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CAT Preparation Tips by Lokesh Dua

Last Updated - September 11, 2018

CAT 2018 is going to organized on November 25, 2018 (Sunday) by Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta. CAT 2018 online registration has started from August 8, 2018. Students having bachelor’s degree with minimum 50% marks can apply on the official website The last of application form submission is September 19, 2018

CAT 2018CAT EligibilityCAT 2018 Registration

CAT is an online mode exam, the questions paper consists of 100 MCQ and non-MCQ questions. The duration of the exam is 3 hours. The paper has 3 sections i.e. quantitative, verbal/reading, data interpretation and reasoning skills. 

CAT Result is expected to be declared in the second week of January 2019. After the announcement of result, all the successfully qualified candidates will participate in counselling process through which they can get admission in their desired institute. 

Tips by Lokesh Dua

Lokesh Dua appeared in CAT 2009 and secured 88.91 Percentile. He got admission in IMDR (The Institute of Management Development and Research), Pune. We interviewed him and he shared his Preparation Tips and Strategies with us. He says time management played an important role in the preparation.
According to him, CAT Coaching Institutes are good to the extent that they provide the study material for preparing certain individual topics. However, MBA competitive exams test students ability on a different level altogether, therefore, the mode of self-study becomes very crucial while preparing for the exams like CAT. 

CAT Preparation Tips

Here is the excerpt from the interview round:

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

Ans. The interview process is different in different colleges. For example, IMT Nagpur has a 3 members panel and they cover various topics from the subjects in honour courses, which included- why I want to join the MBA course, behavioral questions etc.

Suggestions - They mainly look  for confidence and clear cut thoughts from aspirants, mainly fresher’s. For experienced candidates, they have more expectations. But it is not a gruelling experience, all the interviews are very normal and questions mainly revolve around you and the achievements/goals you have. 

Ques. What are the institutes that offered you admissions?

Ans. IMT (Institute of Management and Technology) Nagpur, IMDR (The Institute of Management Development and Research), LBSIM (Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management) and UBS (University Business School) Ludhiana. I only applied for 5-6 colleges and I got an offer for admission in these four colleges.

Ques. Apart from CAT, for which exams did you appear?

Ans. Apart from CAT, I appeared for XAT (Xavier Aptitude Test), SNAP (Symbiosis National Aptitude Test), MAT (Management Aptitude Test), FMS (Faculty of Management Studies) and Delhi School of Economics. In our times, FCS and DSE used to conduct their separate exams.

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

Ans. Coaching institutes are good to a certain extent in providing the materials in teaching certain concepts. But MBA competitive exams test students ability on a different level altogether. One should be clear with their concepts and focus more on self-study. Books play a major role apart from mock tests and sample papers as it gives the confidence to students. Aspirants should devise their own methods in order to solve the questions.

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

Ans. Time management plays a crucial role in my preparation of CAT Exams. My life was running in different directions in the 3rd year of my college because of certain responsibilities- CAT Preparation, 3rd-year graduation course and I was also tutoring 10th class students for Mathematics and Science classes.

I was attending classes on 3 days a week and noted down all the important points in my diary. I always carried CAT preparation material along with me while travelling in the metro. Sundays were quite hectic as I covered all the concepts taught in a week. Time management was the mantra for the proper following of schedule in those days. Also, the help of family members and friends was the most important factor which I received fully.

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

Ans. Here are the success tips to ace CAT

1. Time Management

2. Self-study

3. Concepts should be clear

4. Take proper sleep and meditate, if possible.

5. Practice mock tests and don't be depressed if you score less. Make the weaker sections your stronger ones and don't be complacent for stronger sections.

Read How to ace CAT Quantitative Aptitude section

Ques. Name the coaching institute (Online or Classroom).

Ans. I joined MBA Guru nearby Delhi University. It is good institute which offers good subject knowledge with moderate fees apart from some innovative teaching ideas. The batch size is less which allows them to give more time for student- teacher interaction.

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. Logical Reasoning and Quants were my strong areas and Vocabulary was my weak area. But I improved it when I learnt few tricks to solve questions on para jumbles, sentence completions etc. I listened to my faculty intently in every lecture.

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

Ans. I followed the following websites:


Ques. Quantitative Aptitude: Discuss your strategy for the section.

Ans. It was my strongest area. I always attempted the answers only in case of 100% surety. No guess work. I attempted 16 questions out of 30 and got 96.40 percentile. Follow the R1, R2 and R3 strategy that Gautam Puri speaks of.

Ques. List the books you followed for DI.

Ans. Arun Sharma and MBA Guru materials were the only books I followed for Data Interpretation. 

Ques. Data Interpretation: Discuss your strategy for the section

Ans. DI was one of my weak areas as my calculation part was very weak. So I attempted only the easiest set and half of the moderately difficult set. Start from the bottom question in a set (My trick - always worked for me)

Read How to Prepare for CAT Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning section

Ques. Logical Reasoning: Discuss your strategy for the section.

Ans. LR was my strongest area. I always get all the questions correct here. Use the correct options of the questions in different questions - it helps to solve the questions faster.

Ques. Verbal Ability: Discuss your strategy for the section.

Ans. Here are some of the strategies I followed:

  • Avoid word association and word usage - you will always get it wrong.
  • Para jumbles, sentence completion and fill in the blanks are easy.
  • Target the easiest RC passage. 
  • Accuracy is the key in CAT. Minimize errors to score high.

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

Ans. Solve papers (past 10 years is a must), give sectional tests, revise formulas, focus on the chapters from where questions come usually - number system, mixture, ratio, percentage, geometry, seating arrangement, etc. I gave my first CAT with one-month preparation by focusing on the key chapters and scored 83 percentile. This gave me confidence that serious preparation can bring a good result."

Read How to Prepare for CAT Verbal Ability section

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


1. Formulas - keep writing it here and there

2. Do not give mocks in the last few days - a poor performance will dampen your spirits.

3. From every chapter do 4-5 questions that will boost your confidence.

4. Read articles on,



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