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'Be ready to improvise'

November 20, 2004

With barely a few hours to for CAT 2004, CAT expert Shailesh Agarwal -- he holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and has been coaching students in Mathematics and Data Interpretation at Career Forum for the last two years -- had just one advice: Don't get stressed. Be cool.

Shailesh was bombarded with questions on the Get Ahead chat.

He reminded CAT aspirants that CAT was a test of their conceptual clarity, their accuracy, their speed and their ability to perform under stress.

Even as he asked them to be ready to improvise in case CAT threw up surprises, he urged them to aim for higher accuracy to offset negative marks.

This is the transcript:


Analyse your CAT paper with Brijesh Singh, Project Head, Prowess, Top Careers and You on Monday, November 22.

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Hi, this is Shailesh Agarwal. I am ready to answer your questions.

kingraj: Hey, anybody know about cut-offs for reservation students?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Cut-offs may lie somewhere around 75 percentile onwards.

AHMAD: Is it good to avoid math sections?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: No, not advisable.

shree: Hi, Shailesh. What important tip can you give to CAT aspirants for tomorrow's exam?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Attempt the questions from your comfort area, attempt the sitters with a cool head!

sridhar: What is the difference between the top 10 management institutes and other institutes?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: They are among the top 10 and the rest are below them.

raghav: Hello, sir. Would it be a good option to attempt CAT next year or to work and then attempt it?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: If you feel that your preparation level is good and you are confident, go and give it a shot. If you do not get through your preferred institute, try next year with work experience.

ranks: Okay sir, could you be more specific as to which topics we should revise today, and what is the probability of topics coming in the paper tomorrow?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Do not stress yourself. Just revise the concepts and the formulae.

pooja: What tip would you give average students who are not very good in math?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Go for the section you are good at. Then select your comfort area from the math section and attempt around 12-14 questions and get them right.

raghav: Sir, what is your advice to people who can't get through to good institutes?

SHAILESH AGARWAL:Write the other exams like SNAP, SMAT, CET and so on. Do not get disheartened. Get some work experience in case you don't get an institute of your choice and give it your best shot next time.

murali: What should be the approximate time to allot to each section if there is a 4-section paper?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: To ensure the cut-offs, take 30 minutes per section and allot somewhat less time to your strong section.

crazycat: Shailesh sir, can we guess in the exam?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Not a wild guess, at least. [You] could go for intelligent guessing. Remember, there is negative marking.

catcracker: Is it possible that there will be time limits for sections?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: There can be...

mohan: What will be the likely cut-off for the IIMs?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Depends upon the difficulty level of the paper.

Anousha: Data interpretation section: what is the cut-off?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Cut-off lies around 18 to 22. Rest depends on the paper as well.

varunsae: Percentile required for MICA?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Could be around 75 to 80.

raam: Hello, Mr Shailesh. It's nice to have you here. I am a student of Career Forum. I would like to know whether the coaching given in Career Forum is enough to manage any kind of surprise in CAT.

SHAILESH AGARWAL: If you have given your countdown papers seriously and consistently you should be prepared for any surprises!

gans: Sir, do negative marks increase with lower accuracy?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Progressive negative marking may or may not be there, so aim for higher accuracy.

aaaaaaaaaaa: How, or rather from where, do we get the answers after the paper.

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Log on to for detailed analysis.

aditya: If RC and Verbal are separate sections, then what should be the time allotment to each?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: For RC you should not spend more then 20 to 25 minutes. For Verbal, 15 to 20 minutes again. Go for RC after Verbal only.

nehad: What are the percentiles needed for institutes like FORE, Nirma and Somaiyya? Also, please tell me if is there any cut-offs required.

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Cut-offs can be there. Percentile would be some where around 80. FORE could be slightly lower.

sandip: Sir, what extra preparation is needed for exams like XAT, JMET, IIFT, FMS?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: GK and essay for XAT and IIFT. JMET requires higher mathematical ability, and rest is same.

payal: What were the cut-off last year to get into IIMs?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Approximately 14 for Quant, 18 for DI and 22 for English.

sainath: What is the cut-off percentile for TAPMI and IMI Sir?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Cut-off could be around 90 for TAPMI and somewhere around 80 for IMI.

stud: In how many months can prepare one for CAT, especially for next year's exam?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Around 8 to 10 months.

gummy: Shailesh, please answer this. How do you select which RC to attempt?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: The order of attempts in RC will depend on your familiarity with the subject, the number of questions and kind of questions (direct or indirect questions).

Atul: What is the aim of the CAT exam? What skill set are they looking at?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Your conceptual clarity, your accuracy, your speed and your ability to work under stress.

deepal: Hi, Shailesh. Do guys with work experience get an advantage in cut-offs? I have five years if work experience. If I can manage net 22 in Verbal, 18 in DI and 13 in Quant, will I get a call from the IIMs?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Guys with work experience guys do not get any advantage in cut-offs.

asucrazydevil: Is there any IIM or B-school that takes GMAT scores? I wish to pursue MBA from India and I am presently pursuing my masters in USA.


Muneer: I am very poor in English. Can you suggest a strategy for next year's CAT?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Extensive reading will help you improve your English.

ss: Is it true that SP Jain prefers guys with work experience?

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Some preference is given for systems and operations.

SHAILESH AGARWAL: Before signing out, I would suggest keep your cool and be ready to improvise in case CAT springs surprises. All the best and log on to for the detailed analysis tomorrow. Adios, friends.

CAT on!

Analyse your CAT paper with Brijesh Singh, Project Head, Prowess, Top Careers and You on Monday, November 22.

'CAT 2004 could be a four-section paper'
• To succeed at CAT: Keep cool
• 'Take CAT like a winner!'
• 'CAT's difficulty level does not matter'

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: CAT preparation

what r the books which should be consulted while appearing for the CAT exam

Posted by vivek

Sub: xat

do i have to prepare integration,differenciation...(higher level maths for xat)

Posted by nandita

Sub: IIM

dear sir, i would like to know if i attempt all the question in the DI plus Quant section.. and get a good cut off ...

Posted by Rahul

Sub: dear sir

what can i do for M.B.A(CAT) after 12th.. May u gave some tips about M.B.A(CAT) after 12th.

Posted by shivangi


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