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CAT 2018 Preparation Tips by Topper Kuppam Vasanthi

Last Updated - September 13, 2018

CAT 2018 is scheduled for November 25, 2018 (Sunday) through online mode. Candidates who wish to apply can submit their applications on the official website of exam i.e. The last date of CAT 2018 Application Form submission is September 19, 2018. The registration fee for general candidates is INR 1900 and for SC/ ST/ PwD candidates is INR 900.

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CAT (Common Admission Test) is a national level management entrance test conducted by one of the IIMs on a rotational basis. It is held for admission to MBA and PGDM programs in all 20 IIMs and other top B-schools in India. In 2018, CAT is organized by Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. 

Preparation Tips by Kuppam Vasanthi

Kuppam Vasanthi appeared for CAT in 2011 and scored 98.32 percentile marks. She was offered admission from many institutes but she finally chose IIM Calcutta. She says, only a good practice can lead to crack CAT. She also says, practice with a focused mind can make weak areas as the strong one so, practice die-hard to get selected in your dream institute. Given below is the questionnaire of him which can help you in preparing for CAT. 

CAT 2017 Preparation Tips

Ques. How many GD/PI did you take part in?

Ans. I took part in three GD/PIs. 

Ques. The institutes that offered you admissions?

Ans. I wanted to be at IIM Bangalore, but I didn't receive any call from Bangalore. I was offered admission in the remaining IIMs, business schools, and private universities. I had also applied for FMS, but I couldn't clear. I then decided to choose Calcutta for its rich history and heritage.

Ques. Apart from CAT which exams do you appear?

Ans. I appeared for XAT, IBSAT and SNAP. Though all these exams require different strategies and preparation tactics, few factors remain common, like, concentrating on time management, practicing the mock exams and having a clear idea about basic concepts.

Ques. What was your mode of preparation? 

Ans. Classroom Coaching. 

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

Ans. TIME provides deterministic and an extremely time-crunching environment. Proper grilling through numerous problem-solving sessions are called for, this is where classes at T.I.M.E. came handy. Wherein a strong conceptual grounding in each topic was further accentuated by providing ample practice to that application of the concepts in solving actual problems.

Be it the classroom sessions, quizzes, AIMCATs, friendly center staff always ready to help students, the inimitable IIM Special workshops, the support and encouragement and the zeal to help realize each aspirant’s aim to nail the entrance exams of India’s best B-schools has played a crucial role in crafting my success story and will always hold a special place in the future endeavors also.

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

Ans. Maintaining the balance was tricky. Long college hours, it was a bit tough to manage 6 subjects and 2 lab works along with my preparation in the initial phase. But it is important to set a timetable right at the start of your preparation and try to stick to it. Only then you will be able to get a good CAT Result.

I usually spent late hours in a day and weekends strictly for my CAT preparation. Following a strict study routine is the ultimate key to success, when you know you have to do it anyhow, half of the CAT battle is already won. Along with strict schedule, utilizing the best of the weekends, and focusing on quality preparation rather than quantity, is the mantra.

Ques. Name of the Institute where you took admission?

Ans. I took admission in IIM Calcutta.

Ques. What is your five point rule to excel CAT 2018?

Ans. I would like to give a few CAT Preparation Tips to aspirants:

1. Go back to basics and strengthen your base so that you are conceptually clear.
2. According to experts, the trend of CAT questions demands conceptual clarity.
3. This is the time when you should recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
4. Take a trial mock test.
5. You may not score very high in CAT in this nascent stage of preparation, but you will know your strengths and weaknesses and strategize accordingly by focusing more on your weak areas and practice the strong areas adequately so that you don't lose your touch.

Ques. Which mock papers did you take?

Ans. Take at least 3 to 4 mock tests in a week and analyze them whenever you have the time. Make sure you have at least a day's gap in between two mocks so that you can work on your mistakes and improve them. I took many tests from both online and offline. TIME test series, Career Launcher test series (offline). mockCAT, Testfunda, learnhub etc., some single free tests from small websites such as, (for chapter to chapter)

Ques. Rate the role of your coaching institute (classroom or online both) in cracking CAT?

Ans. 9

Ques. Name the coaching institute (online or classroom)?

Ans. I am from TIME, Hyderabad. The CAT tests one's ability to think beyond the obvious, coaching centers preparing students for the CAT, tutor the mind to think beyond the apparent. I personally feel that feels that CCs provide a competitive environment to students, helping them to benchmark their preparedness, overcome their weaknesses, saving their time by following prescribed books for a particular concept.

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. Quantitative, logical reasoning and grammar questions were my strong areas. I was also good at reading comprehension as I have a high reading speed. I was comparatively weaker at Data Interpretation, especially speed math based questions.

For that, I did Vedic Maths. I searched for videos online and completely changed my way of calculation, including basic things like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

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

Ans. for material, books for material. for important updates. for some online preparation. early period for awareness.
I also followed some Facebook pages and groups for discussion and material.
CRACK CAT(group)
Target IIMs(Group)

Ques. Discuss your strategy for the Quantitative Aptitude section.

Ans. I would say practicing as many questions as possible is the key. Do not worry if you are not going to a coaching institute. You follow your own time table. Start reading mathematical formula and practice speed math.

I would recommend a booklet offered by TIME Institute for developing speed math that helps in fast calculations. You can score well only if you keep practicing. Take a material and solve random questions from each chapter.

You should practice as many problems with constraining to time management. Do not take more than 40 seconds for easiest 80 sec for moderate and not more than two minutes for tougher ones. Try to answer accurately. Do not leave out any chapter. There will be questions in Algebra, Arithmetic, Geometry, Probability etc.

Ques. List the name of books you followed for Data Interpretation section.

