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CAT Preparation Tips by Abhishek Verma

Last Updated - June 18, 2019

CAT 2018 will be conducted by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta on November 25, 2018 (Sunday) through computer-based mode. The online registration for CAT 2018 has started from August 8, 2018 and will carry till September 19, 2018. Candidates who wish to apply for the exam must have a Bachelor’s degree with minimum 50% marks. The registration fee of CAT is Rs. 1900 (For SC/ST/PwD Rs. 900)

CAT 2018 RegistrationCAT EligibilityCAT Exam Pattern

Common Admission Test (CAT) is a national level management entrance test organized by one of IIMs on a rotational basis for admission to MBA/ PGDM/ PGP courses. It is a gateway to all 20 IIMs and other top B-schools in India. More than 2 lac candidates appeared for the exam every year and the number is increasing each year that is why the competition level is getting very high day by day. 

Because of this high competition level, a candidate needs to score really high in CAT to get a call from any IIM. Thus, an extensive CAT Preparation is of primary importance. Read the below tips for better preparation. 

Preparation Tips by Abhishek Verma

Abhishek Verma appeared for CAT in 2009. He scored 98.5 percentile and he chose IIM Indore for his further studies. He says, give quality time to practice and revise on the regular basis and besides study, interpersonal skills and creative mind help you to succeed in such competitive exams.
Practice as much as you can, says Abhishek. Here, he explains his journey of CAT Preparation which can help the CAT aspirants to know the answer to the question-How to prepare for CAT 2018.

CAT 2017 : CAT Preparation Tips

Ques. The institutes that offered you admissions?

Ans. Along with IIT Indore, I was getting admission in  MDI Gurgaon on the basis of my CAT Scores

Ques. Apart from CAT which exams do you appear?        

Ans. I appeared for FMS (Faculty of Management Studies), SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test), JMET (Joint Management Entrance Test ) and MH CET (Maharashtra Common Entrance Test). 

Ques. Mode of Preparation

Ans. I preferred Self-Study as the mode of preparation over coaching classes. 

Ques. Review the coaching institutes and what was their role in your story?     

Ans. I liked Career Launcher because their study material is not biased towards Quantitative Aptitude or English (in my opinion, IMS focuses on English and TIME on Quant). The GD practice was also good and I was lucky to have a diversified group for my discussions. Their time-based practice test books were very helpful and their website for online preparation was also very user-friendly.

Ques. How did you manage CAT preparation schedule along graduation studies/working hours?       

Ans. As I cracked CAT while working in Infosys, I only got time to study during weekends. But I followed my weekend schedule very religiously. I appeared for mock-CATs every Saturday and would review the entire paper on Sunday, especially those questions which I was unable to solve during my tests. I had few free online subscriptions, few word-of-the-day, quant-of-the-day and puzzle-of-the-day which helped me to be in touch with the preparation throughout the week.

Read Preparation tips for CAT Quantitative Aptitude section

Ques. What mock papers did you take?      

Ans. Career Launcher, IMS and TIME. I used to take all the mock tests one-by-one and never repeat a particular test series in 3 weeks. This helps a lot during the preparation, as every test paper has a distinguished feature in preparing questions. Some will have a tougher Quant section and others have a tougher Verbal section. Also, you'll complete a different section of students every-time from this coaching classes and your score will vary in a more realistic manner.

Ques. What is Your Five Point Rule to Excel CAT 2018?   

Ans. Below mentioned are the success rules:
1. One mock-CAT per week is a must.
2. The mock- CAT should be reviewed in the next 48 hours after appearing for the same.
3. As there is a little time to study during the week (especially if one is working), subscribe word-of-the-day, quant-of-the-day and puzzle-of-the-day to be in touch with your studies, and this is much easier nowadays with a smartphone in your hand.
4. Never take mock-CATs from a single coaching centre. Follow a cycle to take tests from Career Launcher, IMS, TIME, etc.
5. Don't buy/use thick books as it is tough to finish those. Additionally, you get a psychological advantage once you finish a book with fewer pages. (This really works!)

Ques. What were your strong and weak areas? How did you prepare and what special efforts did you put for improving your weak areas?     

Ans. My strong area was DI & Quant and my weak area was Verbal. Although I was able to solve logical part of the Verbal sections such as FIJ (facts, inferences and judgements) and para-jumbled questions, my accuracy was low in reading comprehensions and direct word-meaning type questions. For word-meaning, I had few online subscriptions for word-of-the-day. For RCs, I began reading editorials from TOI and HT. Personally, I found The Hindu too heavy for me. At times, I also read articles from Economic Times to get a hang on the economy related jargons.

