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CAT: 'Intelligent guessing' can help

November 19, 2005

At the Common Admission Test 2005, you are unsure of an answer. What do you do?

CAT trainers P Viswanath and Manek Daruvala of T.I.M.E suggested this strategy during a chat with Get Ahead readers on November 18: "Intelligent guessing" is not a bad idea.

Narrow your options down to two and then go ahead if you can't crack it. 

P Viswanath is an alumnus of IIT-Madras and IIM-Ahmedabad. He worked for one year in the field of management consultancy and for six years in sales and marketing. In 1992, he co-founded T.I.M.E and has 13 years of experience in training students preparing for CAT and other competitive exams.

Manek Daruvala is a BSc (Chemistry) graduate from the University of Bombay and a post-graduate in management from IIM-Ahmedabad. He worked for six years with Godrej and Boyce Mfg Co Ltd in marketing and sales and has been associated full-time with T.I.M.E. for the last 10 years. He trains students for CAT, other MBA entrance exams, group discussions, personal interviews and in selecting which B-School to apply to.

Here is the transcript:

Part II
: Nervous? How to build confidence

chetna: sir i am very confused seems as if i have lost all my base for CAT ....infact last night my sim cat score was so pathetic what has to done...?

Manek Daruvala: Chetna - Why are you even doing mocks at this stage? The idea now is to concentrate on doing whatever you are good at. There will always be a certain number of easy questions. So relax and you will be okay.

sayan: sir,please share some last minute probable pattern change guesses

viswanath: Any new pattern is new to all CAT takers. Doesn't help you in trying to guess any patterns. Whatever is the pattern, spend two to three minutes at the beginning deciding your strategy and then tackle easy questions.

babu:  sir,does cutoffs for IIMs alter every year?

Manek Daruvala: Babu - yes, the cut-offs depend on the difficulty level of the paper and hence keep changing year after year.

suman: wat shud b min num of attempts in each section to clear the cut-off

Manek Daruvala: Suman - you shouldn't be aiming for a specific score. Instead, give each section about 35 to 40 minutes and maximise the number of attempts in that (if there are three sections).

burra: Hello Sir,I have about 6 years experience, Iam writing CAT05 to apply for Exec-MBA degree by IIMs, Please tell me how much percentile will be cut-off for this course.

viswanath: Executive MBA cut-offs are much lower than the four post-graduate programmes.

Catapult: Hi Mr.vishwanath sir please reply, B.I.M Trichy is asking to choose either CAT or XAT for its admission. What would be the better choice and why?

viswanath: Hi Catapult, wait till you get a better idea of your CAT performance and decide. BIM last date is much later.

taran: sir. di is my strength and va is my average should i start with di or va.....i have always started with we are fresh at the start of the also i expecting 90 percentile..from which institutes will i get a is fore??will i get a call from their?i m writing cat for the second time..

viswanath: Start with whichever section you are comfortable with first. Only see if u can avoid RC as the last area as it needs a little more concentration.

SAM1: Sir , How is Alliance Business Academy ,Bangalore?? I hv received a call from them based on my Sept Mat exam. and also how do u rate IIMM ,Pune......PLZ ANS SIR

Manek Daruvala: SAM1 - It is going to depend on what your options are. At this stage do your best in CAT and then you can decide where you stand.

Prasad_prabhala: what are the effiecient methods for answering Quant ?

viswanath: Nothng like ideal number of questions. Keep picking up whatever you find easy; keep leaving those that are time consuming.

kanikabahl: Hi I have been regularly scoring a percentile b/w 95 and 99 in all my mock cats... considerin i go with the same state of mind as always.. what percentile range can i expect?my score is b/w 48 and 52-53PLease answer sir......

viswanath: Can probably b 97+.

Priya: how is SDM-IMD ??? what is cttoff percentile of it ?? Is it better than NIILM-CMS Delhi ??PLEASE ANSWER SIR

viswanath: SDMIMD and 65 percantile. SDMIMD cud giv a marginal advantage 2 u.

setfrcat: wat to do tomorrow to gear up for 20th

Manek Daruvala: Setfrvat - Go to bed early and get up with a positive frame of mind. You are capable of more than you imagine!!

narayanan: hi manek ,i would like to ask u a question regarding the RC's . can we expect more number of words/lines in RC's and is it advisible to attempt it first.

