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How to improve your CAT score

November 07, 2005

There are just two weeks left for the Common Admission Test 2005.

imageWhich is the most important section of the test?

How do you maximise your score?

How do you prepare for the Group Discussions and Personal Interviews?

CAT gurus Asan Dasari and Vinayak Kudva of IMS Learning Resources answered these queries in a recent chat with Get Ahead readers.

Asan is an engineer and has an MBA from IIM-Calcutta. He is the product manager for CAT at IMS, and guides students through their CAT preparation.

Vinayak, an engineer, has an MBA from the University of Mumbai. He is the head of academics at IMS, has rich experience in academia-based research and teaches Mathematics during his free time.

Here is the chat transcript:

Part II: 'CAT is all about competition'

 ks: Pls clarify on my doubt that is cat going to be a mixed section paper??? im confused pls help

IMS: Please do not worry about the structure of CAT. You have to perform equally well in all the various sections given to you. 

...Aastha...: im never able to clear sectional cut-offs....what do i do?

IMS: Hi, the sectional cut-offs are declared after all students' performances are populated.

So, if you have to clear the cut-offs, you have to score evenly across all sections. You also have to ensure you score well.

abhishe: sir currently i am working in Lehman Brother and prior to this at infosys , i have a total of 1.5 years expeince. I have missed CAT dates , but am appearing for FMS XAT and JMET.

I am really confused as to what should i focus on , having experince of Lehman Brothers should i focus on GMAT and IIM's only or should try the other colleges as well. Please help me!

IMS: Hi. Since you have 1.5 years of work experience, do not worry. However, you have to plan your studies too.

Please do apply to XLRI and FMS. However, in case you do not make it to XLRI or FMS, I would advise you to prepare for CAT 06' and take the GMAT for ISB.

vpower: sir does a experience of 6 months in a small organisation prove to be of any advantage?

IMS: Hi, any work experience after graduation is counted as good work experience. The panel will be interested in what you were responsible for and your achievements at work. Do not worry if your organisation is small.

manoj1: Hello sir what i need to do to get through GD and PI.I mean on what areas these will be based

IMS: Hi, you have to read newspapers and magazines. While you are reading, you should also develop the ability to analyse and opine.

Further, do sit with your friends and practise GDs. For interviews, you have to be ready with answers about your skills and your goals.

kitty: what was the top cat score last time?

IMS: Hi. The top score in CAT 2004 was around 100+. However it does not matter, since you have to ensure you perform on D-Day. Further, most students who secured more than the 99th percentile were in the 58-65 marks range.

Deepak: Hello sir, what could be right strategy for CAT if i am clearing cutoffs in all three sections.

IMS: Hi. Good work. You have to continue your performance. Now, your aim should to maximise your score in each section. 

abhishe: How good is IIT- Mumbai, and what is the cut-off there , last to last year i had given JMET and cleared it and i also cleared FMS-MS program but did not join , should i apply for FMS-MS program? Is it really good. i have 1.5 years experience in IT . Also i have applied for SP Jain through XAT how good is SP Jain ?

IMS: Hi, SP Jain is a good institute. However, I would advise you to join the two-year MBA programme.

Ankur: Hi,I am working at accenture for last 4 months, have had no breaks in college, this is my 2nd cat percentile in mocks varies between 98 to 80, wht chance do i have to perform. Last year I had score 88 percentile in cat.

IMS: Hi, Ankur. First of all, you have to believe in yourself. Next, you have to aim for a score which is going to help you to be competent across sections and to be competitive too.

We have seen that a 95th percentile in SimCATs usually results in 98+ percentile in the actual CAT.

ravikiran: tell us the best way to utlise the time left to improve our score in CAT

IMS: Hi, set a score for each practice test that you will take; you should strive for the score that you have set for yourself. After the test, analyse your performance. Reinforce your strengths and aim for a higher score in the next test.

abhishe: As my current work scedule is very tight , i am unable to concentrate on my studies, is 1 month sufficient for JMET and also for 2 months for XAT and FMS ? What topics should i concentrate more on ?

IMS: Hi, first make a timetable and stick to it. Second, practise the topics in which you are strong so that you can ensure your performance in them in the actual exam.

sumit: what type of questions do you think are "must do" type?

IMS: Hi, the 'must do' questions are based on your strengths. So do those where you know the answers for sure!


IMS: Hi, it is difficult to speculate on this aspect. I would advise you to focus on your strong areas and finetune your test taking skills instead of trying to predict CAT.

aspirant: can u tell me what willbe the minimum percentile to get a call from IIM. I am SC candidate with 6 month of experience.

IMS: Hi. For the reserved categories, the cut-offs are usually in the range of 92+ percentile. However, last year, we saw that most students in the reserved category had actually scored in the 98+ bracket.

ketan: What is the average attempt by a person clearing CAT

IMS: Hi. If we plan to get a call from the IIMs, then you should aim for a score of 60+, which in turn would result in an overall attempt of around 80-85 questions.

Priyanka: Hello!Sir!I am currently working with Wockhardt..prior to that i have worked for a year with Metlife. I want to pursue my acreer in HR.Which are the other good colleges apart from XLRI and TISS?

IMS: Hi, for HR, apart from TISS and XLRI, you should apply to the MDI-HR programme. In addition, you should also apply to regular MBA programmes from the best institutes.

ST: HI, currently i'm working in a software company. I've 5 months experience. i'm planning to appear for CAT after two years.. Please suggest me what i should do now for CAT???

IMS: Hi, you can start by taking the Preliminary Test at a CAT training centre. The test will tell you how much effort you need to put to excel at CAT.

raulz: Sir i have work exp of 2 years ...would it be good to get into XLRI and MDI institutes ...Wat would be the ideal %ile to get in them with this experiecnce ..currently in MOCK CATs I m getting around 90-95 percentile.

IMS: XLRI and MDI are good institutes. Try to make it to the 95+ percentile in the SimCATs.

Abhishek B: Sir for last year's CAT what score could have guaranteed 2-3 IIM calls?

IMS: Hi. About 55+, but that was last year. Last year is not benchmark for you to prepare for this year. You should aim for at least 60-65 marks to ensure you are on the right track.

Part II: 'CAT is all about competition'


Illustration: Dominic Xavier

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Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: experience

hi sir, I am working as a customer care executive in HCL BPO in noida. Can u please tell me that if it can be ...


Sub: Help me

Hi I am working in an IT company as a software tester. I have my Degree in B.Com (Computer Application). I am interested in doing ...

Posted by Rohan

Sub: 6 months enough for cat preparation???

hi.. being may now.. n exam in november.. if i start coaching now.. would i be able to apply to IIM?? would 6 months be ...

Posted by sg

Sub: Confused about Career

sir currently i am working in Tata Infotech currently its merged with TCS. i have a total of 14 months expeince. I have missed CAT ...

Posted by rahul


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