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Last minute CAT strategies

November 17, 2005

Three days to go for the Common Admission Test 2005 and you are striving hard to keep your cool and concentrate.

CAT trainers Gautam Puri and Arun Wadhwa suggested these tips for last-minute preparation in a recent chat with Get Ahead readers: Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and revise your notes.

CAT expert Gautam Puri, co-founder and managing director, Career Launcher (I) Ltd, chatted with aspirants for one hour and answered their queries. As the questions poured in, Arun Wadhwa, CL's national programme head for CAT, joined Puri in answering them.

Puri, an MBA from IIM-Bangalore, has had successful stints at Hindustan Petroleum, Britannia and VAM Organics. He has prepared close to 1,00,000 students for CAT. To keep himself abreast with the latest trends, he has been sitting for the examination every year for the last 10 years.

Arjun Wadhwa has been associated with Career Launcher since 1999, when he was a student with CL preparing for his MBA. Influenced by his mentors in the organisation, and armed with his passion for teaching, he joined Career Launcher straight from campus after completing his MBA from MDI, Gurgaon. He has been with CL for four years.

Here is the transcript:

Part I: CAT 2005 -- A repeat of CAT 2004?

Part II: Do you need work experience?

Part III: Does Verbal Ability worry you?

Part IV: 'CAT gets a little tougher every year'

Part V: Want to ace CAT? Revise, revise, revise

AshishTripathi: Hello Sir , How is FMS Ms program ?? Nd Is Great Lake institute Chennai a good 1 & accredited ????

Gautam Puri: FMS MS is a good programme.

Ritu: what other subjs r there in MBA

Arjun Wadhwa: Finance, Marketing, Systems, Operations, HR & Strategy. Some institutes also offer International Business.

khushmeet: sir any college who prefer quant and di comparison to engineering.

Gautam Puri: The difference is only about a mark. So do not worry about this.

aaa: suggest a few good institutes for a score of 75-85 percentile.

Gautam Puri: IMI, TAPMI, FORE.


Arjun Wadhwa: Sorry, they are on par. IMI is marginally better.

rajan: Gautam... if i am not wrong dont you think skimming and scanning are different techniques???

Arjun Wadhwa: In RC specifically, yes; but when reviewing a complete paper, they are more or less the same.

sivaranjan: how much percentile will a overall score of 62-63 with all the cutoffs cleared , translate to?

Gautam Puri: In CAT 2004, 62-63 was over 99 percentile.

CATOID: does imt look for sectional cutoffs?

Gautam Puri: No.


Gautam Puri: IIMs, SP Jain, MDI, IMT.

lovelyrose16: Sir is cracking FMS MS also of the same difficulty level as FMS MBA?

Gautam Puri: No, it is easier.

AshishTripathi: Is Great Lake institute Chennai a good 1 & accredited ????

Arjun Wadhwa: Not sure if it is accredited to AICTE, but it is pretty decent, considering it is a one year programme. IT and Operations placement scene is good.

BINIT: I have avg of 79 percentile in mocks what dop i expect from me and what kind of institutes???

Gautam Puri: GIM, IMI, FORE. 

saptarshi: what is teh percentile required to get call from MICA ?

Gautam Puri: Over 90 percentile.

neha.b: hello sir...i am too nervous these days and even coz of this my performance is fallin..what should i do?

Gautam Puri: Revise your earlier papers.

IITian: what is the pattern of FMS entrance??

Gautam Puri: FMS 05- QA 50, Reasoning 50, RC - 47 and Vocab -28; total 175 questions.

khushmeet: sir prefer college who do not consider verbal more

Gautam Puri: MICA.

rajan: nope arjun... even if you are going ahead with the entire paper skimming includes identifying length of questions and is of longer duration than skimming... the difference of even 5 minutes can make or mar my CAT... right Arjun??

Arjun Wadhwa: It is better that you look at the length of questions while you are pursuing a particular section rather than when you are reviewing the paper initially.

Mrashujust4u: Sir I dont have 50% in Graduation but I have 55% in Masters in Economics. Am i eligible for the institutes which demand 50% in graduation

Arjun Wadhwa: No. Though a lot of institutes mention 50 percent in your last formal degree, so please check specifically.

BINIT: Which institutes don't look for sectional cut offs and which does?????

Gautam Puri: Except for IIMs, MDI, SP Jain, XLRI, XIM, others usually do not have sectional cut-offs.

gari: I have average of 90 percentile in Mocks.So in which institutes i shoul apply

Gautam Puri: IIM, XL, FMS, MDI, SP Jain, IIFT, XIM.


Gautam Puri: Yes.

AshishTripathi: Which R Good institute who dont Have sectional Cutoff????

Arjun Wadhwa: MICA and institutes below did not have sectional cut-offs last year. Avoid getting a zero, though, in any section.

khushmeet: sir any top college who prefer di and quant cut off.because i did not clear my cutoff in eng any time and my highest mock% is 73 but i am good in quant and di

Arjun Wadhwa: The best chance you have is to focus on institutes like IMI, FORE and UBS which do not normally have sectional cut-offs.

neha.b: i am weak in RC. my accuracy is 50%only..n even same is the case with Maths so what shud i do at this stage

Arjun Wadhwa: Again, from a confidence building perspective, try and spend maximum time revising old tests you have done well in. hi i m student of cl and currently getting a score of around 31 as average. what are the chances that i will made it in to iims?

Gautam Puri: Not very high.

Mrashujust4u: I have experinece in working with Research Institutes as i am MA Economics. Is this experience valuable in the selection criteria of management Institutes?

Gautam Puri: Your work experience will get weightage only if it is more than two years.

saptarshi: after doing my MBA from a top 20 B-school , i want to do my FPM from IIMs . for that what percentile one need in CAT ?

Arjun Wadhwa: FPM percentiles change every year depending on the number of applicants and are very hard to predict. Suggest you just go out there and give it your best shot

parul: hello sir, can u give me details of institutes those giving coaching for CAT

Arjun Wadhwa: There are a large number across the country; some of the better ones include CL, IMS and TIME.

alwazgng: i heard that this year xat is not testing us on GK. Is it true.

Gautam Puri: Their prospectus mentions only QA, DI and Reasoning. We will have to wait for the paper.

BINIT: ISn sectional cut off considered while DEclaring CAT percile or its just on overall score??????

Gautam Puri: You get a percentile score for each section and for the total separately.

Tholkappian: Hello I am getting only 50% in DI how to increase the score

Arjun Wadhwa: Take a practice section test in Data Interpretation. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and revise your notes on DI.

That is the best you can do given the time available. See if you can also juggle some time from other sections and try more AR and DS questions.

visbo: what r the chances of CAT paper leak this time???

Arjun Wadhwa: Hope it never happens again, as it is very mentally taxing on students to have to take the exam again.

neha.b: hw much percentile IMI prefers?

Gautam Puri: > 85%


Gautam Puri: It is a section paper, so spend 25-35 minutes per section.

Part I: CAT 2005 -- A repeat of CAT 2004?

Part II: Do you need work experience?

Part III: Does Verbal Ability worry you?

Part IV: 'CAT gets a little tougher every year'

Part V: Want to ace CAT? Revise, revise, revise


Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: query abt admission

respected sir, sir i m a final year engg. student..i got a placement offer in sterlite..sir i have given snap but according to my scores ...

Posted by ravish kumar

Sub: dont be nervous

hello friends There is saying "GO DARGAY WHO MARGAYA"..... this is the time to hold your nerves...and give yor best short..because this is what IIM'en ...

Posted by harpreet


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