Manek Daruvala: Narayanan - If you are good at RC go right ahead and attempt it at the beginning. The number of words/ lines shouldn't matter.

Munmun: Sir Please answer as I am getting depressed before CAT, Please tell me how much percentile we get if we secure 35 marks ?? Please name some of B schools of this range ?? Please sir..

viswanath: CAT is not the end of the world. You can achieve a lot without CAT also. Do not worry. Decide the B-Schools to apply to after you write CAT. All the best.

soham: sir, what is the percentile cut off for english ? i mean where does it hover around?

Manek Daruvala: Soham - A sectional score of 85 percentile should be fine

amit_1feb: hello sir, i have seen a huge shift in my AIMCATS but most of the time stuck to around 90 percentile. got 4-5 times above 95 nd once got to 99.8 even .so much variation in result but whenevr i did gud i surpassed all the cutoffs . considering my background i am gud at quant nd logic nd considering my mocks i have never faltered in english even but VA i dread so what shuld my percventile b like nd what can i do now to maximise.i think sir i should stick yto my strategy but then what to do with 1 or 2 marks ques in english,quant or DI. what time to allott for them ???I will like to add will u bet on my kinda horse for IIMs. i m desperate to get there i have done my BE this yr itself.dont wanna go for job???

Manek Daruvala: Amit - Don't change strategy at this stage. Stick with whatever has been working for you. If you can't crack a question in 45 seconds or so, move on -- never mind if it is a two-marker.


Manek Daruvala: QUANTGURU -- Don't pre-decide a specialisation. You should go with an open mind and find out what you are good at.

asi: Hello Sir, in the remaining two days on what front should i focus? I am getting 12-14marks in QA,15-16 in DI,and 18 in VA

viswanath: Pretty good marks. No revision -- just browse through questions in mock CAT papers and relax.

jayrajt: Sir i usually score im my tests somewhere around 45 - 55 marks or max 62 . what are my chances to get decent college

viswanath: Pretty good.

rajivdelhi: SIr , in case one joins an A or A+ MBA institute at the age of 27-28 and passes out at the age of 29-30 , Is one considered too old by companies during placements ?Do institutes prefer not to take candidates with this amount of work experience ( 4-5 yers ) . Please guide as I am getting demotivated because of this . Is it possible to meet TIME Delhi head(Mr Ulhas Vairagkar ) for a counselling session . I am a full time TIME classroom student .

viswanath: Please meet Mr Ulhas -- he will help you.

aliyaahamed: What individual percentiles of ppl who got into IIM-A last year?

viswanath: Approx 85 percentile in individual sections.

parichay: Sir, Pls answer my question ,,,,,,I have done my engineering with 52 % marks and am getting a score of around 92-97% in mock CAT. Will my academic score stop me from getting a call from IIM even if I score around 99% in CAT.....I am confident of performing well in the GD & PI but am not sure abt getting a call from the IIM's due to my academic score....pls advice....

viswanath: IIMs do not specify minimum mark in acads. But better marks improve your chances. In any case, since you can't change your marks now, do not worry about it and focus on ur CAT and GD/ Interview.

catapplicant: what is goog to read RC completly or to scan

viswanath: Do not try new approaches at the last minute. Whatever you found comfortable till now, do that.

sid: Sir I Have just completed my MCA and joined Cognizant this year my age is 28 now how much it helpful for me do an MBA in this age

viswanath: From Top 10 or a few of the A+ institutes will be very helpful.

jayrajt: How is tough is SNAP as compared to CAT? Say 80 % tough as cat or...

viswanath: Fairly simpler than CAT, but difficulty level should not matter since it is relative performance that matters.

pratts: Is 'Intelligent Guessing' good??

Manek Daruvala: 'Intelligent guessing' is not a bad idea. Narrow your options down to two and then go ahead if you can't crack it.

Chaitanya: Sir, This is the 4th time I am posting.I have been scoring about 95-96% in AIMCAT's but have been doign well in the MC's and CRT's provided by time by atleast 3-4 marks above the cut off given. What chance do I have to get into IIM's

Manek Daruvala: For IIMs you need 98.5+ percentile.

GODHELPME: Sir as the time is running up please tell me what percentile it is if we get 35 marks ?? Please sir as my heart beat is now tending to increase ..

Manek Daruvala: That should be about 70 - percentile not heart beat!

Part II: Nervous? How to build confidence


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