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How to prepare for CAT in two months - CAT Topper Vastav K shares CAT preparation tips with aspirants

Last Updated - August 23, 2017

Vastav K cracked CAT in 2011 with a percentile score of 97.2 and secured admission in IIM Lucknow. He has done engineering in his graduation. During his interview with us, he says, “Refer good books and it can help you in clearing fundamentals.” He shares with us his experience of how he prepared for CAT and cleared it. The following questionnaire can help you for preparing for CAT.

CAT, CAT 2017, CAT Peparation

Ques. The institutes that offered you admissions?     

Ans. I couldn't clear IIMA, IIMB. I chose IIM-L because of the long illustrious history associated with the institute and the fact that it is one of the highest ranked B-schools in India. Apart, I was offered admission in the following institutes, all the remaining IIM's, ISB, Xavier’s, FMS, and JBIM etc.

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

Ans. I appeared in CAT, SNAP, IBSAT, XAT (for XLRI)

Ques. What was your mode of preparation?  

Ans. Tutoring (For Particular Subjects) was my main mode of CAT preparation. I got the best CAT preparation tips from them.

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

Ans. I didn't have much of coaching. But in my view, coaching classes are meant to save time and find a better approach and help to get better CAT Result. I followed TIME Institute material, borrowed from my friend. IMS also provided me material, which was quite good. At IMS we used to get handouts in each class session. Apart from that, we also used to get subject materials. The materials were a brief of class work and handouts.

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

Ans. I am a B.E 2010 pass-out, I wrote CAT in 2010, but got just 82%ile, as my preparation was not up to the mark. Yet I tried reading in the late hours, but not with focus. I started preparing for CAT after my final exams. I prepared for the whole year, my preparation is concerned to online material gathering and self-study.

Ques. What is your five point rule to excel CAT 2017? Also, tell which mock papers did you take?  

Ans. For CAT 2017, I have a simple five point rule:

List out the topics- Channelize them
1. Solve short/ easy questions first.
2. Never stick to one question for too long.
3. Practice more mock tests.
4. Time management is a crucial factor.
5. Take adequate rest and relax your brain.

I took IMS Test series, Career Launcher series, Hunda Ka Funda Online Test series and TIME test papers from my friend and practiced at home.

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

Ans. 7

Ques. Name the coaching institute (online or classroom) that you joined for CAT preparation.     

Ans. I didn't join any coaching but I underwent a crash course for VA and LR at IMS, Indore.

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 strongest areas were Quant and Verbal sections; I had to work hard on DI and RC passages. I practiced speed mathematics and solved 10 DI exercises at a stretch to get the hang of it. For RC, I practiced Critical Reasoning questions and read up on fallacies to eliminate options.

Ques. Which websites did you follow regularly to practice free sample papers or to get updates for CAT preparation?

Ans. Solving CAT Sample Papers helps a lot. I practiced following sample papers:

1. Hunda ka funda- for material and tests
2. Career Anna - for news articles
3. Pagalguy
5., and some more

Ques. Discuss your strategy for the Quantitative Aptitude section.

Ans. Quantitative Ability Section is a combination of majorly simple concepts merger with advanced mathematics. List out the topics and also sub topics. Start with easy questions from any of the section. In the beginning, don't focus on time management...after the first hour of practice, average your each question time in each day, try and reduce 20% of the time for next question practice hour. Do this until you reach the appropriate threshold time point.

Ques. List the name of books you followed for DI.        

Ans.For simple and basic questions- TMH's How to prepare for the data interpretation and logical reasoning for the CAT 3rd Edition by Arun Sharma
For advanced approach- The Pearson Guide to Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning for the CAT (With CD) by Nishit K. Sinha Publisher: Pearson
For practice- short book on DI by RS Agarwal

Ques. Discuss your strategy for Data Interpretation section.

Ans. My strategy was to scan the question carefully and then interpret the data but don't just start doing calculations. Understand analyzing the data and the start calculations. Get familiarize with all types of DI questions with much of practice.

Ques. List the name of books you followed for Quant.    

Ans. 1. How To Prepare for quantitative aptitude for the CAT by Arun Sharma is simple and easy to understand
2. Quantitative Aptitude for competitive examinations by Abhijit Guha
3. This is a good book for building concepts of quantitative aptitude
4. For advanced level The Pearson Guide for DI and QA book by Nishit K. Sinha
5. Shakuntala Devi's puzzle book is also a relaxation game book

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

Ans. My LR strategy was-
1. Read both the factual passage and the sentence completion instruction carefully.
2. Be sure to read all the response choices carefully before choosing one.
3. 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.
4. Pay special attention to words like “all,” “some,” or “none” when you read the factual information each question gives you.
When you encounter a question that is difficult for you, try drawing diagrams or other schematic notes on the “scratch” paper provided to support and confirm your thought processes.

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

Ans. 1. The Pearson Guide to Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for the CAT by Nishit K. Sinha
2. Trishna's Verbal Ability and Logical Reasoning for the CAT and Other MBA Examinations by TIME
3. A Modern Approach to Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning Revised Edition by R. S. Aggarwal

Ques. Discuss your strategy for Verbal Ability section. 

Ans. For Verbal Aptitude, focus on critical reasoning. If you are good in stuff like Para-completion, Para-jumbles, Fact Inference Judgement. Following are some of the strategy points of Verbal Aptitude-
1. Prepare to do well in VA
2. Improve your ability to read and understand language
3. Improve your ability to solve specific question types
As far as preparation for these is concerned, I would highly recommend the use of previous year papers for both LR and RC. You need to understand the level of questions that get asked.

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

Ans. 1. Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis
2. Wren and Martin English Grammar
3. A Communicative Grammar of English by Geoffrey Lee
4. Reading any popular newspaper. I preferred Economic Times.

Ques. Discuss Your Strategy for Vocabulary and Grammar section?

Ans. Because vocabulary knowledge is critical to reading comprehension, it is important to develop a large “word bank” and effective vocabulary learning strategies.
Word Power Made Easy (or any other Vocab building tool) is helpful in CAT but Vocab is not an important parameter. You barely get a couple of direct question on it but it makes your life easier in RC and other areas.

Ques. What are the CAT preparation tips for someone who asks you-How to prepare for CAT in two months?

Ans. 1. Schedule your CAT date
2. Take as many mocks as possible
3. Analyze each paper-identify weak areas
4. Work more on stronger areas

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
HighLowVery HighHighVery HighLow HighVery High

Ques. What will be your prescription for students in the last phase of their preparation for CAT 2017?     

Ans. Don’t waste time and energy on questions that you are unable to solve; learn to channelize your efforts in the right direction.

  • Investing excessive effort in the wrong direction is equal to putting no effort at all.
  • Give lots and lots of mock tests. Identify and rectify your weak areas.
  • Once you've prepared well, just relax and be confident.

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

Ans. There were 3 persons in the interview panel. There were some casual questions, in the beginning, some of the questions that I remember are:

  • Why should we admit you into our MBA program?
  • What are your strongest abilities?
  • What are your three major accomplishments?
  • What are you looking for in this program?
  • Tell me something about yourself?
  • Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  • Why do you want to study in this institute?
  • What does "success" mean to you?
  • What does "failure" mean to you?
  • What major problem have you encountered and how did you deal with it?
  • There were some questions about business management and entrepreneurship.

Ques. List the CAT preparation books you followed for Verbal Ability?      

Ans. 1. Student's Companion by Wilfred D. Best Verbal Ability by Arun Sharma
2. English Proficiency manual
3. Business English and Communication by Clark



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