Ans.The best source for DI is mock papers. Previous year CAT Papers and mock papers should do. For Basic, refer any DI book like Arun Sharma, Sarvesh. For advanced level questions go with Nishit Sinha's book. Small hand book of S Chand publications was also handy in preparation.

Ques. Discuss your strategy for the Data Interpretation section.

Ans. Data Interpretation is considered as the most difficult section but with practice, it comes easier to you. Practice the different types of DI sets. You may go through the previous years' CAT papers to get an idea of the DI Qs and solve them. Check with the solutions key to see if you could approach the set in another way. Practice all possible kinds of sets. For Data Interpretation, the key and strategy are to practice as much as you can. I also followed the same and it supported me to make this area strong.

Ques. List the name of books you followed for the Quantitative Aptitude section.

Ans. Previous Years' Solved CAT Papers Paperback by Arun Sharma, How to prepare QA for CAT by Arun Sharma for important basic concepts and synopsis., this book gives all the basic level of questions and is very good for the beginners.

Another book which I followed, QUANTUM CAT for IIMS by Sarvesh Verma- this book is known for a vivid range of problems and detailed solution. For the advanced level of problems follow Nishit K Sinha's book.

Ques. Discuss your strategy for the Logical Reasoning section?

Ans. I always had problems with this section. The best way to overcome is to practice more different types rather constrained to a single easy type. The extensive practice was also one of my key factors. Read both the factual passage and the sentence completion instruction carefully. Both must be considered in making your choice. Be sure to read all the response choices carefully before choosing one.

In questions that ask you to select a valid conclusion, always choose the one conclusion that must definitely follow from the information you are given. In questions that ask you to find the invalid alternative, choose the one conclusion that does not definitely follow from the information.

Pay special attention to words like "all," "some," or "none" when you read the factual information each question gives you. Other qualifying words such as "other than," "only" or "unless" are important, too. These words can play a critical part in precisely specifying the facts to be used in your reasoning.

Pay attention to negative prefixes also, such as non-, un-, or dis-. These can be crucial to specifying the basic facts in the paragraph. "Test-taking" courses or your college instructors may have advised you to avoid any response choices that contain the quantifiers "all" or "none."

In both the practice questions here and in the actual economist assessment, these words are NOT signs of incorrect response choices. They will appear in both correct and incorrect response choices.

Pay close attention to the word "ONLY" and to the phrase "IF AND ONLY IF." Saying "The door will open IF AND ONLY IF both keys are used" sets up a highly specific condition that must be met. There is exactly one way to open the door-you must use both keys. By contrast, if the sentence says, "The door will open if the key is used," there may be several ways to open the door beside by using the key.

Ques. List the name of books you followed for the Logical Reasoning section.

Ans. A Modern Approach To Logical Reasoning by RS Agarwal, The Hand on Guide to Analytical Reasoning and Logical
Reasoning: A Must Have Resource for Aspirants of CAT, MAT, XAT, IIFT, CMAT, CSAT, Bank PO, Bank Clerk, SSC etc by Arihant Publications
Logical and Analytical Reasoning 24th Edition by RPH
General Mental Ability Logical Reasoning & Analytical Ability 1st Edition by Sachchida Nand Jha
A Modern Approach To Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning Revised Edition by RS Aggarwal

Ques. Discuss your strategy for the Verbal Ability section.

Ans. Reading helps in improving vocabulary but practice reading comprehension daily. You can use TIME material for RC. Try to understand every word in the passage.

Keep a note of your reading speed and you will notice the difference after few days. Just learning about a new word won’t help in memorizing it. Try to use these words when you are speaking or writing. Reading newspapers will also help during WAT/GD/PI. Subscribe to word list in any of the websites.

Ques. Discuss your strategy for the Vocabulary and Grammar section.

Ans. Vocabulary building is one of the critical elements when preparing for the Common Admission Test. Start verbal preparation by reading a book that explains grammar. It should be a workbook where you can see different examples as well. CAT question bank generally consists of exceptions in grammar. Try to concentrate in exceptions.

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

Ans. It’s assumed that the CAT exam mutates every year, however, the truth is not that simple or easily expressible. While we have seen CAT paper change over the years, the intensity with which the basics and concepts of students are tested still remain the same.

So do not fear of changes in the CAT Exam Pattern. Erase this from your mind and be connected to the destination. More and more Revision, Mocks, Analysis of each Paper, Aware about strong areas focus more to not miss even a single question from your strong zone. Avoid wasting time, make sure recreation activities must be soothing.

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
Very HighModerateHighHighVery HighNot ApplicableHighVery High

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

Ans. You revise the core concepts once again, get a hang of the questions, get good sleep, have a good mood. Improve your ability for mental calculations and your ability to avoid language traps. Solve different question types pertaining to Graphs and Caselets Practice DI questions regularly. Give good relaxation time.

Ques. How was the interview? Share some of the questions which you were asked.

Ans. My panel was of three members, they started with basic questions as to introduce myself, my preferences about course intake, why you chose management sector? What pulled you? Why not B-Schools? Then a little discussion about what if no data, have you heard about securitization? What do you like in mathematics? Can you derive d/dx by first principles? What if the function is x? What of x can take any values? Questions about black money? How to alleviate? Can you tell me about Indian Economics? What is GDP of India? How does it grow? Meaning of google? Google History? They ended asking some current affairs questions. Like GDP last year? Budget plan-do you think it has biased aspects?

Ques. List the name of books you followed for the Verbal Ability section.

Ans. I didn't read many books for this section. I regularly followed editorials and testimonials of newspapers and magazines. I followed one e-book suggested by my friend. Winners' Guide to CAT Reading Comprehension - eBook-- Detailed discussion of which strategies you can apply to come out a Winner on the CAT RC. I regularly followed The Business Line, Economic Times.



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