaching for competitive exam preparation, the necessity of enrolling in one varies from person to person. One can get the study materials online but if they don’t know how to best use it for the maximum output, or one is lacking in required self-discipline or if one has limited resources for the study itself, it’s always advisable to opt for a good test preparation coaching center.



This article was written by Krunal Sagan, co-founder of Epecate and founder of Starstuff Management Consultancy Follow him on Twitter @krunalsagan