Learn about my CAT prep strategy that got me a call
from all IIMs and how it can benefit YOU.
What does it take to crack the CAT ?
If you think it is only knowledge that will enable you to crack the CAT, think
Knowledge can only take you so far!
There are scores of successful MBAs, Math graduates and even Doctorates who,
when they took the CAT, did not manage to get a 99 percentile.
You need the other ‘intangible’ qualities & smart Studying Strategies to make it
In this Website, I have attempted to share my knowledge and experience for
Go through this 'Free' Website and :
Learn about the Common CAT pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Learn how CAT Winners Improve their Reading skills.
Get some practice solving typical 'End-of-the-section' tough Math questions.
Brush up your Grammar in our Special CAT Grammar Section.
Of course, you cannot forget the all important 'Vocabulary' section.
This section does NOT give you thousands of 'dry' words with meaning.
It provides you with the 1100 Most Important Words, and clear illustrates their usage in sentences.
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And then there is the 'Ultimate Guide to cracking the CAT', an invaluable guide for
anyone aiming at a 99+ percentile score.
Triple your reading speed and accuracy with the 'Winners' Guide to CAT Reading
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My personal strategy for CAT
I started thinking about CAT in my third year Engineering. I was however warned
by seniors not to start my preparation too soon or I would burn out.
One of the best pieces of advice I got was if I wanted to start my prep early, I
should focus on the Verbal section, since this is one section which is not easy to
improve in a few months.
So I went ahead and bough the ' How to Read faster & better' guide by Norman
This is probably the best book around for the subject, and the most important
piece of advice I got from this book was that, if you want to improve your reading
speed, you must read, read and read more.
It does not really matter what you read, just read what you like and do more of it.
So I took this advice to heart and spent a lot of time in the library reading stuff that I
Finally, my formal preparation began about 9 months before the CAT.
I took a correspondence course and diligently followed the structure. Went through
the Basic Reference Material and marked out a few areas for further attention. Did
the section tests to internalize my knowledge.
My first mock was a bit of a shock! I ended up with just near 80 percentile.
After a few days of dejection, I decided to try a couple of more tests and the results
The disconcerting thing was most of my engineering batchmates were getting
scores significantly higher than me. So the possibility of not making it to the IIMs
was quite real and I had already made a couple of back up plans.
However, as it turned out, I did not really need to put any of these into action.
Being an Engineer, I was quite comfortable with quant. It was not the basics that I
had problems with, it was speed and accuracy. Most of my batchmates who were
preparing with me seemed to score higher than me in quant. And if I had to
compete with them, I had to do something about it.
Right from day one of my preparation, I maintained a register where I diligently
maintained all the problems that I got wrong.
Regular revisions from this register, prevented me from making the same
mistakes again and helped me cut down on careless errors.
CAT Reading Comprehension
If you find RC as your weak area, I would recommend reading ‘How to Read
Faster and Better’
by Norman Lewis. (This is available at Amazon.com).
The RC passages are normally on different topics like Science, History, Arts,
Society etc. Depending on you background, you will find at least 1 or 2 very easy.
(e.g. In my case, with an engineering background, the easy ones were the science
It makes sense to get familiar with other topic that you are less familiar with.
The strategy I used was to read the passage quickly to get a rough idea of what
the topic was about, and then to read bits required to answer each question again.
You are likely to find at least one question about the ‘Central Idea’ of the passage,
so the first quick read helps here.
For the other questions, you are likely to know which bit of the passage to read
again, so this strategy usually works quite well.
CAT Logical Reasoning
My core strategy around this has been elimination. I had practiced quite a few
logical reasoning question types, and there were some types of questions that I
was very comfortable with.
My strategy was around reading the question quickly to judge whether it fell in my
comfort zone and if it did, then I would go for it. If not, then I would come back to it if
I had the time.
Logical reasoning is unlike any other section in CAT. It is a high risk game.
You can spend over 5 minutes and still not crack it. And then you don’t know
whether to leave it or not. It’s painful because you have spent so much time on it –
Do you then move on? When do you decide to move on?!
CAT Course / Books that I followed
Since the CAT is mostly about aptitude, and the knowledge tested is around the
high school level, I did not really follow any books other than the Basis reference
material of IMS and TIME.
My CAT Exam
The D Day Experience
I did not study or take any tests on the penultimate day. Just went though some
quant formulae that I had jotted down.
Do not know anyone who has not felt some pangs before the actual test.
I tried to relax and prepare myself mentally for the exam.
Prepared my admit card, 5 sharp pencils, a new sharpener, eraser and a ball point
pen and slept off early.
On the D-Day, I got up early. I tried not to think too much about how things would go.
Finally, we got the question paper and I quickly scanned it to check for any
Started with the Verbal section as this was my strength. Left out a few RC
paragraphs that seemed too complicated and went on to Quant.
Got stuck on a 'sitter' question in quant that I had solved at least twice during mock
CATs. I calculated the answer but none of the answer choices matched my
answer!! Did the calculation again but the same result!!
After spending about two minutes on the question, my head was in a spin and I
was about to lose focus.
I took a decision to leave that question and stop thing about it.
Went through the rest of the quant and DI section, picked the question that I could
handle, and found that I still had 5 minutes left.
I then went back to Verbal and finished the remaining RC questions.
As I was doing my last RC passage, the examiner shouted STOP.
I had already spent three minutes on the passage, and before the answer sheet
could be taken away, I managed to answer three additional question.
I had a mixed feeling at the end of it. I was reasonably confident of getting a call but
not sure if I would get it from the top three IIMs.
The next few weeks were spent on focusing on the engineering Job Interviews. I
had two job offers when the results came.
First came IIM L, then IIM B and IIM C.
And the final call was from IIM A
(In those days, the other IIMs did not exist)
So, that was how I did it.
You can find detailed strategies for each of the CAT sections, and tips for scoring
99.9 percentile Plus, in the ebook Ultimate Guide to cracking the CAT.
For a long time, I had set my eyes on
IIM-B. I knew that I really needed to shine
on the CAT, more so since my grades were
just about average.
. Leaving nothing to chance I took an
extensive round of private tutoring, but still
ended up with a dismal 92 percentile.
After reading the 'Ways' I finally realized
where my weaknesses lay. It was not the
lack of knowledge, you can find that in the
scores of commonly available books, it was
the approach to this unique exam, the
mental prep bits and the key strategies to
tackle each section. Glad to say I finally
make it with a score of 99.3 percentile.
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