Read Preparation tips for CAT Data Interpretation & Logical Reasoning

Ques. What are the websites you followed regularly to practice free sample papers or to get updates?

Ans. The following preparation websites helped me a lot while preparing for the CAT exam-,,,

Ques. Quantitative Aptitude: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section  

Ans. As I was good in this section, I tend to spend a little more time in this section (40% Quants, 30% DI and 30% VA). However, I appeared in 2009 which had only 2 sections (QA and DI were clubbed) and time was fixed I guess. Anyway, my strategy is to read a section at least 3 times. First is always a glance not more than 3-4 minutes. The second time, I'll solve all the mid-level questions which are not time-consuming. If I find any question which can be solved but will take more than 3 mins, I'll mark that for my 3rd reading. In my 3rd reading, I'll solve the remaining bookmarked questions. And no matter what, I'll leave the sections and skip ahead once the stipulated time is up. Remember, there are sectional cut-offs.

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for DI           

Ans. Career Launcher study materials and Arihant books. No NCERT books (as I found them too easy for CAT, they might help for SNAP, etc.)

Ques. Data Interpretation: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section      

Ans. This was my favourite section and I always kept 30% time which was enough for me to solve most of the questions. My strategy was similar to that mentioned above in Quant. And no matter what, I'll leave the sections and skip ahead once the stipulated time is up. 

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for Quant    

Ans. Career Launcher study materials and Arihant books. 

Ques. Logical Reasoning: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section

Ans. I think this was no separate section was clubbed either with Quant or with DI (named LRDI). 

Ques. List the Name of Books You Followed for Logical Reasoning   

Ans. Career Launcher study materials and Arihant books. Additionally, I solved puzzles from Shakuntala Devi and George J Summers.

Ques. Verbal Ability: Discuss Your Strategy for the Section      

Ans. As this was my weakest section, I always looked to clear the cut-off. I gave 30% time as there was no point staring at some words. I always solved RC completely as I knew my accuracy was low and there is no point in selective answering.
Read Preparation tips for Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension

Ques. List the name of books you followed for Vocabulary & Grammar         

Ans. I preferred mobile dictionary over books as the mobile dictionary is more than enough if you use it while reading the newspaper.

Ques. Vocabulary & Grammar: Discuss your strategy for the section     

Ans. I never took any special consideration to grammar as I am good with it. For Vocabulary, I used word-of-the day. Additionally, I installed the dictionary on my mobile and used it while reading newspapers. The mobile dictionary is always the best. Also, even today I play Scrabble and Vocabulary games on my android devices.

Ques. What should be the strategy for someone who is starting just two months before the exam?

Ans. Focus on the basics in Quant & DI and work on speed rather than accuracy, in my opinion, accuracy can't be developed in a span of 2 months. For Vocabulary, read as many editorials as possible to build speed and don't be lazy with using dictionaries/google search while reading the newspaper. And take mock tests but not more than 2 per week. Give time to review the test and review every question.

Ques. How would you rate the following preparation strategy in terms of their efficiency in your story?

Coaching ClassesNCERT Text BooksOnline Study MaterialCoaching Printed Study MaterialMock & Sample Test PapersStudy GroupsSubject Wise ClassesSelf-Study
LowVery LowHighVery HighVery HighVery LowVery LowVery High

Ques. What will be your prescription for students in the last phase of their preparation for CAT 2018?  

Ans. Review CAT mock tests, refer dictionaries, read online forums etc. Don't study too much one week before the The-Day. Watch movies and matches in the last week to lower the nervousness and stay calm & confident. 

Ques. How was the interview? Share some of the questions.   

Ans. The interview was for 20 minutes and was very cool. As I had 2 years of experience with Infosys as a developer, they asked few questions about my clients and the projects but as they must have faced many software professionals, this part was only for 2-3 mins. More than half the time, we discussed cricket as I had mentioned it as my hobby. They asked many technical questions and throw many jargons to take my wicket but I played all their deliveries with ease. We discussed around 4-5 mins about Anil Kumble (the interviewer seemed a huge fan of Kumble) and they sought my opinions on whether he was an accomplished cricketer or was an undervalued player. Overall, it was one of the easiest interviews I've ever faced and I nailed that.



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